One of my job titles is “Dog Trainer” but I often tell my clients that in reality, I am a People Trainer. While I can and do train dogs, the bulk of my job is really training or coaching people to train their own dogs.

Of course, if I advertised myself as a People Trainer, most people would not sign up for training. Although, I've been thinking about that and maybe there is a way to make good money touting myself as a People Trainer. While most people would not sign up for training for themselves, they just might sign up other family members for training. I am often asked if I train spouses or children. I joke that I do, but it's much more expensive than my dog training fees.

In reality, the “dog training” I do is really positive reinforcement based training which works on all species. So, even though your spouse or child might initially be offended at your using “dog training” on them, they really won't have any issue with it as long as you are subtle about it and don't call it “dog training.” Who would take offense to being rewarded for good behavior?

Want to “train” your spouse or child to clean up after themselves, help with the dishes, or other chores? Don't tell them they are being trained. Find ways to reinforce the behaviors you want in ways that will make it worthwhile to them. The trick, as it is with training our dogs, is in finding the right motivators. Don't bribe them by offering the reward first but rather reward them unexpectedly when they do as you ask – preferably without having to ask more than once or twice.

If you want to better understand how to “train” the people in your life, pick up a copy of Karen Pryor's Don't Shoot the Dog! While it is a classic among Dog Trainers, it actually was written to help people “train” other people, not dogs.

World class trainers will often recommend training another species in order to make yourself a better dog trainer. Why not try training a human?


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