Is a new puppy on your wish list this Christmas? You better be prepared. Up to 8 million pets are abandoned in U.S. shelters each year, according to the Humane Society. Many times, it's because owners are just too overwhelmed by bad behavior. In this Angie's List report, how hiring a dog trainer can help.
"Foxy was a rescue," says pet owner Carol Lowe. "She came to me with a lot of behavior problems. I had tried different facilities, different trainers, until I finally found this place."
Carol Lowe says ongoing training has corrected a lot of her dog's behavior and aggression problems.
"Even though she looks more like a golden, her personality is more like a border collie, so then they tailored the training to that personality of a dog, and that's what has really helped so much," says Lowe.
"It's really important to start addressing behavioral issues in dogs because you don't want it to become unmanageable and dangerous," says trainer Tiffany Lambert. "It's really cute and fun when your ten pound puppy is nipping and biting and jumping, but when they become a 65 pound dog and it can be off putting."
Trainers can help fix a number of issues such as barking, jumping, running away and pulling on a leash.
Training methods vary and classes can be taught in group or individual sessions.
Some trainers will even take your dog for a few days or weeks and train them at a facility.
"Training a dog takes both the commitment from you and your pet," says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List. "We had a lab that was really hyper. She was a young puppy and it eventually required us to send her to training. They would run her on the treadmill and teach her obedience training, but it didn't stop with that. We had to learn all of those things as well and be great reinforcers once she was home."
While trainers can help maximize results for busy pet owners, you shouldn't skip digging into the background of a trainer before you hire.
"One word of caution when it comes to hiring a pet trainer: you need to do your homework because there is not a single source of licensing for pet trainers," says Hicks. "There's certainly certifications that pet trainers can receive so check on those. How long have they been training and what is their experience with the type of animal that you have? How are they going to help you transition to being the one in charge with your pet."
Puppies can enroll in training as soon as they've had their necessary vaccinations.
Angie's List says you should consult with your veterinarian before hiring a trainer to rule out a physical cause for behavior issues.