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Choosing a Dog Trainer

Our Salt Lake City Dog Training company receives many phone calls from dog owners who are calling different trainers in order to find the best dog trainer to help with their training needs.  As a result, our Salt Lake City Dog Training company thought it would be an awesome idea to write a blog post on the qualities of a good dog trainer.  Our Salt Lake City Dog Training company and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior believe in positive reinforcement dog training.

Positive reinforcement dog training states when a behavior is rewarded over time that particular behavior will increase in frequency.  Finding a positive reinforcement trainer is paramount.  Reward-based dog training creates awesome results, and also allows the owner and the dog to create an awesome trust bond.  Many positive dog trainers also use clicker training which speeds up the learning process. Positive dog training also works great with behavioral issues including aggressive dog behavior or fearful dog behavior.  In fact, positive reinforcement dog training works better for these behavioral issues because the motivation comes from love.

In regards to training aggressive dogs or training fearful dogs, imagine a dog that is human aggressive and receives a shock when he is reacting toward that particular human.  The dog will then pair the human with a shock.  As a result, the dog could stop reacting overtly but the emotion of fear/anger within the dog remains the same.  Because this can happen, the dog may look more calm, but he is actually stressed internally.  In the near future, because the dog associates the human with pain, the dog may react intensely and may bite.

Now imagine the same dog being trained with positive reinforcement dog training.  When the dog sees the human, the dog is then given something that he loves.  This could be food, toys, etc.  If the proper training protocol is followed, the dog will then begin to pair the human with food.  As a result, the dog will then become happier and more excited when he sees humans.  This will then create the dog to be less likely to bite in the future.  This is called counter conditioning.

Besides using positive reinforcement, a good dog trainer will listen.  They will get clear on your goals instead of imposing goals onto you. Remember this is your dog and your road map is important. Our Salt Lake City dog training company also believes that a good dog trainer will communicate well with you.

As a dog owner you may be learning as much as your dog.  It is important that the trainer has good people skills. Our Salt Lake City dog training company also believes that a good trainer has extended knowledge in dog psychology.  Our Salt Lake City dog training company has a bachelors in psychology and is CCPDT certified. While many other good trainers may not have a degree in dog psychology, they will have much knowledge about dog psychology.  Knowing dog psychology helps trainers know that there are many ways to train the same behavior.  There is not one way to train something, and a good dog trainer knows this!  When a trainer is certified by IAABC, CCPDT, or ABC they are more likely to know about dog psychology.  However, many awesome positive reinforcement dog trainers are not certified.

Our Salt Lake City dog training company also believes that trust is important.  If the dog owner does not trust the dog trainer and does not believe that the dog trainer can support them in creating results, it will be difficult for the owner to create success.

In addition to trust, the dog trainer and the owner should be a good match energetically.  There are many ways to communicate. As your dog is being trained, you as the owner are also being trained so it is super important for you to feel comfortable and safe around the dog trainer you are working with!

When searching for a good dog trainer, please remember that price shopping is not a good idea.  While price maybe a factor in your mind, it is better to focus on the value you will be receiving and the results you will create.  Yes, a good trainer will cost more money, and if you have fears about money our Salt Lake City dog training company suggests moving through your money fears.  Our Salt Lake City dog training company believes that if you strongly want to invest in something that will bring you value, the money will show up in your life.  The belief will allow the money to manifest into your life.  Wondering on how to create the money you need to invest in a trainer is very productive.  Remember the emotional pain you are feeling toward your dog’s issues.  A money solution, will create more peace in your life.

Lastly, Our Salt Lake City Dog Training company wants you to remember that it is important for you to feel comfortable between the interaction of your dog and the dog trainer.  If you don’t feel comfortable with a technique that the dog trainer is doing, they might be using a punishment based technique.  Your dog should be happy and love what he is learning.  The interaction should be positive and fun for you and your dog! The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior explains the drawbacks of training a dog with punishment or traditional dog training very clearly.

If you believe our Salt Lake Dog Training company is a great match for you, please check our upcoming courses on beginner obedience, basic puppy obedience and behavior modification dog training courses.

If you are interested in other dog trainers, here are some great resources near the Salt Lake City Valley.

Skye’s Dog Training

A Dog’s Journey

Side by Side Dog Training

Pets Decoded

Bark to Basics 

If you do not live in Utah. Many of the above dog trainers and our Salt Lake City Dog Training company can do dog training over Skype.  You can also look at the APDT to search for a dog trainer near you!

