By Wendy Meek
Hobark Dog Training
ONE of the great joys of being a dog trainer is getting to work with wonderful families and their much-loved furry friends.
Why do people call us in?
Well, there are many reasons, but a few are more common than others.
When your furry little friend is going through adolescence they are more difficult than at any other time in their lives and sometimes, with our busy lives getting in the way, things can get a little out of hand.
I love these consults because after a quick diagnosis of “a terrible case of the teenagers”, we can get down to work on the myriad of fun and wonderful exercises we can do to make everyone’s life more fun.
Sometimes I’ll walk in and owners say things like, “we are not hard enough on him” or “she’s too spoilt.”
Waiting for their punishment for being a “naughty owner”, I quickly reply with, “you can spoil them.”
It’s what they are for and you don’t have to be hard on them, you just have to make them believe that this training game is their idea.
Straight away our customers are more relaxed and we can get down to having some fun and training our dogs – on their terms of course, wink, wink.
The great thing about training now is we know so much more than we used to.
Many wonderful studies have taken place and there are so many amazing and published trainers we can refer to if we get stuck.
Did you know that dogs don’t do things because we are the boss or even because they love us?
I’m sure they love us, I really am, but it’s not why dogs do what they do.
Dogs do what they do because there is something in it for them.
Think of them as that egocentric three-year-old child. It’s a survival thing.
As easy at that, you ask?
Well, it does get a little more complicated, but don’t worry.
We trainers are not too far away and are ready to give you a hand and the knowledge you need to be the champion in your dog’s life.
The other main reasons that people call a dog trainer is because their dog has become afraid of something, or sometimes many things.
Often this will cause dogs to react and this can affect the life we all predicted when we bought our furry little friend home to be the perfect family pet.
Fear can cause so many problems for dogs and those families need a supportive person who can help them gently navigate a sometimes stressful road to where things can be better.
One of many dog trainers’ great sadness is that fear pays our wages.
We, like many other dog trainers, wish that this wasn’t the case, so you’ll find many of us working passionately around puppy and adolescent development to try and avoid fear issues occurring in the first place.
With a kind and gentle hand, a dog can be supported to feel better about the things that worry them.
So why don’t we use punishment anymore?
Punishment causes fear – that’s why it “works”.
Fear pays my wages.
You see how this works or doesn’t work actually, not in the long run.
But it’s okay, you don’t have to worry because we can gently and patiently train our dogs and puppies to fit nicely into our lives without even having to say “no”.
We are so lucky here is Tasmania to be surrounded by an educated and informed dog trainer network.
We work together to champion an ethical and punishment free existence for our precious subjects.
Everyone is calmer and our dogs are safe. Go Tassie.