Choosing a Personal Protection Dog Trainer

The Rottweiler dog traces its origins back to Rottweil, Germany. However, the Rottweiler of centuries past was not the fierce, strong guard dog that we know today. Instead, Rottweilers were bred to be assistant animals for farmers. In the Roman Empire, Rottweilers herded livestock, pulled heavy carts with butchered meat, and helped withother strength-based farm duties. It wasn’t until the mid 19th century that the role of the Rottweiler changed from farm dog to protection dog. At this time, railroads became the primary method of moving livestock, so the Rottweiler’s herding skills were no longer needed. Today, the Rottweiler is a versatile breed, helping out search & rescue, special police units and even as an assistant for the disabled. However, another useful role for the Rottweiler breed is as a personal protection dog.

It’s highly recommended that you don’t attempt to train a personal protection dog on your own, due the amount of liability involved. To choose a proper trainer for your dog, however, you do need to proceed with caution. Not every dog trainer has your dog’s best interest in mind. In addition to this, some trainers use harsh or outdated training methods, which may cause behavioral problems in your dog. Here are a few simple tips to help you to choose a trainer for your personal protection dog.

Ask Around.
If you have friends or neighbors that are dog owners, don’t be afraid to ask them if they’ve ever taken their dog to training classes. Even if you are looking for specialized personal protection training for your dog, you can still gain valuable information about good trainers in your area. As a general rule, you should never enroll your dog in a training course that doesn’t at least have a positive reference from someone that you know.

Observe a Class.
Most reputable dog trainers will allow you to sit in on one of their classes. This is extremely important for helping you to be familiar with the trainer’s specific methods. Watch how the trainer interacts with the dog(s) in the class. Are they patient? Do they use negative reinforcement? These are very important questions for helping you to evaluate if a specific trainer is right for your dog.

Meet With the Trainer.
If possible, schedule a one-on-one meeting with the trainer that teaches the class that you are considering. Before the meeting, draft up a list of questions that you wish the trainer to address. Common questions include:

  • How long have you been a dog trainer?
  • What are your qualifications?
  • What are some of your preferred training methods?
  • What educational classes have you taken?
  • What is your training philosophy?

Check References.
A good trainer will be more than willing to provide you with several references to check their qualifications. Before making any commitments, do your research. Be sure that the list of references includes several experts in the dog training field, including at least one veterinary reference. A reputable trainer should have a thorough knowledge of dog behavior, dog health issues, and the differences between the training methods used for specific dog breeds.

Beware of Self-Promotion.
Some dog trainers may have “reputable” qualifications, but be more interested in promoting their image than training your dog. Beware of dog trainers that ask you to buy their books, videos or other publications before starting a training course. Most personal protection dog training courses are “all inclusive”, meaning that the cost of any training materials is included in the amount you pay for the course.