But when it doesn’t work, don’t give up on your dog!
I’m the first person to try to save money and DIY. I recently fixed my clogged bathroom sink just by watching a plumber’s skillfully made YouTube video. I learned about the hardware underneath, the p-trap, slip nuts, the rod and pivot arm, pop-up stopper, and how it all came apart and could be put back together after clearing out clogs. Cool! Mission accomplished.
If you’ve done the same with teaching your dog some particular skill, kudos! But to those of you who have come away from these premade, generic videos frustrated because your dog didn’t improve or got worse, thinking you’re inept or your dog is stupid, or maybe concluding that your dog’s behavior can’t be improved — I encourage you, don’t give up!
Why? Because there are lots of reasons to hope. Because there’s more to the art and science of animal training than a couple of videos can teach you. Because there’s a big difference between teaching beginner steps of a skill in your home vs. having your dog do it reliably in public, like when you’re camping or visiting friends. Because there’s a big difference between teaching a single obedience skill like down-stay or leash manners vs. resolving a complex combination of behaviors that make up aggression and reactivity. Because the behavior of any living creature is significantly more complex than mechanical hardware. And because dogs — and their owners — are infinitely variable in how they learn.
Premade, generic videos (provided they’re made by skilled, credentialed trainers, and that’s a topic for another whole blog) can be helpful for watching dog training techniques. But watching is a world apart from doing.
If accurate performance of psychomotor skills like sports and dog training could be accomplished with videos, then golfers and gymnasts wouldn’t need coaches or expensive classes and could just watch YouTube.
Premade videos are generic, not specific to you. They’re not interactive. They can’t answer questions, they can’t see you, and they don’t know your dog. They’re inflexible: they’re not choosing the best obedience skills to meet your goals. They can’t tailor either techniques or next steps to you or your dog. And trust me, there are hundreds of different techniques and next steps to teach any skill and to resolve any behavior problem.
Personal training gives you real life coaching with immediate feedback under the observant eye of an expert trainer. We draft a training plan and choose the most efficient skills and practical techniques for your dog’s issues, your goals and your activities together. We base next steps on your abilities and your dog’s responses, learning curve, issues and even emotions (because emotions affect learning). We can also jump start your dog’s training by teaching her first ourselves and then handing the reigns (leash, in this case) over to you.
So if you’ve accomplished a simple training goal or two via video, good for you. But if you haven’t been able to, don’t give up! There is no substitute for consulting a live expert. You can get that in a group training class pretty inexpensively and one-on-one, in your home at a bit more cost. Check out our Services page, and don’t hesitate to call or email to learn more!