Much of my job when I am training with a client is to "pump them up." In other words; I need to convince them that they CAN DO IT!!!!!!!!! Even when they think that they cannot. "I can't do it like you, Sherri you make it look so easy." Do you know how many times I've heard this? Much of it, if not all of it has to do with state of mind. If you don't think you can do it, then there is a slim chance that you can. "Yes you can." Say it with me people "I can do it, I can train my dog."
I am not a fan of shipping dogs off to be trained; for many reasons. But for this blog it is because the owner is not working with their own dog. Throughout the training process an owner or guardian learns, the whole thing is a huge learning curve for dog and owner alike. The owner gets to see how their dog reacts and how their own behavior factors in their dogs behavior. Watching behaviors unfold before their owners eyes makes the task of helping them understand it all much easier.
One of the biggest obstacles in training is the absence of the "CAN DO," attitude. Understandably it can be intimidating to give it a go in front of a professional trainer. But it's best to mess up when they are there so that they can walk you through it all, mistakes included. I love training, I love canine behavior and I LOVE helping owners pull it all together. It is great when they "get it" when I'm there watching but they must perfect it and feel confident enough to have it work when I'm not there.
You can do it; anyone can. I'm not saying it's going to be easy, there may be days when you feel very incompetent with the whole training thing. But persevere and it will all fall into place. Some of the best trainers were mere beginners a few years ago. Everyone has to start somewhere, I did. There was a day when I loved dogs but that was about all I knew about them, really. Life is a constant learning curve. Each and every time I work with a new dog I learn something new. Interest is a stepping stone, once there is interest the learning starts. The more you learn the more you want to learn and the interest grows.
Research is a wonderful thing to help you get over that "I have no idea" hump. Knowledge is power and power can build confidence. Before you know it; you start feeling like you can actually do it. Sure there will be days when you feel a bit in over your head but keep your head up, ask questions and keep moving forward. It is your dog and you CAN train her.
I will never forget how one of my clients felt when I first met them. They were deflated; they'd been told that they were going to ruin their dog. That is if they didn't leave the dog with this particular trainer. Feeling horrible about the prospects of ruining their dog, they left the dog. When they returned they found a shell of the dog they'd left, he had been traumatized somehow, lost weight and had the life sucked out of him. This is when I got the call, the dog was an adorably sweet Golden Retriever who was amazing at everything we taught him. After much positive reinforcement work to build his confidence he was more like the dog they had known. And shame on that trainer for using scare tactics to gain him a new client.
If a trainer tells you that you should hand over your dog because you are going to ruin her; run. Grab your dog and head for the hills. A trainers job is to show you how to do it; make you feel enlightened with the knowledge that they share and more than able to handle the work once the trainer goes home. So yes; you can do it.