www.beyondtheleash.caI have decided to try my hand at this whole blog thing and hopefully make it a regular and useful addition to my website and Facebook group page.
I hope it will be not only very informative, but I expect it to be controversial more often than not. I will choose topics that will hopefully demand debate. After all, because the dog training industry is completely deregulated, the methods and ideologies from trainer to trainer can differ from night to day, black and white. Most of us believe we are "the best" over all others as "our way" is superior and most of us have a general dislike of each other as we rarely do agree. I AM DEFINITELY NO EXCEPTION TO THIS! In this blog I WILL regularly criticize methods I disagree with BUT expect healthy debate and rebuttal. (just because I believe I am right, does not mean I won't at least listen to the "other side's point")
My very first topic is going to be on something in the industry that has bothered me for many many years. This is a very common "trick" that is used by most dog trainers to get clients and unfortunately something most would be clients easily fall for.
Let me set up the scenario: A couple, after some consideration, decide to bring a brand new puppy into their family. After a few days with the pup, they realize this may be harder than they anticipated. With no "dog experience" they start looking for local trainers and training schools. They search the web and find what seems to be a nice dog trainer's website. From the website they decide this trainer "seems" pretty legit (and there are so many cute puppies pictures on his/her page! lol) so they give him/her a call and set up a meeting either at their home or possibly at the trainers facility (if they have one). After a brief introduction they are now introduced to the trainers PERSONAL PET DOG. Lets say for argument sake, a beautiful Border Collie named Max. The potential clients can not believe their eyes! This Max is the best behaved dog they have ever seen in their lives! The trainer has so much control over him as said trainer shows off some basic commands and maybe a few tricks. The couple is in awe and thinks if this guy/girl can train their dog to half the ability of his/her own dog, whatever fees are being asked for will be money well spent. They can't hand over the check fast enough.
What the couple fails to understand is that this trainer, LIKE ALL OF US TRAINERS, have a dog that is the number one priority in their lives. We spend hours, days, months years training our dogs and the dog will take priority (or should) over most extra curricular activities. Since "dog training" IS our work, even work does not get in the way. A DOG TRAINER'S PERSONAL DOG SHOULD, AND BETTER, BE AMAZING! With enough time and effort, just about any method will work, so regardless of the techniques, a dog trainer's personal dog should be well trained.
What the couple should have asked to see instead, is a demonstration of one of the trainer's present or previous CLIENT'S dogs! This is the true proof of the trainers ability! This proves that not only does a trainers methods work, but also that they, as a trainer can TRANSFER these methods to a client and get the same results with a client's dog as they did their own personal dog. As I mentioned, the trainer should naturally have a dog that is first and foremost the #1 priority in their lives. With clients however, a trainer is now dealing with every day people. People that obviously love their dog or they would not be paying for training and investing time ....BUT these are clients most likely have other aspects of their lives that may precede over the dog. They have jobs that keep them away from the dog for 40 plus hours a week. They may have children that are in baseball or dance classes, and these activities should and will, come first before the dog's training. Most clients that come to you will have extra curricular and social events that supersede the dog. Just because this trainer can get results with their personal dog, (that they spend hours a day with) this does not mean one bit that they will get results with the couples dog.
IT IS MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAT THE TRAINER HAS A SYSTEM THAT WORKS AND IS SIMPLE ENOUGH FOR THESE EVERYDAY PEOPLE!
When potential clients see my dog Beppie, they are always floored by her ability. I get the: "wow..your dog is amazing". Where I am first to say, "this IS impressive but please don't judge my ability as a trainer by MY DOG, if you really want to see how good I am, and what I do with clients, come in and watch one of my classes this week to see the results MY CLIENTS achieve." At my school I have an "OPEN DOOR POLICY", meaning I welcome and encourage potential clients to come and sit in on and audit any of my group classes. There is no charge for this of course and I let them know this is also free of commitment. "Come in and see what my training is like, watch, decide if its for you and call me back at a later date if you like."
THIS is what I IMPLORE all potential dog training clients to do: Call as many trainers as you can and ask to sit in on one of their classes. Candidly speak to their present or past clients and ask for honest reviews, and never buy into the "oh there are lots of testimonials on my webstie" Bu*ls#it, as they never have contacts and most could be make up.
IF A TRAINER DOES NOT ALLOW (I would even say "encourage") POTENTIAL CLIENTS TO WATCH CLASSES BEFORE THEY SIGN UP....DON'T GO TO THIS TRAINER!
I would even think twice if a dog trainer's website has nothing but pics and videos of their own dog and is void of pic/videos of clients dogs. (something I see too much of)
Think of it this way....not all body builders make good personal trainers at a gym, so not all people with a well trained dog can teach you to train your dog.
Thanks for Reading
I welcome all comments below
Beyond The Leash