Thursday, August 20, 2015

If Jon Snow were a dog trainer, he'd still know nothing

"Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A personal favorite quote of mine, so incredibly pertinent for dog trainers.

Dog training is a vastly unregulated industry, mostly because of the infinitely complex logistics of doing so, and lack of resources through the appropriate agencies which regulate other fields. This allows for a disparity in paid dog trainers wider than the Grand Canyon. From an average owner reading a few books, taking a few classes, and hanging out their shingle as a professional with less dogs trained under their belt than they have fingers, to international level competitors admired the world over, the kind other professionals pay hundreds to thousands of dollars to work with, and everything in between.

To the trainer seeking dog owners of the world: Who does your potential trainer admire? Whose books do they read? Whose seminars do they attend? What do they aspire to achieve with their own dogs that they have not yet? Do not take your trainer's passion to learn as a sign that they are less capable, in fact, truly open minded trainers seek out even more talented and accomplished trainers to build their repertoire, and they do so regularly. The very finest trainers have not only pet owners as clients- but other dog trainers.

To my fellow dog trainers of the world, be you fresh and new sweet summer children, or grizzled veterans, leashes in hand while I was still playing with my She-Ra dolls: Who do you learn from? Are you still learning? Are you seeking out the company of other trainers, to share ideas with, to be your series of checks and balances when training in solitude prevents you from seeing your own bad habits? Are you still attempting brand new things with your own dogs?

The beauty of dog training, to me, has always been the never ending learning process. You may train dogs your entire life and have more to learn. The mind is a sponge, and it never dries up when you keep running it under fresh water.

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