Throughout my years in the field of dog training, I have encountered countless individuals with various misconceptions and mistakes regarding dog training. It is important to address and debunk these myths to ensure successful and effective training sessions.:
Choose the cheapest option – The most common mistake people make when seeking dog training is prioritizing affordability over quality. While it's understandable to look for cost-effective options, it is important to avoid extremely cheap trainers. Individuals who charge excessively low fees for private 1:1 training sessions usually lack insurance, sufficient knowledge, and relevant qualifications. A good trainer or training company will have insurance coverage, and their trainers will possess extensive knowledge and qualifications about dogs. Naturally, the more qualified trainers will come at a higher price compared to amateur or unqualified trainers.
Don't care about qualifications – This ties into the previous point, where clients often prioritize cheaper options without considering the trainer's qualifications for dog training. Dog training goes beyond teaching basic commands like "sit." While anyone, including yourself or a neighbor, can teach a dog basic commands, true professionals not only demonstrate commands and techniques but also possess knowledge in Canine Psychology. They can identify issues and provide advice based on an understanding of how dogs' brains work and Canine Body Language to help you comprehend your dog better. They also educate you about common mistakes made by dog owners that you might not be aware of. For instance, many dog walkers offer training during walks, but they lack sufficient knowledge for proper dog training. This is particularly crucial in dog rehabilitation cases, as selecting an unqualified trainer can potentially worsen the situation.
Experience of the breed - "Do you have experience with the 'x' breed?" is a question that dog trainers generally dislike hearing. While it's true that every breed has specific traits, it's important to recognize that every dog is unique and possesses its own personality. Successful training depends on various factors beyond breed knowledge. A skilled dog trainer can effectively train any breed without prior breed-specific experience because they prioritize understanding the individual dog's character rather than relying solely on breed stereotypes. Training should be tailored to the specific needs of the dog, as each dog, even within the same breed, will have different personalities, learning abilities, and responses to training. Furthermore, factors such as the owner's involvement and lifestyle also contribute to the customized approach required for effective training.
Years of experience – This is important, yes, but in my opinion, the number of trained dogs is more important than years. You can find it might be a trainer with 5 years of experience but had 24 dogs/year to teach, and you can find a trainer with 1 year of experience but had almost 100 dogs/year.
The trainer will do all the job – Many clients mistakenly believe that dog training consists of the trainer doing all the work while the owner simply observes. Unfortunately, this is not the reality. Successful dog training requires daily exercise, consistent rules, and active participation from the owner. Between private training sessions, it is crucial for the owner to practice with their dog in order to achieve results. Often, failed training outcomes can be attributed to owners making excuses for not practicing or lacking consistency and patience. It is important to remember that dog training is a lifelong commitment that never truly ends. However, it becomes easier as training principles become ingrained in the owner's lifestyle, becoming a natural part of their everyday routines.
Impatience – Some owners expect their dogs to be well-trained after just a few sessions, even as early as one session. Particularly first-time owners may not understand why trainers provide extensive information instead of teaching everything at once. A good trainer offers advice, answers questions, and provides essential guidance for responsible dog ownership beyond teaching commands. It's important to remember that training progresses gradually, as each session can vary, and dogs are not robots with uniform behavior. In dog training, there is a sequential connection, where dogs must first learn basic commands and manners before advancing to more complex skills. For instance, leash training cannot begin if a dog lacks focus or basic understanding. Additionally, patience and consistency are crucial in dog rehabilitation, as overcoming trauma takes time and cannot be achieved within a short period.
Choose a trainer always who is sympathetic, knowledgeable and qualified and enjoy the training with that person and your dog.