5. How to Select a Professional Trainer for Your Guard Dog
Why Do You Need a Professional Guard Dog Trainer?
Most dog owners know that all dogs have a sense of defensiveness. They tend to protect themselves and their masters out of instinct.
What many dog owners do not consider, however, is the lack of control that dogs have on these instincts.
In the wild, a dog will defend himself and his territory against predators until he has achieved his purpose, which is usually to destroy the predator.
While this may seem like a desirable trait for your guard dog to have, untrained dogs have no way of controlling these instincts. Without training, they are programmed to kill.
The first problem with this is that a dog absolutely must not attack anyone with the intention to kill. A little known fast is that this also pertains to intruders. An owner can find themselves in legal trouble very quickly over having such a dangerous dog, even if he has only shown that sort of behavior toward a predator entering the home.
Most court systems will hold the dog’s owner responsible for any such mishaps, and the punishment can be harsh. Also, if your dog is not trained by a professional, he will not have the ability to respond to your various commands during an attack.
While your pet may answer to you now, his senses may overwhelm him when he has locked onto a target, meaning that your commands and pleading will instantly become useless. The real problem here lies in your dog misidentifying a predator, and instead attacking a family visitor, neighbor, or child.
Qualification and Associations of a Professional Guard Dog Trainer
The unfortunate truth is, almost anyone can claim to be a professional dog trainer. While it would not seem wise that one would wish to train guard dogs without the necessary training themselves, there certainly are those who are willing to take that risk in order to easily obtain your hard earned money.
This is an especially present danger when a trainer only offers his services at his “school” or facility, where owners are not likely to follow.
There are a few steps that you can take to prevent such a mishap, however. Always ask for professional accreditations, associations, and training information on your chosen trainer. Ask him or her where they received the bulk of their training and education, and what makes them more qualified than other trainers.
The real professional may be slightly insulted at these insinuations of fraud and lack of pedigree, however you must be willing to take that risk for your dog’s safety. Look for quick, precise answers. If you do not recognize the name of the association that they claim to be a part of, move on. A few organizations that reputable trainers may belong to include:
- Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers
- The Association of Pet Dog Trainers
Where to Find a Reputable Dog Trainer
Finding listing upon listing for guard dog trainers is not a difficult process. You can find them in the phone book, on the Web, advertised on the radio and T.V., and through paper advertisements. The trouble is finding a reputable dog trainer. This may present a bit of a challenge to dog owners.
The best way to ensure your dog’s safety, and that your money does not go to waste, is to look for a good dog trainer through word of mouth referrals. An excellent dog trainer usually receives this bulk of his business this way.
There are several ways to use the word of mouth approach when hunting for a great trainer for your pooch. While searching, however, make sure that you obtain more than one good referral before making your choice. In general, the following places are excellent venues for advice on where to find the best guard dog trainers:
- your vet’s office
- your dog owner’s club
- your breed association
- humane societies
What You Should Expect From Your Guard Dog Training Experience
Once you have selected your guard dog trainer, it would be wise to take note of the progress that is occurring every day. Is your dog more alert? Is he more obedient? Of course, these changes will not take place over night, but after a couple of weeks there should be a notable difference.
Ask your trainer exactly how long it will be before he expects a real change in your dog. Keep in mind that he will need to work directly with your pet for a few days first before he can give you a solid answer. Every dog has a different personality and temperament, and each has different training needs. Try to be patient.
What you should expect, regardless, is a training experience that is custom suited to your dog. Even in group training, your dog’s specific needs should be addressed at some point during each day.
If your dog is not enjoying his training, there may be a problem. If you decide to leave him at training camp during the day, examine his behavior upon your return. The only changes that occur in his personality should be positive. Note his behavior upon being taken to the facility. Is he nervous or uncooperative?
If so, make it a point to be present during all training sessions to ensure his safety, as well are you own peace of mind. If your trainer ever has any problems whatsoever with owners being present, it’s time to find another dog training professional.
Group Training vs. One-on-One Training
Both group guard dog training and one-on-one services have their pros and cons. In group training, your dog will receive the benefits of interaction with other dogs and their owners.
While he will be trained well, his personalized attention may be limited. Group dog training is usually effective for the most part, however the dog must learn how to apply his new skills in his home when he leaves the training facility, which can be difficult for some.
While it is certainly more expensive, one-on-one guard dog training is the superior of the two. Ideally, the dog trainer will come to your home and teach your pet how to address the specific issues there, rather than at a neutral facility. Also, the trainer can focus all of his attention on your dog, rather than having to split it amongst several dogs and their owners.
He can address all of the specifics, while answering any questions you may have about unique problems that may occur in your home. If possible, this personal guard dog training experience should be given serious consideration before all other options.