Finding a Middle Tennessee Dog Trainer for Off Leash Control

When adopting a new pup in middle Tennessee, finding a qualified, professional dog trainer should be prioritized from the time your Shih Tzu pup is ready to potty train until the moment he’s ready to go off the leash.

When it’s time to sign on for classes, it can be daunting to know where to find the best trainer and how to start your search. Since the industry is unregulated, anyone can become a dog trainer with virtually no training.

Others, however, spend a great deal of time and effort becoming educated in the field, like head professional dog trainer, Teddy Wall. These trainers become credible resources with whom pet parents develop trust, and the dog bonds enough for him to go leash-free obediently.

Shih-Tzu-Puppy-Training.jpgFinding a Middle Tennessee Dog Trainer for Off Leash Control

Tips On Finding a Reputable Dog Trainer

Training a new puppy can be challenging, from convincing him to do his business outside to testing him without a leash and actually getting him to return to you. Many pet parents lose against the effort and reach out to professional dog training services.

Fortunately, there are many to choose from, but the task of finding the best trainer with whom you and your dog feel confident and comfortable could prove daunting. How do you know which will suit your needs most?

Here are tips on finding a trainer with whom your pup will find trust and respect enough to follow verbal commands when he’s not on his leash. The offers suggestions on how your train your dog to be off his leash.  

Shih Tzu puppies standing outside in the snow.

Look for Certification of Your Dog Trainer

Dog training is unregulated. Virtually anyone can call themselves a dog trainer without certification; it’s not mandatory. Those who take the work seriously, however, strive for the most education.

Most pet parents prefer professionals with certification and registration from professional dog training organizations. This allows pet owners to decide between professionals and those working in the field as a side job or hobby. Here are a few reputable certification programs and the Certifications they offer.

  • Victoria Stillwell Academy
  • Academy for Dog Trainers
  • National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors 
  • Association of Animal Behavior Professionals AABP-CDBT
  • Karen Pryor Academy KPA-CTP
  • Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers CPDT-KA, CPDT-KSA, 
  • International Association of Canine IACP-CDT
  • Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructor (CBATI) designation from Grisha Stewart

What Credentials Do Your Dog Trainers Possess.

Pet parents should be able to inquire about a dog trainer’s credentials with full transparency from the professional regarding their experience and certification they hold.

When researching the best dog trainer, it is essential to learn the educational criteria for those pursuing certification and registration. There are different types of certifications, each with individual specialties and review processes.

Continuing education is expected in some of the programs. Learn how dogs can be trained better.


When you find a trainer that your dog is comfortable with and has adequate credentials, find out the methods they use for training. A few questions to pose when consulting with the professional include the following:

  • Is positive reinforcement practiced?
  • When new concepts are considered, how are these presented and enforced.
  • What philosophy is followed with the training practices – will all dogs benefit from this philosophy?
  • How involved are pet parents in the sessions?

When consulting, it’s important to discuss your pup, his personality and demeanor, and any struggles you might be experiencing. A reputable trainer will discuss their approach to handling your situation.


Many dog trainers specialize in a particular breed, or their experience leans toward a specific species or pup size. When researching, check websites to see if the professional designates their specialty or lists the breeds they work with on their site. You will want to find trainers that have experience working with small breed dogs.


When researching, you’ll want to be thorough, so you’ll need to check with third-party authoritarian sites for ratings and complaints. It’s also essential to check reviews and testimonials from clients who have used the services.

The dog trainer should have references you can contact to get details on their experience with the professional. You can check the website for reviews, but it’s better to look at third-party sites for them. These will be impartial, with many weighing the pros and cons of using the services.


A shih tzu sitting on the grass and wearing a graduation cap.

One of the best ways to make a final decision on a dog trainer that you’re considering is to sit through one of the sessions. You can check out the space where the training is done to see if it’s clean and safe. Plus, you’ll be able to check out the trainer’s style in person.

Sometimes, reputable trainers offer the first session free so your pup can get a feel for the environment, the trainer, and other dogs. A private trainer is also usually open to in-person meetings to see if the dog is comfortable with them and if you, as the pet parent, feel the situation is a good fit.

Final Thoughts

Even if your pup seems comfortable and appears to be a good fit, your instincts might give you a bad vibe. The best thing to do in that situation is always follow your instincts. You know what’s best for your pup.

The right dog trainer in Middle Tennessee will make all the difference for your pet. While you might have thoughts on what you want, the priority is whether your dog is comfortable and safe. When he can develop trust and a solid bond, you can confidently take him leash-free.

Dog Trainer for Off Leash Control:  Pin for Future Reference

A Shih Tzu on the grass and graduation cap in a pin imageDog Trainer for Off Leash Control

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About Janice

Janice is the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu. Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, she served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu.

When not writing, reading, or researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, her husband, and her family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Small Dog Place and Smart-Knit-Crocheting.

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