Saturday, November 15, 2008

Trainers - The Rant!


I had made a nasty discovery about Reba... she was NOT nice! Reba who seemed so loving and friendly at home with my dogs was an evil wench out in public. To say this trait in my otherwise fabulous puppy was undesirable was an understatement. After she attempted to eat my aunt's Miniature Daschund, drastic steps needed to be taken. So I enrolled in a puppy socialization and obedience class. While the obedience end of things wasn't something I felt particularly passionate or unskilled about I thought it would be a great opportunity to see a different trainer in action. I'm at session 3 in a set of 7 sessions from hell.

My personal training beliefs are there are many methods that can be effective and not all animals or people are the same - hence not everything will work for all animals. My instructor's philosophy seems to be that her way is the only way, and she is the only person who knows anything about training. I fully realized going into this that I would need to do things her way. I also had the courtesy prior to classes starting to inform the instructor about my purpose in attending and that my dog is a stock dog and our commands and training are different. At that time she had no issues with this. Now that she has my money, I'm an incompetent idiot.

Things I hate about this trainer:
  1. She has a closed mind and a limited training tool box.
  2. She belittles her clients. (Not just me - everybody!)
  3. She is not consistent in what she preaches and models.
  4. She repeatedly tells the class how good and skilled she is. (Really!? Lady - if you were that good you wouldn't have to tell us!!)
  5. The final straw for me - she caused a submissive dog to pee then blamed the owner (who wasn't handling the dog at the time.)
What frustrates me about the situation is people are going to her to seek help. They want to do the right thing! And many of her strategies are good, sound strategies. However, her way of delivering the message is brutal and her ability to see the reason behind the animal's behavior is nonexistent. I am a teacher. I am really, really good at helping people see different ways of doing things WITHOUT making them feel bad about themselves or skill level. Isn't that what training is about? Helping people make the most of their abilities? Helping animals make the most of their abilities? Shaping behavior into desirable behavior?

Going to this puppy class is like stabbing shards of glass under my finger nails - positively painful! I'm also very stubborn and I bloody well paid to give Reba the opportunity to socialize with a variety of dogs in a safe environment. So I'm not quitting. I am going to bite my tongue and do my best to keep and open mind and try things her way. Even if it kills me... And it just might.
In the picture: Reba and Tessa enjoying a swim after a play on a warm summer evening.

1 comment:

The Canadian said...

You are a great writer! Your stories are funny and entertaining! Love the adventures!!
Jeanne