Trainers Need Training Too!

Trainers Need Training Too!

I have been assisting with our Reactive Rover classes for several years, but recently I had the opportunity to join the class as a student with my own dog, Ferrous. I love being a student. Not only do I get to spend time with my dogs, which can be in short supply as a trainer, but it gives me a chance to fine tune my techniques and get feedback from my peers. Even though I had been to the orientation a hundred times, and (hopefully) had all the basic skills being taught, I was eager to take my seat on the first night. I enjoyed talking about my dog and commiserating with the other students. We all had dogs who were angels at home, but acted in ways that scared and embarrassed us outside of the house by barking, lunging and growling at every dog they saw. It felt good being among people who were going through the same thing, and knowing I wasn’t being judged. It felt good to practice the skills being taught as well. No matter how well you think you know something, practicing the basics can never hurt, especially with a good instructor like Scott watching. To my relief, he didn’t point out any glaringly bad habits or sloppy technique that I had developed. When it came time to bring our dogs the next week, I was just as nervous as everyone else. What if Ferrous lunged every time he saw one of the other dogs? What if he couldn’t stop barking? Worse yet, what if he wouldn’t even eat treats when we were safely...