I don’t play golf.  If I were to watch Tiger Woods and Tiger Woods’ caddy hit a golf ball, I could not tell the difference.  There must be a huge important set of differences, but I don’t know what the differences would be.  I certainly would not notice the ways in which Tiger Woods golf swing is better than his caddy’s swing.   Well, unless, of course, I saw where the ball went!

You may watch a professional dog trainer ask a dog to sit, and then reward the dog for sitting with a treat.  Looks easy.  You ask your dog to sit, and then reward him with a treat when he sits.  So what is the difference?  We will look at some of the differences in this article.

What happens when the professional trainer asks the dog to sit, and (gasp, horror) the dog does not sit?  Dog owners often become upset or angry at the dog when the requested behavior is not performed.  Professional trainers know that the dog is telling us he needs more training with this particular behavior in this particular environment.  The dog owner’s distress often negatively affects the dog’s ability to learn.  A frightened, worried dog cannot concentrate on the task at hand.  The professional dog trainer evaluates the dog’s past training and current behavior and develops a training plan to address the failure. 

Let’s look at another possible difference between a professional dog trainer and a dog owner.  A dog owner or a professional dog trainer might ask the dog to sit (there is a lot of sitting in this article).  If the dog does not sit, the dog owner might not follow up with the requested behavior.  A professional dog trainer might take the dog by the collar, or move the dog to a less distracting area.  The professional dog trainer would not allow the dog to entertain himself at will until he had performed the requested behavior.  The dog learns the association between the word or sound “sit” and the behavior “sit” more quickly from the professional dog trainer, because the behavior is pursued until successful. 

Professional dog trainers understand what behaviors have been trained, and what has not been trained.  In general, it is easy for dogs to learn to sit from a stand.  It is another behavior to learn to sit from a lying down position.  It is an even more difficult task to learn to sit a distance away from the owner/handler/trainer.  It is yet more difficult to teach sit when the dog is moving – running for example.  A professional dog trainer knows she should not ask for a behavior the dog is not yet able to perform.  A dog can be taught to stay from a sitting, lying or even a standing position.  It requires much attention to detail on the part of the trainer to teach a dog to stay in position while standing. 

Consider the differences between professional dog trainers and your methods of handling your dog.  You can make changes that will improve your dog’s behavior, and perhaps even your relationship with your dog. 


Happy Training!


Tricia Fagan

Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed

trainer @ dogSgonegood.com (remove spaces to send an email)

(713) 557-1949