When it comes to questions, we’ve been asked it all. Some of the questions we get asked have the power to make us literally explode with excitement, after all, we’ve dedicated our career to leave no stone unturned when it comes to knowing what there is to know about animals. Others have the power to leave us shuddering in our boots and unable to sleep at night. But there are some questions that seem to pop up over and over again, so, we’ve compiled our answers to the most common questions and statements that dog owners ask and say in the hope that maybe, just maybe, we can give you a little insight in to what it’s like to be a trainer in a world of owners and finally offer some seemingly ever elusive answers.
- Why does my dog still pee/poop in the house?
Ask any experienced dog trainer you like and we guarantee this will come in as one of the top in their list of questions. Whilst there are plenty of reasons, the most common is that the dog just isn’t being let out enough. It’s that simple. Adding a few extra toilet breaks in to the daily schedule can really be all it takes for most dogs, especially little dogs whose bladders are around the size of a ping pong ball. If your dog is kibble fed for example, these in general tend to be quite drying and so dogs will automatically want to drink more too. Dogs with thick coats that live in a warm environment will need to cool down more often and so will drink more in an attempt to do this and we’ve even seen some dogs drink from boredom because there is a lack of other things to stimulate their minds. Over time, the act of urinating in a specific environment can also become habitual, making this a difficult habit to break without some form of intervention.
The second most common reason is that there is an underlying medical reason. UTI’s can be fairly common and so a quick trip to the vets and a course of antibiotics later should solve the problem. Other more serious problems include problems with the kidneys (sometimes indicated by blood in the urine) and diabetic dogs, who may need to urinate more. In most cases the owner finds that the problem started very suddenly and is unable to think of a possible reason as to what may have changed in the dogs routine to have caused this. If you are ever in any doubt yourself, always book a visit to see the vet. At the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
The last most common reason (although by no means does that mean this list couldn’t go on) is…and we hate to say this…the owner just isn’t cleaning the area properly. Ammonia in the urine is the chemical that needs to be broken down in order to eliminate the smell. Ok there is a little more science to the whole matter of doggy pee but we aren’t going to go there right now. And believe us, even if you cant smell anything, your dog still can! Most household cleaners are either not designed to break down ammonia or actually contain it, in which case a quick review of the cleaning products in the cupboard can be all it takes to solve the problem. A carpet cleaner or steamer can be a handy tool to invest in too.
2. Why don’t you ever answer the phone?
We are either in training, driving or sleeping. It’s that simple.
The best advice we can give is to use the voicemail facility. And give your dog trainer 24 hours to get back to you. Honestly, we don’t ignore calls (except the ones that come in AFTER working hours, because, well, you know, we like to watch Eastenders in peace too). Just make sure that you remember to leave a number for us to call you back on. Trainers get a ridiculous amount of calls a day from potential clients who leave us no number, but get angry and upset that we didn’t call them back. Sadly, amongst our many talents, mindreading isn’t one of them, so make it easy for us. If after doing all of the above you still don’t get a call back, then sure, call us again and tell us to pull our pants up, because on those occasions we really have been useless!
3. Why doesn’t my dog come back to me when called?
Because you haven’t motivated them enough to come back. Just humour us on this one and put yourself in your dogs…errr….paws for a second. You’re out and about after being in a house for hours on end with little to do except chew shoes and stuff. You are free, and the world is full of pretty flowers and people and grass and….holy shamoley…..SQIIRRREEELLLLLLS!!
Now why on earth would you, in that moment, choose to go back to your human only to be put on a lead and quite possibly scolded or at least, not even rewarded and fussed over, if you can have freedom chasing squirrels or other dogs or even just, y’know, fresh air. It’s never going to happen at least not with any right minded dog. Your dog has to work to get rewards yes, but you actually have to do some work too and start offering the opportunity to earn all the fun things in life, even if that means loosening up a bit and running round like a squawking monster. Who cares what other people think on that one too…you want your dog to come back, right? Ok, so learn to live a little. Be the crazy dog parent down at the park. The bottom line is, your dog has to want to come back to you and until then, that’s what the long line was designed for. Moments like this!
4. My dog; has rolled in fox poo/eaten chocolate/legs are falling off. What should I do?
Give them a bath…call the vet…and sweet baby Jesus, call the vet…in that order.
5. Why is my dog hyper?
A) Not enough mental stimulation. B) Not enough exercise. C) You feed them additives and other naughty things. D) Your dog has a personality.
Any or all of the above will be applicable here. Embrace it or change it as you see fit.
6. But my vet says…..
As the Spice Girls once said ‘Stop right now, thank you very much’.
Your vet is trained in the field of medical science. Your trainer is trained in the field of behavioural science. Your behaviourist is trained in the field(s) of behaviour, ethology, genetics and a whole host of other ‘isms. Your physiotherapist is trained in the field of physiotherapy. Your hydrotherapist is trained in the field of hydrotherapy. Your nutritionist in the field of nutrition.
And yes, whilst for some of these disciplines there may be a cross over of knowledge in each area, we earned our titles by specialising in our given discipline. Please don’t confuse our degrees. And for the love of all that is holy, please don’t follow this by saying; ‘But, but, google says…’
We beg you.
7. Can I just ask your advice?
Ok, we need to get real on this one as its probably one of the most feared questions in our field. By all means, ask our advice, but unless you’ve hired us to work with you already, the only advice we can give is general. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is, any reputable professional that works with animals will not give specific advice regarding an animal they haven’t assessed no matter who has seen the animal previously or how descriptive you get. It would be unethical for so many reasons, but the main one being if we were to give the wrong advice, particularly in cases such as aggression or medical, that could quite possible lead as far as the unnecessary death of that animal. You might not believe that, but it can and does happen more than we would like you to believe it does. So unless we are aiming for career suicide, no commendable professional would take that risk. The easiest way to go, is to book a consultation with your chosen master.
The second is that, as mentioned already, we are professionals or more precisely professionals with passion. We can talk you in to an early grave on the subject of dogs, but the bottom line is, this is our career too and from that we need to earn an income. Most trainers (and others) also have other overheads such as rent, wages, vehicle maintenance, equipment, course costs for continued learning (CPD) to list but a few. No matter how much we might want to work with dogs for free, the reality is, we cant. So please be courteous and remember, we are already useless on the phone so if you do call and you are lucky enough to get an answer, make it worthwhile by booking us because then at least you will get the satisfaction of telling us to shut up about dogs when we go on, and on and on…and on….