New Horizons Veterinary Behavior Solutions

300 Somonauk St.
Park Forest, IL 60466


(To find our recommendations for local trainers scroll to the bottom of the page)

Puppy socialization classes and Canine manners (obedience) classes for older puppies and dogs are great investments for the family dog.  They will help prevent behavior problems and help bond families and pets together!  Training and socialization classes are time and money well spent!  Classes can be lots of fun for puppies, dogs, and the entire family!  Finding the right dog trainer is an important decision.  Please consider the following tips in your search

Read the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior's How to Choose A Trainer Handout.  For more tips on selecting a great trainer check out this handout on Finding a Trainer or Dog Behavior Professional:  Questions to Ask.

APDT What Are Some Of The Common Myths Of Dog Training?  While the internet has been a great tool for education, it also has helped to propagate many myths about dog training. This link will show you some of the common ones that you may hear in your search for a trainer.

The Dog Welfare Campaign Website is a European web site that explains the importance of choosing  positive dog traning methods.

Look for a trainer who is certified by the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers or CCPDT  Certified trainers have extensive training and must re-certify every three years!

Top 10 Qualities of an excellent Dog Trainer

    • A trainer who treats dogs and owners with respect
    • A trainer who uses treat-based, positive reinforcement techniques
    • A trainer who uses a well fitted harness, a Gentle Leader head collar, or other non-choking, non-shocking training collars
    • A trainer who teaches the owner what to do and how to do it
    • Classes where dogs and owners are having fun!
    • Classes where dogs and owners are learning new things
    • A trainer who uses a variety of non-aversive techniques
    • Training that is tailored to the individual dog
    • A program that allows the dog to progress at its own speed, and does not force the dog into uncomfortable situations
    • A trainer who applies basic learning theory correctly

What to Avoid

    • A trainer who uses correction collars as a primary way to train (choked, prong, shock).  These collars are NOT a substitute for training!
    • A trainer who uses harsh/repeated commands
    • A trainer who hits the dog with hands, leash, or feet
    • A trainer who "hangs" the dog
    • A trainer who takes the dog away to its own facility for "boot camp"
    • A trainer who says that an owner is "loving too much" or is "being too soft"
    • A class where the dogs appear generally anxious with their ears back, tails down, panting, lip licking, yawning
    • Classes where owners appear generally anxious
    • A trainer who follows a dominance-based training model (the alpha dog theory) 

Take time to visit various trainers, observe classes, ask for references, talk to pet parents.

Visit the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT)  website at , and  the Association of Pet Dog Trainers website at  for more information!


  • Toni Bianchi in Valparaiso, IN.  Toni has her own training facility called P.E.T.S. (Positive Experience Training School) and also does in home training .  Toni is also a Certified Animal Behavior Consultant by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC).  This means she has passed rigorous standards verifying her knowledge of animal behavior issues.