I love training. Really, I do. It amazes me. I so often get home from work in time for a class, and am totally pissy because I’m tired and had a bad day and I don’t wanna go do something else! And then I go. And it is a.w.e.s.o.m.e.
Training is a job where I come home from work happier than I left. It doesn’t drain me, it rejuvenates me.
That is weird.
I had two new private clients the last two mornings. I was nervous before going to see both of them. I usually am when going to see a new private client, you just never know what you’re going to run in to! I have not slept well in a week, so I am tired. I woke up totally pissy both mornings and just did not want to go. But of course, I did. Me and my bad attitude and my nerves. (Luckily I am very good at faking emotion, so it’s not like I showed up to my clients’ houses visibly pissy). And somehow, within the 90 minutes at their house, my entire attitude is transformed, and I leave happy. Happy. I so rarely feel that!
These last two days have been a reminder that I a good at what I do. As I said, I went to both nervous. The first one was a dog that pulls and door-dashes and chews and digs and has no recall. This is what I knew going in. I figured I could at least be of some help; I know many solutions for most of those problems. But it went better than I could have hoped. I addressed every question individually, we practiced skills to deal with each bad behavior, and when I left the fervently thanked me. The relief they felt at having answers was palpable, and so rewarding.
This morning I just got back from dealing with a dog who would not house break. They had tried “everything,” and nothing was working. I was extra nervous abut this, because housebreaking is a paaaaain to deal with. Basically, there is nothing complex about housebreaking, it is just a lot of work. Not what people usually want to hear. I listened to their problems, saw their setup, and then outlined a plan for them, with several parts, in detail. They had tried variations of some of the things I recommended, but they’d never understood why they were doing it, so they’d not been doing it quite right. Again, the expressions of understanding and relief, the “Oh! That makes sense!”s, the growing confidence you could feel building were all there, and were all reminders that I am really helping families.
It amazes me, sometimes, that I tell people to do things that are 1) common sense and 2) a lot of work, and they pay me and thank me for it. One thing I’ve learned dog training is that common sense to me is not common sense to everyone else with regards to dogs. I didn’t know professional dog trainers existed until shortly before I became one, because dealing with dogs had always been common sense to me! It never occurred to me that professional trainers would be necessary. Because my methods are, really, based on common sense about dog nature, and because I am good at explaining that base, I usually end up with happy clients. They can understand not only what to do, but why they should do it, and it helps them feel in control and like there is an answer. I love being able to help people find that confidence! And then, of course, the methods work, because the people are now working with their dogs, instead of struggling against them.
What I do training makes a difference, in the lives of dogs and in the lives of people.
I am good at it.
And I love it.
This is what I was meant to do.