As my client, I want you to judge my dogs!
As a professional dog trainer, I set an incredibly high standard for myself and for my own dogs, so I'm always surprised and somewhat diheartened when other trainers don't seem to know how to address their own dog's behavioral issues.
Unless it is a brand new puppy, there is no excuse and no reason why any dog trainer should have a dog that is out of control, doesn't respond to cues or has behavioral problems.
As trainers it's time we start holding ourselves accountable for our own dog's behavior, after all, we are taking people's hard earned money, and more importantly their time, and we owe it to them to deliver results. How can we deliver results to our clients, if we can't achieve results with our own dogs?
Our students put their trust in us and they deserve the best when it comes to knowledge, in practice and theory. How can a trainer in good conscious take money from someone, claim to be able to train their dog, while their own dog:
1) Doesn't respond to behavioral cues
2) Is reactive/on leash or otherwise
3) Pulls on a leash
4) Is anxious/demonstrates a clear lack of impulse control in public settings
5) Barks at dogs and people walking by
It is really important that as a client, you are paying close attention to your dog trainer's dog(s) and also listening to the way they talk about their own dogs. Does your dog trainer boast openly about their dog's problems?
If so, you should probably start looking for a new trainer.
Many trainers will also make excuses for their dog's poor behavior:
"My dog was attacked"...
"My dog is a rescue dog"...
"My dog had a bad experience with a man"...
"My dog came from a bad breeder"...
"My dog wasn't socialised enough as a puppy"...
...and the excuses go on and on.
Yes it's true that the aforementioned scenarios can cause a set back in anyone's training, (for a short amount of time). However, if the trainer's problems have lasted longer than the length of the program they're recommending to you...
...And keep running until you find yourself a competent trainer whose own dogs can demonstrate consistent real-life obedience and whose dogs aren't in need of behavior modification, themselves.
Now, very few things in life make me angry, but this is one of them. I think I'm so passionate about it because it's such blatant robbery and scammery (not a real word I'm aware, but it should be!).
As a professional trainer, we must hold ourselves to a high standard and set some sort of code of ethics for ourselves and the first rule should be:
"A trainer cannot take money from a client to train their dog, if that trainer's own dog is untrained and cannot demonstrate the skills taught in the course."
Now, just like human beings, no dog is perfect. All dogs make mistakes, including my own. What I am saying is that there is a massive difference between a dog making an occasional mistake, and dog that is out of control, pulling on a leash, reacting out, whining and engaging in behaviors that would typically require behavior modification.
These aren't mistakes, these are seriously inappropriate behaviors and either the dog trainer is not addressing them at all, or the dog trainer is trying to address them without success as their training method doesn't deliver results. Both are equally disturbing in my opinion.
Bottom line is this; there is NO excuse for a dog trainer's dog to ever, ever under any circumstance on earth, pull on a leash, not come immediately when called or react out towards another dog/human being/small child etc. If you see this happening, take mental note and grieve because you have likely handed your money over to someone who is less than competent.
As a client, you need to judge your dog trainer based on their own dogs. Don't be fooled by flashy obedience performed in a ring, or sport style training. If you're seeking a trainer for pet dog obedience and/or behavior modification, you want to see that their dog can be calm, turn off and of course, make sure the dog does not exhibit any of the behavioral issues listed above.
Meagan is the founder and owner of Mayrich Kennels Inc. and is one of the leading dog trainers working in behavior modification, today. With over 12 years of professional experience in this area specifically, she has spent her entire lifetime and professional career working with aggressive dogs and dogs with severe behavioral issues. This work has led to the development of the widely successful programs offered at Mayrich Kennels Inc.