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THE POWER OF COACHING A DOG OWNER

"Do you train dogs or dog owners?" The question I often listen to. At the end, I train both of them. Dog training or behavioral modification is something that relies a lot on the owner’s participation. I have a joke I usually tell when around a fellow veterinarian. "Your job is too easy. You put your patient under anesthesia, do what you need to do, wake him up and send him home. Not me! I have to convince the owner to work for me or else the patient will never get better."

Humbly speaking, I can say that my rate of achievement when doing behavioral modification or dog training is considerably high. I'm not going to say 100%, but I can say that 90% of the cases I take, I can solve. And that's because of some techniques I've developed over the years.


Training a dog is not like programming a machine. For that reason, I don't like the idea of sending your dog to a trainer for a few weeks while he trains your puppy for you. In some cases, it can even do the job, but most of the time the dog will learn to obey the trainer and not the owner. As I said above, dogs are not machines that we can program to do whatever we want.


Want to have a well-trained dog? So, you have to know that you (owner) will have to be involved. You will need to take the time to train your dog and attend training classes. Today, 99% of the dogs I work with, I do with the owner by my side. And not just with the owner watching what I'm doing. NO! The owner participates and learns the techniques to use at home.

My first encounter with a client is always a long, detailed conversation. Often, I don't even touch the dog at the first appointment. A long conversation so the owners can understand that everything that happens at home, all interactions and routine situations directly affect the behavior that the dog is presenting and will make a total difference in the treatment.


Keeping owners motivated to do what I call “homework” while they are not in a training session is my duty. Your dog doesn't need daily meetings with a trainer or to be sent away from you to a training center for weeks to learn manners.


What he needs is your help, the owner. My job is to bring the owner to play on my team, doing what I ask during the week so that our weekly training meetings become efficient, taking us to the results we expect. After all, coaching an owner is part of dog training.


Marco Magiolo is a bestselling author, trainer, and speaker. Connect with Marco on social media and subscribe to future newsletters and updates.



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