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3 Things Dog Trainers Are Missing In Their Practice

by Grace Henke 3 months ago in list

Things Dog Owners Should Watch Out When Working With A Trainer

3 Things Dog Trainers Are Missing In Their Practice
Photo by Ayla Verschueren on Unsplash

“Your work with Harvey was life changing, and we feel that you are a true friend.” - Nick M.

The other day I was being interviewed on a podcast, and the host asked me a question about what are other trainers' biggest misconceptions in their practice.

I was stunted a bit for such a great question, as you’ve known me for ranting about the things other trainers do, that bother the heck out of me, but I guess I’ve never looked at it and say: here’s what they’re missing.

I didn’t remember how exactly I answered in the podcast, I guess I will know once it’s being published by the host sometime in the next several weeks.

But in today’s newsletter I’d like to dive in a little more on this topic.

Missing #1: Focusing on fixing the dog, rather than helping the owners.

Love for the dog is not enough to be a great dog trainer, it’s really the love to the people that makes my service stand out (pad myself on the back, lol).

A lot of dog trainers got into the dog training business because they like or even love dogs, and want to “work with the dogs,” gonna say, doggie day care and zoos probably are a better fit for them than working as a dog trainer.

That’s one of the reasons I no longer offering the Board&Train program -- I can get your dog to look good, but that usually won’t last once the dog is back home with you, because you didn’t have the tools to help your dog, and you didn’t “grow” alongside of your dog, so you won’t be able to be the true partner your dog needs you to be.

In today’s practice, I’m heavily focusing on helping you, the fellow struggling dog owners to be guilt free and empowered when it comes to working with your dog; more so, to have the tools you need to troubleshoot, and to have a plan when the new situation arises.

Missing #2: Compassion to the dog owners.

Yes, everyone talks about dog training is about training the owner, and the dog is not well-behaved because of bad dog ownership. It certainly has its truth.

But as a trainer who specializes in fairly difficult and challenging dogs, I have to say, being a dog owner for these not-so-easy dogs is NOT a simple task.

A lot of you, didn’t sign up for this…

You didn’t wake up overnight and want to have the most difficult dog in the world to give your life more “sparkles,” you didn’t prepare for a dog supposed to be a little shy turned to a full on growling and biting machine; you didn’t expect that your dog was so hard to be trained, after working with trainer after a trainer.

And I feel for you, because I was there, walking the walk you are in right now.

I remembered the rescue had told me that they were expecting Stevy to be returned if it’s not because of me adopting him and working with him so hard.

And I’ve witnessed a thousand dogs come and go at the training, the owners tears and screams when it comes to how hard it was to work with their challenged dogs.

That’s the reason I started this business --

If I can just teach you what I did, maybe I can elevate your struggles with your dog…

Missing #3 Focusing on the behaviors, but not the root cause.

I can’t emphasize this enough, a dog’s behavior is the reflection of its mind.

In order to help with the behavior challenges, you get to work with the dog’s mind.

That’s why I’m so big into teaching the dog to calm their mind and relax themselves, because they will react less simply because they have a “cool head.”

And it’s a skill for the dog to acquire, and honing to excellency. It takes time, but it’s also absolutely worth it once you put the work in.

In my training, I will help you to “rebuild” the relationship with your dog, and give you tools to prevent and manage certain behavior challenges while we focus on working the root causes.

We also work with the behaviors, so allow the behavior to influence its mind as well, that’s another topic for another day.

Grace Henke
Grace Henke
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Grace Henke

Grace Henke is a reactive and fearful dog training expert and the founder of Mensa Mutts. She helps dog owners to live a fuller life with a calmer, more relaxed, and well-behaved dog:

See all posts by Grace Henke