Are you using the right dog trainer?
I had a client recently who had adopted a dog. The dog had seen a trainer pre-adoption, and to find out as much as I could about the trainer I asked about what kind of trainer, and what methods were used.
His response was 'a dog trainer, sure aren't all trainers the same?'.
This is an assumption that many have, and it's assumed that if someone is advertising as a dog trainer they must be skilled and qualified.
This sadly is not the case. Dog trainers vary to such extremes that in far too many cases dogs that come to me after seeing a trainer are in a much worse situation than they would be if they had never seen that trainer.
If you are handing over hard earned money, and putting your precious dog in the hands of another, then you need to be 100% sure that this is the right dog trainer.
Decent qualifications are essential.
Many have been 'working with dogs all their lives'. Unfortunately this is the response that scares me the most. Not always, but in most cases, this line is a clear indication that this trainer has not been paying attention to the gigantic leaps forward the dog behaviour industry has made in recent decades thanks to the dedication of many behavioural researchers. Dog trainers with qualifications who continue to upskill, attend seminars, and read up on new research are likely to be following the most up to date methods which are the most likely to succeed.
Certification is essential.
It’s one thing thinking that you are a competent, knowledgeable dog trainer. It is another thing if an independent body stands over you and, after assessment, deem you worthy of becoming a certified member (www.apdt.ie is the only Irish certifying body in the industry. I am also a certified dog trainer with CCPDT and a certified behaviourist with IAABC and AABP).
Methods are vital.
If a dog trainer uses any of the methods in the below video, then you MUST NOT USE THEM. Dog training has advanced so much in the past several decades that no educated trainer worth their salt would dream of using any techniques that upset, frighten or hurt the dog they are working with. We don’t need to. Such methods cause more harm than good, and we have more humane ways to train.
The video mentions ‘flooding’ several times. This is exposing the dog to something above their coping threshold. The dog is often then punished, or continue to be exposed to the thing until they stop the unwanted behaviour. This often results in a dog shutting down. They still hate the thing that causes the reaction (dogs / people / traffic and so on) but they have learned that their attempts to deal with this no longer work due to the flooding, so they just shut down, do nothing, and hope that it will end soon.
This may result in the end of the unwanted behaviour, but no doubt other fallout will occur. The dog may shut down when the trainer exposes them to other dogs, but when their elderly owner attempts the same methods the dog decides that no way will they allow the flooding to occur again and so on.
The moral of this video is to open your eyes. Just because the person in a position of power says this is how to train your dog it is vitally important that the public realise that these methods are wrong, there are better, safer and more humane ways to train if you find yourself a qualified, competent trainer!
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