In the spirit of Susan's post about her wonderful trainers, I got thinking about mine.
So I have a love/hate relationship with my one trainer...well, not him its his wife. I've been taking classes with them for 10 years, since the days of Sparky John, when I first got my drivers license.
I stopped going there when she made someone I referred to them cry. That was a few years ago. Now, when I send someone to them, I warn them about evil Joan. Anyone who's met them understands exactly what I am saying. (I think Susan knows who I am talking about) She's just rude. Not helpful at all. I can be rather tough skinned. They have a monopoly here in the training market, so I always go back after I vow not to.
I try not to let her bother me.
I gave Gin a break from training because I really have no where to train in the winter. She's still expected to do general obedience, just no serious heeling.
So I asked her when her next class was starting because the weather is getting nicer. And she made a comment about being ashamed of bringing Ginny to her school and 'finally training THAT puppy'. THAT puppy that has been out at her training building 6 nights a week and not made so much a peep in her building. Who heels at perfect attention.
I don't know about everyone else, but I don't expect a 4 month old puppy to hold a 10 minute down stay, so we never jump right into their limited course schedule. But to say my puppy wasn't trained or well behaved is just ludacris. When I told her that the dates wouldn't work for me, she said 'then don't train your dog, she's your dog, if you can live like that'...
I just left, but I wonder why I pay her to treat me (and my dogs) this way. The husband is great if you can get him alone, I just wish he hadn't handed over his set to his wife.
'Don't grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach.'
~ Michelle Held
Rhys, Ruby and Nola
Oh, do I hear you. Our first obedience trainer was like this. Just the absolute worst stereotype of a dog trainer you can imagine: dowdy, unsmiling woman with a bad haircut, absolute conviction she was always right, and utter contempt for everyone but her acolytes. She had a pack of border collies who all had ribbons coming out of their ears in agility and herding, but they were unsocialized and could be downright nasty. Cold and robotic little performers in the ring, though. (We used to joke that they all had Stockholm Syndrome. )
I do not understand what it is about dog training that leads people with such horrible personalities to excel, but it's something I've seen more than once. Interestingly, the best trainers we've had have been really kind to me (and I require a lot of help).
It's funny, I get that Toscanini was a horrible person to work for but also a genius. Having been a musician, I'm sure I would have risked being humiliated to have the opportunity to work for him. Maybe I just don't see dog training as important enough to me to justify dealing with a tyrant.
Last edited by theoconbrio; 03-11-2009 at 10:44 PM.
I think this is partly because some people get into animal-related fields because they lack any people skills, forgetting who signs the paycheques. I have to say, in over a decade of dogsports and working in the training and petcare field, there are TWO local trainers I know that use positive reinforcement with people - and one of those still has a nasty mean streak that surfaces occasionally. (And if you want to see this at its worst, watch Brad Pattison's 'training' show - the two episodes I've seen made me physically ill. I've heard people defend him because some people need 'in your face' treatment)
Mine was the "obedience Nazi", who I took lessons from after our first basic obedience class. The first time I walked into the class, she walked over and without so much as a "hello", started berating me on how fat my dog was. I had just got off work, driven almost 2 hours and was almost in shellshock and had to pee. SU was with me and I said - I have to go to the bathroom, talk to him till I get back. And it went downhill from there. I stayed because I didn't have anywhere else to train, and bascially she was a good dog trainer and I knew I could learn alot from her. But many times I cried in the car on the way home. Needless to say, I wasn't sad when they changed the day of advanced training and she could no longer teach the class.
We too have an "obedience nazi" story. This was a long time ago, when Henery was very young, and fresh out of basic obedience. She was the only one in the area who gave advanced obedience classes. I had no intentions at the time to compete with him, and was just looking for something to do with him.
I lasted two weeks, I couldn't stand her snide remarks (because we hadn't come up through her puppy program) and her full-out snarks any longer and finally quit. It just wasn't worth putting Henery or myself through the torture every week.
Fortunately, we are now DOUBLY blessed with two amazing and wonderful well-respected trainers. It's sooo worth the 1hr+ drive to Kitchener on Monday nights and Cambridge Wednesday nights for my boys.
That is so rude! What is with people?!
There are a couple trainers in my neck of the woods that are rude and obnoxious and have been downright mean to the dogs as well. One of them is a big name trainer ya'll would recognize. I don't take from any of them.
These folks need to learn that they are training the PEOPLE first and foremost. And your clients are your paycheck, so you better work hard at pleasing them and making them feel welcome and part of the group.
SOOO true. I am constantly amazed at the people I see at dog shows poor attitudes, not only with the people around them but with their dogs, too. There's one lady with a weim I've seen at a bunch of shows that actually scares me. I'm a grown woman, and even just being around this lady makes me want my mom.
I'm lucky in that we have great trainers. Our agility dude is a little quirky, but once you get used to him he's not bad at all.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue