Quality vs. Quantity: Breaking Down the Price of Dog Training
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin
Each day at our office, we receive dozens of phone calls from concerned dog owners looking for help with dog training. Many of these dog owners were referred to us by their veterinarian, or another professional in the pet industry, but many found us via an Internet search. While some dog owners are looking for puppy training and some are looking for general obedience training, the vast majority are calling because their dog has an untreated behavior problem. These problems range from general disobedience and poor manners, to serious aggression and anxiety.
We at Canine Trade Group are a network of professional dog trainers. We are dedicated to the highest standards of professional conduct, and are committed to providing expert dog behavior training to each and every one of our clients. In all cases, we commit to working with our clients until we achieve our training goals.
After reaching out to us, many of our callers are taken aback by the price of professional dog behavior training. Compared to other dog trainers who claim to specialize in behavior problem solving, our service isn’t the cheapest, but it’s not the most expensive by far. Many of our clients are already well aware that there are programs that cost over thousands of dollars for in-home dog training. It can go up to three times that amount if the owner is talked into a “board & train” option, where the dog is trained outside the home, and is only trained by the trainer (taking the owner out of the process).
The numbers can seem overwhelming for “just” dog training, but it’s much more than that. Consider this: a large number of our clients have paid other trainers hundreds of dollars for training – if not more – only to have to call us anyway. Why do they need to call us if they’ve already worked with a trainer? It could be that the trainer or their philosophy was not what the owner anticipated. It could be because some issues were addressed, but not all of them, and to address the remainder, more money was needed.
In general though, we have found that it is typically because there was a lack of results and a lack of identifiable goals. Our clients tell us their previous trainer didn’t specify clear goals at the beginning of training. They also say their previous trainer charged by the hour, or by the lesson, to continue indefinitely. So at what point is dog behavior training accomplished if you don’t specify clear goals and a timeline to achieve these goals?
In more upsetting scenarios, after several visits, many clients were told by their previous trainer they will just have to “live with” their dog’s behavior issue(s). They’re given management techniques rather than solutions, and are told to “keep working on it.” Several weeks, months, or years later, there are still no identifiable results.
The worst scenario is when a client comes to us with their severely troubled dog, and explains that their previous trainer gave up and encouraged euthanasia (sometimes even before training – they’ve received this “diagnosis” at the consultation), without consulting the dog’s veterinarian or exhausting any other possibilities for behavior modification. In these cases, while difficult, nearly every time we are still able to train and produce positive behavioral changes with these “hopeless” dogs, thus showing a glimmer of hope for the owner and giving the dog a chance at life.
No one ever has to expect or worry about these nightmare situations when it comes to our trainers. We always begin our training process with a no-obligation behavioral consultation where we will spend two hours with you and your dog in your home environment. During this consultation, we’ll assess your dog’s behavior and temperament, and talk with you at length about your dog’s issues, any prior training you might have tried to help him/her, and what your ultimate training goals are. Before we commit to working with you, we’ll spell out EXACTLY what we feel are the causes of your dog’s behavior problems, and EXACTLY what we would recommend to help. We detail a step-by-step training plan, and tell you EXACTLY what to expect during the process (including a projected timeline!). At that point, if we both feel comfortable with our course of action, we will commit to working with you until we achieve the training goals we set during this consultation. As long as you remain committed, we remain committed
So is dog behavior training expensive? It can be. It certainly is if you are forced to bounce from trainer to trainer, investing a little (or a lot) with each one. In contrast, when you choose a dog behavior trainer who is capable of achieving results, and who takes the time to set up clear training goals and a training plan with you, behavior training becomes a one-time investment.
Another important thing to consider is how committed the trainer is to you and your dog. A heavy flat fee may look intimidating, but once the money is out of the way, everyone can then focus on the important issue: the dog’s behavioral progress; and if the dog needs more time and work, then there are no extra charges applied, no nickel and diming the owner with hourly fees, and absolutely no strings attached. Training is not based on the hour, it is based on the success we create!
Our goal is to be your last trainer, where we attain long-lasting results and fully equip the owner with the knowledge and confidence to consistently guide their dog to reward and success!