For those located in other areas, I can recommend a few wonderful organizations who promote dog-friendly, positive training methods that can work directly with you to improve the relationship you share with your dog.
I suggest looking into:
Karen Pryor Academy – www.karenpryoracademy.com
Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partners (KPA CTP) are tested to the highest standards by industry leading professionals. I have absolutely no reservations whatsoever referring to any KPA CTP because I know that they have passed rigorous examinations and that only honor roll students are certified – students must get at least a 90 on all scored examinations to receive certification. A number of wonderful CTP, both in the U.S. and other countries, are on Facebook. Check the KPA website and see if you can find a CTP in your area!
Peaceable Paws graduates – Peaceable Paws graduates
Pat Miller is a well-respected author, educator, and advocate for compassionate dog training. Pat offers a variety of levels of internship and apprentice education for dog trainers and behavior consultants. Although I have not attended myself, I feel confident that graduates of Pat Miller’s school would be well-versed in the science of behavior modification and would not put dogs or their people in danger through recommending dangerous or aversive training protocols.
San Fransisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers graduates
Again, I have not attended Jean’s program but I can say that I am very familiar with all of her published work and have had the pleasure of watching/attending her seminars and I know her to be a dedicated, consistent, and passionate advocate for scientifically sound, effective, dog-friendly training techniques. I have had the pleasure of meeting a few of her grads and they have all been top-notch.
Also, depending on where you are located, I may have a trainer or behaviorist friend or acquaintance in your area I could refer to you.
DANGEROUS BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS
For serious behavior problems, where the dog is in danger of hurting himself, another dog, or another person, it is a good idea to consider consulting with an animal behaviorist. Behaviorists are different from trainers in that they have completed some sort of graduate work in the field of animal behavior (at least a Master’s degree). There are also veterinary behaviorists; veterinarians who have completed a residency program in animal behavior at an accredited institution and who have been board certified in animal behavior.
You can also find a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (minimum requirement Master’s Degree) through the Animal Behavior Society CAAB directory
NOT ALL DOG TRAINING SCHOOLS ARE CREATED EQUALLY
At this time, these are the only training programs I have enough familiarity with to recommend to friends. Bad training is just as bad as, if not worse than, no training and can put people and dogs in danger.
Just because an individual is a member of a professional organization does not make them a great dog trainer. For many organizations, all that is needed is five minutes to fill out an application, an email address or a stamp, and a hundred dollars or so. Many organizations also have no standards, policies, or restrictions on what sort of training techniques or tools members should use with their clients.
Some organizations to look into when searching for a trainer in your area include the Association of Pet Dog Trainers www.ccpdt.org, the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals www.associationofanimalbehaviorprofessionals.com, Association of Companion Animal Behavior Counselors directory.
For guidance in separating “the wheat from the chaff”, check out these wonderful position statements from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior:
Finding help for a pet with a behavior problem: http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Position_Statements/finding%20help%20for%20a%20pet.pdf
Types of behavior professionals: http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Position_Statements/behavior%20professionals.pdf
GREAT ONLINE TRAINING INFORMATION
Finally, I have a forum on my website that you are all welcome to visit and participate in. We have over 18,000 posts containing training discussions, videos, websites, book reviews, etc. Search the forums or post a topic and ask a question and you just may get your training questions answered!
Other great training websites:
www.dogwise.com also has a wonderful selection of training materials covering a wide variety of topics.