Here’s four quick tips (discussed in more detail here):
learn from many teachers
learn from many individual animals
learn from several animal species
keep an open mind
Another useful approach is to acquire overall good trainer habits. And in the video below (chapter 12 from the final module of my online course Advanced Animal Training) I discuss what I think are 30 such useful trainer habits.
While delivering one of my free mini-courses recently, I answered a lot of questions about specific problem behaviour in the comments’ section of the course site, in private messages and in emails.
And in one of those conversations, the issue of getting professional help came up.
One person said: “I’ve spent a lot of money on two trainers, and still have the problem”.
After asking what the two trainers had attempted to do, I realized that they had probably made matters worse, due to incompetence. One of them had used aversive techniques that frightened the animal, and the other had advised against using treats in a situation that demanded it – screamed for it.