Pet Talk: Working with a professional dog trainer

In 2012, I was involved in an unfortunate incident with my dog, which resulted in him being put to sleep. That same dog literally saved my life six months prior. My dog had one issue that became apparent that one time in that one incident. When I started looking for “help,” I called several training schools. Most couldn’t help, others didn’t want to help, and some even said I had an “ill” dog, and this was coming from dog trainers with 15 and even 20 years of experience. Without so much as an evaluation, some of those professionals still advised on what training and method of training they thought would be best suited the dog.

The whole ordeal spurred me into a new career path. I was introduced to Master Dog Trainer Harry Kalajian from the Montreal Dog Trainer’s Network. Harry, who is still my mentor, helped me develop this special gift of understanding and working with dogs. Since becoming a trainer, I quickly realized that the issue I had is a very common issue most dog owners are having, more those with bigger dogs: Having complete control of the dog, at all times, NO MATTER what, is a MUST.

This has become my mission. Dog owners need to build a stronger and healthier relationship with their dogs.

Choosing a dog trainer/school is a complicated task considering how many are out there. There are also different methods of training. Not one method of training technique is better than another – everyone has their special skills. You want to find the right trainer/school that can address yours and your dog’s needs.

When looking for a dog trainer:

- Ask for tangible referrals and credentials.

- Ask to see videos demonstrating their results.

- Look them up on social media or other platforms.

- See what their real clients have to say. You should feel comfortable with the trainer.

- When asking for advice, make sure they are knowledgeable with behaviour and ethology. Most importantly, any advice given should have common sense.

Remember: If you are experiencing any training or behavioural problems, avoid seeking out advice on the internet. For best results, it’s best to call a professional dog trainer.

And avoid asking veterinarians for training and behaviour advice. I don’t ever recall asking my doctor about my education!

My name is Chris Papakostas, owner and head trainer of Seirios K9 Academy. We specialize in dog training and rehabilitation. Many, including lawyers in litigation trials, have sought my expertise. My clientele ranges across Canada and the United-States. It includes members of the police forces, professional athletes, COE’s, the affluent, and of course the general public. I’m also an instructor for all hands on training for the Montreal Dog Trainer’s Network.

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