What type of dog trainer am I?
That’s simple. An aspiring, yet lazy one…haha!
However, beyond me, most dog trainers (professional and amateurs) typically falls into four schools of thought: the Authoritarian, the Whisperer, the Coach, and the Softie. (Keep in mind, this informal observation is far from scientific and may be riddled with more holes than a target at the shooting range.)
The Whisperer: The Whisperer has an intuitive way with dogs and often appears to instinctively understand what they are thinking. Often, he/she “whispers” to their dogs guiding them through situations to minimize or prevent problems from occurring. There is rarely any voice-raising or frantic movements—just a constant connection that keeps the dog in control (typically nonverbal behavior through specific eye contact and/or hand gestures). Sure, at times, the Whisperer may resort to some discipline; but, typically, it is kept in reserve.
The Coach: Most amateur dog trainers fall into this category. The Coach walks the middle ground between the Authoritarian and Whisperer—exerting discipline that lets the dog know who is the boss while also enjoying nights with the puppy cozily sharing the bed with him/her. Together, they are truly a team bound by a bond built of time spent together, good and bad.
The Softie: The Softie occasionally believes he/she can get away with being a Whisperer; but it generally does not work out as expected. More often than not, the dog walks all over Softie-types…on the leash, in the house, and everywhere in-between. Once you’ve seen a Softie, you’ll never forget it.
Some of you may be thinking, which one is the “right” way? Honestly, in my opinion, there is not one. Every dog, pet owner, and specific circumstances vary. I can genuinely say that I’ve met many outstanding and well-behaved dogs that came from all four camps of dog training styles.
Have a suggestion on other types of trainers that you would like to share to the discussion? What type are you? Hopefully, a great one!