Friday, January 11, 2013

My Way or No Way!

I was having a discussion with a fellow dog trainer the other night which touched on the topics of how rude other dog trainers seemed to be. In this case, my friend was upset because a local trainer was telling clients that a certain method for training dogs in scent work was DOWNRIGHT WRONG and they should not take a course from her.

Now, I've only been doing this dog thing for about 5 years now. The last 2 years I've been more heavily involved in training and competing. This last year is when I started offering classes of my own. I don't claim to be an expert by any means, and I most definitely want to maintain a good relationship with my fellow dog trainers for several reasons:

  1. I might not be able to help them with certain problems, so I need to be able to refer them to someone who can.
  2. They might want to move up into levels or sports that I am not familiar with.
  3. We just aren't clicking as a trainer-student pair.
I cannot stress how important #4 really is. None of us are perfect. Not all of us teach the same methods. Sometimes, a certain method isn't working for a handler-dog team, and they need to try something different. I want to have several tools in my tool belt to order to help my students. I am not a stead-fast trainer with my students nor my dogs. I do not employ only one method - I take what works and throw away what doesn't. This may be what does or doesn't work for me, personally, or what isn't working for my dog, for whatever reason.

As a trainer - of students and dogs - I vow to always keep learning. To always grow. To seek out advice when I need it, and I accept it even when I don't. I will attend seminars and training symposiums when I can. I will have conversations with other dog trainers and competitors and listen to them, even if I don't agree with what they say, there is always something I can take away from such conversations. I will make a point to continue my own training with other people, because an extra set of eyes never hurts.

This does not mean that I won't speak out against dog abuse - because there is a difference. There is dog training and dog abuse, and using methods that shut down a dog are harmful.

However, you should run far, far away from anyone who thinks they are the be-all-end-all expert in dog training. Because no one is a be-all-end-all expert. Because no one should bad mouth another trainer for the sole reason of trying to gain a client.


  1. This is part of the reason I haven't gotten a higher certification than just CTDI. I'd love to have a CPDT-KA, but I just find that the entire crowd of them tend to be very egotistical and closed-minded. :( There are a few lovely exceptions, but I don't want to be part of such a high and mighty crowd.

    1. Maybe if you get it, you can be one of those exceptions to be model after :)