Saturday, April 20, 2013

Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART FIVE

by Dino Dogan

The issue of detachment, or is attachment the issue?

Dog professionals are detached from the process of dog training. This may sound like a bad thing or even an accusation, but as you will see, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Let me ask you a few question.
  • Would you say that your behavior is at least slightly different at work then it is at home?
  • Perhaps you are more in control of your emotions at work?
  • Perhaps you are more hyper at work which causes you to veg-out in front of the TV when you get home?
Did you know that dog trainers are at work when they are trying to help you address your canine quandary?

Ok, so that was kind of a snarky remark, so let me back track a bit.

When I’m working with a client I MUST project confidence, high energy and intelligence.
  • I MUST stay on my toes and be at my sharpest.
  • I CAN NOT let emotions cloud my judgment,
  • I MUST think in terms of the best possible outcome.
  • I CANT take anything a dog (or the owner) does personally and to heart.
  • I must “detach” myself from the process and assume a birds eye view of the situation, get the big picture and act in everyone’s best interest. After all, this is what I get paid to do.

Now let’s consider the way a typical owner approaches a walk or a training session or any situation involving his dog.

The dog owner may be quite capable of projecting confidence, high energy and intelligence while at work, but let’s face it, after he gets home who could muster enough energy to do all that just for that damn mutt?

Besides, the dog owner wants to relax when he's with his dog and “be himself”.
  • He is too tired to think about the outcome,
  • He is still thinking about that thing that happened at work, and that meeting he had with the client.
  • He provides food and shelter for this dog, isn’t that enough?
  • How dare he be disobedient, doesn’t he know what I go through to keep a roof over his head?
  • Taking care of this dog feels like a job and I don’t even get paid for it…this sucks.

This time its personal

Everything a dog does -in the view of the dog owner- is personal.

The dog owner takes everything to heart and often reacts emotionally when facing a misbehaving canine. So let me say this again.

The extent of your success will depend directly on the extent to which you are able to replicate these attributes inherent in the nature of dog training profession.

I maintain that the extent of any dog owner’s success will depend directly on the extent to which a dog owner is able to replicate these invisible attributes possessed by dog trainers.

These attributes are inherent in the relationship between a dog, dog owner and dog trainer.

Dog trainers get paid to be calm, cool and collected.

I bet that you (the dog owner) would do much better with somebody else’s dog with which you have no emotional attachment all the while making money for doing it. Don’t you think?

How do we get past this? Here are few suggestions.
  • Detach yourself from the outcome.
  • Enjoy the process.
  • Don’t expect perfection or blind obedience.
  • Understand that your dog will perform only to the level to which you’ve met his (the dog’s) needs.
  • Bring MORE to the table (confidence, energy, intelligence, knowledge, etc).
  • Don’t take things personally, it’s just a dog.
  • Would you be mad at a human baby for pooping his pants? So why are you mad at a dog for being a dog?

The issue of detachment is a subtle one. I hope I’ve been able to relate it in a useful fashion.

What did you take away from this chapter?


Dino Dogan is a blogger, writer, biker, dog trainer, singer/songwriter, Martial Artist. Dino is now busy with his DIY Blogger Net blog. He is also behind the great social media tool, Triberr. Hopefully one day he'll return to dog blogging. Meanwhile, you can connect with Dino on Twitter or Facebook.

Related articles:
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART ONE
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART TWO
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART THREE
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART FOUR


  1. I am really enjoying this series...And thanks for the reminder about detaching from outcome...that's probably the hardest for me