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Old April 12th, 2009, 03:42 PM
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Gail P Gail P is offline
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Something that's been on my mind...

On every dog/pet related board I visit, there are always forums dedicated to training. I'm curious, without asking each person who responds to a question for their full "credentials" so to speak, how do you suppose a new pet owner can decide what information they receive is "good" information that will actually help them? I'm talking about the newbies who have never had a pet before and who really don't know much of anything about anything to do with pets and would be just as likely to accept bad advice as good. From time to time I read things that make me wonder just how much does the responder really know about what they're talking about? For instance, one that comes to mind is a guy who claims to be a trainer (not from this board, it's another one I visit) and yet has posted several messages about trouble with his own dogs. To me, that's a red flag. Sure it's great even for trainers to bounce ideas off of others if they're having some difficulties with a particular case/client, but for it to keep happening (several different issues with different dogs of his own in that case)? I'm not sure I'd want to take that "trainer's" advice if he's having problems with his own dogs. On the internet anyone can claim to be anything, trainers included. Just because you give yourself a title doesn't mean you know what you're talking about. How often do we hear about bad experiences someone had with some so-called "trainer" and all the advice we give is RUN the other way. And that's even from bad experiences in an actual class with some yahoo, not just advice given online. I've had dogs all my life and feel I know enough to take some people's advice with a grain of salt so to speak, or disregard what seems to be bad advice, and know when I need to seek out an expert when I want to train for something specific. What about those who are just starting out and really have no idea of what they're doing and who's advice to take? I wonder if we could compile a list of tips for the newbies seeking advice, to help them learn to sort through what they are told and differentiate between the good advice and the bad...I dunno, it was just a thought
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Old April 12th, 2009, 03:56 PM
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I use common sense...if it sounds like it could work and not cause harm if it doesn't, I will try it...of course, common sense is in short supplies these days it seems

What works for one may not work for others (***cliche alert***)...this trainer guy may have just not come across certain issues and is learning...or he is a mook...again, take what he says and run it through your common sense meter.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 12:25 AM
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This is a great subject Gail, I'm glad you brought it up. I think nowadays the term 'trainer' has become SO incredibly varied with all the different methods/types of training, and some people have started to use that term very loosely, especially over the internet where it can be so easy to lie about ones identity.

With that said, I also think it's really easy to weed out the people who either should not be training or really cannot. I personally think it's great to use any forum as a 'sounding board' - I've used it with regards to a certain aggressive dog that I'm currently working with; as well as getting some awesome suggestions for an Australian Shepherd with horrible recall - so I can't say that I would 'raise my eyebrows' when another trainer is doing the same thing.
In my opinion, no matter how much experience we have training or with different breeds, there will probably always be dogs that come our way that we just can't fix. Whether we're not the right fit for the owner or the dog, I think it's important to be open and honest as a trainer, so that we can personally help the dog in need. That's what it all comes down too - not our ego, or our concern about whether or not someone will think we don't have a clue what we're doing if we ask for help.

With that said, if someone who calls themselves a dog trainer is handing out blatantly horrible advice; I'd really question whether or not they're being truthful about what they do. And like I said, in many cases, it's easy to see whether or not they know what they're talking about. The proof is in the pudding.

I guess I'm also just a bit old school in my thinking - I don't believe a trainer is someone that can teach a dog to 'sit' or 'stay', but rather on top of all those things - have the ability to read a dog and the knowledge of how to safely correct any problems in order to create a well-rounded and happy dog.

To me, that's what dog training is all about.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 08:45 AM
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From what I have found, the best trainers I have met are the ones who never claimed to be trainers. These people may not have a fancy page of credentials, or any at all.....but I garauntee you they have forgotton more about dogs then you or I will ever learn.
It's not about who you know or where you got your degree, it's about what you know.
I personally have met more "qualified trainers" who know literally only what they have been taught in class. This to me is not a person of experience, and in the dog world I think experience is one of the most important things to have under your belt. Anyone can be a dog trainer nowadays, it isn't hard. If you have the cash, you can be a dog trainer. I really don't think it's a matter of "credentials", it's only a matter of experience. That being said, this is the internet...anyone can say they have done 'this or that'. It does not make it true. That's the main problem with the internet. I think anyone USING the internet should have enough common sense to realize this and take advice with caution. Unfortunately, many people do not. They read it and believe it's true. I think the only way we can really combat this is to offer a variety of different methods and to discuss this fully. Perhaps we can all make a concentrated effort to be more thorough in our posts, to help newbies understand not only the method but the dynamics behind the method and why it will work or will not.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 09:32 AM
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Gail P Gail P is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bailey
...so I can't say that I would 'raise my eyebrows' when another trainer is doing the same thing.
In my opinion, no matter how much experience we have training or with different breeds, there will probably always be dogs that come our way that we just can't fix. Whether we're not the right fit for the owner or the dog, I think it's important to be open and honest as a trainer, so that we can personally help the dog in need. That's what it all comes down too - not our ego, or our concern about whether or not someone will think we don't have a clue what we're doing if we ask for help.
True, but with the "trainer" I used as an example I'm talking about his own dogs, not clients. If he can't get his own dogs (multiple dogs, multiple "issues") trained and responding to him, it makes me wonder what he has to offer paying clients.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackdog22 View Post
I really don't think it's a matter of "credentials", it's only a matter of experience.
I agree, which is why I used quotes around the word credentials. I wasn't actually referring to a piece of paper but to what qualifies a person to be offering that particular piece of advice. i.e. why should anyone listen to what person X has to say, what does that person have to offer?

