1. How do you search for and then choose a trainer?
Word of mouth and past history. I have a lot of experience being and choosing trainers in the horse world, not so much in the dog world but I think the same principles apply. For myself I'm not looking for the most flamboyant trainer or the one who stands out. I tend to be drawn to the trainers who are reserved and have a way with the animals that goes without speaking....they are the ones who will be in the world a long time, not the one or 2 hit wonders, and they may not win every time but they are consistently near the top even in unnoticed.
I have had my share of bad horse trainers, those who maybe were at the top but got their because of short cuts. I don't believe in short cuts... Most people today (again this is the horse world) just want to win, they don't want to take years of slow and steady work to achieve the proper training and form to win. Sorry went off on a tangent :)
2. The dog world is small and... uh... talkative. After choosing a trainer how do you handle those people in your life who don't believe in that trainer/trainers methods and criticize them to you?
I listen, I catalog and I move on. Everyone has a past, everyone does things that others don't approve of. Its up to you to decide if you can live with them. Every one can also change, just because you've see Mr. X do Y to a dog in the past doesn't mean that is still the method he uses today. I've heard dogs can be ruined by letting them sleep on your bed, I know horse trainers that believe a horse can truly be ruined by letting them pick up the wrong lead one time.....
3. Do you believe that a person's personal life should influence your choice of a trainer? (i.e do you believe a person's choice to be a party animal outside of work would affect your choice?)
I asked this question because of an on-going debate in the horse world. There is a decent lower level trainer in the area that has quite a flamboyant lifestyle, he is a homosexual man and likes to party. People are trying to get his judges card revoked just because of the lifestyle he chooses to lead...
My thoughts are, if you can keep your home and work life separate then I don't care what you do. However, I can't condone drugs, stealing or crimes against nature (rape, bestiality, etc...) so if I find out you are part of these then I'm probably going to part ways with you.
4. When you have a break through moment with your dog, do you feel that moment makes your connection stronger with that dog and makes the next step in training easier?
Having recently had a break through moment with my dog I find the connection between us amazing. She has always been a great dog but recently its like things just clicked with her and she has now turned into an amazing working dog. Its like there isn't anything she isn't getting right now. Maybe its her age or the fact that she matured or maybe because I just started working her with no thoughts on where this training would lead. But I'm blown away when I work her now.....
5. Do you stick with just one trainer, or do you go to multiple sources for help?
I would like to stick with just one trainer but he's too far away!! But I tend to stick to trainers who have basically the same philosophy. I do like to hear others thoughts, just to keep them in my pocket even if I don't use them right away or on a particular dog.
And now for pictures of my new curly coated retriever....just kidding she's really a border collie. And she is out of a litter with 3 other smooth coats :)