There are two main "trainer" organizations in the
U.S...the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors and the Association
of Pet Dog Trainers. They both maintain a database of instructors.
You can do a geographic search on the NADOI site. Please take this
opportunity to find a solid obedience instructor for your Bouvier.
How do I know a
good trainer from a bad one???
Look for trainers who use positive reinforcement for good
behavior, rather than punishment for unacceptable behavior.
Check to be sure they don't have preconceived notions about your
dog just because it's big.
2. Observe obedience class without your Bouvier. Are the animals
and people having a good time? Talk with some participants after
the class. If someone won't let you sit in on a class, don't
3. Look for classes of reasonable size...8 to 10 dogs is plenty
for an instructor to keep track of.
4. Don't be afraid to tell a trainer to stop if she or he is
doing something to your dog you don't feel comfortable with.
5. If a trainer tells you to do something that you don't feel
good about, don't do it! Don't be intimidated, bullied, or
shamed into doing something that you believe is not in your
dog's best interest.
6. Avoid a trainer who yells at you or your dog. Dog
training should be fun for both of you. Who wants to spend
this time under more stress than is already inherent in a
7. Avoid trainers who object to using food as a training reward.
Food is an acceptable positive reinforcement-training tool.
8. Avoid trainers who won't let you use any training collar
other than a choke chain. Martingale collars and Head collars
are humane alternatives to choke chains.
9. If you plan to compete with your Bouvier, ask your trainer
what titles they've put on their own dogs. A trainer can't
teach what he doesn't know.
Remember that although your Bouvier may look big at 6 month or
even 24 months, he's not mentally a mature dog until about 3