FOR-EVER-STUDENT-DOG-TRAINER: A dog trainer who is constantly looking for the next "thing", the latest "technique", the latest seminar, the latest book.
I have absolutely nothing against continued education. As a matter of fact, this industry would be much better off if all of us kept learning, attending seminars, reading, etc.
I do notice an issue with the for-ever-learning syndrome though. It fosters insecurity, it also has the potential to mess up your knowledge base, your foundation.
A for-ever-student has the potential to be misled by the flashiest, "newest" dog training formula, especially when combined with a likable, confident speaker. You mix that with a dog trainer who's hungry for all sorts of knowledge and the result could be the dog trainer is now second-guessing possibly quite effective techniques.
I am in a very unique, and satisfying position in my life at the moment in which I get to teach people how to become dog trainers. It took me years of trial and error, different dog training schools and many seminars to learn what my students get in a 3-month period. When you get flooded with so much information, it's easy to almost dismiss everything you've just learned as "just the basics". I agree with that to a degree, but many trainers our students are competing against, know about half or less of the info our graduates know. I know this from personal experience and from students who after attending seminars tell me things like: "Man, I thought I was gonna get so much info but a lot of the people there didn't even know all the terms and things I was familiar with."
As a matter of fact, I still get to see trainers with decades of experience who lack knowledge in certain aspects of dog training.
I also get to hear from students who are constantly on that quest for "new" knowledge who then tell me what they've learned and then need help troubleshooting issues with the "new" knowledge/technique they got from "Joe Shmoe's" latest seminar, only to be reminded that the "latest technique" they learned was a just a slightly modified and more complicated version of what they already knew all along. This is when I get the "Ohhh...That makes sense" replies.
There are a lot of over complicated techniques out there. There are a lot of "new" techniques out there that are just a spin on time tested, proven techniques. Basically, there's a lot of plain old bullshit in the industry.
Some examples of "new" techniques that aren't really new:
Bonking isn't really a new thing. If you're not familiar with bonking, youtube it. You basically roll up a towel and throw it at the dog. One of the best things you can do for your dog IF you want your dog to be hand shy, over cautious and possibly over submissive. Bonking is really just a "throw chain" technique outlined in the William Koehler books. Only, instead of a light chain, it's just a rolled up towel.
-BAT TRAINING (BEHAVIOR ADJUSTMENT TRAINING):
Well this is awkward because I actually enjoyed this book, so I may sound like a hypocrite. I truly enjoyed this book and as a matter of fact, it's a book I recommend.
When you break this down though, you see that you're really just reading on DRA (Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behaviors). Of course if you're a newbie, you have no idea what any of this means. So look up DRA and read BAT training and you'll see that the book is just an outline of how to do DRA, which is an old, time tested, scientific procedure. Yet BAT training is considered a "new method".
CAT Training is very similar. I know! more "new" methods that are just acronyms. Smell the bullshit yet?
-PRESSURE & RELEASE
Read this article and you're welcome for the headache. It basically says A LOT without saying anything of value that you and I don't already know!
-LOW-LEVEL E-COLLAR TRAINING
This is only HALF of full e-collar training. How these bullshitters managed to take only part of traditional e-collar training and make it a "method" of its own? I have no idea, but it's fucking genius!!
The list goes on and on, and unfortunately will continue to go on and on.
If the trainers/speakers have a "new" method, it's probably bullshit! OR it's not really new, just put together slightly different. That's not to say the speaker doesn't have anything of value to YOU. You may be at a level where you will actually get plenty out of the book/seminar/video.
In closing, be open to learning new things, but be confident enough to ask questions, open enough to unlearn old things and don't get attached to the speaker. It's easy to fall victim to the BS when you like the speaker. Do your own research, test it and come up with your own conclusions based on your own experience, not necessarily the experience of the speakers.
So, you’re an active member of the neighborhood homeowners association. You bring your elderly neighbors meals, and you pick up your neighbors’ mail when they’re out of town. You’re a regular conscientious citizen, but what about your four-legged canine family member? Is he a good neighbor? Remember, just because you’re a dog lover doesn’t mean your neighbors are too, so it’s important to make sure you take the time to ensure your pet is just as thoughtful as you are.
Despite your best human efforts, nothing can sour a great neighborly relationship faster than an unruly dog. While you may be able to drown out the noise from incessant barking, your neighbors and their sleeping children likely can’t. Or while a little running in your yard is good for some laughs and entertainment, a dog in your neighbors’ yards may upset or even frighten them.
Let’s look at six simple things you can do to make sure your dog is a conscientious citizen.
1. Don’t Let Your Dog Run Freely in Your Neighborhood
A roaming dog can mean lots of trouble. He can get lost, get attacked by another dog or wild animal, or worst yet, be struck by a car. Your dog should be confined to your property, and there’s no better way to do this than by constructing a fence. According to the folks at HomeAdvisor, it costs around $1,643 to $3,857 to install a fence.
Remember too, while a fence may seem like you’re blocking out your neighbor, Ben Franklin said, “Love your neighbor, but don’t pull down your hedge.” Meaning, you can be very fond of your neighbor and still keep appropriate boundaries.
2. Manage Your Dog’s Barking
Uncontrolled dog barking can drive even the friendliest neighbors crazy, so it’s important to get a handle on it before it becomes a problem. According to the experts at the Humane Society, there are five ways to effectively control barking:
3. The Importance of Grooming
Dog grooming isn’t just important for your pet’s health, it sets an example for your neighbors. When you pridefully show off your well-groomed and behaved pet, you’re encouraging others to love canines.
4. Establish Healthy Communications
Openly communicate with your neighbors about your pet, especially if you’re sensing trouble. Don’t be afraid to ask them for anything you need, such as keeping a spirited child away from an elderly pet who may react improperly. Likewise, ask your neighbor if there are things you can do better.
5. Help Your Dog Earn a Canine Good Citizen Certificate
Your dog can become an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen. By passing a test “designed to demonstrate good manners and acceptable behavior in everyday situations,” your dog can earn an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Certificate. The program, considered the gold standard of dog training, teaches a dog how to master 10 skills, from sitting on command to playing well with others.
6. Don’t Leave Special Deliveries
This one’s easy. No neighbor wants your dog’s messes on their yard, so pick it up.
Working on these tips should help your canine companion become a better neighbor. But even with your best efforts, neighbors still may have concerns about your pet. The best things you can do when confronted with issues is make sure to listen, keep it friendly with calm language, acknowledge and actively seek to understand their concerns, and work together to create solutions. Being a steward of good neighbor relations will go a long way to leading a happy, content existence in your neighborhood. So do your best, and make sure your pup does, too.
AUTHOR: Aurora James.