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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Trainers who don't know their limitations

Years ago when I was active duty Air Force, I volunteered to serve as a tax preparer for my unit. One of my unit members came in with a particularly difficult tax issue. I had to suspend  tax preparation and take a day to research her issue further. 
I was very concerned that this person would loose faith in me as her tax preparer because I didn't know the answer to her issue right on the spot.   

But something different happened. Not only did this person thank me profusely for taking the time to research her issue,  but she also referred several other people to me.  Eventually, I was getting a lot of hard cases that required further research.  Then I started getting requests from people in other units. I even had a couple of Army people (from another installation) contact me about doing their taxes. So it seemed that admitting my limitations increased people's faith in my abilities. 

There are some dog trainers who fear looking unprofessional as well. But some of them won't say, "Let me ask my mentor about this" or "This is beyond my abilities; let me refer you to someone more experienced."   They continue because they don't want to appear unprofessional.  Some of them go on internet chat sites and ask for help from online strangers. 

Then there are those dog trainers who "don't know what they don't know". They have no idea that a case is beyond their level of expertise and they simply continue doing the wrong thing. 

Sadly, just like in any profession, there are those whose egos won't let them see that someone else should take over.  If their technique isn't working, they blame the dog or the dog's guardian.  
In my last post on this subject, I poked fun at trainers who won't admit to their limitations. But sadly there are trainers like this who have literally killed dogs - directly or indirectly.   There are trainers who use punishment so harsh that it results in the death of a dog.  Or there are trainers who are so severe that the poor dog feels he/she has no choice to bite in self defense. Dog who bite are often put to sleep. 

So how will you know if your trainer is experienced enough to handle your dog's issue? 
Ask the trainer directly. "how many cases like mine have you dealt with" "what did you do for those dogs", etc.. 
Observe the trainer closely. If the trainer is doing the same thing over and over again and the dog is not responding, it's time to find a new trainer. Or worse, if a trainer is doing the same thing with more intensity each time, then it's time to run to anther trainer. 

See more on hiring a trainer here 

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