Over the years, I’ve had more people than I can count ask if they can apprentice under me to learn to train dogs. I’ve generally always said yes as I love to share my passion and dream of working with dogs! And, lets be honest, I can’t train all the dogs in the world (Although I would give it a good try!) But time and again, these initially enthusiastic, eager, would-be trainers just slowly disappear. They stop coming to classes or have “other plans” and will come “the next week”.
You see, no one really knows what it’s like to be a professional dog trainer. Training your neighbor’s dog for a couple extra bucks is not the same as being a professional dog trainer. Holding a couple of group classes once and a while isn’t being a professional dog trainer. Offering advice to anyone who asks on how to fix problem a, b, or c, isn’t being a professional dog trainer. Here, in my experience, is what being a professional dog trainer is all about:
Dogs don’t ask to be in our lives, so it’s our responsibility to not only ensure they have a roof over their heads and food in their bellies, but also meet all of their other needs as well; their need for exercise, their need for enrichment, their need to be a dog. Dogs aren’t humans, and it’s no wonder there are so many issues that need to be sorted, but a dedicated, ethical, driven trainer will help build that bridge of understanding and in doing so, build an unbreakable bond between you and your dog. I am humbled daily by what dogs have to teach me and there isn’t anything, anywhere, or anyone, that could ever make me want to change professions. I have visions of myself, in my 90’s, possibly even in a wheel chair, working with clients and their dogs to enhance and build that elusive bond!
So if you think dog training is playing with fluffy puppies all the time, you are right, and you are wrong.
Paws & Love