Confessions of a Dog Trainer

Posted by PetSteps DogTraining on Monday, November 21, 2011

So here's my confession.... my dogs are not perfect! OK I've said it.

For all of you struggling with your training, you're not alone. I have two special needs/rescue dogs and I have to admit that my dedication to training them sometimes falters. Shortly after I got my first dog I registered in my Dog Trainer Certification Program with ABC. I diligently trained my first dog according to the lessons I learned, step by step, and basically used him as my training guinea pig. The results were great! He was learning everything my books were telling me he should learn. I was so proud, and excited that this stuff really worked!

Then about a year later I got my second special needs/rescue dog. Here I was thinking that now that I'm an official dog trainer I'm ready for more and up for the challenge. Well it was definitely a challenge! The second dog had more issues than my first and I found that I had to start all over again with both of them because the new dog was starting to teach my old "perfect" dog bad habits. So I buckled down and increased my dedication to training or re-training both of them. As expected it worked. Both dogs were getting better.

Then the inevitable... I got busy with work, working with dogs all day, I was tired! So, on our daily walks I got lazy and just wanted to get the walks over with and go home and rest. As would be expected, my dogs started reverting back to their old habits such as pulling ahead on the leash, barking at other dogs passing by, lunging at busses etc.

So after a month or so I realized I needed to get my act together and reinforce all the rules we had established over the previous months of more intense training. And guess what? They got better again!

The moral of the story? Training can be hard work. There is a direct correlation between how committed and consistent you are and the result you will see. There is also the realization that sometimes you will need to compromise and lower your expectations. Maybe I don't have the time and commitment to produce a "Lassie", maybe I'm just happy with a dog that doesn't chew my couch even if he doesn't know how to sit and lay down on command.