I was sent an email the other day and a few lines really stood out:

"We have spent a lot of money on training classes, (which I have no problem with) also we consulted a person, advertising himself as a "dog whisperer" I think he had watched Cesar Millan and styled himself on him, sadly, he did not have the same energy flow and was rather an expensive brute !"

Prospective clients, please be sure to thoroughly research anybody you are considering coming to your home. Yes, we all started somewhere as behaviour practitioners, we all had our first job(s). Mine was unforgettable-a Bassett called Elvis.

With the advent of programmes such as Cesar Milan and Victoria Stillwell and Dog Borstal et al, it has increased exposure and interest greatly. This is no bad thing, but some practitioners take these programmes as their training course! I kid you not. I have been to homes where clients have applied to the wrong technique to the wrong dog and have been either bitten or have found the behaviour to deteriorate.

Seek testimonials and then call these people. Ask awkward questions, such as how long will the visits last, what equipment might be used (or not used). What training has the practitioner had and anything else you can think of to satisfy your yourself you are dealing with a seasoned professional.

For the record, I welcome any amount of awkward questions you like to ask, can furnish you with many testimonials, and am willing to pre-meet with you if the distance is acceptable. Allowing somebody into your home and handle your dog is an intimate experience, and trust in your trainer should be high on your shopping list.