Remember, you usually get what you pay for.
If you think it’s expensive to hire a good dog trainer, try hiring a bad one.
If you don’t think you can't afford a trainer now, be aware that you may need to pay much more later to replace things your dog has destroyed, pay animal control fees for your dog getting loose, or pay medical bills because your dog has eaten something inappropriate due to stress/anxiety or maybe because your dog has hurt another animal or person. If the latter is the case, your dog may even be taken away from you and possibly euthanized if this is a repeat offense.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed…especially if your dog is behaving aggressively, don’t try to fix this on your own. Get help from a professional dog trainer!
Here’s the thing: Good trainers have spent thousands of hours working with dogs/owners, watching dogs interact, volunteering with other trainers and learning from other trainers through books, online classes, videos and shadow programs. They probably also have multiple training certifications, are members of training organizations and attend training conferences – sometimes multiple each year.
Good trainers basically learn an entire new language and culture…and then have to learn to teach you (the client) what’s relevant to your particular situation. I’ll tell you a secret – it’s often harder to teach the client than it is to teach the dog. Good trainers can’t just be dog lovers - they have to be good with people and great communicators.
Now, if you have a good trainer, they’ll have training insurance, a legal business license/set up, professional-grade training equipment and business equipment. The more services a trainer offers, the more expensive the insurance and business supplies get. This doesn’t include optional things like a virtual assistant, scheduling/email programs or a website.
Many trainers do their best to provide discounted training through free handouts/blogs, free Q&A sessions with dog businesses, free online basic training/behavior advice, free classes, discounted training, special offers for rescue dogs…etc. Many trainers also donate a lot of free time to shelters and rescues to help dogs learn manners so they can find homes where they’ll be welcomed and loved.
We really do try to make training affordable. We want to help. We hate seeing dogs suffer and people who don’t enjoy their dogs because they don’t know how to build that relationship with their dog.
But here’s another secret – most dog trainers are underpaid. Because of this, many trainers burn out within a few years. They give up and may never return to training again.
If you are lucky enough to be a friend or family member of a dog trainer and they offer you a discounted rate, be grateful. If you have an easy training/behavioral problem, most beginning trainers can help you out and they usually don’t charge as much in the first few years. Other than that, please understand that good trainers are running a business and they need their business to survive in order to keep helping clients and their dogs.
If you feel you can’t afford a trainer, you might consider contacting one anyway. Many trainers will point you in more affordable (and actually helpful) directions. Again, we really do want to help and we want you to be happy with your furry friend!
owner and sole trainer of Kat's Training Tails LLC