It’s no secret…
It’s well documented for dog trainers across the world that the most important factor for achieving long lasting results with clients is to get through to the person you are dealing with.
The PERSON. They are the client, not the dog.
At the top of the list of considerations for deciding whether one would make a good Dog Training Coach/instructor should be “am I good with people?” Not “I’m good with dogs so I’ll make a good trainer”. I’m not going to ignore the fact that if you aren’t good with dogs you won’t be helping anybody either, but remember anyone who has spent a significant amount of time studying any skill is going to become proficient. So, for the majority of trainers, the dogs are easy to adjust.
The person sometimes is not, and herein lies the roadblock to results.
It is a concerning trend that many trainers are blaming or shaming the client for creating the issues that the dog presents, and while it’s true that handling by the owner has significantly contributed to the problem. Putting your client on the defensive from the get go is not going to create a mutual relationship of trust and cooperation. Even if it’s not directly stated, clients are not stupid, people can feel when they’re being judged.
Why would a trainer take this approach? Often it is unconscious because at a core level they like dogs more that they like people, there may even be resentment toward the client because the trainer feels sorry for the dog. It will never change, it’s why they got into the industry in the first place and it gets the client nowhere.
The first session should be about empowerment and relief, the problem is not uncommon and can be helped, and if that’s going to take a significant amount of work, motivation is what they should feel. Not blame.
Personability is what this business was built on and while at times I myself have been frustrated at some of the people I work with, I will continue to do my best to stay true to this.