Don’t Seek Legal Advise From The Milkman – finding the right dog trainer to help you

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In my profession there is no respected certification process currently in place. Anyone can hang up their shingle and claim to be a master in teaching a certain sport or behaviour. But can they?

How do you find out if the person is actually able to do what they say? Going to their website is not that helpful because anyone can put up photos and write something brilliant. Often Googling that trainer’s name will give you an idea of their past successes. That will let you know if they are used to dealing with the skill that you need to acquire.

I see many trainers out there teaching sports that they themselves do not do. I teach obedience, and I have competed at Crufts in obedience (World Competition in England) making me certainly qualified! I however do not teach sheep herding. I send all of those students to the people that can help them, which locally for me is Martha McHardy.  I also do not teach agility. While I have competed in agility, and came first in my beginner classes, I  am smart enough to know that I don’t know.  While I could problem solve a particular issue in agility, my knowledge is zero in this complex sport. When it comes to a sport – select someone who is excelling at it.

If it is a particular sport that you are interested in learning, the best way is to go to a competition and sit and watch. Look at the dogs working, and succeeding. Find someone who has a dog that looks pleasing to your eye. Find out if they are experienced in your breed, then go for it. Generally, if they have been doing it for a long time – they will be experienced in almost all breeds. Also make sure that their students are successful. You can be the best trainer in the world, but is that knowledge passed down to their students?

Trainers with Golden Retrievers and Border Collies tend to cite that all dogs learn the same. For those of us who share our homes with alternate breeds, we beg to differ. Teaching my Italian Greyhound to lie down took me two years. Yes, you heard that right. Fortunately I was more determined to teach her it than she was determined to not comply! It took two years of hard work. Someone not experienced with snooty little Sight Hounds would never believe this to be true. Teaching my terrier to come back when she had seen a rabbit was an equal feat.  Each group of dogs have their own quirks, motivators, and strengths. It is up to the trainer to bring out the best in your dog, and to know what that is!

Certain problems are also hard to deal with. I will admit that I am not the best trainer for retraining true separation anxiety. While I can give you all of the tools, it is a problem that I have never had in a dog. I can teach you how to prevent it perfectly because I have succeeded at that with all of my rescues.  While most separation anxiety cases are actually not; It is a bored dog entertaining himself. But the true cases are hard to resolve and I suck at it. I am certain that there are local trainers who are better at fixing this than I am – and it will be a trainer who has rescued a dog who had it when they adopted him.  Find a trainer who has lived through what you need help with.

My strength as a trainer is with behaviours and temperament quirks, because I always train the dogs I get. My dogs never come to me perfect, but they do end up perfect – at least in my eyes! I am excellent with fearful, aggressive, and reactive dogs. I have learned that dog-aggression is something that you have had to live with and endure the embarrassment of to understand your client’s needs. It is very humbling to own a dog who lacks social skills, for whatever the temperament reason, and sometimes that additional experience of sharing a home and enduring the hardships are needed to transform your dog into a normal one. With success retraining dog-aggression, and rehabbing a temperament quirk, the success is in the details. We all know protocols or retraining a behaviour. But as with all things, success lies in the teenie details, that you only learn by living with it…

If you have a teacher that you trust, who is connected in the dog community, ask their advise if you are wanting a new sport. They will know who to send you to; the perfect teacher for you and your dog. And if it is a specific behaviour that you need help with, make sure you go to a trainer who is used to dealing with that problem.

Being a Dog Trainer does not make us an expert at everything dog!
Monique Anstee

1633 Kangaroo Road, Victoria, BC V9C 4C6

The Naughty Dogge is a dog training school located in Victoria, BC. We truly are dog-trainers and competitors, bringing out the best in any dog, regardless of breed and issues. That means we teach competitive agility, Competition Obedience, Retrain Dog Aggressive Dogs, Teach Puppy Classes and Pet Dogs to be perfect citizens, and work with behaviour problems. There is probably not an issue that we haven´t retrained! This newsletter is copyright to Monique Anstee, September 2010 and may be reprinted with full credit given to Monique Anstee at You can contact us at 250.590.2664


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