Alot of people say to me, I would love your job... Don't get me wrong I love my job, my job is my life, my job is my identity. And this is not something everyone can say about their job, that their job has taken over their life to such a degree that it has become their identity. A lot of people think of Dog Training and think of TV programs. "Its me or the Dog" and "Dog Whisperer" mostly. These shows are for entertainment purposes. What isn't told is how many times they have filmed the same scene, how many times they went in before filming and how heavily edited the shows are.
How it really is. On an average day it can flick between a Reactive Dog, a puppy in house training, a Rescue Dog, A dog whos been severely abused, a human aggressive Dog and classes. What you very rarely get shown on these TV shows is the true picture, the nitty girtty, the blood, sweat and the tears. How you have to switch your brain from dog to dog to dog, to their family unit, on how you can speak to someone your working with and how not to speak to someone else. This is not through theory, qualifications or study, for me its being saturated in knowing what to do, what to teach and how to handle a Dog, thinking fast on my feet, years of experience and treating each Dog that I meet in the same way that I would treat my own. You have to be beyond patient with both the Dog and the owners, you can't cry when you get bitten, you can't swear, you can't freak out if a Dog fight ever breaks out. You have to accept when you start the Day OK something could happen today that can put me out of work for a bit due to an injury...
I do not personally refuse to work with Dogs with a bite history, this is mainly why I do this job. I work with the Dogs that have had Police Visits, the Dogs who are on their last chance.
What I'm trying to say is this job is not cute and fluffy, its not about spending your day playing with Dogs all day and getting slobbery kisses, this job is more than theory, text books, essays, exams and assesments. To do this job you have to accept that it is hard work, don't get me wrong there is a lot of fun in this job, but it affects me when I see other people in this field giving Dog Trainers a bad name. This job is not about dominating Dogs or their owners, of being cruel and tearing owners down, this job is about caring for the people you work with in an holistic way, understanding their struggles and how to help their Dog in the fastest, effective and longest lasting way.
Its also about knowing when you work with a Dog with problems like in the picture below, you will get bitten, you will be in A and E at 3am in the morning with an infection from a Dog bite which was fine the first 2 days. Tackling Nurses who sigh and huff because the injury is your own fault through your job and laughing with other Nurses who get it and respect your job. When you get bitten you can't cry, you have to suck it up, you have to put on a brave face, evaluate what happened, how it happened, the trigger, the behaviour from the Dog, was it deliberate, is the Dog ill, was it mis directed aggression?
There is also nobody to do your appraisals, except for you, you have to always be brutally honest with yourself, what did I do wrong? What can I do better? Am I up to date with the latest Training? What do I do well?
I apologise if this post has been brutally honest, but this is how it is, if I were seeking a Proffessional for a job I need doing, I would want them to be honest, I wouldn't want them to hide things from me for example exercise, I don't want my instructor to say to me; "The day after Kettles, you won't hurt at all" I want a rapport (that I do have with my instructor) which is honest and where everything can be discussed casually, both seriously and humourosly.
This is me and its who I am, I want everyone to know who works with me if they dont already, you can talk to me, I've heard it all, seen it all, I'm not here to judge you. I'm covered in Dog bite scars and this hasn't affected me. I'm really easy going, I'm honest and I will always want the best for you and your Dog(s). I dont want anyone to be afraid of working with me or fearing their Dog is the worst Dog I will ever work with, its just not possible ;)
Difficult Dogs... I love them... All Dogs are fab, but difficult Dogs teach us things, new things every day. They teach us Patience, Kindness and Wisdom, quite often difficult Dogs give so much in depth love and you end up with a very very strong bond. Whether the Dog drives you nuts with their behaviour, every one I have worked with, with a difficult Dog have said how much they love their Dog. A lot of people find new confidence they never had before, they learn to tell people making comments to "Go do one" and I stand for these people because these Dogs are not in rescue Centres, they have not been euthanized and their owners are not taking the easy route out. I take my hat off to all owners with difficult Dogs :)