Dog trainers can accomplish some amazing things. In a matter of just a few weeks an unruly dog can be transformed into a well-behaved animal that fits comfortably into the home. Yes, some issues can take longer – much longer, sometimes. But behavioral issues can be modified and more pleasing behaviors put into its place.
But dog trainers are not miracle workers. Now, we’ve been called that several times across the years here at Conifer Canine. We’ve seen some very amazing results. We’ve seen kids running away from the family puppy who, after training, developed an inseparable bond with that puppy and even invite the pup to sleep in their own bed. We’ve seen dogs who were scared of people, sometimes scared only of men, elevate their trust level to become solid members of the home – and even produce in the show ring. The list could go on and on.
But the truth is, we can work our “magic” on the dog’s behavior but if there is no reinforcement from the dog’s human, all of our work can be in vain. We’ve seen dogs whose work was nearly impeccable while with us turn to naught as soon as the dog’s owner shows up. Come to find out, the dog has been beaten, imprisoned, and treated unfairly. With us, they received fair treatment and responded beautifully! But returning to an unfair environment caused them to shut down again. The “magic” worked wonders when the dog was treated correctly. But she needed reinforcement from an intelligent human.
Humans can do a lot to screw up their dogs. In fact, most problems that dogs have are human-caused. Trainers can do a lot to correct those habits, behaviors, and problems. But the bottom line is…owners must follow through with the education they received from the trainer. In fact, the only time we’ve had problems return (after we’ve worked with the dog for weeks) is when the owner thinks they know better than the professional trainer and returns to doing things that caused the dog’s problem behavior in the first place.
Our training includes both ends of the leash. We instruct our clients how to maintain the training their dog receives and give helpful advice on how to most effectively handle the dog. Clients who follow through with this see their dogs continue to improve. Clients who do not continue can undo much solid training in a matter of days or weeks.
So, yes, knowledgeable dog trainers can accomplish some amazing things. But the “miracle” will need to be maintained by the dog’s owner upon returning to its home.
Furthermore, dog training cannot undue poor breeding. In other words, genetic influences can be improved but probably never fully “fixed.” So if a person picks a poorly-bred dog from a puppy mill or something similar, don’t expect the trainer to make a champion out of him. We have a number of articles on this Blog on how to choose a dog. Avail yourself of this relevant information. And then the expectations can rise when you take your dog to a trainer.
Good selection, good training, and good maintenance at home will all work together to make a solid family companion dog.