What's the Difference?
What do you do if you have a dog who needs to learn some manners, has a few behaviors you’re not pleased with, is scared to leave the house, or maybe you just want to try a new sport or skill with your canine companion? Of course, you call a dog trainer! But, what kind of dog trainer do you enlist? All dog trainers are not created equal and it’s important to find the right one for your job. Just as you wouldn’t use a screwdriver to hammer a nail, you won’t fair well if your dog trainer isn’t knowledgeable and experienced in the areas that you and your dog need assistance.
There are oodles of dog trainers to choose from with a variety of skills and methods. It’s vital to you and your pup’s success to find a reward-based trainer that specializes in the area(s) you need addressed. Most dog trainers will work with families, but it takes more than dog “know how” to successfully equip a family in training their dogs and build trust between each family member. It’s ironic to me that many in my field will publicly declare their dislike for kids, but grit their teeth and try to direct families with children in molding a safe and enjoyable family pet. It’s not uncommon to see and hear comments about how much dog people love their dogs but struggle with people. Countless dog trainers may be adept at training dogs, but lack the skills and empathy when it comes to caring for and communicating with the human handlers at the other end of the leash.
Training a dog takes time and patience. Yet, there is nothing more defeating than hiring a professional to guide you, then being overwhelmed with time consuming training plans and pages of homework and instruction. Yes, you will need to put time and effort into training your family pet, but life happens. The professionals you’re paying need to understand that. It’s our job to relay realistic expectations and break things down into obtainable goals within your lifestyle. If we can’t, then we should have referral resources to offer you. For instance, if you call me with an interest in competition agility, I’ll refer you to two or three local trainers who have a stronger agility background. I would not take your money and pretend I know more than the basics of agility from my experience with just my own dogs. This should be no different when it comes to hiring a trainer for your family dog.
If your family, friends, or acquaintances – especially those with children or plans to bring children into the home - need to enlist the support of a Professional Dog Trainer, then contacting a Licensed Family Paws Parent Educator guarantees not only a knowledgeable dog trainer, but also one well versed in understanding families and children. We spend countless hours and dollars learning, testing and being mentored in teaching people, child development and behavior, and the impact they all have on each other. Too often, dog trainers overlook the fact that family dynamics and routines are constantly changing, and those fluctuations affect family pets and their behavior. Licensed Family Paws Parent Educators are experts in family dog dynamics and understand that, “Children grow and dogs age. We can guide you through every stage.” -Jennifer Shryock.
I receive dozens of calls from exasperated parents and pet owners who have been told by well-meaning, animal loving dog trainers that they should rehome their beloved furry family member for various unnecessary reasons. Things like: they don’t have the time to walk their dogs daily or exercise them for hours; they don’t spend exorbitant amounts of money on specialty foods and care; they’re having a baby or growing their family; they won’t commit most of their time and energy to the dog, and numerous other unsubstantial reasons. Many times, those families just need an understanding ear and flexible plan with an experienced family dog trainer to coach them through the season they’re in with their beloved dogs and family. Sometimes, rehoming does need to be considered, but there are often more obtainable solutions to helping dogs and families safely and successfully navigate the sea of life in the same boat together.
In the Kansas City area, let Smartypaws guide your family’s dog training journey. We’re more than dog training. We’re SMART family training! Learn more about our family dog training services here.