Confessions of a Dog Trainer

I am a dog trainer.

People expect their dog trainer to have trained dogs. So if you came to my house you might be surprised to see my one dog on the leather sofa. It is his spot. Always has been. Another dog is usually on our bed; again, he likes it there.

I know, I know, I have heard it all a million times. "This will lead to aggression" (it doesn't!). "This will ruin the balance of the Alpha (me) and the dog" (wrong again!).

I even feed my dog table scraps. Sometimes from the table!

I know this is all very shocking.

I also know that most of us do the same. But when we talk to trainers we feel the need to hide this and strive to impress with little robot wind up dogs.

Why? What is obedience really? I do not think of it as a one way communication with submission being the goal. My ego allows for my dog to be who he is and yet still work within my guidelines. It is more an education process than training them.

For example, they are not allowed to beg, it is rude. And they do not. All privileges are just that, they are earned, not an entitlement. They know this almost instinctively and it takes just a bit of guidance to help support this.

Some games to play to encourage your dog to act in a certain manner would be a reward system. But it has to be something he wants, not what you think he should want. Many times when "positive" methods do not seem to work, it is the reward system that is lacking.

For many of us training our dog is born out of love and respect for our pet. Our goals should be to maximize each individual dog's natural talents. We can do this within our guidelines and have a very happy dog and a very happy owner.

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