Thursday, December 19, 2013

You're Hired!

I write this post because a few things have come up in some online groups I'm on regarding dog training and online advice/help.  As many of you follow this blog you notice I give out tips and advice.  If you follow my Facebook business page you'll see I post many articles, tips, advice and even a "Free Advice Friday" piece where I offer up free advice on certain Fridays at a certain hour for those with questions.  However, I want to clear up a few things. ...

First and foremost, if you are having challenges with your dog regarding training and/or behavior you should never try to solve it all on your own via advice online or even a book.  Nothing is more helpful and invaluable than hiring a qualified, educated and trained professional to come help you*.  This especially holds true if you have any behavior challenges with your dog -- regardless of age, puppies and dogs can be trained at any age!

In today's world everything is online. Everything. I'm sure that the medical community is one of the worst for things like this.  People don't want to go see a doctor unless they have to.  So, hey why not just Google your symptoms and see what that brings up?!  Well, that can be dangerous, if not sometimes deadly.  Sadly, the same can hold true for dog training.  Sure, you may just have a dog that barks out the window at passers-by, so you think -- but we just have a barking problem, we can find info on how to solve that online or from a book or ...  However, what you don't realize is that often small things that seem like "just a (fill in the blank) problem" are symptoms of a much larger problem that needs to be addressed by a professional.  

Also, don't assume that because your friendly neighbor has successfully trained his dog, or maybe multiple dogs, that he's a qualified trainer or behavior expert.  The truth is that anyone can train a dog but it doesn't immediately make them knowledgeable about behavior, training and problem solving.  If your neighbor is a qualified and educated dog trainer and/or behavior consultant then great! But if not, be sure you have asked the right questions before taking his advice.  

Back to online advice ...  this may seem like a bit of a hypocritical post from me since I do give out online advice. However, I can tell from the info given when a person needs a professional to step in.  I often and frequently tell people -- You really need to get someone to come into your home and help you out*.  I know when this needs to happen.  Yes, I'll give advice on potty training, some barking issues but when more info is given and I realize that there is probably a bigger issue I will always, always tell them they need a professional to help them.  And if the person is near me I'll offer to come in, if not I'll try to help them find a qualified professional to help them.  Click here for an excellent post on the who-what-when of hiring a dog trainer or behavior consultant.

Sadly I've had many times where someone, at least to me, obviously needs me to come in and yet I never get that call back.  I know that hiring a trainer may be hard. It may be a financial issue or a scheduling issue or just a "I can do this myself" type issue.  However, hiring someone to help you and sticking to the advice and homework given will be less stress in all those areas in the long run.  It's worth the expense, scheduling and stress when you do it and hire the right person to help you with your dog.

Take home message: Don't try to train  your dog without the help of a professional.  Often this can lead to more problems, and it is so worth it to hire someone that is qualified and well-educated in dog behavior.  There are a wealth of dog trainers to choose from; if you need help finding one let me know where you live and I can help you.  If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Texas area let me know and I'll gladly help!

*Click here for an excellent post on the who-what-when of hiring a dog trainer or behavior consultant.
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