Confessions of a Dog Trainer

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Confessions of a Dog Trainer

It's been a minute since I wrote a dog-centric post with all the travel writing, so I thought I would catch up on my doggy writing.  Here are 11 confessions of the dog trainer lady.

I'm not always business organized but I will always remember which flavor cookie is your dog's favorite.

puppy snugglesI will admit it, I am a scatterbrain.  I am just organized enough to pay my taxes correctly.  My clients have to text me or email me because I will not remember a verbal conversation.  BUT I will always remember your dog's feeding schedule, medications, likes and dislikes.  I know which cookie is Fido's favorite and the exact spot Mister Sweaters likes to be scratched.  That stuff sticks in my mind like glue...super glue....Gorilla glue even.

I do not charge extra for giving medications etc.

Part of being not super-duper organized is that I have a very simple business model.  I charge a flat fee per lesson and a flat fee per night for boarding.  You can add training if you want.  That's the only addition I have.  I do not charge extra for cuddle sessions or giving pills, or even dropping your dog off at the groomer.  If your dog gets an eye infection, I take him to the vet. You are paying me to take care of your dog.  That is all part of taking care of your dog.  I love each and every one of my charges with as much loves as possible and take care of all the stuff.  I think it's sleazy to guilt you into paying extra for that.  So I don't.

If you have two dogs you want trained in a lesson rather than one, I do not charge per dog.  I charge the same flat fee.  Hell, we could work with ten dogs for six minutes each if you wanted to use your lesson that way.  Same price.  You're paying for my time.  I am not going to price gouge you.

My dog is an asshole.

long coated German Shepherd
At least he's a handsome asshole
...said every woman ever
The preacher's daughter syndrome applies to my dog.  Admittedly I picked him because he has a working personality.  I needed him as a service dog and a working companion, and he has the dominant personality to go with it.  And my mother says I always pick the assholes.

At the end of the day, my dog greets me with a gentle, enveloping (cause he's giant) hug.  I love it.  I don't correct it.  Have I lost potential clients before because my dog has hugged them?  Oh yeah.  But I love my asshole dog the way he is, hugs and all.  And after spending all day training other people's dogs, sometimes I just want to play with mine and let him be a dog.  He works hard all day too mentoring puppies and showing dogs how to do the dog things.

I am not always at my house.

Yes, I run the boarding side of things out of my house.  That is the business model- dogs get to stay in a home with their friends rather than at a kennel.  But I do have to pop out every now and then for a lesson or to do normal human things like buy groceries.  I try to wait for the time during the day when the dogs are all exhausted and napping.

If you just show up at my house unannounced, good chances are I will either be outside playing with the dogs and will not hear the door or I could be in the shower with a head full of shampoo...that has happened on more than one occasion and it has not gotten less awkward.

I can tell when you are hating on my house.

dogs on couches
Moving on from the awkward shampoo moments to the awkward moments when new clients come to my home for the first time and look down their noses at it.  Unlike many in the area, I do not live in a McMansion.  My little 2 bedroom cottage is set up with a huge back yard and a shade tree.  I have it all arranged for doggy fun and it meets my needs.  I clean all day every day.  I sanitize toys and bowls.  I scoop poop.  I battle dog hair with my large hair-sucking shop-vac.  In short, I do my best, and it's pretty good.  But there will be hair tumbleweeds occasionally, and dogs lounging on my couches.  I get it- most people would not want my lifestyle, with doggos surrounding them all the time.  Everything I own in the doggy part of the house is indestructible or replaceable.  But I love living with my surrogate pack.  It works for me.  You might think it's weird, but don't hate on a disabled veteran for finding her little niche in the world.  Makes you kind of sheepish when I put it that way, doesn't it?

Oh and if you want me to have a bigger house, have a gardener, and hire a maid, feel free to pay me more.
snoozing pup

I stink by the end of the day.

#sorrynotsorry I work really hard with animals all day.  I try to be somewhat presentable for lessons, but for the most part I am sweaty and covered in dog hair.  That's when those awkward shower-and-client-shows-up-out-of-the-blue moments occur.  I also do not get a lot of regular sleep.  Puppies sometimes have to pee in the middle of the night, or serenade you with howls.  Clients sometimes drop their dogs off at 6 am...or 3 am...It really annoys me if a random client implies I had a "rough night" (aka they think I'm hungover) because I'm exhausted.  Just because I'm a veteran does not make me a LT Dan incarnate.  Besides I'm responsible and would not tie one on while watching your dog.  The only thing I drink a lot of is coffee...oh coffee you lovely godsend.

I feel super appreciated when people tip me.

I don't always get tipped, but when I do, it makes my day.
Mountain Warehouse

I will let my clients know when something is amiss with their dog's care.

My pet peeve is bad food.  If boarders show up with terrible kibble, I will lecture them on the importance of nutrition for their dogs.  It is literally a matter of life and death sometimes as the dog food industry is not as carefully regulated as the people food one, and smart advertising can cover a litany of dog food sins. I would not be doing my job if I did not point out these things to you- Buffy needs to have her ears cleaned, let me show you how, or Percy needs regular grooming, let me set you up with a local groomer (And A Leash is grrrreat in the Tampa area by the way).  Don't take the feedback the wrong way- this is why you pay me.  If I were to start, I don't know, ostrich farming, for instance, I would need a lot of feedback on how to keep those feathery monsters healthy too.

I love hearing good feedback from my students.

Duchess is one of my STAR puppies!
Usually I only get feedback phone calls when Bowser has regressed or Pinky has found a new way to torment his owners.  I am here for those calls.  I walk my clients through solutions all the time.  I cannot, however, guarantee your dog will be perfect 100% of the time because you did a few lessons with me.  Your dog is your responsibility and being a dog owner means being a continuous student.  I am totally down to help you clean up your handling skills or work through problems with your dog.

However it makes my day when a client tells me how proud they are of their dog's good behavior or regale me with a story about how awesome their dog did at a certain event.  Let the heart emojis fly.

I love your dog.

Speaking of heart emojis, I love your dog.  I spend a lot of time and energy cultivating and loving your dog.  I get very attached to my four legged furiends.  So if you're going to move out of the state, the dog trainer might be last on your list of to-do's, but let me know.  I am going to miss you, your family, and your dog.  When my clients finally pass on over the rainbow bridge, I mourn.

dog loversI am convinced I have the best job in the entire world.

It's not the easiest job, but after doing farm work in my younger years and being a military officer after that, this job does not feel like a job.  It is a lot of work, but I love the work.  Cheesy as it sounds I put my heart and soul into this business.  People ask me what I am going to do when I finally finish my doctorate (hopefully several months from now).  My answer is "be a super educated dog trainer."

Sammy the Dog Trainer


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