We have the Best and Train the Rest
By Robert Forto, PhD
A lot is said about a training philosophy of a dog training school. Many times it is the first question that is asked when someone calls inquiring about bringing their dog to training. Philosophy means different things to different trainers but I assure you that if you don’t have a clear understanding of what yours is, you will lose customers.
Many people searching for dog training fall into four categories and we will discuss those with regards to your training philosophy and see if you and your training school are positioned correctly to meet the needs of your clients and their dog.
Three Types of Clients
The first type of client is the most common. It is the client whose dog has just destroyed the three thousand dollar leather couch and this is the last straw. They have put up with their dog’s “bad behavior” for too long and need help.
The second type is what I call the “big-box-store-rejects”. These are the clients that have attended a training class at a big box corporate training center and they just didn’t get their needs met. Think about it. Would you go to a doctor at a Wal-Mart? No. These training classes are great for socialization and basic manners but they are not equipped to fix behavioral problems.
The third type is “As Seen on TV” clients. These clients watch a dog training show on cable and realize that their dog has the “exact” same problem as the dog on the show. They may try a couple of the techniques (and with little success), and then call a dog training school and enter into training. The only problem with this is you will often hear them say: “It’s going to cost how much? And take how long? I just saw John (T.V. trainer’s name changed to protect the innocent) do it in 15 minutes on T.V.!”
The fourth type is the client that enjoys working with their dog. They have lived through the puppy stage, the adolescence stage, and the problem stage and now they are ready to have fun! These clients are ready to take sports classes like flyball, agility or Rally, working classes like therapy dog training or Canine Good Citizen testing, and the like.
There is nothing wrong with any of these four types of clients. These are the clients that keep you in business. These are the clients that are calling you because they need help. These are the clients that can bring you endless repeat business and referrals. But you have to meet their expectations and their training goals and this is where your training philosophy is so important.
Training Philosophy of Denver Dog Works in Bullet Points:
• Know Yourself, Know Your Dog.
• A balanced dog is in a state of harmony with Mother Nature—as a calm submissive pack follower who is fulfilled physically with exercise, psychologically with rules and boundaries and limitations and emotionally with affection from his owner.
• Teach my clients the highest level of connection between two species.
• In terms of philosophy, teach my clients to choose a dog that is appropriate for them and their family.
• Teach my clients to acknowledge some deeper reasons for getting a dog: are you imposing your own emotional needs on the dog—and missing what your dog actually needs as a result?
• Teach my client the difference between discipline and punishment and how to set rules and boundaries and limitations on their dog.
• Teach my client what goes on in the canine mind and develop a stronger, more fulfilling relationship with their best friend and give back to their dog just a fraction of the many gifts he has given to you.
We Have the Best and Train the Rest
Our training philosophy at Denver Dog Works is not only a procedure but a lifestyle.
I have learned in the nineteen years of literally living with a pack of dogs and on the sled dog trail that it has offered me a unique perspective. There I was forced to examine my attitude about everything including my dogs. I was constantly challenged to become more open to the language dogs use to communicate with us. This experience confirms our deepest intuitions about the relationship of human beings not only with their dog but every aspect of their lives.
I hope to foster my clients with a diverse and varied understanding of the environment for which they live. I hope to foster a more realistic understanding of their dogs and an increased awareness of the benefits of their companionship.
Drawing on my experience as a kennel owner of 50 Siberian Huskies I will teach my clients how dog training goes far beyond the elementary instruction of basic obedience; as it must encompass a whole new attitude and lifestyle with their dog. It must touch on the levels of a dog’s own life that are often ignored.
In conclusion, I will bring my client into the world of a dog musher, canine behaviorist, and father of three by using my experience as a lens through which they may broaden their understanding of their dog. The stage will then be set for a balanced, lasting relationship between them and their best friend.
If you have any questions or if you would like to have your dog be one of the best trained dogs in the world please give us a call at 303-578-9881 or contact us through our website at http://www.denverdogworks.com
Dr. Robert Forto is the training director of Denver Dog Works and The Ineka Project in Colorado. Dr. Forto hosts a weekly radio program, The Dog Doctor Radio Show, every Saturday. Dr. Forto can be reached through his website at http://www.denverdogworks.com