As trainers, people come to us with a variety of behavior challenges. Whether it's potty training a new puppy or dealing with severe aggression, we're here to help people find solutions. But sometimes we run into this fundamental issue: We don't have magic wands.
Trust me, we're just as upset as you are. We would LOVE to be able to *swish* *sparkle* and magically fix everything! We see people in such difficult situations with their dogs, and we would totally "abra cadabra" the troublesome behaviors if we could. And we know that clients often come to us hoping we can "fix" their dog quickly, with a guarantee and a timeline and instant gratification. (We don't blame y'all- we're the same way!)
But here's the thing: we don't have magic wands. When you come to us with a behavior challenge you're looking to overcome, we pull out a whoooooole bag of tricks. Things like management! When you tell us that your puppy has chewed through 3 pairs of expensive shoes, we're going to ask you why he had access after the first pair. When you tell us that your dog is snapping at the toddler while you're on a Zoom call, we're going to recommend you use baby gates or other tools to keep them separated when you can't supervise.
In addition to management, we're going to give you training plans. These might include using your puppy's breakfast to reinforce them for sitting, hand targeting, or eye contact. It could mean working on muzzle training 5 times per day for 2 minutes. Sometimes it means setting up weekly sessions with a trainer to help a dog start un-learning a lifetime of fear around strangers. We pull lots of tools out of our magic bags- things like enrichment items and high value treats. And we always carry science and education, so we know how dogs behave, how to change behavior, and how to keep you safe. We do our research and often talk to other experts and colleagues to make sure you get the very best solutions, even if they aren't exactly magic.
Changing our dogs' behavior isn't easy. In simple cases, it takes some management and hard work over a short period of time. In many cases, it requires diligence, consistency, and a lot of patience. When someone comes to us with a dog who's gotten progressively more reactive for 3 years, or who has been resource guarding bones his whole life, or has already bitten several strangers- there is no quick fix. No satisfaction guarantee, no immediate gratification, no easy way out: no magic wand. If we could make a magic wand for dog training, we TOTALLY would. We would so much rather say a *bippity boppity boo* and then hang out happily with you and your perfect pups. But instead, we dig into our magic bags of tricks and pull out the management and the training plans and the hard work. We know it's not the magic wand we've all hoped for. But when we see your dog's behavior change using the whole bag of tricks, we think that's pretty magic, too :)