Monday, September 28, 2009

Dog Training Update: Evaluation Day

I was a little taken aback when I pulled up to dog training evaluation and realized that the trainer was working out of his house. I was even more worried when I realized that training would be conducted in the front yard, after all…first impression are everything (or so I'm told). My mother came with me, since my dogs stay at her place at least two days I week, I wanted to make sure she was on board with training too.

After talking to us for about 30 minutes I began to get a little more comfortable with the dog trainer (here on out I will refer to as DT). I found it a little unprofessional that he chose to smoke a cigarette and take a personal call during this first ‘session’ as I will call it, and I could tell my mom was not pleased. Still, I gave him a fair shot to win me over, everyone has faults.

He evaluated each dog one by one by first taking notes and a brief history of each dog, then working one on one with each dog to assess them. First DT explained what he was going to do and why…he was going to stress my dogs out (yes, sad by necessary) to find how they react at their breaking point, then approach them immediately in a friendly way to see how quickly they trust and recoil. My mom and I were allowed to observe the entire exercise, out of sight from my dogs of course. I was surprised at the results, but and after his explanation it made perfect sense. Penny would be harder to train (and most beagles are) and would need more confidence building, whereas Nickel came out the easier of the two to train. Penny actually took longer to approach DT after being stressed, and was uneasy about it, whereas Nickel was quick to recoil and didn’t really ‘take it personally’ as I put it.

Funny, I thought it would be the other way around….

Even though I wasn’t that impressed with the professionalism of DT, I think this is the best option for what I am looking to accomplish. Most importantly, I need to work on my leadership which was apparent after DT taking my dogs for ten minutes. He was a little rougher than I would like, but my dogs are my kids, so of course I would feel that way. Oh, and I was impressed at the control he had over both of my dogs after such a short time.

Ha....I related this story to a friend of mine, and he summed it up all in one sentence: "So you ended up getting the Crocodile Dundee of dog trainers." Brilliant.

Total Cost: $87 (for both dogs)

Was it worth it? – It was a little expensive for an evaluation. No other trainer requested an evaluation, so I don’t know the average cost for this.

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