Obviously he loved his dog. But the dog’s behavior had changed recently and he didn’t know why.
The vet said there was no medical reason for the change.
My new friend described the history of his dog’s behavior and interactions with others in the family. And then he asked me, “What do you think I should do?”
Of course I suggested he hire an experienced, compassionate, positive dog trainer to help him help his dog. And luckily, just such a person with years of experience helping stressed shelter dogs become more adoptable worked near his house. I offered to write her name down so he could look up her website when he got home.
Nope. He wasn’t interested at all.
Why do so many people resist hiring dog trainers to help them?
And can I argue them out of their resistance? Probably not. But I have to try.
Reasons Not to Hire a Dog Trainer
Here are a few excuses I’ve heard from people who resist hiring a dog trainer.
If you’re struggling to make ends meet in a tough economy, I understand. Head to the library and look for books by Patricia McConnell, Pat Miller, Ian Dunbar, Jean Donaldson, Suzanne Clothier, Karen Pryor, Nicole Wilde, Debbie Jacobs, or Emma Parsons.
But if you have more money then you need and then some, ask yourself how expensive an unhappy, bored, or untrained dog can be.
I Can Do It Myself
Oh yeah? Then why haven’t you?
Listen, I’m a DIY girl myself. But I came up with 7 Reason to Hire a Trainer in a DIY World. You might want to check it out.
My Dog Is Too Crazy
Okay, your dog is beyond help? But dogs raised and tormented by dog fighters can become trusted family members?
Makes me think you don’t know how powerful love and positive training can be.
Don’t Know Any Good Trainers
I guess you’ve never heard of a little thing called the internet, huh? The Association of Pet Dog Trainers has pages of resources, including a discussion of why trainers who claim you need to dominate your dog are wrong.
I knew of Honey’s trainer from his work for a service dog organization. But I confirmed his credentials as a trainer when I used the search tool at the Karen Pryor clicker training site.
Don’t Have Time
Really? But you have time to replace torn up furniture, clean up potty “accidents,” or in the worst scenario, take your kid to the emergency room?
When You Resist Hiring a Dog Trainer
As I watched his eyes glaze over, I realized my acquaintance didn’t really want to help his dog. He just wanted to complain and express his puzzlement.
He’ll have to pay the price by cleaning up after his dog’s behavior issues. I don’t think he’s the kind of person who would ever get rid of his dog over this.
But I keep thinking of that poor dog.
Changing his behavior may be his way of showing discomfort or stress. And why wouldn’t someone want to help his dog feel better?
There’s no shame in asking for help. And even wonderful people who work very hard to manage their dog’s issues on their own sometimes reach out for other opinions and help.
Maybe, someday, this man will too. Until then, I’ll be thinking of his dog.
Thanks for letting me share my frustrations. My first reaction, to shake some sense into this person, wouldn’t have been good for either of us.
Your Turn: Are you strong enough to resist giving unsolicited advice? Any tips for dealing with someone who doesn’t really want to solve their problem?