Every dog trainer has heard it: “This isn’t working.” In some cases, the fact is that what is being done really is not working and will not be effective. Sometimes, we just need to move on to other methods. But that is not always the case.

This is where an experienced and skilled dog trainer or behavior consultant can really be worth every penny. By discussing with you what you have been doing, we can often pick up on things right away that you might need to change in order to be effective. However, sometimes we need to see you in action.

In some situations, a brief bit of advice via phone or email might be all someone needs to get on the right track. However, more often than not, I will recommend a consultation so we can walk through things in more detail. By being able to actually see what is happening, I can point out things that I never would have been able to find out via phone or email.

Many people will call me out for an initial consultation, and I will get them started on the right path. For those who do not schedule follow-up visits, some will give up because they half-heartedly attempted part of what I suggested, and then gave up because it “didn’t work.” Others truly will give it their best efforts, and will still run into problems. It is not because my advice “doesn’t work” but rather because we need to either tweak what is being done or people are not fully implementing my suggestions. Picking and choosing what parts of the plan to implement while leaving out critical pieces will most likely result in failure to see desired results.

In many cases, by seeing me for follow-up visits, we can tweak things enough to be successful. The way treats are being delivered, the timing of the cues or rewards, or the way we are communicating with our dogs are just a few ways that can have a huge impact on success. By working with me (or fellow experienced dog trainers or behavior consultants) you will have a much greater chance for success.

Think of it like this. Your doctor gives you antibiotics to resolve a medical issue. She insists you must finish all of the medication to get back to full health, but you quit taking them halfway through. Your illness continues or seems to go away but returns a short while later. Was it because the antibiotics didn’t work? No, it was because you didn’t follow through with the complete course of medication. Behavior modification and training are similar. If you only complete part of the prescribed plan, you will often end up right back where you started. Commit to the plan and be sure to take all of the steps needed to be successful. It will be worth the effort both in time and money.