The Secret Lives of Dog TrainersPublished January 21, 2008
What do dog trainers talk about when they get together? You. You and your dogs are pretty close to the top of the list of discussion topics. I just went to my monthly luncheon with five fellow trainer/writer/pet health professional friends, and, as always, challenging client cases were a major topic of conversation. We tried to understand why a former client insisted on using a shock collar to train her dog (that’s a subject sure to rile up a group of dog-friendly trainers!), and nodded knowingly about the super-aroused Boston Terrier who needs some therapeutic “T-touch” body work to help him calm down. We discussed the potential benefits of Chinese medicine and acupuncture for a polydipsic dog, and debated the ethics of “outing” dog trainers who use old-school training methods. Our monthly lunches allow us to trade war stories, share successes and get advice on our hard to solve cases. Oh yes, and gossip about some of the ridiculous stuff we deal with, like the woman who calls and says, “I’m eight months pregnant and my dog hates babies. I guess I need to get him trained, right?” We readily admit to the cliché “the cobbler’s children have no shoes.” Our dogs ain’t perfect, and during our lunches we often cop to our personal training shortcomings. Think all dog trainers have gold-standard dogs? Think again. I’m honored to sit beside these women … if I were a name-dropper you’d be impressed by the company I’m keeping. Though we’re all very different people, we’re united by our admiration and affection for each other, our love of dogs, and our desire to help you and your canine companions live happily together. And we’re also united by our love of fried green beans.
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