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My Dog & I: In My Opinion.

In these days of Dog Awareness, there are many new ways to partner with our Canine Friends. We live more closely with them than ever before and we have an entirely different set of parameters which define dog ownership.

Gone are the days when Patch would be let out the front gate in the morning to roam around town and turn up again at about dinner time!

Nowadays we have Daycare and Dog Walkers and Dog Parks and Trainers.

Yes, Trainers. Not only Obedience Trainers but Specialist Trainers of all kinds. Under the “Training” umbrella live many sub sets of training methods. Purely positive, Balanced, Motivational and compulsion-based to mention just a few. There are trainers that use treats and “kindness”, trainers with a wonderful charismatic “spiel” and trainers that have TV shows. Trainers that write books, trainers that travel the world and trainers that specialize in everything from rehabilitation to Military Training.

An enormous amount of information exists on the Internet and in the media and

EVERY ONE of the professionals who voice their opinions, is pretty sure that the way they approach dogs is the one, true way.

So let’s be clear about this very controversial conversation. There are as many ways to work with animals as there are ways to cook…

The idea that there is one way to raise a puppy, correct aggression or teach your dog to walk nicely at heel is simply ludicrous. In the same way that you will select a Doctor that not only has a professional qualification and a good track record, you will find a teacher for your dog that will suit your personality, needs and pocketbook. Someone that you can relate to and understand, who will help you get where you want in a timely manner, without a lot of smoke and mirrors.

It will be obvious from the first time your dog professional meets you and your dog and works with you, how you are all going to get along. Sometimes, there is simply not a good connection…Some trainers have a way of presenting their method that just doesn’t sit well with the owner. I once had a teacher who mumbled half the time they were working with me and made it very frustrating for me to take in the information.

I like to think that a phone call with a trainer will help you decide if you want to work with that person. We all, owners and trainers, have different opinions about what we want and the right way to get there. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter as much what method or tools you use, if you are clear about what direction you are going in, whether your dog has the personality to take on the tasks you wish him to complete, how long it will take to get there and if all members of the Team, Owner, Dog and Trainer understand each other.

The job of the Trainer is to communicate with empathy and realism with your dog– NOT sympathy or sentimentality. And the Owner has to trust that their dog is in safe hands and let the Professional guide them towards a mutual goal.

Please remember that every being, dog and human being will have a different opinion about how they undertake a task and no satisfactory result can be achieved without deferring a little to the greater good!

The longer we are on the planet, the more opinions we collect and the more we like to share them…but an educated opinion is very different one from an idea we have formed from general available information or limited personal experience.

So please! Be opinionated! But at the same time, try to be open to all methods of training, defer to someone who has more knowledge and be prepared to change your mind if another path presents itself that seems like it may be just the ticket for you and your dog.

– Janine Lazarus, Hashtag Lewisburg City Paper #131. May 2021. Follow Janine at and on facebook @goodladddogtraining. Find this column at

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