I'm not talking about literally giving your dogs marmite! (please don't)
Marmite is a love it or hate it thing isn't it? There isn't really a middle ground.
Remember way back when you were at school, you did better with the teachers you liked than the teachers you didn't which in turn affected your grades for each individual subject.
I speak to many dog owners who have been to classes or have used a dog trainer before, and they didn't enjoy it or claim it didn't work. When we get down to the bones of it, mostly it comes down to a clash of personalities. Occasionally between dog and owner but more often its a clash between the trainer and owner.
We are not programmed to learn if we aren't in the right mind frame and if we lack compatibility with the instructor we cannot learn effectively and then transfer those skills to training our own dogs effectively.
We start to resent the time we spend in the trainers company and resent the money we have spent with them. Our dogs will pick up on our emotions, quicker than we realise the emotional shift in many scenarios. This shift also hinders the dogs ability to learn as their owner isn't on their level. Their level of living in that moment concentrating on that connection and what is being communicated between the two of you.
Sometimes, and only sometimes the 'failure of training' is due to a lack of knowledge, skills and experience by the trainer.
Most reputable trainers will be accredited with some organising body - there are thousands of them! Some with higher standards than others. So don't just take the fancy letters after their name as a testimony of how good they are.
So what's the best way to find out if you clash or gel with a new trainer before handing over your well earned pounds?
1. Do what most of you will initially - visit their website, Facebook page etc. The difference this time is for you to actually read their 'about us page' does what they say resonate with how you like to interact with your dog?
2. If they have a mailing list, join it! These emails will help you get to know them better, give you a feel for who they are as a person and as a trainer.
3. If they run classes, go and watch - without your dog. Are they helping the dog who is needing it the most? Or do they just concentrate on the most well behaved dogs in class?
4. Content - If they have videos, free resources etc watch, read and digest. Read any free handouts or downloads they may have, does it fit with you?
5. Their own dogs - What do they do with their own dogs, any achievements? This doesn't need to be a long list of titles from competing, it could be that they have had a reactive dog that they have rehabilitated. If this is something you are looking for help with then this would be a trainer who would understand your fears and frustrations more than one who hasn't.
6. Google them! Really! What does google have to say? No trainer can put everything on their website, some of them may not want to either depending on what google has to say.
7. Look into their qualifications and credentials. Search the organisation they are affiliated with, have a look at their code of practice, is that something that sounds right for you and your dog? Have a look at what it takes to get that accreditation...some only take a week or a weekend!
8. If they have written a book, offer an online training course etc. make a small investment and purchase if all of the above tick your boxes. If you still want to go ahead after paying for their content and it feels good then you are on a winner (and you will likely get browny points with the trainer when you tell them you have read their book or done their online course).
Do your homework, take the time to find out if that trainer is a right fit for you and your pooch.
I know I'm not the right trainer or in fact the right person for everyone, humans clash all the time. It's human nature - not everyone gets along, nor should they.
If you don't do your homework and it doesn't work out, its such a disappointment for all parties, time and money have been spent when none of us have an endless supply of either.