Many owners want quick fixes. It’s convenient. And, don’t misunderstand me, I want them too! I LOVE it when other people can do stuff for me. But unfortunately, when it comes to dog training, this often leads to disappointment.
Why? OK, let me tell you about Ella. Ella came to train with me because she had challenges with reactivity. Aggression. Wouldn’t come when called. And couldn’t walk nicely on leash. After a bit of training with me, she behaved impeccably if I held her leash. But, as soon as I handed her leash back to her owners all the bad behaviour started again.
I’ve learned the skills to read Ella’s body language. I can see when she’s uncomfortable, before she starts to bark. I’ve practiced how to handle the lead so that she responds to a loose leash. I’ve made an effort to learn about dog training. I’ve spent money on trainers who have helped me become a better trainer. And I’ve spent time practicing, practicing and practicing. Making mistakes. Fixing mistakes. Making more mistakes. Fixing mistakes… OK… I think you might get the picture.
But why is it a money making scheme?
The reality is that your dog isn’t the one who needs to learn what to do. You are. Your dog’s behaviour is a mirror for what you’re doing. If you don’t have it right, your dog will fall straight back into old habits.
I can take a dog in and in a very short time, the dog will listen and behave as I want them to. But, teaching you how to get that same results is more difficult. Firstly, I have to convince you to get out of your comfort zone to do this. No one wants to get outside their comfort zone. I fought this so much myself. I know it’s not easy.
Then your dog trainer needs to help motivate you. Because let’s face it, it’s not easy to change. Most dog trainers spend a lot of time learning how to motivate dogs, but they don’t learn how to motivate the owners. Of course, this means you have to practice and do drills, and you might not see the point.
I’d rather take the easy way out and just train your dog too. Except, I care too much about you and your dog, I’d feel like I left you in the lurch!
Why trainers like to take dogs in for training
It’s easy to train the dog. It’s not easy to help the owner. Most dog trainers get into dog training because they lack people skills. They just like working with animals. But the problem is, the dog isn’t the problem.
It’s a win win for the trainer! They can charge exorbitant fees (often around $1,000 per week) for training the dog for the owner. The owner feels happy because they don’t actually have to learn a new skill or do the work. And then the trainer hands the dog back with a one off session often at pick up. Leaving the owner scratching their heads trying to figure out what they’re supposed to do.
Do you really think your dog isn’t going to remember back 3 weeks ago? 5 weeks ago? Even 12 weeks ago to before they went for training? The training is not going to last. No matter how much the trainer “guarantees” the training. To get the training to stick the trainer has to be so hard on the dog that they’re petrified of putting a foot wrong.
Let’s put it differently…
Let’s think back to your school days. I bet you had a teacher everyone walked over, didn’t respect and treated like dirt. Nothing that teacher did could convince the class to behave. The teacher may as well not have even been in class.
There likely was another teacher, one who ruled with an iron fist. We had one, you’d get in trouble for writing in the margins. No one wanted to upset this teacher, not because they respected the teacher. But only because they were afraid of the consequences.
Then of course, there’s the teacher who students loved and respected. The teacher who didn’t have to raise their voice, yet the students didn’t misbehave. The teacher who didn’t have to rule with an iron fist to get respect. The thing is, this is who you need to become to get the most out of your dog. And sending your dog away for training, is not going to help you!
Can it work to send your dog away for training?
Yes, it can. But you’d need at least 5-10 follow up lessons to make sure you and your dog stay on the right track. So you can get the support you need to change those old habits that’s not helping your dog!
And of course, to hold you accountable for practicing what you need to be doing.
A good mentor of mine told me once, that it takes 13 weeks to train a dog. And that is a trainer who is one of the best trainers in the world. So, without help, it will take you a lot longer to learn to train dogs. It took me about 7 years to get good. Many dogs only live till 7 or 8. So that’s your dog’s entire lifetime.
It’s definitely worth learning to train your dogs. Because the skills you learn will stay with you for the rest of your life. Training a dog is like riding a bicycle. Watch out that you don’t go from a tricycle to a unicycle. Dog’s all have different personalities and challenges, and all that – I’ll cover that in a future blog post).
You don’t actually need a dog trainer to learn the basics
To improve your dog training skills, I recommend our Online Dog Training Classes. It will help you learn how to be clearer with your dog, so that they behave better. I learned these skills very well through videos and online courses.
But of course, I found there were important information lacking in many of the courses. So I put together an online class to teach you how to train your dog. It will also help your dog to understand you better! That will mean that you and your dog will have a much better relationship!