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Dog Trainers Don’t ‘Get It’

July 5th, 2010

Dog owners ‘get it.’   The dogs “get it.”   The vets ‘get it.’   A few dog trainers ‘get it.’

For the remainder of the “trainers” that don’t ‘get it,’ don’t want to ‘get it,’ or can’t ‘get it,’ perhaps they should consider another line of work.

I haven’t posted in a while as I’ve been exhausted, hurting and, quite frankly, sick to death of beating my head against the stonewalling of the trainers to the detriment of our dogs.

I just finished speaking to the Montana Veterinarian Medical Association at their conference and was extremely grateful that they are an open-minded, intelligent, result-driven, pragmatic, polite, and funny group of true professionals.

I had a “meth” lab that I had never before met, whom I worked for the vets as an example of what I teach dogs and owners.  The dog was calm, listening, off-leash, and ignoring the other dogs (also off-leash) within about 30 minutes.  A true epiphany for the owner and vets.

Also, a client who had taken her dog-aggressive dog to a place in Bozeman (Montana) where the “certified” trainers

“…take an integrative approach to training…where we incorporate social, emotional, physical and nutritional well being into our programs. Our training methods are based on operant and classical conditioning, with dog friendly methods.”

Sounds good.  Says “all the right things.”  But, the “trainer” soaked my client for a lot of money, gave her a list of ineffectual, costly, time-consuming, as well as ridiculous and unobtainable goals to work on, caused a worsening of general behavior from the dog, and covered her rear-end by claiming the dog would be, or was in,  “transition” which might be the reason it would take so long to see a result.  Aromatherapy was on of the “training” tools.  (You may read MY version of aromatherapy training here )  The vets just laughed at this ridiculous concept.

I, however, find this form of “training” to be idiotic and a testament to the fact that most “trainers” don’t truly KNOW or understand dogs.  Not to mention it’s a waste of time, money, and detrimental to the owner and dog.

My client spoke of how within a single day of a BOSS Dog Clinic she had her dog under control and his behavior vastly improved–and STILL improving.  And she had not needed more “training.”

While she spoke, her dog, only a month previously dog-aggressive, sat next to another dog with absolutely NO PROBLEMS or unacceptable behavioral reactions.

I had an opportunity to sit and talk socially with a couple of the vets and I’m sure, had I more time, I could have been regaled with stories that would have had me on the floor with laughter.

Of the vets I spoke with in passing, all maintained that what I was communicating and teaching was ‘ground-breaking’ and much needed to bring dogs, and how we handle them, into the present.  They all compared it to the epiphany of training that was the result of clinics taught by Ray Hunt, Pat Parelli, et al, in the horse world.

For those of you who may not have caught video excerpts on the Aahhtt!! The Difference in Training is Black & White Facebook page, I spoke for about 3 1/2 hours and had two trainers standing quietly in the back the entire time.  Near the end they decided to get involved and confront me.  I now call it “The Trainer Wars.”  (You can watch Part 1 here.)  It was fairly contentious.

However, and more importantly, the vets DID understand.  Here’s what they had to say:

However, the vets gave me hope.  They actually told these trainers that their dogs, and those they train, may be obedient, but they were uncontrollable and rude.

The vets, and the attending owners, quickly understood there is a HUGE difference between BEHAVIOR and OBEDIENCE.  That obedience is just NOT cutting it with our dogs.

I also felt, and this truly is ONLY a feeling, that the vets got their first good look at the difference between actual successful behavior training and “trainers” that CLAIM they are training behaviorally.  And they now understand it is not the owners’ fault, but that the “trainers” are not teaching what they claim.  That what the “trainers” tell the vets they do for owners and what they truly do are miles apart.

It was patently clear that the “trainers don’t get it.”

But the fact that the vets did ‘get it’ gives me great hope.  They are on the front-line with the dogs and owners.  I suspect our dogs may have some hope now, too.

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  1. From Sandy, July 5, 2010:

    Right on. This was a classic Overfield presentation. The difference between you and the “trainers” is that you walk the walk. They demonstrated, inadvertently, the truth: they cannot define behavior or obedience, and cannot discern the difference. You handled their rude attempt at disruption with adult, substantive, courteous responses, and aplomb. Their attack fell on deaf ears.

  2. From burak blog, June 10, 2011:

    This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

  3. From Polly Hessing, June 12, 2011:

    Nice blog , thanks for the post!

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