Dog Walking Types
So, you think your dog could do with some training – you don’t fancy weekly group classes.
Maybe you’ve rescued an adult dog and you’re realising he hasn’t had much training at all. Perhaps you have a few different things you need help with, like Loose Lead Walking and some Impulse Control for example.
You book an initial quite long appointment with a Dog Trainer. You’re not sure how many weekly sessions you’re going to need, the Trainer has explained that it will really depend on your Dog and also You. Hmm….
Following lots of questions and note taking - you run through a few exercises with the Trainer and it works! A couple of times it doesn’t work quite so well. So the Trainer tweaks your timing and you practice a few more. Fantastic. Wow! turns out Fido isn’t an idiot and neither are you. RESULT.
The Trainer leaves you with a simple Handout, printed on blue paper with some nice clear illustrations so you can re-cap in your own time. And another sheet with daily Homework tasks, ‘sorry - homework’? Yes fraid so it’s over to you for the next week until your next session.
The next day….. well the Trainer isn’t due back for days yet. The following two days you’re at a work thing……. And so on, till you get to the day before the second session and panic. Where’s that blue sheet of paper gone? That’s when you see the little pile of blue paper under the table. FIDO! Aghhh…….
Or maybe you do it diligently every day but Fido is throwing in a new response that you’re not sure how to handle? At the session you realise that your timing was off again and that’s why Fido was reacting that way, so back to step one.
What other professional service works in this way?
Here’s what I mean: Say you have a very tall tree in your garden which is pretty dead, the limbs could come down, you need help. You hire a tree surgeon who assesses the situation and explains the work that needs to be done, he then points to the bits you need to cut, leaves some rigging, safety gear and cutting equipment, explains that he’ll be back in a week to check on what you’ve done. Oh and you pay him too. Whaaaatttttt????
A Few Facts
● As Trainers we are taught to coach people to train their dogs – this is the default position for much of the teaching we are given as we learn to be trainers. There are whole organisations, books, seminars, conferences indeed a whole industry based on this. This is what Dog Owners sign up for in Group Class, this is not necessarily Dog Owners expectation of 1:1 training
● I love coaching people, I love to see the lines of communication clear between dogs and their owners and for their bond to grow. Training is a great facilitator for this.
● Good Trainers have spent years and £1000s honing their knowledge and skills. Trainers can judge when learning criteria needs to be lowered, or can be raised in relation to the unique, individual dog they are working with. They can recognise signs of stress and frustration in Dogs.
A New Model?
Owners purchase a bundle of sessions, paid in advance but split into instalments. They are told at the outset how many sessions will be needed.
Owners get to choose
a. Full coaching alongside their dog
b. To observe training sessions with Q&A at the end – owners have 1:1 coaching at intervals during the training plan (usually middle and end, sessions 3 and 5 for example)
c. Trainer works alone with dog and owner has 1:1 coaching as above
Less drop off
Dogs learn, owners learn, communication increases, resentment dissipates
I’d love to hear what you think about this especially if you’ve had experience yourself as an owner who’s brought in Dog Training. How did you find it? Did work for you and your dog? What sort of format did you have?
Jo Boyce. BCCS.Dip.Behav.Prac