There is no right way to train a dog. There is only the way that works for you and your dog. Of course, there are methods that preferred by certain organisations, such as the RSPCA or The Kennel Club, but ultimately the communication with you and your dog is the only thing that is important. So, if you want your dog training lessons to work, consider the 5 points below:
- You don’t understand the theory
Most dog trainers will have their own way of training dogs. You may find trainers that follow positive methods and you may find trainers that follow compulsion or negative methods. In fact, when you start to delve deep in to dog training methods it can become very controversial especially when discussing the words positive and negative. The most important thing is that you understand what your trainer is aiming to achieve and how it should be achieved. If you do not, please ask questions. Your trainer will appreciate it.
2. You find it difficult to listen
No doubt you have been having issues with your dog for a while. When the dog trainer arrives, you will probably want to unload all the issues you are having with your dog. A badly behaved dog can be VERY frustrating to live with and when the trainer finally arrives you just want someone to listen. This is perfectly fine and in fact very helpful for your dog trainer as she will be able to hear little golden nuggets of information that will help her piece together what is going wrong. You must give that same respect your dog trainer. In this fast-paced instant fix world we live in, listening skills may be hard to attune. But listening to your trainer and watching what she does is CRITICAL to success in your training lessons. Look at her body language, look how she works with the dog. Listen to the key phrases she repeats over and over. Listen to the instructions she gives. Make notes if you need to or ask your trainer to repeat what she has done at the end of the lesson.
3. You want an instant fix
As I mentioned earlier, we are used to things being fixed easily in the fast-paced modern world. But we need to remember that dogs are ancient animals that need our patience. A lot of these bad behaviours have been allowed to develop over time while our doggies have been on this earth. We can’t fix these effectively with a point and click solution. You need to work with your dog and communicate. You need to devote time a little bit of time every day and commit to success with your dog. The words, “I can’t” and “I’ll try” should be erased from your mind when you train with your dog. This should be a positive time. Commit to success. If you know your dog has issues walking on the lead, do not take it to a busy dog park. Start with training your dog to leave the house in a controlled manner. Small steps carried out successfully will build success.
4. You want the dog trainer to do the work
You will probably see the dog trainer work wonders with your dog and then when you take the lead, you revert back to the old issues. I have had students say to me, “I just want you to train the dog.” I have carried out board and train for some clients who live a distance from me, but I can’t be there in your homes for you. You need to commit to work towards success with your dog.
5. Hard to accept that what you were doing wasn’t working
Most dog trainers are dog people first and animal people second. That is why they choose to work with animals. Sometimes this can mean that the advice or instructions given may be very direct and cut a bit close to the bone. Please look through your discomfort and understand the reason why the advice was given. As a dog trainer I know that you love your dog. I know that you have called me because you want the best for you and your dog. I will always do my best to keep lessons positive and fun as I want you to enjoy training your dog. I also know that sometimes I will have to tell you things that are a bit too close to home. Please understand that my only reason to do this is to help you and your doggy. It is not to offend you or hurt you.
The keener readers of this article may have noticed that at no one time did I blame the dog. As your dog training journey continues you will realise more and more that your dog’s behaviour is more and more linked to your connection and relationship with the dog. It is never the dogs fault. Please be wary of dog trainers who say a family pet dog is un-trainable. Expectations with you and your dog can always be accommodated and managed with good training advice.
So, do you think you are ready to improve your dogs behaviour? What would you like to work on? Reach out to me in the comments section below. I am excited to hear from you.