What Kind of Trainers Are We?

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Dog Training: do you pick Force Free (purely positive), Positive Reinforcement, Balanced, Corrective, or do you just train the dog?

Trainers are being forced into slots. Judgements are made, and then that trainer is slotted, defined and labelled. The labels are numerous but vary between Force Free, Balanced, Corrective and the like. 

Somehow the label (method) became the focus piece. Should results not be? Our goal must be for a well trained, happy dog, in a reasonable amount of time for our clients. While I can gladly wait two years for the perfect sit, I cannot expect the same of my clients. I get twelve weeks to train their dog, and I had better do a good job or that dog might be out of a home. 

We as trainers adapt over time; experience changes our "slot." Some dogs force us to change, or we learn more, or methods evolve. Experienced trainers have probably belonged in two or three categories in their time, switching with education and then switching again when dogs demanded it. 

I personally have been struggling with what slot I would belong in. My friend defined it for me. He said I'm a dog-trainer, and he could not be more right. I train each and every dog, aiming to be as kind as possible yet as firm as necesary. 

I think that about sums it up. I'm a dog trainer, and I train the dog I'm training. 

Monique Anstee
Victoria, BC

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