Trainer in training

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by hudson, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. hudson New Member

    Hi, everybody. I'm a new member. I'm studying hard to make the move over to dog training as a career, and this place is proving very useful!

    I have two Boxers of my own, Trooper Thorn and BeBop, age 7 & 6, respectively. They're fantastic dogs; the trouble times are years behind us. I'm taking them through classes to teach them how to be in movies (hit their mark, act like they're paying attention to an actor while they're really taking cues from me, etc.) I couldn't be prouder of them with how well they're doing. They recently both just got their CGCs, too.

    I volunteer with Boxer Rescue here in L.A., and have done some work with The Rescue Train group, but I'm looking to find some other rescue organizations I can help out and get more practice with a wide variety of breeds.

    I've always been good with dogs, but once I decided that I wanted to do it for a career, I've been finding out just how much I don't know! Purely positive reinforcement is an endlessly rewarding journey, and I'm working hard to leave old bad habits behind. (I've always been able to give a command in a businesslike voice that dogs respond to even when they won't listen to their owners, and to catch and hold a dog's attention with a snap. But there's very little room for that with pure positive reinforcement - I don't want to "command" dogs, I want to help them learn and come to their own decisions!)

    Well, I'll be around. This looks like a great community. Thanks, everybody.

  2. Jean Cote Administrator

    Wow! Congratulations!!! There has been several members in the past who after training their dogs through this website, have embarked on their own careers as dog trainers. I salute you and all of them who have chosen this path. :dogsmile:

    You may want to call your local shelter and ask them if you can volunteer to take care of the dogs. Tell them that you want to become a dog trainer and that you would like to spend time around various types of dogs. Usually they should let you since they don't have to pay you. :dogsmile:
  3. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    A dominant but controlled nature is actually very important for a successful dog trainer.

    In the words of horse trainer Pat Parelli, there's three types of trainers--the carrot stick type who coo and beg the animal to do what they want, the middle-of-the-road trainer who will ask the animal to and then help direct him in a positive way, and the aggressive trainer who tries to force the animal to do what you want. The middle-of-the-road trainer with both dogs and horses can enjoy a wonderful partnership with the animal but still be in charge. Animals with these kinds of trainers are highly unlikely to dominate their owners and become dangerous. So, the idea behind positive reinforcement is not necessarily to avoid "COMMANDS" but rather to have a healthy, happy relationship with your dog--resulting in a dog who pays attention and listens, but is very willing to do it, enjoys it, and works very much for himself, not just people. An animal works best when they work for themselves. Therefore, don't try to get rid of your dominant nature--just channel it in the right ways. I train using only positive methods, but if I were the "carrot-stick" trainer, I wouldn't get anywhere even using those methods. A person who projects an alpha attitude is respectable in an animal's eyes, and even more so when that person respects the animal as well.

    Dog training as a career is incredibly rewarding. I've considered it myself but I'm still not entirely sure what I want to do with my life--currently in vet school. If anything, training horses and animals will be a side job. I've had a few canine clients this year and was very excited about it. ^^

    Boxers are really fun dogs. They are natural born clowns and quite entertaining. My boyfriend has a 10-month-old, and my uncle used to breed them. Such silly pups. :doghappy: You would probably enjoy the monthly challenges quite a bit. Surf the lounge and keep us updated with your progress. Welcome to the Academy, and enjoy the site! Glad to have you. :)
  4. hudson New Member

    Thanks for the encouragement. I was starting to wonder if the talents that made me a good dog handler would be useless in making me a good dog trainer. Glad to know they won't go totally to waste.

    Of course, training the owners is very different from training their dogs, as I'm finding out with my first "clients." I'm doing free training lessons for friends of my wife who have a 10 month old Retriever/Pit mix. The dog is an absolute joy to train - smart as a whip, food motivated, eager to please, fearless, playful. She's picked up "sit", "down," "come," "leave it," and "give," inside of five minutes each (over a couple of sessions). But getting the owners to practice in-between classes? Oh, my head. What's the positive reinforcement method for getting owners to understand that if they want a trained dog, they need to train her? I'm understanding why they say "Dog training is people training."
  5. snooks Experienced Member

    What a great thing to be able to do. Congratulations and I commend you on putting in the work and time to become a trainer and working with rescue. Are you going for a CPDT or similar in LA?

    My trainer also had to come to grips with training the people. It's a pretty interesting process as you are finding out. :dogtongue2: Welcome.
  6. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Most successful trainers project a confident attitude. Recently I was helping my friend with her 2-yr-old(now 3) filly. She was trained under saddle, but very green--meaning pretty inexperienced. She's extremely dominant, and my friend is the carrot-stick type. Her filly pushes her around a lot, but she doesn't seem to notice. She has issues getting her to listen under saddle because she doesn't know how to work with her. The horse is in charge while Morgan is a passenger, basically excess baggage in the saddle. If I get on her, I can get her do almost anything--no harm, pain, or even harsh words needed. When I first got on her, she wasn't used to not getting her way, and she did try to pitch me the first few times I rode her. With only a few sessions, she's a very respectable, responsive horse both on the ground and in the saddle---for me. But Morgan's still adjusting to being in charge. The same applies to dominant dogs--if you don't project a confident attitude, the dog isn't going to respect you. Animals look for confident leaders, and if that's you, then great! You're on the right path.

    Ugh, I feel your pain. My last client was an 8-month-old Border Collie with a severe herding problem. My first day with her I spent a little over an hour(broken up with lots of play) and she learned sit, down, stay, and come. Wonderfully. She went back to her owners after a little over a month, and her herding had been completely curbed at my house with positive training--she was great at the park, at Petsmart, at home, anywhere. But, I expected a little regression once she went home. I explained to them exactly what to do, showed them how great she was doing with everything, and they were very pleased. Last month I was told she's back to herding with a vengeance--they quit working with her on it. But, they're trying to teach other things...:dogdry: Guess the herding is less important. It's much easier to be patient with the dogs than with the owners. They respond so much better. Lol! ;)
  7. ozjen Well-Known Member

    [. What's the positive reinforcement method for getting owners to understand that if they want a trained dog, they need to train her? I'm understanding why they say "Dog training is people training."[/QUOTE]

    Welcome Hudson, sounds like we share a common dream, except it sounds like you are starting to live yours, good on ya!
    A rolled up newspaper makes a great training tool:dogohmy:
    Use it to beat some sense into those silly people that think :msniwonder:that they can have the perfect dog without putting in the time and effort. My pet hate :dogangry:is when people ask me how to solve a particular problem with their dog and then when I give them a way they say that they haven't got time to teach them. Grrr, why have a dog if they can't even spare the time to make it a good doggie citizen :dogtongue: instead they want an instant cure.
  8. snooks Experienced Member

    Ozjen you're on my wavelength. If my neighbors that asked for advice spent half the time training as they do complaining the issue would be solved. So many want a pill or instafix which is why aversive training seems so effective at first. Then fear issues and potty regressions and training avoidance all result from endless punishment. Positive works better and imprints better and does no harm in its implementation. It may seem to take longer because the dog is willingly thinking not freezing in fear. Joyful compliance I'll take any day.

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