June 6, 2009
I just had one of those awesome private dog training session today, with clients that just make me love my profession even more than I already do; the reason I love going to “work” (Really? This is “work”?), even on a Saturday afternoon.
This very nice couple recently adopted an adult dog from a animal shelter in California, concerned that their inquisitive canine “came with a few “issues.” I first reassured that all animals – including humans – come with a previous learning history, with behaviors that might not find as appropriate as others.
After meeting this dog, who was very sweet, we determined their newly adopted dog did display some behaviors one might classify as “special needs”, including those that fell under the category of fearfulness.
Well, not only were they open to discussion of the various training and management options, they were motivated and excited about teaching their newly adopted dog the skills he would need to successfully adapt to his new environment! How great is that? Not only do they adopt an adult dog, but they take one with “special needs”, and then want to try and help this sweet pooch to work through them. Talk about selfless.
The other nice thing? The gentleman was concerned when he came to todays session. He had admitted that he was thinking that I, a certified professional dog trainer, was going to give him the same information that he had kept hearing elsewhere – either by other trainers, books, or other people, most of which he didn’t want to hear. (Including the use of punishment, returning the dog, and training steps that were going to be complicated, or not make much sense). I reassured he and his wife that being a positive-reinforcement, humane, reward-based dog trainer, the customized training plans we’d create together would include:
- Simple techniques they would be able to easily understand and use immediately
- Confirmation the time commitment for teaching their dog would be minimal, to work into their already busy lives
- Fun for them and their dog
- Useful behaviors they could use anywhere
- And that unless their dog is severely neurologically impaired – as determined by a medical professional and not subjective interpretation – their lovely, sweet, and social pooch could learn anything it was physically and mentally capable of doing! (I’m not able to teach him to flap his paws and fly).
Well, it seems he was pleasantly surprised! He told me that not only did the info that I shared made sense to him, but that the training steps were simple, and easy for him to use in his already busy daily life. He also confirmed what I was saying made perfect sense! Now they’re so excited about wanting to work with their dog, that they’re motivated enough so they can come to some of my upcoming dog training classes and workshops.
Wow! How is that for positively reinforcing?! (I mean for me!) Quite a rewarding afternoon for yours truly. Can’t wait to see them out in public practicing those newly acquired skills!