I hear this very often:
"I want to be a dog trainer because I love dogs. I can't deal with my job anymore because of the people. I just want to work with dogs."
I hate to break it to you, but working with dogs means you're primarily working with people. Unless you're working on a movie set training a dog to perform specific behaviors, you're going to be working with people. People are the ones who bring the dogs to you!
It's beneficial then, that I like working with people. And especially when I get great owners who really understand (or want to understand) the basic tenets of my cooperative style of dog training and who want to be on the same team as their dog (as opposed to being the pack leader).
I got a great surprise in my email in-box last night. A client I met with earlier this week sent me a little 10-second video clip of the progress they are making with their dog, recently adopted (cute as a bug!) from a local shelter. That's my version of positive reinforcement! It's clients like that — eager learners and proud of their dog's success — that make my job so cool!
There are a lot (? my guess) trainers that go in the profession just because of that reason. Only to find out, how great they think to be with dogs, to fail exactly because of not being good with people. That makes me wonder, how good are they realy? A dog trainer should know his/her behavioural science which applies to dogs as well as people. If you cannot train me/ get through to me, how well do you understand my dog anyway? It is a nice testcase, we had our share of “dog trainers”, Kenzo and me.
Laurie Luck says
I’m flabbergasted by the number of dog trainers who are horrible with people. There’s a “well-known” positive trainer in my area who makes interns cry. CRY! I don’t get it. If you’re positive with the dogs, you need to be positive with the people! I just shake my head…