Today I was at EQBC boxing gym and I just finished working on some kinks in my defense when a question came up about dog training. Now I am a dog trainer so I had to ponder this question. The question was “Why do I need a dog trainer”? . I was stumped at first so I had to think about it. I went home, ate a salad(Im trying to get back in shape), and thought. As I reminscien a few thoughts came to my head. There are some main statements that I hear dog owners say that I want to address
Statement #1: I read books on dog training and I watch Cesar Milan theory on dominance on his show so I can train dogs myself.
First off, did you also watch Cesar Milan get bit by a dog. Before you think it can't happen to use remember he is a professional. I have watched his show on tv. In the beginning of the show it is in writing: Warning This is for entertainment purposes only. I mean when I was a kid I used to watch kung fu movies and practice the moves , but I never thought i was a fighter. It was just fun. This stuff is serious business.
Most owners want a puppy so they can raise it to grow with them. The issue is that nobody is perfect. Sooner or later most dog owners tend to slack off after a while and the dog ends up picking up bad habits. You have to constantly stay on top of the dog. They are like a child that never grows up. The training never stops. Most people think that after they go to a 6 week dog obedience class that the dog is trained for life. Not true! They are always learning and its your job to teach them the right things.
Think about this for a moment. Do you work? If so, for how long? Most people work 9-5 or some variation. You might work even more if you have your own business. You also have to count travel time. How long does it take you to get back and forth to work? Also, do you have a strengthous job or a desk job? If you are tired its going to be even harder. Do you have kids? That is also time consuming. All of these things take up your time and even more important it takes up your energy. After a long day most people want to relax.
If you do have all this time ( you don’t work, or you are not in school, etc) then you really don’t need me and you should become a dog trainer yourself.
Another reason is that there are many details to dog training. This is especially true when it comes to a phobia, fear, or aggression. These issues are not so cut and dry or black and white. Its like being a psychologist.
Imagine you went to see a psychologist who read a few books and watched a few dvds. Would you trust them to solve your problems? Or would you go to a professional who studied hard for years and understood psychological problems and how to solve them like the back of her hand.
WHat I have also found is that most owners are part of the reason why their dog behaves this way. They contribute to this behavior yet they dont understand why the dogs act out.
This is simply a communication problem. You have to learn the language fluently if you want to have a full blown conversation, or you hire a translator. I have learned a few words in spanish, but put me with a native speaker who only speak spanish and we would both be totally lost.
When I first started dog training I made a lot of mistakes. I read a lot of books obsessively, but what I learned was that every situation was different. You need someone with a plan to give you piece of mind and assurance. Sort of like a personal .You can read a few books to get in better shape. But then you will get “ i only read a few books results”. Or if you are serious you can hire someone who takes it serious. If you dont know something hire someone who does. I know a lot more now but I am still learning more and growing.
Statement #2: I had dogs all my life and know how to train them.
In my experience these people do know something about dog training and it worked for their dog. That doesn’t mean it can work for their next dog.
Genetics play a huge factor in dogs behavior. Sometimes an owner takes credit for training their dog when the dog just had an easy going personality and a willingness to please. The problem is that even if a dog starts out like this things can change. Environmental factors can cause the dog to display traits outside of its genetic disposition. It's this love affair between nature and nurture.
Now what happens when a dog owner adopts a dog from the shelter and don’t know where the dog came from. The dog starts to exhibit bad behaviors only in certain environments.
What do you do? Do you avoid that environment altogether? But what if you need to go there and it stresses you out because you can’t bring the dog because you know she would freak out. Most people avoid the problem simply because they dont know how to deal with it. This is why a lot of rescue dogs get adopted and then sent back to the shelter. It is a lot of work helping some of these dogs.
Some dog owners received their puppy from a breeder. These days anybody can say they are having a puppy litter. These backyard breeders are the reason why a lot of dogs are in shelters. You should make sure your breeder knows the breed standard for the particular breed of dog you are buying. Find out if they breed dogs seriously or if they are trying to make a quick buck. I am so against the latter type of breeders. They do a disservice to the dogs and the world due to their greed.
I have had clients that say that their current dog is stupid because he doesn’t listen like their last dog. I do my best to explain to them that every dog is different. Just like humans learn differently. Im a hands on guy. A friend of mine is more auditory. This is why he did good in lecture class while we were in school. Some people are visual learners. Dogs don’t quite learn like that but every dog is different. Some dogs you need more patience with. It can be frustrating as an owner to deal with everything else in life and have to figure this dog training stuff out too. If you want piece of mind, hire a dog trainer. It can be fun and open a new world for you.