I’m about to get real so buckle up. How do you know if I am the right trainer for you? Let me give you some insight.
So, here goes... I am NOT the trainer for you if...
You are after competition obedience or sport work...
As much as I love dog sport/competition obedience; these are NOT my forte! I know what I’m good at and as much as I’d love to delve into and offer everything, there is only one of me and I do have a niche. Otherwise there are a bunch of sport clubs and obedience trainers who are fantastic at what they do within that specialty.
At this stage in my business I like to focus on overcoming aggression & reactivity, socialization & off leash reliability (with the addition of leash manners, overcoming reactivity and all the other bits and pieces that come with training a dog in a Holistic manner). It's what most of my clients come to me for and what I enjoy most.
I am about realistic, real world dog training and ensuring your dog is safe to join you in life’s adventures – going for a walk without it being an anxiety ridden chore, walking your dog safely off-leash and being a responsible owner when doing so, having your dog come to a café or pub with you, having your dog able to live peacefully at home with you and most importantly – ensuring your dog is fulfilled to the best standard he/she individually can be, and that YOU, the owner, trust and have confidence in your dog, your training and your relationship to be able to do this.
You want help NOW...
Short and sweet – I have a wait period - this varies from 4-6 weeks depending on the time of year for me to meet with you for an evaluation, and normally there will be a week or 2 wait before we start a program so please put aside about a month on average to be able to begin.
You want a quick fix or a few random, one-off sessions...
I do offer one-off Private sessions, but I don't love doing them. Reason being; I prefer full programs – why? One-off sessions don’t get the best results possible for what I do. Not only do I not want to attract people who want a problem fixed within a few sessions, but I don’t want to commit my time and energy to someone who is going to drop off the face of the earth after a session or 2 because I invest in every dog I work with and I want to see them succeed! Realistically, the sorts of problems I like to deal with most take time and effort to overcome and they will not magically disappear with 1 session.
You don’t want to put in the work and expect me to fix the problems for you...
This is a big one. Put it this way – if you: put in the work, do your homework, keep in contact regularly, communicate with me what is working and what’s not, answer my questions – ask ME questions whenever you have them, travel to and attend group classes often, I will continue to help in any way I possibly can for however long I need to. I will go out of my way to help people that I can see are really trying.
But I will not chase you endlessly if you are not pulling your weight. I will gently push you to continue but at the end of the day I can’t make you do anything. If you aren’t able to commit – I am not able to help you. I cannot train your dog for you – I want to train YOU to be able to train your dog. I have a lot of experience with how a program works best for everyone involved so please listen to what I recommend and do the hard work.
I am not a trainer who offers board & train options, but I can recommend some that do.
I also offer free extra sessions if needed and I want to keep it this way - therefore I must implement some rules with this to ensure I'm not working for free whenever someone wants a session from me. Do the work, make progress, and I'll be there again to take the next step.
You wouldn’t expect a personal trainer to lose weight or build muscle for you right? It is up to you to change your diet, exercise often, ask questions and communicate to the trainer what is working well for you individually and what isn’t – otherwise you are never going to succeed. They might message you a few times to keep you accountable, but they won't chase you down, you must have your own drive to improve your situation.
You aren’t open minded when it comes to training tools and methods...
If you’re looking for a trainer who only uses food, a “force free” a “positive only” or whatever label you may use – I’m not it.
I will ask you to open your mind and change the way you live with your dog - the way you feed them, sometimes what you feed them, the routines they have and the tools you use to communicate.
I want to use the whole spectrum of motivation – positive and negative. I want to ensure the positive reinforcement we give is valued, and that the pressure we apply is relevant. I want to be positive where I can be but negative if I have to be for the long term goals of the dog.
I will use anything necessary that is fair for the dog to graduate them to the end goal of: more freedom and a better life. Whether that involves food, slip leashes, toys, prong collars, crates, play, work or e-collars, I’m down for that as long as the handler uses them correctly and uses them with me.
Guess what – I am a big fan of e-collars as part of a full program, looking at the whole dog – their motivations, their relationship with their owner, their fulfillment, particularly when it comes to off-leash work and socialization and layering e-collar over these things to create the most reliable training in an unpredictable world that dishes out many a jump scare. This is why I use them often. I love learning about gentle and fair e-collar work, I love the results they give for average dog owners for these particular issues and therefore the FREEDOM they give to the dogs I work with. There’s not much more to it than that they take training to a new level and I am only really interested in that level for pet dogs and owners.
You want to avoid life’s triggers or keep your dog leashed forever...
I’m not about it. I’m about pushing the dog and the owner gently, as quickly as they can manage, towards having a more free life together in the long run. I’m not about running the other way when you see a distraction, I’m not about only walking your dog at off-peak times or keeping your dog at home/in the yard instead of allowing them the freedom that training can provide.
Training can be stressful - any type of growth is, but with trial and error you can find what works best for you and your dog and move forward at your own pace.
It's no secret I am a big advocate for off-leash freedom for a dog and I always want to work towards that goal. That doesn’t mean you have to take them to dog parks and dog beaches, but being able to hike on your own with your dog and safely allowing them off-leash no matter what may pop up is next level.
You aren’t willing to invest in your dog, both with your TIME and with your money...
You must be in it for the long haul. Sometimes serious issues can take time to overcome and if you’re not willing to work at it ongoing, and want a “end date” to your training, I’m not the trainer for you. The way you live with your dog, the boundaries you have for them, the fulfillment you give them, the structure they have, your relationship with them is all training. Training is a lifestyle and it never truly ‘ends’ – so if you’re only wanting to put a few weeks or months into training and then expect a perfect dog at the end, I’m not for you – It’s an unrealistic expectation and we aren’t here to make dogs robots.
The amount of time, effort, online resources, study, commitment and support I give clients can’t be given for free. If you want this amount of support, you have to pay for it, and if you put the work in I promise I will stick by you.
The most fulfilling thing for me is working with committed, open minded, driven dog handlers who want the best and the most freedom for their dog. The ones that see the end goal and work for it. The ones who are happy to switch lanes if something isn’t working as it should. Seeing their results is something else.