„The more convinced a trainer is there is a right way to do something, the more he goes wrong.“
– zen mind, zen horse
It’s not a new mindset. Every trainer believes their way of doing things is the only correct method. On top of that, they usually act as if they are the only human who will ever master this way of training.
Why is that? Anyone who knows anything, knows that we know nothing at all – right? Every situation and relationship is very different. The method, if you can call it that, which I use for each of my dogs varies. Not always by much, but it definitely varies. My relationship with each of them is very different (naturally, seeing as they are individuals) and everyone has their own strong personalities.
So why should I follow only one path when training animals? It is not realistic. I see it much, much too often that someone with a very easy-going, calm dog gives someone with a challenging dog advice like, „Just relax and don’t be too strict – it will all work out.“ Maybe for them that was the perfect way to train their relaxed, low-energy dog. Someone with a high-energy or problematic dog can’t follow that same advice.
On top of that, I agree with the quote above, that the more someone is convinced of something, the more I take it with a grain of salt. Sometimes you can feel that genuine excitement and positivity. Other times, you can feel them feeding their own ego.
I would love for everyone to listen to all of the opinions, advice and methods that are out there and let them simmer for a while. When you go on a walk or are sitting peacefully and drinking your coffee, think about the things you learned. Maybe try a few things out. At the end of the day, keep what works for you and most importantly: keep what works for your dog. We humans keep putting ourselves above our animals, but their needs are, and should always be, the most important when it comes to anything to do with them.
What are some training methods you have heard that didn’t work for you? Which work for you? I would love to hear about it in the comments. Different points of view when it comes to training are always very interesting.
Photo of: Frédéric Pignon