Ethical Training

It’s time for a trainer rant. As many of you know I work at a vet clinic a couple days a week. In the past couple of weeks I have had multiple owners tell me about their dog’s behavior (mostly leash reactivity towards other dogs), that they had worked extensively with other trainers (I shall not mention), and after a lot of time, money, and no improvement these trainers told them “This is how your dog will always be.” For lack of a better way to say it, that is crap. Each of these owners had given up hope until I told them “Umm, no I can actually help with that and if I can’t I know another trainer that can.”
Why does this irritate me so much? Whenever a dog owner calls me asking for help I have a responsibility as an ethical trainer to say one of two statements.
One: Yes, I can help with that. Two: No, I cannot help with that but let me refer you to someone that can.
I know where my current knowledge and abilities are and will take on cases that I can help the client. I won’t turn away a client because the dog cannot be fixed but because I know of some trainers that have more skill in that area. I know when a behavior is out of my realm of work and will refer owners to another trusted trainer. Why? Because I am not here to take the business or make the money and then say “actually the dog can’t be fixed, because I don’t know how not because the dog is genuinely unfix-able.” That is what these trainers are saying, and instead of referring to another trainer, like they should, they let the owners continue suffer with their dog’s behavior.
Now, I am not saying that with training these dogs can magically become the perfect dog that loves everyone and every other dog. Giving owners proper expectations of their dog’s behavior and management is half the battle the other half being fixing the issue as best possible. What I am saying, is that if you are an owner that has been told your dog will always be like this, please continue to reach out to other trainers. If you need help on where to start or who to contact, contact myself. If its something I can help with I will, if not I will steer you toward some ethical and honest trainers.
To current and future clients: I will do everything in my training knowledge and power to help you, even if that means referring you to another more qualified trainer before we even start training. I want you and your dog to find the best possible match even if that is not me. Please don’t ever give up on your dog. Keep searching for the right trainer, for new methods, for new knowledge.

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