16 May A Good Dog Trainer
The Qualities of a Good Dog Trainer
There are some specific characteristics that you must have in order to be a good dog trainer. These are must have qualities in order for you to be successful in training your dog.
First and foremost is the ability to understand your dogs moods. By that I mean you must know how to tell when your dog is stressed, wants to play, is tired, and bored. You must be your dog’s advocate and ALWAYS have the dog’s best interest at heart. There have been times I have been training a client’s dog, and you can totally tell the dog is not into training at that time. You must walk away and not push the training; you will do more damage than good.
You must be consistent and your timing must be correct. Your dog must be able to connect the behavior with the reward. Personally I find marker training the best way in order to do this. By using a clicker or word for the marker it lets you be precise with your timing. Otherwise by the time you remove the reward from your pocket to give to the dog, they could have yawned, wagged their tail, barked or whatever and they will not associate why they are getting the reward.
NO YELLING, I will repeat, no yelling at the dog. Dogs do not have the capabilities to reason their behavior. If they get it wrong, it is our fault for not communicating to them in a matter that they can comprehend. With no yelling goes absolutely without a doubt NEVER HIT YOUR DOG!!! There is no reason in the world to do this, not to a human and not to an animal. Sure way of not having your dog want to be with you, is to yell and hit the dog. In fact if you are this type of trainer, please rehome your dog.
Patience is a virtue, and it is so true in dog training. You cannot give your dog complex tasks that they are totally unable to accomplish. For example I had a client who wanted her dog to go to the mailbox and bring her the newspaper, and set it on the table for her. That is not a problem to train a dog to do this, however, it must be taught in very small steps. One step at a time so the dog will understand what is expected, and then brought together so the dog can produce the end result. This client was shocked it had to be taught this way. She thought you could just take the dog to the mailbox, tell it to pick up the paper, and have him go put it in the house. Please make your expectations of your dog realistic for the dog’s capabilities.
Having a sense of humor and humility when you are training your dog really does help. You will make mistakes, we all do, but that is how we learn. That is how our dogs learn. Be able to be enthusiastic about training. Let it show in your voice. Your dog will know. Often the trainer’s tone of voice reflects if the dog will even respond to the training. Try it for yourself. Ask your dog to come in a very low monotone voice, then be extremely excited and ask your dog to come. I bet they ignored you the first time, but couldn’t wait to find out what you were so happy about when you changed your tone!