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Do I need a trainer for this?

This blog is part of a series on training methods and training advice.

In the first blog, I caution readers to take internet advice with a big grain of salt. See that blog here. This article is internet advice and doesn't necessarily apply to you so please treat it with the same skepticism you would any source -- and Contact Us if you have any questions or concerns.

An important part of living with your dog is working through training issues together. It's these experiences of working with your dog that set the stage for the rest of your relationship. In the best examples, dog and handler work through a series of interactions on a daily basis, and those interactions are framed by trained cues and responses on both sides.

Conscientious owners notice when daily interactions don't go as usual and oftentimes they contact trainers to help them understand and address these changes. The aim of this blog is to help you determine the severity of your issue and whether or not professional help may be warranted.

The following are some good rules-of-thumb:

  • There's no such thing as a dumb question If something is bothering you and you want to ask, just ask. Pooch Perfect is happy to receive questions of all kinds -- and we'd much rather help you avoid an issue with a little well-timed advice than wait until you're in hot water. Trust your instincts -- and if your instincts didn't work, trust us!

  • If you've already tried to work through an issue without success, it's time to ask for advice Professional trainers like Pooch Perfect have lots of exerperience working with all kinds of issues. Why struggle when the solution might be quite simple? We customize service to suit your needs.

  • My dog does "x". Is that a problem? Most of the time, people are asking about a training sound bite they heard years ago like, "Never let your dog lead you out the door for your walk." One big problem with that kind of advice is that it doesn't explain what the problem is or how to solve it once you've got it. Basically, if you think you have a problem, then it's worth looking into -- and we can help! Contact us. In terms of your dog leading you out the door -- despite it's popularity, we actually don't find this particular tactic very useful. Learning not to crowd the door on the other hand...

  • Fido's behaviour is getting worse... If your issue is becoming worse over time, it's a pretty safe bet that you need to take action -- and part of that action might be to contact a professional trainer -- like Pooch Perfect. Contact us. Also, see our blog on training truisms.

  • My dog has a bad habit If your dog has a bad habit, you may need to train him out of it. Contact us to see what your options might be. In terms of problem habits like barking, licking, sucking, pacing, etc. we usually use a 20/60 threshold. If the dog engages in the problem behaviour for more than twenty minutes at a time or for more than sixty minutes per day, you probably have a real issue. In terms of more dangerous habits like jumping up, mouthing, nipping, possession, territoriality or any form of aggression, it's best to err on the side of caution and get as much help as you can -- as soon as you can.

  • My dog misbehaved once Isolated incidents can sometimes be more about that particular moment than about your dog or its training. But you can prepare for similar issues in the future by training now.

  • My situation has changed or will soon change If your situation has, or is about to change, this usually signals a need to reconnect with your dog. Changes include moving, changing jobs, new people or animals in the house, new schedules, renovations, or anything else that your dog might notice. Regardless of the changes, we can help you and your dog work through them and become better than ever.

  • I'm not satisfied by my relationship with my dog This is a very hard admission to make, but if you're not satisfied in any way, it's important to make good decisions moving forward. Professional advice is a good option. Contact us. Remember, advice is free.

And finally, when in doubt, it's probably best to call and be reassured than to worry.

I hope this blog has been helpful.

Contact us if you have any questions or would like us to add this article.

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