I am a dog trainer. I train dogs, right? Well, yes and no. I do train dogs – but I do not train your dog to listen to you and follow your requests and intentions when I am not around. That is not possible because:
“Each dog responds to each person according to how that person presents themself to the dog.”
I have never received a call from a prospective client saying, “My dog behaves poorly when you (Martin) walk him on the leash. When you walk him, he is reactive to other dogs.” Or, “My dog behaves poorly when you open my front door and let guests into my house. When you (Martin) allow guests into my house, my dog jumps all over them.” The call is always about how the dog behaves when I am not around.
It took years to understand that as well as I do today. When I started training dogs, my goal was to get your dog to listen to me and follow my intentions, then to teach you how to do what I did to get your dog to follow me. Over those years, I learned you, as a client, don’t care how well your dog listens to your dog trainer. So I started focusing on teaching my clients what I do to help their dogs follow my intentions and help them to become fluent in doing those things.
If I teach you how to train your dog, your dog’s behavior will be more consistent, and you will experience less regression in your dog’s behavior. Why? Because DOGS LEARN BY MAKING ASSOCIATIONS. When you are struggling with your dog on the sidewalk or when guests enter your home, I am not there. The associations that your dog is making at that time do not include my presence or actions. If I walked with you and helped you in person to stop your dog from being reactive, your dog would associate being nonreactive with you, me, the leash, the sidewalk, and everything else in the immediate environment. When I am not around, your dogs might continue being reactive to other dogs. Many of my clients mention that they worked with other dog trainers, and their dogs behaved great when the trainer was there but then seemed to forget everything when the trainer was not around. Now, we know that the dog did not forget everything because the dog behaved great in the next lesson with the trainer. This happens because the dog operates in two worlds—one with the trainer and one without.
I provided private lessons and board and train programs for years, and still do. Over the last few years, I have made it clear to new clients that I do not train their dogs. I help them to set up “good structure” in their relationship, reduce their dog’s daily stress levels, and develop a clear communication system. I set an example and consult with my clients to help them train their dogs to behave well when I am not around.
I teach my clients and their dogs “plays.” I do not like to use the word “commands” so much because the word command implies that we are dictating, and the dog is doing. I teach my clients that they and their dogs have roles to play. The quality of the performance depends on the quality of the performance of both actors. You learn what you should do on the sidewalk to keep your dog from misbehaving, and your dog learns to behave well. Every time you are on the sidewalk, you “run the sidewalk play,” and your dog practices behaving well on the sidewalk with you. That ensures that your dog’s association of behaving well on the sidewalk is shared between you and your dog. In time your dog forms a habit of behaving while on the sidewalk with you, and your part of the play becomes easier.
Dog training is misunderstood because most people think the trainer must touch their dog to help them overcome unwanted behaviors. In fact, your dog trainer must influence your thoughts and actions to help you overcome unwanted behaviors.
If you want Argos Dog Training to help you with your dog’s behavior, look at the Argos SuperCycles Communication Direct Study Program, and as always, Enjoy Your Dog!!!