Top 9 Things Your Dog Trainer Would Like You to Know
Thanks Guerroink for the photo
As a dog trainer I spend a lot of time working with dogs and clients. Some of it is great and some of it is frustrating. Thank goodness I love doing what I do. But if you are going to employ someone to train your dog (first be very careful who you employ for more on that click here) read this to understand what your dog trainer wants you to know.
9. Many of Your Dog’s Problems Are Caused by You
I know that many people don’t mean to cause problems, but dog owners spend so much time spoiling their dogs and almost worshiping them without making them do any dog obedience.
Obedience and making your dog listen is crucial to a good relationship.
Sometimes we inadvertently encourage bad behaviors.
AND, your current relationship is probably going to have to change for a while until you get your dog’s behaviors in control (this is mostly why I mention this).
I may tell you to keep your dog off of your furniture, out of your bed or on a leash for a period of time, you need to be open to making some changes to reap the rewards of your dog’s good behaviors.
Your dog will not make these hard changes by himself and things need to change for you to see change.
8. Your Training Collars Are Making Your Problems Worse
Not every training collar is for every dog; and that prong collar, choke chain, or shock collar may be making your dog’s problems worse.
Even gentle leaders and no pull harnesses can be misused or cause damage to dogs.
Let us help you make the correct decision by seeing you and your dog and making the choice based on your behavior together. All dogs are different and by seeing your dog I can see how confident he is and what kind of training he needs to make him thrive.
And, remember that all training collars are short term (if you even use them) and you should wean yourself from them.
A well trained dog can be controlled on a loose leash and a buckle collar.
7. Your Dog is Not as Well Trained as You Think He is
Many dog owners think that attending one puppy class or dog obedience class has made their dog a well-trained companion, no matter how long ago they attended the class.
Dog training is a continuous process; it is not something those of us with advanced training do once for 8 weeks and then stop.
Your dog training needs to be maintained and worked on every day!
Chances are if you are having big problems, your dog is not as well-trained as you think he is…
6. Your Dog is Not Getting Enough Exercise
Along with not getting enough training/mental stimulation, your dog is also not getting enough exercise.
Exercise is crucial to good mental health and physical health, but what people don’t realize is that it is also crucial for good behavior.
Dogs are athletes!
A simple walk for a few blocks or even a mile is not enough for your dog (even little dogs or puppies).
Your dog needs serious running and playing and structured exercise and when he does not get it he acts out in your home. For more on what I mean by exercise click here.
We can tell when your dog is anxious, hyper, acting out and wound up that you are not giving him enough exercise!
5. We Can Tell You Are NOT Doing Your Homework
I can tell immediately when you are not doing your homework. It is obvious.
When I can make a change in your dog’s behavior in a few seconds, but he has not improved at all since last week when I came over; it is obvious that you are not working together every day.
I understand that life gets busy and it is hard to find time to make your dog a priority; but in order to make your relationship work you need to place your dog above some of the other things in your life.
Get up early, stay up a little later, skip “The Bachelor” or whatever your favorite TV show is and actually spend some time working with your dog.
If you work with your dog 3-5 times a day for two weeks I guarantee you will see a difference in your dog’s behavior and your relationship.
4. I Do Not Have a Magic Wand
I do not have a magic wand, I cannot magically make your dog’s behavior better.
My job is to help you see how intelligent your dog is by working him when I am there and then by putting you on the right path of behavior modification.
BUT, dog training takes WORK and TIME and ENERGY.
I don’t live with you, I can’t change your dog for you.
Your dog and your relationship with him and his behavior is a direct reflection on the amount of time and energy you are devoting to his behavior.
Again you need to make him a priority in your life, no one can “fix” him for you.
Beware of dog trainers who offer boarding and training for more on that click here.
3. Stop Listening to Everyone Else
Stop asking for advice from and listening to everyone else!
The internet is also not always your friend. I can find a “pro or anti” training article for just about anything, and remember your dog is an individual!
The guy who works at PetsMart or your neighbor’s girlfriend doesn’t have the 20+ years of experience that I have.
A prong collar or a harness may have worked “great” for her but it may not only injure your dog it might also make your problems worse or lead to aggressive behaviors.
You pay me for my opinion and experience so please listen to me, and if things aren’t going well let’s discuss why and come up with another plan.
For information on finding the right trainer click here.
2. We Cannot “Cure” Aggression
I cannot cure your dog’s aggression.
This goes back to my magic wand, that I don’t have but wish I did!
I can’t cure your dog’s aggression. I don’t believe in curing aggression, I believe with aggressive dogs you always have to be careful to control their environment and take steps to watch and keep aggression from happening.
Those TV shows that makes the aggressive dog look like he loves everyone after a few sessions with a famous trainer are not real. Many times these clients continue to have problems or their problems become worse after these shows and the owners are ashamed to ask for help because they are blamed for their dog’s behavior.
I can teach you how to control your dog and I can teach you how to stop the outward signs of aggression through behavior modification and positive reinforcement, but I cannot promise you that you will never see it again if you are not diligent.
#1. I Don’t Have a Crystal Ball
All of my clients want to know what their dog is going to be like in a year, 5 years, etc. but I can’t see into the future and don’t have a crystal ball.
There are so many variables in dog training, whether you are doing your homework, whether he is getting enough exercise, whether you continue to train with him 3-5 times a day after I leave, whether you enforce commands, and what kind of training techniques you have adopted that go into how a dog develops.
I can’t see into the future, nor can I control your dog or you.
I tend to be pessimistic when I deal with aggression, because too often I have seen owners do some work and then think their dog is cured to only have it revert back to it’s old behavior and actually do more damage biting someone because the owner thought the dog wasn’t aggressive anymore.
Aggression is something that needs to be monitored and avoided for the lifetime of the dog.
I wish that everyone stuck to their programs, but they don’t.
Like anything in life you get out of dog ownership what you are willing to put into it!
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.