The Sport of Dog Training
When I was a child, I wasn’t thinking about owning a dog training and pet service business in Los Angeles California. I wanted to play basketball just like Michael Jordan; I would watch him jump so high, run so fast, expertly shoot a ball from 30 feet away (nothing but net) into a little basket 10 feet high, all while running and being chased by others.
Over time, I watched enough basketball games and knew the rules to know exactly what I was supposed to do when I got on the court. I finally was going to practice what I “knew” in my first game, but everything fell apart.
I arrived at the basketball court, with my new, fresh high-tops, Air Jordan basketball sneakers, a brand new basketball I received for my birthday and I was all set, right? Wrong. No one told me that the physiological mechanics of running, timing, speed, consistency, quickness, coordination, balance, strength, conditioning, and innate ability were all conditional to my success.
How hard could it be to throw a ball into a basket? Well, it turns out there are reasons there are very few Michael Jordans in the world. Many sports are conceptually understood by folks but very difficult to implement successfully without great practice, dedication, drive, and determination. Dog training is no different.
Teaching Dog Training
For the same reason why you can’t read an article or watch a dog training video and become a great dog trainer (or expect your dog to change) is the same reason you can’t watch a basketball game or read a book about basketball and become a great player.
As the well-known trainer Bob Bailey says, “Training is simple but not easy.” The principles are very straightforward and simple, but applying them in practice is very difficult. Teaching and coaching pet parents about dog training are no different.
When I teach and educate dog trainers and dog parents about how, when, how fast, what time, consistency, cues (verbal and physical), leash handling, prosodic and inflection of speech, body language, stimuli to be aware of, and how to perform certain behaviors, many times this information is understood cognitively but takes lots of practice when they try and put it all together.
Many times I hear a gasp, or a wow when my clients exasperatedly say, “you made that look so easy, how can I possibly do this?” Well, like any sport, dog training takes practice, consistency, patience, repetition, and awareness of one’s body, energy, mind, and abilities in addition to understanding your dog’s abilities and limitations.
Every animal on earth is unique. Many parents want their child to go to an Ivy Leauge school but very few do. Remember the dictum/proverb, “Man makes plans, and God laughs.” The same goes for our four-legged family members. Your “plans” for your dog to be the next obedience champion may not be in the cards. But it is important to get the most out of your child or in this case, your pet. Otherwise, it would be a shame to waste all of that talent and potential.
Dog Training Knowledge Vs. Ability
Because the dog training industry is completely unregulated, many claim to be dog trainers as there are expert basketball aficionados. But how many incredible certified dog training professionals have the ability, perspicacity, and skill set to teach, coach, explain and make it all come together by performing the exact methods and bring out the best in their clients as well?
Not many, which may be why you most likely do not know who Stacey King is and why you do know who Michael Jordan is. They both played on the same championship team for three years but ask a kid who Stacey King is, and it is like you asked him Newton’s laws of motion on variable-mass systems.
The mechanics and skills of each dog trainer are as different as the skills and mechanics of each basketball player. How well a dog trainer teaches both species who are both beginners how to communicate, but also who can produce a result in the most humane, ethical, efficient way while using fear-free positive reinforcement dog training techniques is what differentiates one dog trainer from another. Just as important is the pet parent’s ability to reproduce the behavior results that the dog trainer elicited.
What good would it do for a dog trainer to be able to communicate perfectly with your pup if you couldn’t?
Certifications do not a trainer make! This is simply the primary starting point at which to begin a search. Just as all lawyers are not great not all certified trainers are great. In fact, many certified dog trainers are flat out terrible. Back to my basketball analogy, just as any potential coach or player would need to know the rules, concepts, theory, drills, practices, history, nuances, and be in shape physically and mentally so does a certified professional dog trainer.
Simply being a knowledgeable statistician and basketball aficionado does not mean you are an incredible basketball player. And being an incredible player doesn’t magically make you a qualified teacher. With dog training, not only should you be a wonderful teacher but an even better doer!
In this profession you are teaching two different species, upping the game for any professional, regardless of their certification level. However, that would not dissuade me from beginning my search here.
Dog Training Consistency
If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try Again.
Do not get discouraged when you first attempt to train your dog or to follow your dog trainer’s instructions; practice makes perfect. If everyone got stultified and gave up after their first attempt at a sport, they would never receive the joy and fulfillment that comes with improvement, drive, dedication, success, and self-growth.
Try to be as open and amenable as possible. Choose your dog trainer wisely, as you would research a doctor or college for your child. It pays to perform due diligence about your educator and coach because this will set the stage for you and your pup for your dog’s life.
Keep up the great work, and there are no losers when you are trying your best. Your dog, society, and we appreciate your efforts very much. Fun Paw Care has a deep reverence for responsible, caring pet parents.
We are certified dog training and behavior experts and have been successfully helping parents with all dog obedience and behavior problems for decades! Fill out this short form for an expert certified dog behaviorist and trainer to help you with your puppy and dog’s training and behavior problems today.