Because so many people are willing to spend money on training their pets, dog training has become a very popular career path. A dog trainer can provide anything from basic obedience training to specialized training for activities including law enforcement, search and rescue, hunting, therapy, protection, and more.
Dog trainers, however, really train people, not dogs. And how successful that dog training is depends on how dog owners comply — or don’t — with the program. Dog trainers must provide extensive training to owners so they can apply the lessons they learned in obedience classes to training their pets. But the owners have to follow through or it’s a total waste of money.
You might think you’re doing a great job of taking care of your canine — until you hire a dog trainer. Keep reading to discover what your dog trainer is secretly judging you for so you can measure up — and get the most you possibly can out of your sessions.
1. You’re not putting out enough effort
Your trainer is there to help you modify your dog’s behavior, not do it for you. If he or see sees that you’re not putting in the time to ensure the training sticks, he or she will silently be judging. Wouldn’t you judge someone you were trying to teach something if they didn’t practice doing it? Daily training is a must if you want your dog to learn how to behave — put in the effort and you’ll be thrilled with the results.
Next: It’s all about the timing
2. You have poor timing
Timing is everything, they say — and it applies to dog training, too. Your trainer will judge you if your timing is off, for real. For example, if you’re using a clicker and a treat to reward your dog for good behavior, make sure you click the clicker right right when he or she is doing something good, like obeying your sit command. It’s crucial your dog knows what he or she is being rewarded for, so it’s super important to click at exactly the right moment during the good behavior.
Next: Rewarding bad behavior
3. You reward incorrect behavior
If your dog is still demanding things from you — like giving him or her food or throwing the ball —even though you’re taking training classes, chances are you’re rewarding the wrong behavior. If you let the dog bark at you then give him what he or she wants, you’re practically asking him or her to continue displaying that behavior. Hold steady and don’t give into your dog’s demands — your trainer will not like it, not one bit.
Next: The absolute worst thing you can do in a dog trainer’s eyes
4. You’re inconsistent with your dog
Consistency is a basic tenet of dog training. If your dog’s bad behavior bothers you sometimes but not others, you will seriously confuse him or her by not being consistent about that behavior. For instance, if your dog jumps up on you a lot and you let him do it sometimes and not others, you’re sending a mixed message. Keep it simple and your dog will get it — as long as you’re consistent.
Next: Just be kind
5. You intimidate your dog
Intimidating your dog through the threat of physical punishment is never OK. First of all, it’s just cruel. Second, it’s not an effective way for him or her to learn because the punishment comes after the behavior, which dogs simply don’t understand, according to TheDogTrainingSecret.com. Punishment will not get you the results you want but it will get you some judgment from your dog trainer.
Next: Kids and dogs — don’t leave them alone.
6. You don’t supervise when your dog plays with children
Your dog trainer will judge you if you don’t supervise your animal when he or she is around children. Even if your dog is very well trained, he or she could be skittish around kids — often animals feel provoked or threatened by them, according to the website CertaPet. Your dog trainer is right for judging you if you do this — keep pets and kids safe by chaperoning them during playtime.
Next: Brush up
7. You don’t take care of your dog’s teeth
Your dog’s oral hygiene is important to his or her overall health. Your trainer knows that, and he or she is likely judging you if you’re letting the plaque build up. Do yourself — and your dog — a favor and brush those teeth every day. Use a fingertip brush or other pet teeth-cleaning product — and make sure you make it a regular routine.
Next: Just fix it already
8. You didn’t spay or neuter your dog
There are enough unwanted puppies and dogs in the world — and not spaying or neutering your dog might lead to adding to that number, which isn’t a good thing. Your dog trainer will judge you for not taking care of this issue. Spay or neuter your dog and keep unwanted puppies from going to a shelter.
Next: Hurt feelings
9. You assume your dog doesn’t have feelings
According to CertaPet, one of the most important things you can do as a dog owner is realize and acknowledge the fact that your dog has feelings. Dog trainers will agree, because scientists have proved that dogs’ brains work like humans’ — in fact, a dog can experience the same emotions as humans on a 2.5-year-old level. Treat your dog like he or she doesn’t feel and your trainer will judge you for it.
Next: Consistency counts
10. You don’t follow a routine
Stop feeding your dog at odd times, walking him or her at different times, and doing anything else intermittently. Unlike many humans, dogs love routine, according to CertaPet. And if you set up a predictable routine for your canine, it will reduce stress for both of you. Don’t expect your dog to go with the flow — you’ll be setting you both up for failure. Plus, your dog trainer will be judging you for it.
Next: Too much travel
11. You don’t consider how much you travel
Dog trainers know that only consistent training helps pets behave beautifully. If you travel a lot and you’re never around, it will be especially difficult for you to train your dog and your dog trainer will silently judge you. Before you invest the time and money in a dog trainer, make sure you’re around enough to complete the training.
Next: No pain no gain
12. You don’t exercise your dog enough
Dog trainers are huge advocates of giving dogs plenty of exercise — if you don’t exercise your fur baby, your trainer will be judging. In addition, if you don’t give your pet regular exercise he or she might be destructive or super excitable because of all that excess energy. Do the right thing and give your dog at least 30 minutes of exercise twice a day — or as close to that as you can get.
Next: Pick up that poo
13. You don’t pick up your dog’s poo
Every dog trainer knows that you have to pick up after your dog. Not doing it is rude — and unsanitary. If you and your trainer are at a park and you don’t do it, just wait for the serious judgment your trainer will throw your way. It’s so easy to pick up after Fido — just keep a roll of poop bags on your dog leash and you’ll always be at the ready.
Next: Leash laws
14. You don’t keep your dog on a leash
No matter how well trained your dog is, he or she should always be on a leash outside, according to CertaPet. In fact, it’s a law. This law not only protects your dog, but you as well, since ultimately, you’re responsible for what your dog does. Listen to your dog trainer when he or she tells you to always use a leash, lest you be judged harshly.
Next: Crate basics
15. You refuse to use a crate
You might not like the idea of crate training, but chances are your dog trainer does. When you use a crate correctly, it can make your dog feel like he or she has a safe place to just … be. Because your dog will likely be in crate at some time — whether for travel or grooming or boarding purposes — it’s a good idea to get him or her used to it early. Your dog trainer knows this and will definitely judge you if you fight it.
Next: Just let it go
16. You emphasize your dog’s mistakes
Of course your dog is going to make mistakes — you and your trainer know it. If you can’t let those mistakes go, your trainer might get judgy. Instead of emphasizing your dog’s bad behavior, make the focus about his or her good behavior — and reinforce that behavior.
Next: You have no one to blame but yourself.
17. You blame the dog for things
It is up to you to train your dog. Your dog trainer can help, but you have to eventually take the reins. If something goes wrong, don’t blame your dog — or your trainer will surely judge you. Blaming your dog for things is almost like blaming a newborn for crying — it’s irrational and it doesn’t help anything. Take responsibility for your dog’s training, and when something goes wrong, don’t place blame, just make it right.
Read more: 18 of the Easiest Dog Breeds to Train
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