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Dog Trainer Experience

This article was written after for the umpteenth time I heard a dog trainer marginalize another’s opinion because they had more experience when in fact their “experience” was due to creative accounting.

FWIW, in defence of some the less inexperienced trainers, when you’re having a discussion with a dog trainer and the trainer whips out the “I’ve been training xx years” statement in an attempt to marginalize whatever point it is you’re trying to make; – in the immortal lyrics co-written by Robert John “Mutt” Lange and Shania Twain and sung by Shania Twain “That don’t impress me much” comes to my mind. It actually doesn’t impress me at all and trainers of less or more years needn’t feel intimidated. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re right, more right, wrong, less wrong than the other person. It just means that it might mean nothing at all.

There are 4 reasons for this:

1. The first is I’ve met too many trainers that have been “training” for many years and yet are simply repeating the mistakes they learned in the first year of training.

2. The second is that I’ve met far too many trainers that grossly exaggerate the number of years and/or the number of dogs. Almost every dog trainer I’ve ever met counts the first of the their years of dog experience as when they first owned or petted a dog.

3. The third is that it’s an industry fact that most trainers are training part time or barely part time and have spousal secondary income and fail to take into consideration that is very different than someone who’s groceries are dependent on their skill level. If left to their own devices the market would weed 80% of these trainers from the field.

4. The fourth is, if I, others and more importantly the person offering their multiple years of experience as a reason to accept what they have to say as better then those with less years, and we were to blindly accept that 16 years of experience was better than 8 years of experience or 1 year of experience, in other words if those years in fact gave the trainer an edge in “superiority” then I’d have to point out in this instance that since I’ve been training full time for close to 30 years, and the vast majority of that full time, than my word would have to be considered “gospel” or at least more gospel and others would have to sit quietly in the corner, not speaking unless spoken to.

It’s a poor and false logic and a theory that I do not subscribe to so I welcome all input whether from newbies or old dogs. However, wannabes need not apply as the old big dogs will sniff you out soon enough. – Rant over

John Wade

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