As A Dog Trainer, My Dog Isn’t Very Well “Trained”As A Dog Trainer, My Dog Isn’t Very Well “Trained”


Ivan Balabanov, one of the pillars in the dog training community has said several times on his podcast: Training Without Conflict Podcast something along the lines of: If people were to see me with my dogs, they’d think I need a dog trainer.

As a dog trainer I felt this. My dogs get trained on a daily basis, but with most of them I don’t focus on obedience training, which in the pet-dog world is how most people judge your dogs “obedience” level.

I focus my training on each individual dog and the foundations underneath traditional obedience training ie: self control, confidence, body awareness, and calmness.

My German Shepherd’s obedience training is atrocious and I tell all of my clients this if he joins us not to expect much from him in the way of a stay. There’s a reason for this.

The first is that I’m encouraging his independence while he’s still young. I need him to be able to figure out things without me showing him step by step what it is he needs to do. This dog has a purpose outside of being a companion, he has a job and in that job I don’t need him to stay in a sit or down for long periods of time. Note: I am not saying that I let him do whatever he wants. His life is managed in a way that he is less likely to have the opportunity to do things that are unwanted or unsafe.

As a dog trainer, I try to structure my training plans on the dog and the owner. Obedience can be a great way to teach impulse control, calmness, and foster a good relationship between dogs and humans. Often times, doing a few minutes of obedience a day and then integrating it into your everyday life, many bad behaviors will go away just because the dog is being stimulated.

There are a million ways to stimulate your dog and obedience is just one of them. My dogs do a lot of different things because dog training is not only my job, it’s my passion. Some of them have really great obedience and others don’t but they all live in my home harmoniously and abide by the rules I have in place.

Functional dog training means just that, using techniques that work for you and your dog. They do not need to be able to be in a sit-stay or down-stay for extended periods of time if that is not something that you need in your life. They do need to be able to come when called, walk decently on a leash, practice impulse control, and tolerate society as a general rule.