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Dog Trainers - Burn out, Compassion Fatigue & Imposter Syndrome.

I’ve ummed and ahhed in whether to post this or not, but here goes.

In the dog training world, burnout is real. Compassion fatigue is real. Imposter syndrome is very real.

Dog training isn’t regulated and any old Tom dick and Harry can be a dog trainer. No real certification to prove to anyone. So dog trainers like me face real threat of the above mentioned. ESP when social media dog experts like to offer advice or people watching a TV dog trainer in a cravat magically making everything better in what appears to be half an hour!! 🙄

I know I suffer daily from imposter syndrome. I never feel quite “good enough”. Am good at what I do? Do I know what I’m talking about? Am I even helping this person and their dog?

Now don’t get this post as a “no Vicki you’re brilliant”. I’m not needing validation. But sometimes i feel like I’ve let you down. And I go to bed thinking about it. And waking up thinking about it!!! And will think about it until I see you again 😖

It’s a hard job, because people come to us in dire straits and want us to come up with the magical method to change it all. The thing is, we can’t. We don’t have a magic wand to make the problems go away in 1, 4 or 6 sessions. We can give you the tools which you have to implement on a day to day basis. Without doing so, nothing changes.

We also advise you to do things which may seem counter productive - things like recall, keep your dog on a long line. Things like reactivity, don’t take them to high dog traffic areas such as parks, busy towns, seasides…. Lead walking, expecting to get from a - b perfectly in one session, without practice. Get a vet check when we believe your dog is in pain/discomfort.

We are constantly trying to better our own knowledge, but sometimes this can take away our time with our family. We also have the “business” to run. Social media, websites, emails, phone calls, family chores….. there’s only so many hours in a day, and so many days in a week. A lot of dog trainers are working 6 days of the week, sometimes even 7!!! 😰

So next time you book in with a dog trainer, have realistic expectations of your dogs journey. How quickly you expect it to move forward. Are you going to put the work in?

Now this isn’t a dig. Most people do work hard in between sessions, but remember to be kind to your dog trainer. Be compassionate as they are with you - they cant “fix” anything, nothing is broken. Your dog is not a washing machine which needs a part replacing. They want you to succeed. They want the best for you and your dog, but also remember they can only do as much as they’re can offer for your dog - all dogs train differently! Remember, there is no magic wand. It may take weeks, months or even years to accomplish what you started training for.

A quote which is true and hopefully makes you smile is “do what your dog trainer told you to do the first time” 😂😂 I promise we are not trying to make your life difficult, life is hard enough, we know that, this is why we became dog trainers in the first place.

I know I’m good at my job. My dogs prove to me, I’m good at my job - are they perfect, no absolutely not, but I have a damn good relationship with my dogs, through the techniques I use with you guys. But sometimes days I question myself, which I shouldn’t and I know I’m not alone in this line of work, for thinking this.

I love my job, I'm incredibly lucky to do the job I have invested so much time and passion into and I have you lovely to fold to thank for that 💜

Anyway, I hope this gives you a little insight to the mind of a dog trainer. We are human after all 😌

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