Talk To Your Trainer or Instructor

Updated: Sep 2

"Hi! I've heard a lot about your training and I wanted to see if you could help me and my dog. We've been training for a while and, while I like my trainer, I don't think we are getting anywhere. Looking forward to working with you!"

Surprisingly, this type of message from a prospective client is not all that rare. Now, I'm not saying that to toot my own horn. I'm saying it because there appears to be a lack of communication between trainers or instructors and their clients which causes the latter to seek out help elsewhere.

Are You On the Same Wavelength...or Galaxy?! 


There is an assumption that specialty dog training instructors or trainers are interchangeable like standard car parts. Basically that all Scent Work instructors are the same. This could not be further from the truth.

"Oh, you mean to say no one is as good as you?"

Um, no.

Every instructor has their own background and history they bring to the table, whether it be their own personal training or competition journey, their training methodology preferences or the manner in which they teach. All of this will distinguish them from their colleagues, even those who also teach Scent Work. Their personality, how they speak and form their sentences to how they choose to describe certain exercises or organize their curriculum, classes and exercises, all of this will be customized from trainer to trainer.

The same applies to students. No two students will have the same set of criteria, goals or things that are important to them and their dogs. Some students simply want to do something fun with their dogs and that is why they are playing the sniffing game. Others want to stretch their dog mentally and physically. There are still other students who want to compete, with a subset interested in titling while another group focuses on earning as many placements as possible. 

The point being, everyone is coming at this from different standpoints. 

I'm hoping you can see how this makes things rather complicated. 

If you have a trainer or instructor who is focused on honing a team's skills to the finest point possible so they can shave seconds off of every run working with a student who simply wants to have fun with their dog, and has no intention whatsoever in ever competing, this partnership is probably not going to work out so well.

It is for this reason that students need to actively communicate any and all concerns they may have with their instructors or trainers.

But What if I Make My Trainer Mad? 

I've had people sincerely ask me this question before. 

They are so worried that if they talk to their trainer or instructor about their concerns regarding the training, that it will make their trainer or instructor upset.

I know, personally, I would be heartbroken if one of my students censored themselves like this.  My job as a trainer and instructor is to partner with my students to help them achieve their dog training goals. The crucial part of that sentence is "their training goals", not mine.

I WOULD be upset if they DIDN'T tell me about an issue or concern they had, and how I found out about the problem is learning that my student was suddenly working with someone else!

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