I have noticed many people have an expectation of dog training that is so unrealistic it is unfair to the dog. Social media is flooded with people posting their dogs doing amazing things – balancing treats on their head, skate boarding, dancing with their human partner, etc etc etc. As entertaining as this is, being a dog trainer I know the hours and hours and HOURS that went into getting the dog to that level. Granted, there are a select few that just “click” and makes the training easier, but like humans not all dogs are built the same!
Dogs are not machines. And dog training is not a quick fix to all your doggy issues. It is a process, it requires work on the owners part, dedication and commitment as well as time and patience. You don’t have to put hours a day into your dog to get them to learn the basics and behave, but you will need to set aside time each day to work on commands, especially in the beginning of any training program. Be true to what you need from your dog and what you can actually get from the dog. Dog’s are amazing and I love working with them, but they do have limitations to what tasks they can perform and what they can do.
If you are looking for them to have fun with you (“I want my dog to play fetch with me.”), then you need to find something THEY enjoy doing, not something you WANT them to do. You can’t make a dog want to fetch. My doberman has absolutely no desire to play with toys, at all. None of them. She never has. I tried introducing several different toys, absolutely no interest. Why would I want to try and stress her out by making her do something for my enjoyment that is not fun for her? This is not about training, this is you projecting your desires onto your dog. Find their funzone and let them be a dog!
Not all dogs make good protection dogs. Some dogs would lick the bad guy to death, others would cower behind the owner. There is no amount of training you can do that is going to change that. If you are not sure of your dogs limitations, seek out the advice and help of a professional so they can better assess if your dog is fit to perform as you need them to.
Even in training a dog should enjoy what they do. It is work at times, it is not always fun but it should not be too stressful or put too much pressure on the dog to where it breaks their spirit or makes them apprehensive. I was working a German Shepherd Dog on just hand signals, no verbal commands, with a very loose leash. The owner was across the way observing while practicing with their other dog. They made a comment later about how happy the Shepherd was, his tail was wagging the entire time. Other dogs I have trained or am training get so excited when I come for the classes or to pick them up, the owners are thrilled they are learning AND are happy doing it. They look forward to it (dog and owner both)! I insist on that, the dog MUST enjoy the training. Which is why they should not be forced to be something they are not.
So, at the end of the day not every dog is going to be the latest YouTube sensation, but they can be a star in your eyes!! Having a well-mannered dog is a goal nearly every dog owner can reach.