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:
- I might not be able to help them with certain problems, so I need to be able to refer them to someone who can.
- They might want to move up into levels or sports that I am not familiar with.
- We just aren't clicking as a trainer-student pair.
- I CAN LEARN FROM MY FELLOW DOG TRAINERS.
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.