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Can I Train a Dog Myself or Should I Hire a Professional Trainer? Pros & Cons

Ed Malaker

By Ed Malaker

vizsla dog training

Training your dog is essential to have a healthy and happy relationship between you and your pet. It helps strengthen your bond and ensures good behavior. However, many owners wonder whether they should train their dogs themselves or hire a professional. The answer depends on your budget, available time, and several other factors, so keep reading as we look at the pros and cons of the different dog training methods, so you can make an informed decision.

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Pros of Training Your Dog Yourself

1. Cost Effective

One of the biggest advantages of training your dog yourself is that it’s cheaper than hiring a professional. There’s no need to pay for expensive training classes or private sessions, and you can use the money that you save to purchase online articles or videos to help you improve your skills.


2. Bonding

Training sessions enable you to bond with your pet because you spend a great deal of time together learning new skills and overcoming challenges. These sessions help create a sense of trust and teamwork that your dog will remember.

father and son training their shih tzu dog outdoors
Image Credit: chaoss, Shutterstock

3. Flexibility

A benefit of training your dog yourself is that you don’t have to schedule appointments or transport your pet at inconvenient times. It also enables you to work on specific behaviors and skills that are important to you and your lifestyle, instead of relying on a professional’s predesigned program that might tackle the tasks in a different order.


4. Control

When you train your dog yourself, you have complete control over all aspects of the training process. You can choose the pace, methods, and commands that work for you and your pets.

Young female owner is training and teaching commands to her lovely labrador retriever dog
Image Credit: HQuality, ShutterStock

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Cons of Training Your Dog Yourself

1. Lack of Expertise

Unless you have experience training other dogs, you may not have the knowledge or skills to train your pet effectively. A lack of expertise could frustrate you and your dog, possibly leading to behavioral problems, as the training will likely take longer and be less effective.


2. Inconsistency

Training your dog requires consistency and repetition in all aspects of the training program, which can be difficult for a new trainer. A lack of consistency can confuse your pet, making it harder to keep them focused during sessions.

dog staring at his sleeping master
Image Credit: Daxiao Productions, Shutterstock

3. Limited Resources

While it’s easy to find resources for dog training online, it can be hard to find programs tailored to your specific needs, especially if you’re looking to correct a specific behavior. It can be overwhelming to sift through all the available information to find what you need, and there is no guarantee that what you see is the best solution.

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Pros of Hiring a Professional Trainer

1. Expertise

A professional dog trainer has likely trained many pets in the past and knows all the trade tricks that result in fast and effective training. They can diagnose problems and design a program for your pet’s needs and personality.

Dog training, brown Doberman sits in the park and looks at the owner
Image Credit: Derkachev Artem, Shutterstock

2. Consistency

Since professional dog trainers have likely been in business for many years, they have developed a consistent approach that works. They may even provide feedback and guidance to help you continue the training at home.


3. Time Savings

If you can find an experienced professional dog trainer near your home, they can save you time by training your pet while you take care of other chores. Also, since the trainer has had time to perfect their methods, your dog can learn new tricks much faster than they would at home.

training Australian Cattle Dog
Image Credit: Lara Sh, Shutterstock

4. Socialization

Many dog trainers offer group classes, which can be a great way to help your pet socialize with other dogs, especially when they are still a puppy. Socializing your dog can help prevent behavioral problems later in life and make them more comfortable in social situations.

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Cons of Hiring a Professional Trainer

1. Cost

One of the biggest disadvantages of hiring a professional trainer is that they can be expensive, especially if you want private sessions. However, many people find that they can save money by choosing group training sessions.


2. Training Methods

You will need to find a trustworthy trainer who uses modern, positive, humane training methods, as some still use outdated or harmful techniques that don’t work as well and can make your dog unhappy.

A sad golden retriever dog lies in the grass
Image Credit: Birgit, Pixabay

3. Time Commitment

While a trainer can save you time in the long run, they still require that you make appointments that you can keep, which can require precise scheduling, especially if your pet needs multiple training sessions and the trainer is far away. By the time your dog is ready, you will have spent a great deal of time traveling to and from the trainer’s location.


4. Limited Control

A downside to a personal trainer is that you are trusting your dog’s training to someone else. You won’t have as much control over the process and may not always agree with the methods used. If you have many trainers in your area, you can research them all to find one you like, but you still may not have as much control as you would training your dog yourself.

woman training a Havanese dog using training device and treats
Image Credit: Christian Mueller, Shutterstock

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Which Choice Is Right for Me?

Your Dog’s Personality and Behavior

If your dog has a serious behavior problem or is aggressive toward other people or animals, it might be best to hire a professional trainer who has experience dealing with these issues. However, if your dog is friendly and generally well-behaved, you might be able to handle the training process yourself.

Budget

If you have a limited budget, you must train the dog yourself. However, if you can afford it and want the best training possible for your pet, hiring a professional is better.

budgeting money
Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska, Pexels

Time and Availability

Hiring a professional can be a good option if you have a busy schedule and cannot set aside enough time for training. They will usually work around your schedule, and they can train your pet while you are busy with other activities.

Personal Preferences

Some people enjoy the process of training a dog, while others find it challenging or worry that they don’t have the proper skills. We recommend doing what’s best for you and what you feel is best for your pet.

dog trainer vet talking to man with dog
Image Credit: Cultura Motion, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Training your dog is a crucial part of being a responsible pet owner. Whether you train your dog yourself or hire a professional trainer, the most important thing is to use positive, humane methods to build a strong bond between you and your pet. By considering each option’s advantages and disadvantages, your dog’s personality and behavior, and your circumstances, you can make an informed decision that will result in a well-trained and happy dog.


Featured Image Credit: Osetrik, Shutterstock

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