The frustrating thing about being in the dog training business is coming to the realization that 90% of your time is spent training people, rather than dogs.
To really deliver the results, a professional dog trainer must train the owner how to train their dog. Rather than just going in and training the dog. Because dog training is:
1) A process of establishing and promoting a proper relationship between the owner and the dog… and . . .
2) Developing a way of communicating so that commands are both understood and have meaning… What this means is that simply training the dog doesn’t cut it. Sure, technically you’re fulfilling your part of the agreement. The owner comes to you and pays you to train the dog.
But again, because it all gets back to developing a proper relationship between the owner and the dog, if I do the training, then the dog ends up developing a proper relationship with me! But when he goes home with the owner, he still has the same dysfunctional relationship he’s always had.
So, one of the things that’s really made me successful in this business has been my ability to teach the owner how to handle, train and work with his own pet. That way, even if the owner travels with his dog, or buys a new home… the dog is still going to respect, respond, bond and want to please his owner.
(Again, it doesn’t do the owner any good if his dog does back flips for the trainer, but not for him!). One of the down-sides of being ethical and honest about your approach to dog training (or people training, to be more specific)… is that your business model is left open to one very annoying “fly in your ointment.” And that annoying “fly” is the fact that, even though my dog training techniques are easy to master, and work extremely fast… there’s always going to be a certain small percentage of dog owners who are… well, quite frankly… idiots! These are the people who, no matter how many times you tell them, refuse to follow your instruction. And it’s not that they don’t WANT to follow directions, but rather in most cases that they fall into one of three categories:
C.Stupid is as Stupid does.
I’m going to briefly talk about all three of these dog handlers. These categories, of course, are extremes. All of us, to some extent or another, can fall into one of these categories. But it is the extreme example that makes the lives of professional dog trainers… complicated… to say the least.
The “Lazy” dog owner: This is the type of person who knows WHAT they should be doing, but is just too lazy to do it. For example, they KNOW that they need to keep the training collar and tab on the dog any time they’re interacting with the dog, but are occasionally too lazy to put it on. And since their dog isn’t 100% yet, the dog ends up getting inconsistent messages from the owner. For example, one time the dog jumps up on the couch and gets a correction. But the next time (since his Mommy was too lazy to put the training collar on) he gets no correction! And guess what? The dog never learns, and the owner never gets results! And guess who’s fault it is??? THE OWNERS!
The “Lazy Thinker” dog owner: This is the type of person who you can explain a concept to, but is too lazy a thinker to extrapolate and take it to the next logical extension. For example, you teach a client how to use the technique for correcting the dog for stealing food off the kitchen table. And that Lazy Thinker goes home and successfully implements this technique. But then responds with, “But he’s still stealing food off the coffee table.” And you reply, “Well, did you correct him for stealing food off the coffee table?” They answer,”Uh, no!”
And you reply, “Why not???”
Their answer, “Uh… I don’t know.”
The “Stupid is as Stupid does” dog owner: This is the owner who doesn’t have a clue. Unfortunately, you can’t always tell who these owners are when you sign them up for training. If you could, you probably wouldn’t sign them up in the first place. This is the type of owner who you can repeatedly tell them to do something, and they’ll look you in the eye and say, “Okay, I understand,” and then proceed to do the exact opposite! Now, everyone does this from time to time. But it is the “Stupid is as Stupid does” dog owner who does it 100 times… in a period of 15 MINUTES! (Yes, this type of dog owner actually exists, and we see them much more frequently than you’d like to believe!) “Keep your leash loose,” you say.
“Okay,” they reply.
“The leash is tight again,” you remind, no less than 4 seconds later.
“Okay,” they remember.
“Keep your leash LOOSE I said!” you say again, this time only 2 seconds later.
“Okay,” they assure you.
“The leash is tight again,” you say even though slightly less than 3 seconds has gone by.
Multiply this dialogue by 100, in a period of 15 minutes, and you’ll start to get the idea. So, do you want to know the Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer? The main secret is that you must be able to use BOTH correct technique, and possess the right handling skill (common sense and a little bit of practice to develop the right coordination)… and you too can own a dog that responds as if he’s owned by a professional dog trainer.