Before Asking for Advice ...

Jean Cote

Staff member
The internet is a great way to communicate and to share information, however there is a vast variety of information available to us, which may or may not be suitable for you and your dog.

Before asking for help, tips or suggestions, please take into consideration the following:

  • Training Methods:
    Everybody has their own unique way of training dogs; some methods are widely accepted while others are somewhat controversial. It is important to consider that each reply you receive will reflect on the author’s training methods.

  • Proper Evaluation:
    Being aware of the factors which cause a behavioral problem can be challenging. Dogs interpret situations and circumstances differently than we do. It is important to look at each situation as if you were your dog.

  • Different Dogs:
    Your dog is individually different from all other dogs; his breed, size, sex and temperament are influencing factors into what makes him unique. It is important to note that your dog might respond differently to a training technique than another.

  • Experience:
    Following the directions of a training technique is sometimes harder than it seems. Things don’t always go according to the plan, and your dog may react very differently than directed. Having experience with dog training enables you to make appropriate changes while still getting the desired result.
We currently live in the information age, and there are numerous opinions and training techniques out there. It is up to you to decide what is appropriate for you and your dog. If you are not comfortable training your dog with a certain technique, simply ask for another one.

While I believe that training our dog ourselves is often the best way to go – there are times where seeking professional help can help tremendously. A dog behaviorist will evaluate your problem correctly and assign you with a training plan suitable for you and your dog. Spending the money is often well worth it, especially if you are new to owning a dog.

I appreciate that you are taking the time to read this – I will look forward to your questions and concerns.


New Member
my dog can do any of your tricks...
exept for around or any sort of trick like that!
would that have anything to do with my dog being different?


Experienced Member
My dog has to do different training because she has Collie's eye. If she is to be a therapy dog, she has to be good with a cane, a wheelchair, and things like that. She is afraid of things going over her back because she can't see them. I have developed my method of training based on her so it will be hard when I train another dog!-Onyx&Jewel's Momma


Honored Member
Such great advice, Jean.

I so agree, that many of us can benefit from educating ourselves about whatever our dog's problem IS, reading books, online resources, etc etc, to learn how to help our dogs who have issues, and sorting out,
what we agree with/approve of
what we do not.

And i also SO agree, not all ideas are acceptable to some of us, nor helpful to our particular dog. We should not be afraid to ask questions, and learn more on our own.
Also, of course, have your vet rule out any illness that could be a factor in your dog's issue.

Also, when seeking out a 'dog behaviorist', there is zero criteria to label yourself as a 'dog trainer' nor a 'dog behaviorist', none whatsoever. Your plumber can hang out a sign, "Dog Behaviorist", and examine your dog. It's not illegal.
However a CERTIFIED dog behaviorist, *does* require education. I do not mean to imply, that a person can not be extremely helpful and knowledgable without having a certificate,---------- we all know people who are very insightful and helpful, self-educated and talented, with zero 'paper' to prove it.
and we've all heard of or interacted with certified, or (even famous), dog trainers/behaviorists, that we would not go to with our beloved dog.

Still, even among highly educated, certified dog behaviorists, Jean is right---if *you* are uncomfortable with the recommended method of training, do move on, or, speak up/ask for other methods. (for example, some dog owners want 'positive only' and not all behaviorists share that goal).

Worth knowing, that not all trainers or behaviorists are equal.

One good idea is to observe a training session prior to bringing your own dog. Not all trainers do what they 'say' they will. I know dozens of stories, of people who, like me, brought their dog to a "positive only" trainer, and ended up aghast :eek:at what the trainer did, everthing from yanking/screaming at dog to dangling dogs by choke collars.

Also, i'd think, most trainers or behaviorists, would be able to give you references from prior clients, who can vouch for that trainer's actual methods, as well as is the trainer adept at dealing with your dog's problem.
Not all trainers are great with all types of issues.

Also, do not be shy to ask if the trainer/behaviorists has any actual experience--AND actual success--- with whatever issue you are seeking help for. Many trainers are great for helping you teach agility, but, have little experience with dog aggression, or the super shy dog, for example.

I do think Jean is right, many of us can learn what we have to learn to help our dogs, and for many of us, that can be a great solution to help our own dogs.

Here are two links to help you locate certified dog behaviorists:

Still, a certificate does not mean their methods will neccessarily jive with your idea of proper methods to use.

Other places to locate 'positive only' trainers may include,

(again, Jean is soooooo right, so right, do NOT be afraid to speak up if you do not approve of the methods being used or recommended, as Jean is right again---there ARE many approaches to solving dog behavior issues, not "just one")


Honored Member
Staff member
Good point Tigerlily. Just the other day I was talking to one of the other managers at work about people who apply for my department claiming they "know what they are doing" because they can do the simplest task out of hundreds of tasks my job includes. Anyone can SAY they can do the job, but actually doing it is a different matter.

The ability to unclog a toilet doesn't make you a plumber. (And no, I'm not a plumber. xD)

So do be picky when finding a behaviorist. Don't just take their word for it. Ask questions, sit in on sessions with other clients, see if you both have a similar training philosophy. Many places claim that they use "POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT" but neglect to mention they also heavily rely on physical corrections. Is this something you agree with? If not, look for other options! YOU are the only one who can stand up for your dog. You have to be his/her voice.

Inform yourself as much as humanly possible before searching for a trainer or behaviorist, so you can develop an opinion. But, do be open-minded. Don't read one book and decide that ONE trainer has all the answers and their way is the only way. Take bits and pieces from each book or trainer you encounter, and develop your own opinion. In order to learn, you have to be willing to learn. You can't read a closed book. :)

If you start working with a behaviorist or trainer and learn halfway through that their methods are not at all what you agree with, don't be afraid to abandon ship. That person is going to make money from lots of dog owners who may not do as much research as you, so they're not going to adapt THEIR methods to satisfy you, one customer. You and your dog will be better off leaving that trainer/behaviorist to find one that believes in the methods you believe in and is passionate about using them.

Also, references aren't everything. I recently read a book called "What the Dog Did." I hated the book so much I threw it away so no one else had to read it. Anyway, in the book the author adopted a Beagle and then ended up with issues. She heard all these great references about a trainer and decided to go to him without informing herself about training methods. When I was reading this, I was sick at the things this terrible trainer was doing. He was an angry Cesar Milan type who I think even Cesar would have trouble sitting in the same room with. The author hadn't informed herself, and didn't have a clue about training or behavior. She thought this quack was a Godsend despite the fact that her dog urinated all over itself the first time she met the guy because he had corrected her so harshly. Ugh....anyway, point being, don't just trust references--see for yourself. If everyone was telling you the pool was full of nice cool water, you probably still wouldn't slap on a blindfold and dive in just to find you just dove in to a completely empty pool. CHECK THINGS OUT YOURSELF, references aren't everything, although they can be helpful.

Minor thread derail, sorry Jean.

When asking for help, do browse around first and find threads on a similar topic. This could answer your question, or give you a heads up as to what you can probably expect from the members of this website. Then post your question. You may get similar answers to the other posts you've read, or something completely new. Either way, you'll be more informed and have several options to try if one or a few don't work for your dog.

James Mann

Active Member
Great article.

Honey has come a long way since being rescued by our son. She took a while to stop bad habits she had picked up and maybe part of why she was at the SPCA but they have all stopped.

Except the barking and whining. I do have her trained to bark once to come in the house. However is she barks more than once it's because of another dog going buy or the mail delivery person didn't say hi on their way past. :)

BTW: Honey got a new comfy chair for the living room so she doesn't get moved on chairs. We'll have to see what she does the next time someone sits in her new chair.


Honored Member
Not to derail an info thread on how to choose a trainer,
but, James you make a good point.

Whining only works for the dog
if it is rewarded with att'n.

any att'n, is still att'n
to a dog!

My dog rarely whines, but, if he does, i do check out what he needs. If he whined a lot, i'd probably have to spend some time rethinking my response to his whine. but, Buddy only whines if he is getting desperate about something, so i'm lucky.

Re: barking,
isn't it cute,
how we dog owners learn our dog's barks? Same as new mommas (and poppas) learn their infants cries ("he's tired".."his diaper pin is sticking him/he's hurt!"..."he's hungry"...)
i think it is the same for our dog barks, too.
Lol, we have same thing, one bark--"let me in, i'm done out here!"

there's multiple threads to consider on barking, really. As well as some wonderful Kikopup videos on youtube, Kikopup has at least 5 videos on barking, for the various types of barking.

EDIT: here is interesting thread
on a human's ability
to interpret a dog's bark: