The following are some things your dog trainer may
hesitate to tell you, or may have to put into nicer words, but
in most cases you should know:

1. Many of your dogs so-called “issues” are actually caused by you. While many owners realize this right off the
bat, others tend to blame their dog for his “issues”. The reality is your behavior and leadership (or lack thereof)
is more important than your dogs predispositions.  It's not just your dog that needs training, you do too.

2. You have a dog that really isn’t suited to you. If you wanted a easy-going family pet that didn’t require
much work, maybe you should not have gotten a (insert breed here).  For example, a Border Collie is a smart
breed of dog, but they are bred to work and need an active lifestyle. When they don’t get the type of home
they need, things can really go bad.

3. We don’t like the gear you have for your dog. From extendable leashes to plastic baggie holders that are
clunky and dragging on the floor, we often don’t like the gear your dog has. Harnesses, head halters, and
even choke chains are not suited to every dog. Ask your trainer what equipment he or she recommends, and
bring it every time.

4. We can tell when you’re not practicing at home. You may choose to do lessons or classes that meet once a
week. When you come the following class, we expect to see some progress.  We can tell when you’ve put
work in and when you haven’t, so don’t lie.

5. Your dog is not your baby, he is your dog. While we all love our dogs like family, we must make the
distinction and realize they are not humans, and they have different needs. Treating them like "children with
fur" is doing them a disservice.

6. You aren’t exercising your dog enough. When I ask clients how much exercise their dog gets, some will
claim they run with their dog three miles every day, and I don’t believe it. A hyperactive, anxious, wound up
dog is a sure sign the owner is not exercising the dog enough.

7. Your dog is not trained. New clients will sometimes say they’ve already done training and want to join an
advanced or off-leash class. Their dog pulls them in the door and they proceed to show me their dog “sits”
(when they ask three times and hold up a treat) and “gives paw.” We have a bit higher standards for what a
“trained” dog is. Start with formal obedience basics and build upon that, but don’t brag that your dog is
already trained.

8. Don’t wait until your dogs behavior is unmanageable before contacting us! Every trainer has received this
type of phone call, and it makes us want to pull our hair out: “Hi, our 4-year-old dog has just bitten someone
and now we’re desperate for training.” Trainer: “When did these issues begin to surface?” Owner: “When he
was about 6 months old, but now it’s gotten worse.” Start training early, and contact a professional behavior
specialist at the first signs of issues.

9. I am not a magician, and I cannot put a spell on your dog to behave. Dogs don’t generalize well, so they
have to learn that the rules apply in new environments. You come for lessons and your dogs behavior is now
perfect in the training hall. But the point of training is that you take the skills you learned and follow through
by putting in the work at home. So don’t call us and complain the training didn’t work when your dog chews
up a shoe in your house-- there is no magic spell.

10. Stop trying things you see on tv, hear from a friend, or read on the internet! So you watched a tv show
where the trainer used a particular technique with a dog. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily something you
should be applying to your own dog. Follow your trainers recommendations and not just what you see on tv or
read on the internet. If training your dog was as simple as reading “how-to’s”, then we wouldn’t be in business.
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10 Things your
Dog Trainer
Won't Tell You

An Article from Jennifer N. Hack
Chicago Dog Training Examiner dated April
14, 2010