The key to finding a good training program is to find a good trainer. Unfortunately, training is not regulated in the United States, so anyone can be a self-proclaimed dog trainer. However, some trainers do seek certification. Currently, the gold standard certification in the industry is through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers. Achieving certification through the CCPDTs requires a deep understanding of how dogs think and learn, at least 300 hours of training experience and the recommendation of another CCPDT trainer. You should also know that punishment training although still popular on TV is not the best initial approach – ever. All CCPDT trainers must agree to LIMA, which specifies “least intrusive, minimally aversive” techniques be tried first before introducing punishment. However, some certified trainers may still suggest punishment. Trainers that use positive reinforcement and punishment are referred to as balanced trainers. Personally, I have never found the need to use any positive punishment training methods.