Johanna Teresi, Salt Lake City dog trainer with Four Legged Scholars thanks you for taking the time to educate yourself about dog training!  Namaste!

Blog Archives

Britnie Sorensen
Britnie Sorensen
18:11 06 Apr 24
This is our second round of training with Johanna! Our Bullmastiff Abbi is different from our previous dogs, and we knew Johanna would be able to help us. We reached out and were in excellent hands! Johanna was able to redirect our training efforts, majority of sessions were held virtually and supported with videos of us training Abbi. We will keep using Johanna no matter where life takes us. Her love and compassion for our puppy, and us, come through in every interaction. We are in a much better place and understanding of Abbi after working with Johanna!
Roberta Bonnell
Roberta Bonnell
01:37 24 Mar 24
My Australian Shepard had moderate separation anxiety and Johanna was able to help me get him to a point where I can see him being able to be home alone before the end of the year! Very grateful for all of her training expertise.
Karen Mara
Karen Mara
21:19 21 Jan 24
I recently met with Johanna for help with my rambunctious teenager, Roger. We worked on coming when called, leash walking, and staying calm around other dogs when on leash. After two sessions, Roger made huge improvements, and he continues to improve as we practice on our own. Johanna really understands dogs and is very good at communicating with people. She knows how to make dog training fun. I've worked with other trainers, and Johanna is by far the best.
Wendy Nighswonger
Wendy Nighswonger
18:47 08 Jul 23
I have known Johanna for 13 years. She has helped me with several dogs, but she recently helped me train my new black lab puppy, Raven. I have moved to another state so all of my training with Raven was done online via Zoom. I believe that the one-on-one training I received through Zoom was more personalized and thorough, especially with the way Johanna placed every ounce of training and recommendation on a board through an app that I can refer back when I need. Johanna is very intuitive and knew when stress was on overload for me, therefore tailoring my training for that day around making Raven feel good while simultaneously taking my stress load down. Johanna has years of experience and while her knowledge is a gold mine, it is her gentle patience and love for her clients that make this training so perfect. I would hire her again and again. She is a true canine whisperer. Thank you Four Legged Scholars and thank you Johanna!Wendy N. ~ Oregon
Christina Richards
Christina Richards
18:13 10 Feb 23
Johanna at Four Legged Scholars is great. She tailored my program to fit my needs and was easy to work with. My puppy responded very well to what she taught us together over Zoom. She's patient and understanding. We're still utilizing the things we learned and he's a well-behaved puppy. Thank you!
Karyl Bennion
Karyl Bennion
19:49 05 Feb 23
I adopted Frida as a companion that I could travel, walk and hike with. She loves to hike and walk but pulled on the leash and jumped at distractions. I learned how to be calm and talk in a non threatening way to her. She responds to this much better than yelling at her. The click and treat method that I learned works so well in getting her attention as well as the "target" training. Frida has improved greatly with these methods. I will continue the knowledge I have learned with her. I did the live on-line training and it was very successful. I am so happy we signed up.
Rachel Giddings
Rachel Giddings
02:57 12 Dec 22
My dog was abused in his previous home and has always been afraid of strangers. I wanted to train him and help him to be more confident, but I didn't know how to do that if he was afraid of his trainer.Doing online training with Joanna was perfect for both of us! Joanna helped me learn how to read my dog and understand his triggers. We then worked together on BAT training, which taught him self-soothing behaviors and showed him how to confidently and safely handle difficult situations. I never thought I would have fun doing homework with my dog, but he and I benefited from it tremendously. Working with Joanna via Zoom was perfect for my dog and me.
Shawn McMillen
Shawn McMillen
02:09 24 Oct 22
My 2 year old doodle was struggling with people walking by the house, barking incessantly, tugging on walks, improving recall when off leash and , for me, how to be a better more engaging human for my buddy. The personalized, online sessions exceeded all my expectations. The review of video homework sessions was awesome. We saw improvement in each of the priority areas and I developed real, tangible, lasting skills/tools to be a better pet person. Thanks Johanna!
Courtney Daniels
Courtney Daniels
19:59 12 Sep 22
