Behaviour ProblemsLiving with dogsPuppies

Three Things Dog Trainers Don’t Want You To Know

Okay, so the title is a little deceiving – many of us don’t really mind you knowing, we just don’t make a habit of telling lots of people!

For the purpose of this article, ‘we’ refers to myself, and some other dog trainers I know – I can’t speak for all dog trainers!

Perfect Dogs

We don’t have perfectly trained dogs. This is something that always made me feel inadequate until I got into networking with more trainers and realised I wasn’t alone!

What’s more, many of the dog trainers I know, myself included, don’t want perfectly trained dogs. I’ve never met a dog trainer I trusted who did want perfectly trained dogs!

We like our dogs to have character, to be a little cheeky, but to be happy and safe, and a pleasant companion. Some of us end up with the dogs others don’t want – and just getting those dogs to be happy, healthy, safe dogs is a big job in itself and if we can do that, we’re happy.

We are very good at using management to work around problems our dogs have so you wouldn’t even know. My Bubble is a great dog; despite her deafness she has very good recall, but do I let her off the lead if there’s a picnic over the other side of the park? Do I heck as like! Having an onlead dog is far less inconvenient (and embarrassing) than what would happen if she noticed the picnic whilst offlead. It’s not that I haven’t trained with her, or continue to train with her, but I understand her limitations and I use management where appropriate.

We don’t have perfectly trained dogs, but we DO have perfect dogs – just like you!  

We’re just human

We’re not perfect either. We don’t have any magical powers to speak to dogs. We can usually understand dog body language well, and respond appropriately, and over years of study, practice and spending time with different dogs, we’ve learned to give off that ‘vibe’ that makes you say ‘well he never behaves this well when people come over!’ but we aren’t magic. We’re just human!

On that same note, when you’re failing miserably to get your dog’s attention in class, and the dog trainer comes over and immediately engages her, remember that whilst some of this comes from experience of working with dogs like this, much of it is that this is a novel person who your dog isn’t used to and is bound to find more interesting!

We’re not always as patient as we may seem. When you’re getting exasperated by your bouncy, teenaged Labrador disrupting class and your trainer keeps their cool the whole time, just remember, they’ve only spent an hour with him! We do understand, we’ve been through it!

A story I haven’t told many people up until now is the story of when Radan slipped his harness on a walk and ended up giving me the run around VERY close to livestock.
My immediate thought was what happens to dogs that frighten livestock, and my ‘dog trainer head’ disappeared and ‘panicked owner head’ came to play.
For all my shouting, screaming, and excited calling, that dog was not coming to me, when suddenly, a neighbour appeared quietly at the side of the field and said, very quietly ‘here boy’. And that dog, who I could have quite happily disowned in that moment, trotted over and stood with him while he patted him.

The man wasn’t magic. He just wasn’t me! And Radan had seen plenty of me that day!

We aren’t business people

With a few exceptions, dog trainers generally aren’t business people. We are dog lovers, who want to help people and dogs to improve their lives, and we are doing something we love.

Many of us are rubbish at setting prices, we are rubbish at charging those prices, we like to do ‘deals’ and ‘offers’ and ‘freebies for those in need’ and if you question our prices we fall apart and doubt ourselves. We are a sensitive breed and almost feel guilty charging to do something we love. We do it because we want to help people and dogs, so when someone says they can’t afford it, we want to make it available to them.

However, we also don’t eat air, or grow magic money trees to pay our leccy bills! We spend a lot of money on training ourselves and we generally have dogs at home who rely on us to feed them, too.

We want to help you, but most of us aren’t in a position to do that for free, or even for less than we charge.

Again, this was something I didn’t know until I attended a conference and the speaker said ‘who here is comfortable with charging for their services?’ and the room fell silent!

So remember, we are sensitive souls, with sensitive dogs who just want to help those who are struggling with theirs. It doesn’t mean we don’t struggle with our own sometimes, and we aren’t judging you if you’re doing your best!

To find out how this sensitive human with an understanding of dogs might be able to help you and your dog, click here
Follow me on facebook, twitter and instagram!

dog trainer secrets

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *