TACTICAL RESPONSE LLc. K-9 Training & Services
EST. 2003

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With so many people involved in the field of “professional” dog training today, trying to find and determine who’s qualified can be a difficult job. For those trying to decide on a Professional Dog/K9 Trainer, Tactical Response LLc. K9 Training & Services offers you the following criteria to give you some knowledge what to look for and assist you in getting the “right” trainer for you and your beloved K9.



·        Certifications. This is a very common question. In all 50 states there is no state or federal law that requires a trainer to be certified. There is no national or state standardize exam. If a trainer is certified, you want to know who by. Some courses are available on line that will give certification for just book knowledge and are usually open book final exams. No hands on training. These courses can be completed usually within 2 months and sometime less. The larger chain companies offer training by their staff. Their staff qualification is usually a 2 week course. Then they teach you and your dog. Not very encouraging. The more reputable courses are much longer (about one year); require months of hands on training and usually some type of hands on work at an animal shelter for a number of weeks. It is up to you to look up someone’s certification and see if the school is a reputable one. One example of a good school is Animal Behavior College. Though there are many great trainers that do not have certification, the key here is that they have been in the Dog/K9 Training world for many years (15+) and have a great reputation. A word of caution. Does this trainer still use old tactics (compulsion training only) or is he/she using the more humane, ethical and up to date refined tactics (positive reinforcement…)? Again; it’s up to you to do some research on a potential trainer. There are many more so called “professional” trainers out there today. Even more so since the “Dog Whisper” came out on TV. There are some trainers that don’t have certification but state that their qualifications are that they were raised on a farm; parents were dog breeders and/or trainers and so on… This all good, but what does that have to do with you (potential trainer for you) as a trainer. Did your parents teach you the proper way to train dogs? If so what tactics did they use in that generation? Probably nothing that is current and acceptable in today’s world of K9 training. That doesn't’t mean that they haven’t learned the new tactics and are using them today and are good trainers. Unfortunately the potential client has to do a lot of research, and ask a lot of questions to find the right qualified (certified or not) trainer for themselves and their dog.



·        Guarantees. This is tricky. Some trainers love to say that they guarantee the performance of your dog after they complete training. Unfortunately this is false. No trainer can guarantee the performance of a dog. There are too many variables. The performance of a dog is based on the training tactics and skills learned. The skills and performance level are not static. They have to be reinforced and practiced by the owner throughout the dog’s life to maintain the skills and performance level achieved. The guarantee is not the performance or end result, but rather the training methods and tactics used to get to the performance and skill levels achieved.



·        An Excellent Reputation. Shop around and get recommendations from your Vet, Local Pet Store, Past Clients of a Trainer, Breeders, Canine Clubs and other reputable canine enthusiasts.



·        Widespread Experience. Ask about his/her training background, years of experience and his/her area of expertise. You, as the potential client deserve to have your questions answered and know if he/she is qualified to train you and your K9 in the area that you need. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.



·        Humane training tactics and handling skills. Reputable trainers are concerned about their dogs’ welfare. They also know that harsh and or abusive handling tactics that are inappropriately used will often be counter-productive and have very negative results often leading to more serious behavior issues.



·        Canine Behavior Knowledge. Dedicated trainers will keep themselves up-to-date by attending dog training & behavior courses, conferences, seminars, workshops as well as reading and or watching the latest DVD on canine behaviors and training tactics by other reputable trainers.



·        Good Teaching and Communication Skills. This you will have to find out either when you speak to him/her or by reputation. Trainers who have this gift make learning quicker, easier and more enjoyable for all involved. A sense of humor doesn't mean he/she doesn't take his job seriously, but makes the training more relaxed and makes the pressure to perform in front of a trainer a little less intense. A positive attitude mixed with a little laughter goes a long way for everyone.



·        Affiliations with reputable associations, organizations and training clubs. While this is great and speaks to his/her enthusiasm and dedication to K9 training, it’s not a mandatory requirement. Though it is certainly a very big plus.



·        Pricing. It is important to know and realize that you may spend a fare amount of money on your dog’s training in the beginning. The price range varies from trainer to trainer, location, experience and services. The price range in CT for a good and qualified trainer is about $95 to $175 and sometimes more for one private session (usually hour). These prices include the trainer’s education (past & continuing), training supplies and equipment, years of experience, insurance, advertising and unfortunately fuel costs. This list varies depending on the trainer. It is important to remember that your dog, whether he is a working, competition, or a companion dog, is a member of your family. With proper training he/she will give you years of worry free ownership, unconditional love, pure enjoyment and pride. You may spend more money on miscellaneous items and your children’s education than you will ever spend on your dog. If you choose to find the lowest price possible you will probably end up with an unqualified trainer and a dog that is not well trained and most likely have more behavior problems (aggression, resource guarding, etc..) than before. Causing you countless days of frustration and unhappiness. You will then end up paying more for a qualified trainer to retrain your dog as well as fix any behavior problems. This will end up costing you a lot more in the long run. Again, stated in the above tips, it is up to you to find and research the right qualified trainer for you. Pricing will vary, but remember you get what you pay for.





Important Note! Absolutely anyone can call him or herself a dog trainer or behaviorist. It’s up to you to find out the facts and see if he/she is the real thing. Animal Behaviorists are different.  It means that the person has a college degree in animal behavior science, such as a PhD. This is different from a canine trainer that deals with behavior modification (excessive barking, chewing etc...).Unfortunately some trainers just like the sound of the title, but don’t know that they are using it incorrectly. Slick ads with inflated claims, grandiose self-descriptions and impressive sounding titles can be very deceptive. Therefore investigate any stated affiliations and or certifications a trainer lists on his/her brochures, web site, newspaper ads and yellow pages.



 This page is to give people looking for a dog trainer some knowledge to find a real competent trainer. I have seen too many private and big company K9 trainers that don’t have the experience, skills or knowledge to train dogs properly. Unfortunately they end up causing more problems for the dog and frustration for the owner. This is intended as a guide and hopefully this will help you in your search. I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have concerning certifications, K9 safety, training tactics and general K9 questions. If you decide to use me I believe you will be more than happy you did. If for some reason I am not the trainer for you I can assist you in finding one that may fit your needs better.






Richard P. Weatherstone



Owner/Certified Trainer & Handler



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