The Importance of Accountability in Dog Training: Why I’m Not for Everyone

May 27, 2024


The Importance of Accountability in Dog Training

As a professional dog trainer, I have worked with a wide range of clients and situations since I started my company in 2019. One of the most crucial aspects of my work is ensuring that both the dog (motivation-instinct etc) and the owner  (conscious choice) are fully committed to the training process. This commitment is the foundation of any successful training program, and it’s why I have established a probationary program for new clients. My goal is to set clear expectations and ensure that the owners are willing and able to follow through with the training plan.


A Case in Point

Recently, I had an experience that underscored the importance of personal accountability in dog training. For privacy reasons, I won’t use real names, but I’ll share the essence of the situation to highlight why accountability is non-negotiable for me.

I had been working with a client who faced significant challenges. We agreed on a structured training plan that required a weekly lesson for the owner, followed by practice sessions. Despite multiple cancellations and a lack of adherence to the plan, I remained committed to helping both the client and their dog. I even offered to increase our lessons to three times a week, including physically doing the training with the dog on days when the client’s disability prevented them from doing the exercises. However, the owner refused to make the necessary changes to help their dog.


The Role of Accountability

While I deeply empathise with the client’s struggles, my role as a trainer is not just to provide guidance but also to hold my clients accountable. Personal accountability is vital to working with me because it ensures that the training process is effective and that both the dog and the owner can achieve their goals. This experience has reinforced why I implemented my probationary program.


Learning from Experience

Since 2019, I’ve had three clients who have helped shape this program. These experiences taught me that compassion and empathy are essential, but so is maintaining high standards and expectations. Enabling clients by not keeping them accountable does a disservice to both them and their dogs. When I take on a client, I invest my time, energy, and expertise into their success, but I am never more invested than the client. However, this is a two-way street. The human end of the leash must follow through with what they say they will do. If there is a lack of commitment or willingness to adhere to the training plan, it compromises the entire process.


A Call to Commitment

I am committed to helping my clients and their dogs achieve their goals, but it requires a collaborative effort. I understand that my approach may not be for everyone, and that’s okay. My priority is to work with those who are ready to take responsibility and make the necessary changes to see real, lasting results.

To all current and potential clients: If you are willing to commit to the process, stay accountable, and follow through with the training plan, I am here to support you every step of the way. Together, we can achieve incredible results. For those who may find this level of accountability challenging, I encourage you to reflect on what you truly want to achieve and whether you are ready to make the necessary commitments. Dog training is not just about teaching your dog; it’s about growing as an owner and building a strong, trusting relationship with your dog.


Thank you to all my clients who have shown dedication and accountability. Your commitment is what makes success possible, and I am honoured to be a part of your journey.

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