12 years ago I got a puppy and quickly realized I was in over my head. I wanted to have a good, well trained dog, but I was overwhelmed by methods and my puppies behavior.I joined the four legged scholars puppy training with my little 4 month old puppy Bowie, and saw immediate understanding with the clicker work. It gave us this incredibly ability to communicate and she excelled.We went on to take several courses that established general obedience, helped me turn a STRONG leash puller into a loose leash master (I took that course twice because it was a huge issue for us and I NEEDED help and reassurance from Johanna that I could do it) as well as skill class, that helped solidify a beautiful relationship between us. Learning clicker shaping allowed me to confidently teach complex and unique commands on my own as well, like waving hello and closing kitchen cabinets.My Bowie has climbed to the top of mountains for me staying right by my side never pulling on her leash. I've targeted her off trails to protect her from startling a mama moose and her baby. She's loved on my kids without jumping on them and knocking them over. She's allowed the neighbor girl who has always had a fear of dogs to walk her without pulling at whatever pace she was comfortable with. She shows off with all her fun little tricks Johanna gave me the tools to train my dog into an amazing companion.I feel so lucky to have found your training program and to have the relationship I do with my Bowie girl. These courses have a profound and lasting impact on the lives of families and their pups, thank you for that gift.
Megan Pond-Maxwell
Megan Pond-Maxwell
16:02 18 May 22
I am so grateful to have found Johanna. She was with us every step of the way as we tackled separation anxiety training and reactivity training with Daisy, my Mini Australian Shepherd. As a first time dog owner, I felt at a loss about how to manage my very vocal, scared, stressed, yet loveable dog. She had all of the typical puppy behavior, such as jumping, nipping/biting, leash pulling, as well as barking. On top of that, she was also not able to be alone without feeling terrified, as well as vocally and behaviorally reactive to other dogs, adults, and kids. I felt completely overwhelmed and Johanna created programs that felt manageable and doable. Each training session, I felt understood and empowered working with Johanna. Over the course of our programs, I felt that we accomplished the steps of the training process, strengthened the dog-human relationship, and increased my own awareness of my dog's emotional cues so that I could better work with her. My dog can now be on her own feeling relaxed and playful, her problematic puppy behaviors have significantly improved, she can walk on her leash loosely, listen to commands, and she can better tolerate other adults, dogs, and children as compared to where we first started. Our online experience was very positive. I look forward to continually implementing the tools and skills we have learned along the way to move forward in a positive direction that strengthens our human-animal bond and reduces distressing behaviors and emotional stress and overwhelm. Thank you Four Legged Scholars! I highly, highly recommend working with Johanna.
Emily Harward
Emily Harward
03:36 24 Apr 22
Our rescue dog is sweet and playful with us, but her behavior around other dogs and people could be unpredictable. She would act aggressively around adults (lunging and barking), and would sometimes be aggressive toward other dogs. We chose to do online training with Johanna. I was skeptical that online training would work, but it ended up being very effective. Johanna taught me the skills I needed to train my dog, and provided resources that I could use throughout the week as I worked on the assigned tasks. I was also able to send her videos of me working with my dog, so she could provide feedback and help me improve. Johanna personalized the program and made changes as needed to ensure that I could meet my goals. Since working with Four Legged Scholars, neighbors have commented on how much better behaved my dog is, and I don't have to worry about her lunging and barking at people or other dogs when we are out for a walk anymore. We still have a lot of work to do with our dog, and I feel like doing the personalized online sessions with Johanna has given me the knowledge, and resources to continue training my dog.
Angel Lanoy
Angel Lanoy
15:22 16 Jun 21
We have a large family, including three big dogs. So when our biggest dog Obi, the Rottweiler, started showing aggression we panicked. The vet suggested we put him down after an experience in the office. He then said we could also try training and gave us Johanna's business card. Just a phone call with her made us feel like there was hope. We signed up to do the online sessions with FourLeggedScholars. The process from the first contact to the last was well oiled and very helpful. Obi gets to stay with our family now and we feel like meting with her has given us the guidance and knowledge we need to keep our family, friends and him safe. I was a tad worried about doing the training online, but it really worked out great and we were able to fit such a big task into our busy schedules. I feel like she set us up for success from the very beginning. Thank you.
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  1. Jennifer Castaneda

    Wow! I didn’t realize all the pieces that went into hiring a great dog trainer, from what you wrote I would def get someone with deep knowledge and credentials in dog psychology, like you. Thank you for sharing this great information. Anyone ever looking for a trainer should definitely read this.

  2. Robyn Jones

    Great information! 🙂