If you’re looking for a professional dog trainer, a good place to start is with the membership directory of the appropriate professional organization for your country. For example:
- Association of Pet Dog Trainers (UK)
- Association of Pet Dog Trainers (US)
- Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers
and so on.
Speak to friends who have recently taken their dogs to obedience classes and/or to private training or behaviour consultations, and ask lots of questions. What did your friend like best about the trainer and the training style? Was there anything in what the trainer did or asked the owner to do that made your friend uncomfortable? How open was the trainer to questions and discussions about the rationale behind his/her methods and techniques? And of course, my favourite question — would you treat a small child in the way this particular trainer expects you to handle your dog?
But don’t stop with second-hand reports and opinions. Any reputable dog trainer will welcome you to sit in on a class and observe what goes on, so you can get a sense of how well the facility and the training methods will suit you and your dog.