Five things a dog trainer should never say to you (according to one)

Woman training dog in field
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While some of us find the journey to finding a good trainer quick and easy, for others, it's a lot less straightfoward. 

We may feel confident handling some training ourselves, but there may be particular issues where we'd value the guidance and support of an expert.

Unfortunately, a lot of people these days are arming themselves with a bag of the best dog treats, posting a few videos on social media and calling themselves trainers, so being discerning has never been more important.

Someone who is an expert and qualified to speak on the subject, is long-time trainer and behaviorist, Renee Rhoades

With a lengthy list of qualifications and certifications and a commitment to her own ongoing personal development, Rhoades has built a strong following on social media as a trusted and reliable voice.

In a recent Instagram post, she shared five things a dog trainer should never say to you — and taking note of these will help you find a qualified professional who's the best possible fit for you and your pup. 

1. Don't offer them affection: "Physical touch is an important form of connection we have with our dogs," explains Rhoades. "No one should ask you to cut your dog off, especially when they need your support."

2. Treats just bribe dogs: "Food is the easiest, fasted and most likely way to effect behavior change," says Rhoades, "so if food isn't being used that leaves space for only a few other options — a big one being punishment."

3. Hold your dog accountable: According to Rhoades, to be accountable for something is to take ownership of your choices and actions. As she rightly points out, while our canine companions are indeed smart, they do not have the complex cognitive processes that this requires.

4. Don't let your dog sniff/pee: "Your dog trainer should encourage positive welfare outcomes for your dog. Not letting them perform normal, biological functions is a clear sign they are undeducated," says Rhoades.

5. I'm not hurting them: "If someone has to explicitly state to you that they're not harming your dog, question what they're doing and why they feel the need to say that in the first place."

Hiring a trainer can be such a fantastic way of seeking support — both for you and your dog — and it can absolutely help them meet their training goals that much quicker.

But before you reach out to someone, be sure to check out our guide to how to spot dog trainer red flags. This will help you to choose a qualified professional who uses positive training methods and really knows their stuff. 

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Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.