“You should find a good trainer.” How many times have we heard this advice but don’t know exactly who to turn to? When one of my dogs began exhibiting aggressive behavior, many people told me that I should “find” a behaviorist, as if it were a simple, ordinary task and that all I had to do was search. In my quest to find the best behaviorist, I realized that the options were much more nuanced, the licensing/certification organizations much more varied, and the process much more complicated than I had initially thought.
Most dog owners dream of having a well-behaved dog—one that greets guests politely, walks down the street calmly and will come when called. We all know that dog training is a process that takes time and persistence, but often we become overwhelmed with the demands of our hectic schedules and the needs of our dogs. How can dog owners balance these conflicting interests, perhaps in addition to their own inexperience, and still develop a well-socialized, well-trained and well-behaved dog? One program, Bark Tutor School for Dogs in Indianapolis, offers an innovative way for dog owners to do just that. I had the opportunity to talk with Brad Phifer, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, the trainer who developed this exciting program.