The most important information you need when choosing a professional is:
There are different methods of training & rehabilitation
There is a difference between trainers & behavior specialists
There is a difference between certified and non-certified professional
**Experience ALONE is not enough**
Positive vs Negative:
*Positive methods motivate a dog to do what is being asked (even if they aren't thrilled) and in training to lure a dog into a position such as a "sit". This is practiced until the dog understands by hand & verbal signals. Repetition and consistency are the keys to success.
*Negative methods mean that the professional will use physical corrections & aversive equipment. The equipment used for this method is usually choke, shock & prong collars. Dogs are physically prompted to "sit" by the handler pulling their heads upward while forcing their back end down (which can be painful and well as harmful). The dog is then expected to understand. The handler will tell the dog to "sit" and when they don't comply (because they haven't been taught properly), a hard yank on the leash and the word "NO!!" is said. And the process continues.
PLEASE DO NOT BE SWAYED INTO THINKING THAT YOUR DOG WILL LEARN BETTER & QUICKER WITH TRADITIONAL STYLE NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT TRAINING.
PLEASE BE WARY OF STATEMENTS SUCH AS - "YOU CAN'T USE TREATS FOR A DOG WHO BITES" OR "YOU MUST BE THE PACK LEADER", as this is an indication that the methods used are punitive.
NEVER ALLOW A PROFESSIONAL TO CONVINCE YOU TO USE A CHOKE, PRONG OR SHOCK COLLAR
BALANCED TRAINING MEAN A PHYSICAL CORRECTION WITH A REWARD FOR COMPLIANCE - this method is very confusing for a dog.
A TRAINER IS A PERSON WHO TEACHES NEW BEHAVIORS such as basic & advanced obedience and should not be used for behavioral issues.
A BEHAVIOR SPECIALIST IS A PROFESSIONAL WHO IS EDUCATED & EXPERIENCED IN BEHAVIORAL ISSUES. Behaviors are serious matters and
Certified means that the professional has received a formal education. Find out who they are certified by.
Experience alone is NOT enough. Without receiving a formal education from a reliable source you have no idea where that person obtained their information. This can place your dog at risk of being emotionally and/or physically harmed.
So before you make a decision to hire a dog professional I want you to ask yourself these two questions -
1) Would you send your child to a school where the teachers weren't formally educated and certified?
2) Would you send your child to a school where intimidation and physical punishment was implemented?
If the answer to these two questions is no, then make sure to ask the exact method used, what equipment is used and who is this person certified by.