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No Such Thing As A “Trained Dog”

There is no such thing as a trained dog. There are only dogs in training. 

There is absolutely nothing more painful for me as a dog trainer to see pictures of a dog that has been through my hands back on a harness, pulling on leash, or doing all of the things that landed them in my hands to begin with. Often people expect me to take a dog, “fix them” and then send them home without any followup or management changes needed to have the dog demonstrate the same level of ability as when I sent them home.

What hogwash! Dogs are individual, thinking beings just like people – which means the memory and skills get rusty if you don’t apply them and use them. Just as I’m sure most of you that don’t write notes continually probably would struggle to write something in cursive today.

You don’t have to drill a dog to death on the basics forever, but I always tell people to keep striving for a higher, harder goal – offleash hiking, recall around chickens, a down stay around small children playing. This means the owner uses the basic skills towards the harder goals, and polishes them, pushes them, makes the training more than just a “fact” for the dog and more of a “skillset”.

A few of the other dog trainers I admire were joking about their imaginary “magic wand” which they would pull out for people wanting instant results with no followup effort. To get a really trained dog (which is one that is just further along in training enough to appear “trained” to the public), it will cost you, and it will cost you mostly in time.

And you only get what you pay for.

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