Monday, October 28, 2013

We came, we saw, we weren't impressed.

Saturday we met with that guy that I mentioned earlier for training. I'm not going to go into huge amounts of detail, just because I don't want to defame someone's character on this public platform, but, needless to say we probably won't be going back.

One really important thing I want to bring up, whether you are seeking a trainer, a vet, a farrier, a plumber - whatever it may be that you are seeking professional help, if that professional talks bad of other companies and actually name drops, you need to run away! One of my first farrier experiences was a farrier [horseshoer btw] who would talk trash about all of the other farriers and even veterinarians in the area. Not only is that kind of illegal, it just makes you look really bad.

I tried to show this trainer a video, to show what we do normally, and he barely looked at it, he also went so far as to judge Ryan. Ryan is a level three helper, according to Pet Village "A level 3 is the highest certification you can receive and you can work competitions on the National and International level." I am pretty sure I did not tell this guy that Jennifer is a Schutzhund judge, and I KNOW I didn't mention anything about Ryan's credibility as a helper. This is a giant red flag to me because I asked him to watch the dog and what we were doing, not critique it.

We never did any heeling, and working on transports was a large part of why I wanted to be there.

He did get Seppel to bark, and he did try to 'calm' him by petting him while he had a hold of the bite sleeve. It worked and Sepp's tail was wagging and he relaxed. I did like his decoy work, he's fast moving and exciting so my dog was very interested and was barking immediately.

Mostly my reason for making this post is that I think it's very important to try new things, but also to be aware that anyone can claim they are a trainer. I trained with this guy in 2010 when I first got introduced to the sport, which was actually by him. He may have been at it since 2009, but ultimately he has only been in this sport for a few years, and as far as I know only one dog is titled with a BH. While I do feel like he knows quite a bit, I do not feel he has the level of experience that Ryan and Jennifer have, and I felt that if I were to train with him we would be doing things completely different from what we do in Salem which I fear would completely confuse my dog.

What I had pictured for this experience was that I would pay for his time, and his decoy experience to work on transports and hold & bark with Seppel. Because I am paying him I expected him to want to see what we were already doing, and would want to do the things I would want to do. I mean, he could do it in his own way, but I thought we would be working on barking and transports.

The other thing is that Ryan was completely supportive of us seeing this guy. He was all for us having an opportunity to train with someone in-between sessions there because it was close by. If I weren't the willful bossy person I am, this experience could have led me to believe what we are doing in Salem is incorrect. It could lead me to question the things we are doing. If I were the 'follower' type, I could be heading in a completely different direction with my dog.

I likely won't be going back to this guy again. Aside from differences in training technique it is also more expensive, I might consider going for some tracking experience but would not go back for bite work.

In closing I think it is important to go with your gut instincts. Be firm, don't let people boss you around, especially if you are trying a new training technique that you are unsure of. Remember that almost anyone can claim to be a dog trainer and not necessarily have tons of experience or a long list of credentials. Be open minded when it is safe to be because it is always good to learn.

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