Transforming My Dog Training: From Painful Lessons to Better Methods

Discovering Effective Dog Training Methods

In my dog training journey, I’ve encountered countless dogs and their owners, but there’s one unforgettable experience that changed the way I approach dog training forever.

Let me share this valuable lesson with you.

Back in the day, I used to follow the methods of Cesar Millan, the renowned dog whisperer.

I would show up at clients’ houses and, if necessary, resort to what’s known as the “alpha roll.” This technique involves physically rolling a dog onto its back to assert dominance. It’s something you might have seen Cesar Millan do on his TV show.

However, there was one incident that made me realize the flaws in this approach.

I met a big boxer, a female dog, whose owners had already been through several trainers before me. That, in itself, should have been a red flag. Often, when owners go through multiple trainers without seeing results, it’s because they’re not taking responsibility for their dog’s behavior.

This boxer had a lot of concerning behaviors.

She guarded her territory, her owners, and even tissue papers. If she wanted something, she took it, and the only way to make her let go was to bribe her with ice because she had a particular love for ice.

Now, using treats or rewards for training is common and effective, but when a dog is five years old and demanding treats for everything all day long, it’s a problem.

Dogs need to understand their place in the family and that not everything belongs to them.

In this situation, I made a regrettable choice. I decided to demonstrate the alpha roll to get a tissue paper out of the dog’s mouth.

Surprisingly, it worked, but it was far from the right approach. 

As I continued to work with the dog, she gave me warning signs – those looks that said, “Back off.” I ignored them, and that was my biggest mistake.

Eventually, she decided to teach me a lesson in her own way. She bit my hand not once, but twice, and I’m lucky it wasn’t more severe.

This incident taught me two crucial lessons. Firstly, when clients have gone through multiple trainers and make excuses for their dog’s behavior, it’s often a sign that they’re not ready to take responsibility. It’s best to avoid such situations.

Secondly, when a dog communicates its discomfort or displeasure, it’s essential to listen and respect those signals. Building trust and a good relationship with a dog yields far better results than resorting to outdated methods like alpha rolling.

This painful experience made me a better dog trainer.

I’ve since abandoned the alpha roll and focused on positive reinforcement and building strong bonds with dogs.

Let my lesson be a reminder that there’s always a better way to train our dogs, one that respects their boundaries and fosters trust.

I’m grateful for that challenging boxer and her owners.

They taught me these essential lessons that continue to guide my approach to dog training.

I hope my story helps you become a more knowledgeable and responsible dog owner or trainer.

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