I have been back and forth about posting this so many times.
The “embarrassment” of having a less than perfect dog while at the same time being a dog professional. What would people say? What would my clients say? Isn’t it embarrassing to be a failure? Will anyone ever hire me again?
Every bad thought and Insecurity started to rear its ugly head. Am I a professional failure because one of my dogs is having issues with reactivity?
I spoke to trainer friends about it. I cried to trainer friends about it. And do you know what I discovered?
NOBODY has a perfect dog. Not even the best trainer in the entire world. The separation anxiety expert has a dog with separation anxiety. The aggression expert has a dog who is lead aggressive. The agility expert has a dog who doesn’t want to turn left (Zoolander much?).
Just because we are experts in our field, does not stop us from being human. Does not somehow create “magically perfect” dogs. Does not give us some magic wand where our dogs stop being sentient beings without their own thought processes.
Does having a reactive dog make me a bad dog trainer?
It makes me “better” at my job because not only am I recognising that my dog needs some additional help, I am also able to not only empathise with my clients with reactive dogs- I am living the same journey. I can also document my progress with Jester to make my services better for my clients and for you guys who follow me.
So ask yourself- whatever issue you are having. Do you want the trainer with the “illusion” of having a perfect dog? Or the trainer who has lived what you are going through?
For me, the choice was easy and my trainer friends with reactive dogs have become my lifeline and support bubble because we are all in this together.