I’ve been training dogs for over thirteen years, and have worked with over 3,000 dogs and their owners. The most important thing I’ve learned during that time is to approach dog training with an open mind. Every dog, owner and situation is different. When I am privileged to come to a client’s home to help them with their dog or dogs, I try to look at it as if I’m solving a mystery. What are the elements of the environment? Many of those may be contributing to the dogs’ behavior. What is the lifestyle of my clients? Not every client wants the same thing when it comes to their dog’s behavior. And finally, what is the breed and personality of the dog? Not all dogs are equal, and it’s appropriate to adjust the training approach to fit the disposition and temperament of each client’s dog.
When people learn what I do, I often hear, “Oh, it must be GREAT to get to spend your day training dogs and playing with them!” While it’s true that I spend 5 or 6 days a week working around dogs, most of my time is spent observing dogs and coaching their owners. Although it’s tempting to step in and do the training myself, it’s ultimately of no help to the owner if I leave and their dog will only listen to me. I like to say that my job is 70 to 80 percent training people and 20 to 30 percent training dogs. So to be an effective dog trainer, it’s pretty important to like helping people. And that’s actually the primary reason I became a dog trainer. At the end of the day, it’s so rewarding to see people and their dogs enjoying each other’s company rather than struggling with one another.
A question I’m frequently asked is, “What is the hardest kind of dog to train?” While there are definitely some breeds who are more stubborn, temperamental or aloof, the REALLY difficult cases are more often about the human side of the equation. Have you ever heard the saying, “If you do what you’ve always done, then you’ll get the results you’ve always gotten.”? That is especially true when working with dogs, because they pay FAR more attention to what we do than what we say. Simple things like the body language we exhibit when interacting with them can completely reinforce or negate the thing that we are attempting to get them to do or not do. And worse yet, we are often completely unaware of the message that we’re sending. I can bring a trained and experienced eye to that situation and coach dog owners on the messages that they are unintentionally sending their dogs. Sometimes we’ll use a video, so they can see themselves. It can be a powerful tool in changing the human’s behavior as well as their dog’s.
While sometimes training results can be quick, dramatic and almost magic-like, the hard truth is that more typically improvement comes from days and weeks of determined effort. It’s not always complicated, but it requires calm, consistent and focused work. If you only try to train your dog when he or she is misbehaving, then you’re starting out in a hole. It’s likely that you won’t be prepared or patient enough to spend the time to teach him or her the desired response to the situation. But it needn’t take huge amounts of time either. After we’ve met for our first training session of two to three hours, at least twenty minutes a day is what you should be prepared to commit as homework.
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Full obedience training for dogs of all ages and breeds; sit, down, stay, loose lead walking, attentiveness, distance control and recall training.Learn More