|Barked: Tue Nov 27, '12 12:31am PST |
|I think one thing to keep in mind in these circumstances is that...and I can only speak for Frawley here....the mix of dogs they keep may be a bit much. Not a normal pet situation to have four or five large and drive-y dogs trained for toughness and aggression in your home. Part of me says that. The other part of me says I kept a GSD Frawley would have popped a gut over in terms of pedigree and hardness for and a Giant Schnauzer, both intact males, in the house at the same time alongside a Dachshund and didn't crate. I didn't have to and whereas I am sure Frawley COULD, why would he want to bother, so he doesn't.
Which I guess is Duncan's point....he's not a pet owner per se, so why go to someone who doesn't even live in your own reality.
I get that perspective, but I see things differently. A trainer is a coach. You go and do your deal and they can let you know where you are, comment on your mistakes (such as timing), give you insight as to how to motivate your dog and so on. But they can't train your dog...only you can. At the end of the day he's your dog and you sure wish he'd behave nice and be civil.....your trainer may do many things, but one thing he doesn't do is live with your dog. If your dog has some glaring issue, that he can work with you on. But most dogs don't have "issues." They get agitated at your neighbor, raid your garbage when you are away, knock you down when you come home. These FLASH moments where....sorry to say it....you are on your own. In that moment, what you decide to do. You have to learn to think. You have to build that perfect pet you want. This includes not merely training, but socialization, an interesting life that satiates your dog, it includes exercise, it includes positive and varied experience, structure and so on.
There is no replacement for that. It's the scary part of dog ownership. That scary FACT that your trainer is with your dog 2% of his life. He can't help you in the majority. He can't build your dog. You have to do that. You need horse sense. If you have specific problems, you can address your trainer, but you can't crutch that, for if you do, then you'll be busy causing your dog all sorts of issues you now need your trainer to fix, who only has about 20% of a clue as to what sort of life your dog is living.
So that's my competitive trainer angle. What I know is they can train a dog to a very high level. And that's what I want. In addition to a well adjusted pet due to living a well balanced and properly structured life. Not as in Mr. Perfect 200 score dog, but as in dead trained for those moments I don't expect, but my dog is dead trained. I remember bumping into a brutally serious and very much unattended loose Pit Bull one night with Onion....two intact males from incredibly tough breeds on what they considered THEIR territory....and to get out of this somewhere I needed to drop the lead on my own dog, who was totally ready to rumble, so I could grab the Pit. Onion was told to stay. He had to stay....we were inches away from a massive dog fight I could not have broken up. And he DID stay. It was insane for me to expect him to, but he was dead trained. Well, sorta He loved getting the upper hand on me, my beloved Onion, was very naughty and full of mischief all the time, but in terms of his training and proofing, he was trained to not screw around in a moment such as this, and he came through. And he came through because I was coached by people who walk into a ring with a dog and can only afford for him to be perfect.
It doesn't matter if the trainer's dog is calm. Your dog doesn't have his genetics nor does he live in his house or mirror his life. If your dog is not calm, particularly if this is due to a mismanaged life, having him in class for the 45 minutes isn't going to make him calm if you go home and repeat the subtle mistakes your trainer isn't even seeing. You rely on your trainer to increase your dog's level of obedience, and that's where I agree with Mulder....why go with some second banana? The Ed Wood of the dog world who can't or won't step out with the big boys? Big boy skill matters much if what you want is for your dog to be reliable. That's where they can look at you and your dog and perfect the team. All the other life management issues, though, are up to you. That's why matching oneself to the right dog holds such weight. If it was purely a matter of training class training, that wouldn't be an issue. But it is.
I feel if we all think that the 45 minutes we spend with a trainer will mold that perfect pet, we are sadly misguided. Your dog spends the other 167.15 hours every week away from that trainer and in your complete care and control. You need the right match, you need to raise and manage your dog correctly, and you need a good trainer for all the pieces to pull together to allow your dog to be the best that he can be.
Edited by author Tue Nov 27, '12 12:49am PST
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