A good dog trainer loves humans as much as she loves dogs, because she knows that it was the human who called and scheduled a private consult or signed up for a class for Fido. We train humans to learn to train their dogs.
I love dog people, and many of my clients over the years have become dear friends. Having said that, there are times dog trainers say wha-wha-what? We love you because you are the best of the best of dog owners (since you want to train your dog), but sometimes … well, we just have to scratch our heads at your unique, creative solutions to canine problems. Sometimes we are even shocked (and it is hard to shock us) at what you take as gospel about your four-legged friends.
Here are some of the craziest things dog trainers around the country have heard come out of their clients’ mouths — and I say them from a place of utmost respect and understanding for your canine foibles.
So, maybe the dog trainer wasn’t the right call; shoulda called in Ghostbusters.
I see. And if your dog sniffs other dogs’ butts?
Well, you have to admit that this procedure stopped the ankle biting, but I hope they like the taste of dog hair in their dinner.
I hope this owner still has a house, with walls and everything. Separation anxiety can be reduced in so many new ways that it isn’t necessary to let an anxious dog devour your house.
Not true. If it were, then we could never feed any dog any kind of dog food other than the vegetarian kind — although then they might start chasing potatoes.
Shhh. Don’t tell the champion amber-eyed herding dogs who clean up at international competitions.
So, did you have a chat with her about the birds and the bees? And she understood your every word and also subscribes to your beliefs? Really.
See the above about vegetarian dog food.
I wonder if person will still feel this way 11 inbred puppies later. And I hope this owner’s dog doesn’t get with the one above to talk about their love of canine abstinence, because if they do, more puppies will be on the way.
Um … ick. Dominance theory is old news and has been thoroughly disproved. But did you like the dog food? Was it kibble or canned?
The dog understandably now sees you as an insane human who wants to eat his ears. Also, now he shies away anytime anyone comes near his sensitive ears. Ears are for hearing, not for human consumption.
So, did you train your dog to growl at her? Does your mother know that you don’t like your sister?
Better quit cleaning the toilet bowl, because everybody knows that’s a dog’s favorite watering hole. Get that thing real tasty.
Trainer: “What do you do when this happens?” Owner: “I give the dog a cookie.”
And it goes on from there. One owner called a trainer to see if she could stop her Poodle from humping couch pillows, because “it goes against my Christian values.” Are dogs Christians? And if they are, where does it say in the Bible that Poodles should not be humping pillows? No, I am asking for real. Does it say that somewhere?
And one we especially wish to see go away is this: “My dog ate a chicken, so I beat the dog with the dead chicken to teach not to eat the chickens.” This is wrong on so many levels. Please don’t beat your dog with anything, even a dead chicken. The dog will learn only that you are unpredictable, scary and crazy. Instead, keep dogs and chickens separated.
So you see, dear dog owner, sometimes your information about dogs and how they learn is a bit outdated or is based on something other than fact. If you have found yourself saying or doing any of the things highlighted in this article, I urge you to call a force-free, nationally certified dog trainer today! We won’t laugh (we promise) but we can help you understand Fido better.
Do you or someone you know hold on to odd beliefs about dogs? Let’s have a laugh about it in the comments!
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About the author: Annie Phenix, CPDT-KA, is a force free professional dog trainer enjoying her mountain-filled life in Colorado. She is a member of the Pet Professional Guild and the National Association of Canine Scent Work. She and her husband take their four highly trained dogs with them everywhere dogs are welcome because of their exceptionally good manners. Phenix generally leaves her six donkeys at home on the ranch . . .but she is thinking about clicker training those little hairy hee hawers as well. Learn more from her website.