Quote:
They read it and believe it's true. I think the only way we can really combat this is to offer a variety of different methods and to discuss this fully. Perhaps we can all make a concentrated effort to be more thorough in our posts, to help newbies understand not only the method but the dynamics behind the method and why it will work or will not.
I think it would be great if we could somehow get newbies to realize that they don't have to rush out and try whatever they read in the first response they get to a question, just because so-and-so said to. To take the time to think that maybe if several people suggest the same/similar thing then it might have merit and be a good method to try. Also, for newbies to not be afraid to ask why this particular tip might work for their pet, or what experience the poster has with this type of situation. I don't think anyone would be upset to have their suggestions/experience questioned by someone new to the board who has no idea who you are.

Many of the responses I post to training-type questions are in regards to raising puppies, raising multiple puppies, crate training, multiple dog households etc. I am not a dog trainer and I do not claim to be a dog trainer, however I do have a lot of personal experience in those areas. I will often explain this in my response, or sometimes offer a bit of a disclaimer (ie. "I haven't done this myself, but...I know someone who has had great success with this method" or "... but I read a great article about such-and-such that may be of some help" or "...but here is a relevant website that you might like to visit"). I hope that by including these type of statements it will help the OP to understand where I'm coming from and why/how what I've said may be able to help.
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Last edited by Gail P; April 13th, 2009 at 09:40 AM.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 10:11 AM
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LavenderRott LavenderRott is offline
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I am not a dog trainer - nor do I play one on t.v. - but I do have 30 years experience with dogs, my mother was a dog trainer and I have a ton of friends who are dog trainers or have trained and titled dogs in several working venues.

Any time I offer advice, it is from personal experience or from having seen people work through the same or similar issues. That and most of the advice I offer is really simple common sense.

I will admit, however, that there are a couple of things that I firmly believe are true. You can't let a dog run loose at the park and expect it to come if you haven't first established a reliable leashed come first and every dog needs to be crated trained to the extent that they are comfortable in a crate.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
From what I have found, the best trainers I have met are the ones who never claimed to be trainers. These people may not have a fancy page of credentials, or any at all.....but I garauntee you they have forgotton more about dogs then you or I will ever learn.
SOOOOO true. Great point BD.

Quote:
True, but with the "trainer" I used as an example I'm talking about his own dogs, not clients. If he can't get his own dogs (multiple dogs, multiple "issues") trained and responding to him, it makes me wonder what he has to offer paying clients.
Ohhh, I thought you were referring to 'his dogs' as in his 'clients'. If he couldn't get a handle on his own dogs that would totally be a huge warning sign for me too. In my opinion your credientials ARE your dogs.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 01:46 PM
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lUvMyLaB<3 lUvMyLaB<3 is offline
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great post blackdog!!!!!! I agree! Some people don't want to be a trainer, but yet have a wealth of knowladge that could probably put most people that call themselves trainers to shame! I know I have trained all of the dogs I have had, and I have had many show and obidience dogs, and been around dogs and everything dog for a long time. But then someone who trained a dog or two, and got a pretty paper will call themselves a trainer.. Some times people always have to post when giving advice that they are a trainer, and someone might think their advice is better, when in truth the opposite could be true..

Crazy thing is that because all people are different, with different energy, and goals, and all dogs are different that it will be hard to use anyones advice for some issues. Especially online here where someone can say they are a trainer, or a great trainer, but we really cannot see anything that proves it. I guess the best advice is to take everyones advice for what it is, and not what title they put on themselves.

I know the best advice I get is from on here, and I don't think any of the advice I have ever used has come from a trainer. There are so many people on here that have such a wealth of knowladge that is does not matter. I know a few people that are not trainers but know more than any trainer I have ever seen!
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Old April 13th, 2009, 02:36 PM
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Luvmypitgirls Luvmypitgirls is offline
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Firstly, I would hope anyone (newbie) getting a pet for the first time, would be responsible enough to do their research before obtaining a pet, so that they would have some idea as to what they were getting into, yes I know, far too many don't.

I'm not an accredited trainer, but I do have a lot of experience with "bully breeds", I also know that what works for one dog, may not work for another, therefore I consider each and every day a learning experience, because with each dog comes a different senerio, a different set of issues.

I have rehabed many "dogs", I have trained litters of pups to prepare them for their forever homes. However, I rarely offer advice, I will make the odd suggestion but really the only advice I am truly comfortable with giving to someone having serious issues with their dog, is seek out a reputable behaviorist, again research, ask for references...do the homework.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:35 PM
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maneater maneater is offline
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personally with me, i have always had labs, ever since i was a child. Then i got my own lab so training her was easy for me. After she passed away i decided that their was an empty spot and decided to get another dog. Well, planning to get another lab, i fell in love with a chihuahua. I was never ever thinking of getting a small dog, and training her was totally different then the labs. I ended up enrolling us in some behavour training classes. I tried reading up online, and all the different thing to do and not do with chihuahuas. They are very smart dogs and yet they are very stuborne. I did ask for advice from other people on different boards but in the end one on one training with a professional is what it came down to. I was even told by some one who "trained dogs" that their was no point in training a chi becuse when they are bad you can just pick them up and put them in a crate or something... that didn't fly with me. so again, go with your gut.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maneater View Post
I was even told by some one who "trained dogs" that their was no point in training a chi becuse when they are bad you can just pick them up and put them in a crate or something... that didn't fly with me. so again, go with your gut.
Wow, Maneater! I think that's the perfect example of the kind of trainers that need to be weeded out. Good thing you didn't listen to them! Holding and cradling a dog during a behavior that you don't want to continue is one of the main ways that a dog views as 'rewarding'. Good for you for following your gut on that one.

Quote:
having serious issues with their dog, is seek out a reputable behaviorist, again research, ask for references...do the homework.
Amen to that!
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