I’m researching trainers for Buster and Sophie, and it’s stressing me the hell out. I need someone who does in-home training and can help me deal with Buster’s dog-aggression issues and Sophie’s anxiety and hyperactivity issues, as well just basic training.

Pretty much every “top 10 dog trainer” list for Orange County puts SoCal Dog Training, run by Vladae the Russian dog wizard, at the top. I have a coworker who says he completely transformed her dog, and the woman who runs Buster and Sophie’s old daycare, whom I adore, sings his praises. And pretty much every review I’ve found has been glowing.

But. He’s a “dominance” based trainer in the style of Cesar Milan. I know a lot of people are vehemently opposed to that kind of training, and I’m not crazy about the sound of it, but I also know a whole lot of people swear by it. And I don’t know enough about dog psychology to know who’s right.

I’d seriously rather slit my wrists than hurt my pups in any way. The issues they have right now are already hurting them, though, and if I’m going to spend a fair amount of time and money I want to make sure I do this right and as effectively as possible.

I know we have a lot of hardcore dog people here — could you guys give me your thoughts?