Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Don't Blame the Trainer!

Often I hear folks tell me their dogs' were "ruined" by a trainer, who used approaches that were not comfortable for either the dog or their human.  I agree whole heartedly that certain dog training approaches may or may not work for each individual dog and person.  But what I don't agree with (and here is where I will put on my flame suite!) is the owner blaming the trainer completely.  Remember folks, you are your dog's voice and only advocate.  If YOU don't speak up, he certainly can't, except in behavior that could be construed as aggressive or fearful.  When you working with someone, it's your responsbility to know what kind of trainer you have hired.  It's also your responsbility to stop this person from doing something you are not comfortable with.  I know, I know, folks always say "well, I trusted him, he was the expert not me".  But it doesn't take experience to know that what is happening to your dog (or might happen) isn't right for him.  You know your dog better than anyone else, and as a trainer I actually trust that you'll be able to tell me if you think he can or can't handle something.  If you say he can't, we'll come up with a way that he can!   You, not the trainer, have your dog's lead in your hands.  Be sure before your trainer takes your dog that you know what is going to be happening.  I love to take student dogs for demo.  I'll ask the owner if I can, and let them know I won't be harming their dog in anyway and what we'll be doing.  The owner has the right to say no, although I usually get the leash tossed at me before I even get through my schpeel!  It's always fun to see your dog out with the trainer learning!

So do your homework before you hire someone or pay for a class.  As them to explain the Why's and Wherefores of an exercise if you're not comfortable with it.  Sometimes I will push your dog harder than you will, and it's good that I do.  Folks will always say "I can't believe he did that"!!  So be your dog's advocate, be sure you know what your trainer will be doing before you start classes and enjoy being with your dog!

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