Look, I’m just going to put this out there.
I can talk dog-training all day long. I’ve read the books. I’ve taken the online and the in-person courses. I’ve talked to the best dog trainers in my city. I know the theories like the back of my hand.
But I’m a terrible dog trainer.
I am short tempered. I scold Silas for barking, even when I know better. Even when the voice in my mind says the whole time, “Where, exactly, is this getting you? Is this really the kind of person you want to be?” It just . . . comes out.
I have slow reflexes. When the behaviorist told me to kneel down and pet Silas for good walking, he was always four steps ahead by the time I got to the ground. I’m young-ish and reasonably fit. I’m just slow.
I can’t remember the rules in the heat of the moment. I sent a training video to his behaviorist, and she pointed out that I was doing something completely obvious that I knew I shouldn’t have been doing.
Even worse, I am too soft-hearted. I don’t mean too soft-hearted for physical corrections, which is a different kettle of fish entirely. I mean, I make too many exceptions. These range from “Oh, it’s okay for him to do [insert problem behavior] here, because he’s nervous” to “I dropped his cookie, so it’s okay if he breaks his sit.”
If Silas were (no offense) a dumb, happy dog, I could probably get away with all of this stuff. Alas, he sees right through me.