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Interview the dog, not the trainer.

A few years ago, I was attending an Ian Dunbar seminar (one of the most accomplished dog behaviorists in the world) and he remarked that when choosing a dog trainer, you should observe their personal dogs. How does the dog trainer live with their dogs?
I could not agree more.

As trainers, it is our responsibility to our clients to be transparent about our strengths and limitations. To share with you what hobbies and lifestyle we practice daily with our dogs. And nothing is more honest than our personal dogs. At KTD, our focus is on shaping dogs that can go anywhere with us safely. Our trainers take their personal dogs cross-country skiing, mountain biking, fly-fishing, snow-shoeing, hunting, to Sacajawea Middle School, downtown to cafes and dog-friendly bars, to nursing homes and the hospital, to Pete’s Hill and to Snowfill. Our dogs are confident, friendly and at ease around dogs and people. They can go anywhere off-leash safely and stay engaged with us. We have met a majority of our clients while on these adventures. Our dogs are our best friends and they go everywhere with us.

Considering that KTD trainers spend all of their time outdoors and on adventures with their dogs, we are only mildly interested in dog sports. Dog sports are anything from Nosework to Agility to Schutzhund. Dog sports are a great way to bond with your dog. But we choose not to teach any dog sports because we are not passionate about them (except trainer Max, he is rather passionate about Schutzhund) and that would be a disservice to our clients.  So if we have an inquiry about agility, nose work or tricks, we are fortunate here in Bozeman to have other trainers we can direct them towards. As a training facility, we extend a great deal of respect to other trainers who have mastered dog sports and who choose to use different training methods than us. These trainers are passionate about the team relationship and enjoy an amazing relationship with their dogs. The bottom line is that we all love our dogs fiercely and share a common goal; to help our clients enjoy a peaceful, adventurous, safe, and respectful relationship with their dogs.

Back to the point. When you are looking for a dog trainer, ask about their dogs. Ask to meet their dogs. Ask if their dogs can go do all of the things you want to do with your dog. If not, why not? Ask how they trained their dogs. Ask where they got their dogs.

Dogs will always bring transparency. They serve as a beautiful reflection of us and reveal the places in us that are both strong or imbalanced.
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33 Barnett Lane Bozeman, MT 59715



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