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  • Writer's pictureTeaching Tails

Telling Tales! Ramblings of a dog trainer!




I have regular conversations with an really good friend and mentor where I ramble on about my daily experiences as a dog trainer. She loves the stories but throughly enjoys my interruptions of events from the dogs perspective.


I adore my job, I get to meet new people each day. I have many clients that I now consider friends including the one who inspired this post. oh, and of course I actually get to hang

out with dogs all day so I have no complaints when it comes to my work.


Having a clear understanding of canine communications is vital for me to do my job. However, it can be a curse when just walking with Chester, seeing videos posted on social media and constant awareness of potential dangers in everyday encounters I see in the park. So let me introduce the TELLING TALES section of my blog where I will share with you the crazy dog stuff that goes through my brain whether it is fun, frightening, or just completely fabulous.


This first post is something that concerns me but if it can help one person then I will be happy.


I recently worked with clients who had been approached by a person in a park who wanted to help them with their dog. This person stated they were a dog trainer and my clients watched on as they took their dog and proceeded to 'train' them. The dog owners admitted that they knew nothing about training methods but said they felt that their dog was really not enjoying the encounter and they just wanted this person to go away. Thankfully we embarked on a training journey together and I got to witness them fall in love with the training just as much as they loved their dog.


We all know when it comes to dogs everyone has an opinion right? People just love to comment, "Oh you have a barker!" "Whos walking who?" "Aw is he a rescue?" "You need to show him who the boss is!" "They're just trying to dominate you?"


The last two are my personal favourites, I mean I couldn't be Chester's boss even if I wanted. I make his food, I bath him, brush him and cut his hair. I pick up his poop, I drive him to his favorite walking spots and I even kindly request that humans don't touch him! He is literally a little Prince and I his maid, chauffeur and personal security detail. As for dominating me, he has very little control over his own life. I choose when, where, and what he eats. Where he sleeps. Where and when he walks. I pretty much control most aspects of his life. Many would call him spoilt and yes he is completely demanding of my time and attention but that is ok because I LOVE having a dog!


Im rambling ain't I? Back to the trainer in the park, there are several reasons this concerns me. For my client, this person used training methods that they would never choose to use on their dog. Leaving them feeling remorse and concern for their dogs well being. For the dog, to be subjected to a stranger taking control of their lead must have been an extremely frightening experience. From a trainer's perspective where is their risk assessment? Is this person qualified? Do they have insurance? What if this now nervous dog was to bite this person or worse another passerby? Would they punish the dog? Would they go on to claim off the owner? What if their harsh training methods caused trauma to the dog costing the owner a lot of money on future training sessions? There are too many things that could go wrong so please do not allow anyone to train your dog unless you have booked a session with them.


You should only take advice on your dog training needs from a professional dog trainer. I will never dismiss the people who have years of experience owning dogs of course not but every dog and family setup is unique so what worked for one may not work for another. You may also not be taking into account breed-specific traits, so what worked for Tommy down the roads Pug may not work for your Border Collie. Also, training methods have evolved so someone who trained dogs 40 years ago may use methods that are unethical and unnecessary.


As a rewarded-based trainer, I would never approach an owner in a park to take their dog and train it. To be honest, I never see a dog misbehaving and trying to give their owner a hard time. I'm certain that for some reason the dog is having a hard time. My job is to find that reason. To work with a dog I need to have every detail of that dog's life sleep, nutrition, overall health. I need to meet them and build a relationship with both owners and dogs so that both trust me.


So I guess what I am trying to say in my ramble is this, say NO THANK YOU to strangers who want to train your dog! Say thank you to the everyday people who are just trying to help and remember you know your dog better than anyone else. Always speak to a professional to ensure you get the advice that is right for your situation.


Thanks for reading.

Cathy

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