Not so good: the only dog trainer they've ever heard of is Cesar Millan.
I've given my opinions on Mr. Millan's methods before. And yes, I have read his show, and have read a bunch of his books. If I'm going to be opinionated about something, I prefer not to be factually inaccurate. And his methods, in practice, do not mesh well with mine.
Now, it might come as a shock to you that literally anybody can call themselves a dog trainer, and go into said profession, without proof of their education or experience. It's pretty much as easy as starting a dog blog on which you hold forth with your opinions and tips on dog training (see what I did there?)
The American Dream aside, I would not let that man handle my dog. I don't want anybody kicking her (sorry, "tapping") in the side or stomach. I don't want anybody making their hand into a "dog mouth" to correct her on the scruff of the neck "like another dog would". I don't want to jerk on her leash (and she is never on a slip lead). And I don't want to tell people who have just gotten a brand new puppy "Yes, go get those books." I'm not always the kindest and most patient, but I try. I want Elka to learn and be happy, not listen because she's afraid of what I might do next. I don't want to make my dog feel as though she has to defend herself against me.
I mean, I tell them where the section is. The dog training books are all going to be together. But I try to, politely, say "I find I prefer The Puppy Primer by Patricia McConnell, phd. She also wrote The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs, which is a fabulous book, though not strictly a training book. She's a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist." Or, we've got Dr. Ian Dunbar's Before and After Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Dog. Or, we've got Pamela Dennison's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Positive Dog Training; she wrote Bringing Light to Shadow, which I reviewed here, about rehabbing a human aggressive and very fearful border collie, using positive training methods. Yes, a "red zone" dog (to use the lingo), who now has his Canine Good Citizen title and some Rally ones as well. All without Alpha Rolls and collar corrections. To condense very simplistically, what it took was patience, a schedule, a clicker, and treats.
If you can choose to work with your dog rather than constantly embroiling yourself in an antagonistic relationship....why wouldn't you? I might sometimes go further than most people are willing when talking about canine intelligence and capability but, well, I live with a dog who's kind of on the level of a human toddler. You don't expect a toddler to know things and scream at them or poke them in the neck and slap them when they don't. Well, some people do, and we call that abuse. I'm not saying dogs are people. But interestingly, we pretty much all learn the same way. You need to teach, and encourage, motivate, and reward.
I'm very, very happy people are coming to the library in search of dog training resources. It's valuable to recognize when you don't have the tools for something, and to want to educate yourself. While I can't say I've read every single dog book we have, I've read quite a lot of them, both at my library and other libraries in the system.
Here are the dog training names I wish people would know:
Dr. Ian Dunbar (author of
Dr. Stanley Coren (author of The Intelligence of Dogs: Canine Consciousness and Capabilities)
Jean Donaldson (author of Culture Clash and Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs)