New Ideas On Dog Training – Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist
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I recently worked with a 9 year old pit bull mix that was having some behavioral problems. I spent a couple of hours with the family, and then did a follow up (text message) a few days later to see how things were going….
Sam: Any additional questions? How is the dog homework coming along?
Student: She’s a different dog! I know my wife is more comfortable at understanding dogs. I’ve had dogs all my life… this is her first.
Student: Our dog is getting better… not good… but better as we practice (I never promise miracles… That’s for the movies or set up TV show segments… I gave them homework that will take several weeks of practice, and their problems will be solved… there are no quick fixes with proper dog training). I’m taking her to the vet on Thursday (I had noticed the dog had some kind of skin inflammation, so I had recommended that they take their dog in for a medical exam)
Sam: Be sure to practice your homework in the veterinarian’s office.
Student: OK… and once again… thank you! You showed me things I never even thought of or knew! Thank you Sam! You really saved our dog… and us as pet parents!
Sometimes, you need a new set of eyes looking at an old problem. This couple had tried other instructors, and still had ongoing problems. They needed a new perspective. I have worked with numerous students that were working with other trainers, but sought me out for a second opinion. I remember doing this last year for a student that was having problems with dog aggression in her agility classes. Her instructor banned her from the class, and told her that unless she could fix the problem, the dog couldn’t participate in the club any more. We worked together, once per week, for several weeks. She then went back to the club, demonstrated the dog, and was admitted back. Her instructor was both puzzled and amazed, and wanted to know what I had done.
I spend a considerable amount of time every week studying my craft. I am always a better trainer today than I was yesterday, last week, last month, last year, or last decade. I love dogs, and I love to learn about dogs. I read, discuss things with other experts, practice my skills, and puzzle over problems.
One famous animal researcher said that it took him 10 years just to figure out a single behavioral problem. And he said that he saw that kind of thing with others in his field. That is NORMAL in the academic fields of biology, physics, animal behavior, and so forth. How many years ago did Einstein make his discoveries? Today’s scientists still haven’t gotten past his work. There are also many things about animal behavior, and dog behavior specifically, where there are no studies and there are no answers… yet. I remember the time I spent 3 hours watching dogs digging in some sand. I have never seen a good, definitive study about animals burying things or digging dens. I’ve read lots of dog books which mention this phenomenon, but there are no studies. There aren’t even studies that focused on wolves digging. Just some theories. So, I went and watched dogs play and dig. I did this day after day for weeks. And I think I now understand it and can explain it. I have developed some solutions that are working, too. I do this kind of thing all the time. Sometimes, my best ideas come in the middle of the night, or while driving my car to another dog appointment. You never know when you’re going to get those kinds of ideas. I’ve sometimes gone months without finding a significant gold nugget of doggie inspiration. You can’t force it. It just takes time and contemplation. Then… BOOM! You get it!
Some of the greatest discoveries haven’t been found by scientists, they have been found by hobbyists. You’d think the opposite, but it isn’t true. Professors often teach things that were discovered by someone that just had a love for a thing. I have a love for dogs. I can’t explain it. But, it motivates me to know all I can. I dig and dig to find out what makes them tick. As a result, I can often shed new light on a problem because I’m not repeating back what someone else wrote in a book. I’ve made some great discoveries along the way. Even last night, as I thought about writing this article, I got a new inspiration from a dog friend of mine. So, I’m going to dig into that and see what I discover. I will puzzle out problems, sometimes for years, until I get something that is correct and works.
You may be dealing with a difficult dog problem. You’ve run out of answers and want a second opinion. Give me a holler. I might have an answer for you.