Dog on hind legs with one paw up in the air

Whether you’re looking for basic obedience training for your new puppy or advancing your older dog’s skills, choosing the right trainer will be one of the most important decisions you make. Your trainer and the technique they use will not only impact how you engage with your dog, but also how your pup interacts with different dogs and environments. Dog training is an unregulated industry so don’t make this decision lightly. Do your research before trusting any trainer with your furry family member. Check out these five tips from Dogtopia’s Canine Behaviorist, Colleen Demling-Riley, about what you should look for in a dog trainer.


Ask where the person received their education, who they mentored with and what they do to continue to develop their skill set. Make sure to investigate all credentials. Many dog-training schools will “certify” a trainer after a simple online course.


There is no government regulated licensing process for dog trainers. This means anyone can say they are dog trainer. Without hands-on experience (a minimum of 500 professional hours) a trainer is less likely to be able to identify and modify behavior.


A good trainer will be educated on different philosophies and methodologies even if they don’t use them. Look for someone who focuses on positive reinforcement and takes a well-rounded approach to dog training. A trainer should work with both the dog and the pet parent. This is the only way to ensure understanding and consistency. Be wary of board and train programs that do not have regular check-ins with the pet parent or require follow-up training where the dog and pet parent learn to work together. Both are needed for a successful training outcome.


Find a trainer that stops to explain what they are doing, answers questions, and seeks buy-in from you. The trainer should listen to the pet parent’s goals and needs. They should never make a person feel bad or uneducated for asking about training methods or alternative solutions.


In addition to looking online and on social media, ask local vets, pet stores and groomers if they have a recommendation. A good trainer, who has a proven track record, will be well known in the community. The Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers ( is another great resource for finding a trainer.

Try Dog Daycare

Looking for a safe place for your pup to learn and grow? Try dog daycare at Dogtopia! Consistent socialization, exercise and education are key to developing a well-rounded dog. Dogtopia’s playrooms are designed with your dog’s wants and needs in mind and our team will ensure your dog is safe while socializing with other dogs and engaging in fun brain activities. Dogtopia’s Canine Coaches must complete rigorous training, designed by our canine behaviorist, on dog body language and understand the behavior of all breeds. Our custom four-part training process has been approved for continuing education credits by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). We’re committed to keeping all dogs safe while they learn, play and grow with us at Dogtopia. We guarantee you will love the benefits dog daycare has to offer and we’ll keep you in the loop on your dog’s behavior with periodic report cards and tips for how to replicate training at home. Plus, you can check in on them throughout the day via our live webcams. There is nothing better than learning through playing!

Let us help your dog become a well-balanced pup! Find a Dogtopia daycare near you.