I Hired The Wrong Dog Trainer – Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist

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Sam Basso
PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
OR, if you are out of this area, inquire about a telephone or e-Lesson
Email: [email protected]

A couple days ago, student of mine recently recommended one of his friends call me about training her dog. I have a long term training relationship with this student, and am currently training another dog of theirs.

So, I got the call yesterday. She lives in Scottsdale and owns an 8 month old Havanese. I have trained a good number of Havanese, so I’m pretty familiar with the breed. I learned that she has owned dogs for years, and worked with different trainers over the years. That’s always a help because she is a believer in having a well trained dog. She told me she hired a local trainer that specializes in using electric collars. However, the trainer didn’t mention that their advertising. For two lessons, this trainer then proceeded to train this untrained dog with the electric collar. The owner told me she heard the dog cry out a number of times. After the end of the second session, she told the trainer that she didn’t want to proceed any further with the lessons, and told the trainer to keep the money, but go. The owner knew that this wasn’t right.

I have worked with many students that started out with the wrong dog trainer. Some ended the session after the first lesson. That’s what happened to Milo, a Border Terrier I worked with in Scottsdale a couple of years ago. The trainer’s helper showed up with an electric collar to the first lesson. This student told them they didn’t want that, and wanted a refund. The trainer refused to refund the money, the owner found me through another referral situation, and I trained him from beginning to end. I had another person call me about training their pit bull puppy. In this case, the trainer didn’t use electric collars, but the training was so rough that the dog was left cowering in a corner, peeing all over itself. She told me she couldn’t understand why she had allowed this man to abuse her dog for 2 hours, right in front of her, without saying anything. Another case was a man in Mesa that worked with a local clicker trainer. As the lessons proceeded, the dog became more and more aggressive. The trainer said she didn’t deal with aggressive dogs, so he found me. Another couple had a black German Shepherd Dog, they were working with a “protection dog” trainer, and had signed up for that trainer’s board and train program, spending over two thousand dollars. When they came to pick up the dog, the trainer met them and demonstrated what he had worked on. At some point, the dog didn’t obey one of the commands, and the trainer took a clip board and slapped the dog hard on top of the head with it. These people were appalled. And when the dog got home, it didn’t obey them. They found me, and when we were finished, the dog turned out great. And I get many students that have found that pet store training just didn’t get their dogs trained.

I also have a student that had joined an agility class with another trainer. She joined an agility class at my urging, since I believe it is important to keep challenging your dog to learning new things. But, the class turned out to be poor quality, and they treated the people like children by punishing the owners for their dog’s mistakes instead of teaching them what to do to fix their dogs mistakes. She stopped going.

I’ve worked with bad trainers, too. I remember working with a trainer, years ago, that never seemed to have any compassion on the dogs. He was beginning to do things with my dog that I disagreed with, so I took him aside and had a long talk, trying to explain what I saw and what I thought should be done with my dog. He agreed to what I was asking. But, on the very next class, he not only broke his word, he did something even worse. I left and didn’t come back. I later came to find out that he had NEVER owned a dog in his life. He had been training dogs for 10 years. I got out of that guy’s program. That wasn’t the first time I had quit a trainer. I quit the intermediate group class I had been attending with the first dog I ever owned as an adult. They started doing things that I felt would bruise my dog. I wasn’t about to do that to my dog. I knew it was wrong.

When you get in one of these situations, it is better to just get out. Even if it means forfeiting the money. Bad training is worse than no training. Abusive training, or incompetent training, can do a LOT of harm. Find someone better.