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5 Signs You Need to Hire a Dog Trainer

Dogs are complex creatures; although dogs have gone through thousands of years of domestication, dogs still have animal instincts which can sometimes cause unruly, negative, and sometimes outright aggressive behavior. All dogs need some kind of training, whether it’s simple housebreaking or something more serious like being trained not to bite and nip. How do you know if your dog needs a trainer? Here are five tell-tale signs that it’s time to call in a professional.

1. Your Dog Doesn’t Come When Called

Although it may seem unimportant at times that your dog doesn’t come to you when he’s in the middle of playing with his toy outside, a dog with a bad recall can cause serious issues down the line. Re-call is important not just because you want your dog to come to you when you want to lavish him with cuddling and affection but in case of emergencies. For example, if your dog happens to get out of your yard and you see him wandering down the street, if he doesn’t come to your command immediately, you run the risk of having to chase him for hours, and he runs the risk of being hit by a car, or worse.

2. Your Dog is Aggressive

Aggression in dogs is an unfortunately common behavior problem and one that needs to be addressed immediately. If your dog is suddenly displaying aggressive behavior without a history of aggression, take him to the vet immediately to rule out any disease or condition that may be causing his behavior. If your dog’s aggression isn’t due to a medical condition, it’s time to call a professional. Aggressive behavior can escalate quickly and can be extremely dangerous, no matter the size or breed of your dog. Untreated aggression may lead to your dog seriously hurting someone, which could lead to medical bills, lawsuits, permanent damage, or even death.

3. Your Dog Jumps up on People

Although typically a sign of excitement and affection, jumping behavior is not the desired behavior. Even the biggest dog-lovers don’t want your dog knocking them over in excitement. More importantly, your dog could seriously injure someone with his jumping. A professional dog trainer can help you curb this undesirable behavior and make your dog just that much more pleasant to be around.

4. Your Dog Just Can’t Hack Housebreaking

Housebreaking is part of basic training but is most easily done when your dog is a puppy. If you’ve adopted an older dog who can’t seem to figure out that he’s supposed to only lift his leg outside, a professional dog trainer may be able to help. However, if your dog has been housebroken and is suddenly seemingly unable to hold it, make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out conditions like a bladder or kidney infection that may be making it harder for him to ‘hold it.’

5. You’re at Your Wits End

Sometimes, no matter how many dog training books you read or videos you watch, you just don’t seem to make any headway. More often than not, in a dog-and-owner situation, the one that needs to train the most is the owner. Perhaps your dog doesn’t see you as the pack leader, or your expectations are inconsistent, confusing your dog with what you are asking of him. In many cases, the dog owner not equipped with the knowledge on how to properly train their dog – and that’s ok! A dog trainer can help you learn the right (and wrong) ways to communicate to your dog how he is expected to behave.

Training your dog is an important part of dog ownership. Whether you’re going to basic obedience classes or addressing more serious behavioral issues in your dog, proper training is the responsible thing to do. A properly trained dog makes for a happier dog, a happier dog parent, and a happier household overall.

Abi Pennavaria is a dog mom, co-author of the Saved By The Bark blog, and an advocate for veterinarian volunteer opportunities. She enjoys sharing tips and tricks for dog owners of all breeds.