What Dog Training and Diets Have In Common

As a Dog trainer, listening to clients ask “what’s the magic word” I often use the comparison to diets in that it seems we all desire a magic pill. Unfortunately there is no magic pill or words. It basically takes the same thing to achieve a good dog as it does to achieve a good weight. Work! People tend to go from trainer to trainer in search of the magic pill. Now, even though there are different types of training strategies out there, you should still stick to the program your trainer has set up for you. If it’s not working for you and your dog, tell your trainer so they can adjust the training program. If you are not getting desired results after a true commitment then you can look around for a trainer that has a different style or experience of training. The biggest problem for owners and trainers is when people don’t stick to the program long enough or they change the program their trainer set up because a friend or family member, even strangers disagreed with what your trainer told you. Usually the owner stops doing what their trainer told them and starts doing what their friend or family member told them to do. Now you have a confused dog and owner. The same thing applies to the internet and books. There are so many techniques and theories out there, however every dog is an individual and that means you don’t generalize training. That’s why you hire a professional to guide you through all the confusion, like you would with a nutritionist and personal trainer for your diet program. When you look for a trainer you want someone you will be comfortable with as well as trust, after all this is a family member. Ask questions like what style of training do they use and why? Are they certified and if so where did they get their certification from. (There are a lot of online certification programs out there where the student has very little hands on experience with the dogs). How long have they been working as a trainer? Do they have references? Ask if you can sit in on a class so you can see them working with the dogs and people, ask the people how they like the class and trainer. If you have a serious problem, like aggression, you want to find a trainer that has a lot of experience working with difficult behavior problems like aggression and has had a lot of success, again ask for references. A trainer with little experience dealing with aggression can actually make the problem worse. In short the magic pill is consistency, patience and knowing what to do. Like with diets you will grow tired or frustrated with a slow success but if you stick to your program, you will eventually meet your goal. If you trip up get right back to it the next day. All we can do is our best every day. Stay positive, focused and committed.

Valerie Masi
Best Paw Forward

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