Bridging the Gap Between Pet Dog People and The Professionals
When I started my dog training business and I found myself just on the other side of the line between being a pet dog parent and a professional dog trainer. While it can seem like a subtle transition between the casual pet owner interested in training to being the professional, I think it is important for people on both sides of the line to understand the other a bit better.
For the Pet Dog Parents
For those people with pet dogs in their homes, you may be like I was and really enjoy teaching your dog new and fun skills on a regular basis! I remember creating obstacle courses in my back yard with makeshift hurdles and pause tables and running around like my dog was on a real agility course!
I also remember that as much fun as I was having, I was terrified to go to a “real” agility club or training facility because I was afraid that I would be the only one who’s dog didn’t really know how to do agility. I was also afraid because my dog was really aggressive towards other people.
For the pet dog people who want to do a little more than just goof around in your back yard or your living room, my best advice for you is to just “Go For It!” Even if you end up in a place where you and your dog know the least out of everyone around you, just think how lucky you are to be surrounded by people that you can learn from!
Every single person, in any profession, hobby, sport, or other skill set started out as a beginner. Every professional or competitive dog person started out as a novice or an enthusiastic pet person. The biggest difference was that they decided to take the dive and make that first step into a whole new world of dog training, and they never looked back.
I’ll talk a little more about getting more involved in dog training later, but first let’s talk to the professionals for a moment.
For the Professional and Competitive Dog People
As a canine professional or successful competitor, it is easy to forget where we started. As I have been getting involved in increasingly more competitive levels of training disciplines, it feels as though some people treat these sports as secret clubs that don’t want outsiders to be allowed in.
Healthy competition is excellent in any type of activity, sport, or profession as it pushes even the best the become better and can be motivation for those just getting started to strive for excellence. Some side effects of competition however can be the discouragement of those who are just starting out.
I have been thankful to find professionals at the tops of their fields who are among those who encourage the “beginners” to get more involved, and are willing to answer even the most benign of questions.