Finding a good dog trainer or behaviourist

Puppy classes, dog training classes, one to one dog training, behaviourist, force free, concept trainers, balanced, aversive, dominance, reward, are all words you will come across whilst searching for a dog trainer. This page should help you with the choosing process.

Lets break it down.

Puppy classes - Generally for puppies up to 6 months old.  Try to avoid free for all, uncontrolled puppy parties as these don't give all dogs a good experience.  They shouldn't be about a group of puppies running riot but working with basics to get them used to life not just other dogs!  

Dog training classes - generally for older dogs, to progress what they learnt at puppy classes or for specialised activities.

One to one training  - great for dogs (or owners) who struggle to focus in a class situation or who need a bit more help to achieve the goals.

Behaviourists - For more complex situations you may need the help of a behaviourist which will be specialised help on a one to one basis.

Force free - Training achieved without the use of force or fear. (this is the one to go for)

Concept trainers - Train with games and are generally force free (also one to go for)

Balanced trainers - Use reward based training some of the time but will also use force or fear as and when they feel it is needed (many trainers like this will talk initially about rewarding good behaviour but don't tell you until later about the other techniques they used so not recommended)

Aversive trainers use things like slip leads, prong collars, shock collars, harsh handling and dominance techniques (AVOID this type of trainer)

Dominance - The dominance theory in dog training has be disproved, it is outdated and at times dangerous.  If the trainer talks about dominance techniques or pack leadership find a different one (dogs know people are not dogs!)

Reward can take different forms, food, toys, praise.  Rewards are important.  Humans don't work well for no reward so why should dogs?

The following are all suitable organisations to look for when choosing a trainer.

IMDT, APDT, IntoDogs, ACE, Pro Trainer, PPG, Dog Training College.

Suitable trainers known to us locally


Zoe Willingham - Best Behaviour Dog Training (also Ipswich) -

Lucy Bingley - Clinical animal behaviourist -


Jackie Shave - The Well Heeled hound -

Wagtails Walks and Training -

The Ipswich Dog Trainer



4 Paws Dog training


Wagging Tails Dog Training -


FiDoes Dog training

If you would like to join our approved trainers list please get in touch to discuss.