I Drive 6 Hours for Dog Training
Actually, this is painfully true! I live in a very rural area and finding a good dog trainer is hard around here!
Thank goodness I like to drive and sing at the top of my lungs to my IPOD music.
Sad that my dogs are probably going deaf listening to me!
But I have learned a few things in my life as a dog trainer…
There are some BAD dog trainers out there!!!
It may not be their fault, they may have been taught faulty ways to train, and many times they just don’t have much experience.
You can go to a dog training school and get a certification or a diploma or run through a “course” at a big Pet Food Chain, but nothing is a substitute for experience and versatility.
Not all fearful aggressive dogs, are fearfully aggressive the same way or need the same type of training program. All dogs are different!
And, the people are even more diverse in their knowledge and abilities than the dogs!
And as a good trainer you have to have varied knowledge and lots of experience to take this all into account.
I know this…
Because I am a good dog trainer!
And, as such I find it hard to find other people who are in my field and especially in the world of sport dogs to work with and to work my dogs.
I won’t let just anyone touch or handle my dogs!
Dogs are a lot of work and some are very expensive and one really bad experience or an injury, no matter how quick it is can affect them for a lifetime! And, since I compete, I try and keep any bad experience to a minimum.
I am a dog trainer, who needs…A Dog Trainer!
No matter how good you are, there are times and certain circumstances where you need the assistance of someone else.
There is no shame in this!
Veterinarians need other veterinarian, doctors need other doctors, and trainers often need the experience and help of other trainers.
So don’t be embarrassed or ashamed if you need the help of a professional.
When I take regular obedience classes (for the socialization and working around other dogs) I don’t even tell the trainer or the other people in the class that I am a trainer. I like to be treated the same as everyone else in class.
I develop bad habits that I don’t realize too! For me, I tilt my body and shoulders awkwardly (although it doesn’t feel like it to me when I am doing it) toward my dog; instead I should be faced forward having my dog tilt himself toward me!
I know that is not a critical mistake, yet it is one that would have points deducted in a dog competition.
AND, no matter how many obedience classes I teach or dogs I work with even with my own dogs demonstrating in the class it is not the same as actually working my dog around other dogs for a whole hour.
I want to get all I can for my money!
So I teach my dogs the behaviors that I can at home. If I am going to basic or advanced obedience, I do the work and make sure my dog can do it prior to taking any class. Then when the other dogs are misbehaving or getting special attention, I can work one on one with my dog and getting his attention.
Do not let one minute go by without taking full advantage!
I see people in class standing there, or watching other dogs or talking… but in my opinion that is wasted time. Instead I get my dog to sit, lay down, or just stare at me during these minutes.
Imagine real life when another dog is barking or running around or coming swiftly to his owner and running past your dog, these training moments are invaluable! Use them to your advantage.
When I go to class, I ultimately expect my dog to pretty much give me eye contact for a whole hour without breaking it or looking away unless I say it is okay to do so!
Other Times a Trainer is Important
For specialized training you might need someone else and their equipment!
When I do protection training I need another trainer who is willing to catch my dogs and those that have the big bite suits and equipment to do so.
And, as soon as it gets cooler I will be taking an agility class with my fur ball.
Although I have agility equipment, most people probably don’t!
The most important thing is to find someone you trust and like, who is knowledgeable and treats your dog with patience and kindness. And, for me it is worth a 6 hour drive!!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.