My husband, Michael came up to me the other day as I was writing a blog post. He mentioned that he should write a blog post for me about what it's like being married to a dog trainer. Of course I jumped at the chance of having insight on what it looks like being married to a dog trainer and dog behaviorist.
I ran into one of my co-workers the other day. “I see you like Darwin Dogs on Facebook too! We hired Darwin Dogs a few weeks ago. Did you hire them too?”
I see it coming before I answer.
“No,” I replied. “I’m Kerry’s husband.”
My co-worker began to laugh. “Does she Pilot you when she wants the dishes done? Does she do that thing she does to the dogs when you do something she doesn’t like? Does she give you a ‘negative’?”
It kept up like this for quite a while. It was clear my co-worker was enjoying himself.
Of course, the answer is “No”, the reality far more pedestrian — we’re a normal married couple who treat one another like any other married couple. That is to say, we fight sometimes, get along most of the time, and love one another dearly. However, there are probably a few key ways in which my household differs from others.
We Don't Tolerate Negative Behavior From Our Dogs or Our Kids
I think one of the key insights in having a well-behaved dog is to think of them as children, at least in a sense. When you see your children behaving badly, you correct the behavior.
However, when a dog starts jumping on most people, they think, “Ahh, that’s just a dog being a dog.” When a dog jumps on one of us, we immediately think of a small child yelling, “gimme gimme gimme”, and react appropriately, with calm, gentle negatives.
Along those lines...
All our Dogs are the Best Dogs I've Ever Met
This is one of the perks of being married to a dog trainer. Not perfect, though, because Kerry doesn't tolerate laziness, nor does she believe in perfection. A perfect balance of not necessarily obedient dogs, but definitely not dogs who are disobedient. Companions and best dogs ever, rather than robots or machines.
I Hear a Lot About Dog Training and Dog Behavior
It has given me a lot of insight into dogs, and the typical types of problems dog owners have. One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that nearly every owner thinks his or her problems are unique – everything from submissive urination, “aggressive” dogs (which are normally anything but) to simple poor leash-walking skills and puppy problems.
My wife deals with the same problems over and over, which helps her to be better at her job. If she saw something new every single session, she wouldn’t be nearly as good as she is. Which brings me to:
My Wife is *Damn* Good Training Dogs (and Humans)
Of course I’d probably say that even if it weren’t true, but I’ve been fortunate enough to accompany my wife on a few training gigs (somebody needs to stand outside in the winter and pretend to be the postal delivery person), and I’m amazed at just how well she does her job.
While my wife is training dogs, she is really doing something far more involved – training humans how to interact with their dogs and see their dog's behavior in a whole new way. My wife takes her role very seriously. Often, my wife is all that stands between the would-be dog owner, and either a well-adjusted dog, or a one-way trip to the shelter.
Dog Training is a Demanding Job
Though you might not realize it, her job is beyond full-time. After the dog training session, there is the content creation and articles to maintain, calls to make & return, text messages to answer, volunteer work — the list is nearly endless. The home visits themselves are really just the tip of a vast iceberg that is involved in dog training.
The Whole Story
While most of the things I’ve listed are positive, there are also drawbacks to being married to a dog trainer – we usually have more dogs than I’d prefer running around the house at any given moment, there are dog treats stuck in our washing machine, and my wife is required to work odd hours.
And of course when we were first married and I’d ask her what her dog training schedule looked like on a particular day, my heart would skip a beat when she would casually throw out: “I have an aggressive dog at 10:00 and then a puppy training session from 1-3.”
Now I realize that aggressive dogs are typically just anxious dog, and I know that Kerry finds the puppy sessions more exhausting. Fun, but exhausting.
Part of me does still get a kick out of people’s reactions when they hear what my wife does for a living. I love watching her get all excited answering questions about their own dogs, which invariably happens when they discover her profession. I’m proud of the volunteer and charity work Kerry does, and how she stands up for what she believes is right.
But if I were to sum up Kerry in one word, that word would of course be “Pilot”. Someone who can calmly take the controls if necessary, but who is confident enough to know when someone else should fly the plane. Someone who knows their limitations, but tries every day to stretch those limitations. Kerry is someone who inspires me to do the same.
Dog Training in Northeast Ohio
Dog Training vs. Dog Life
By focusing on dog life, rather than dog training, our goals can become so much more attainable and clear-cut. Most of us don't want an obedient dog, we just don't want a dis-obedient dog. Robot-style dogs who are afraid of stepping out of line are for certain types of people I guess.
But that's not my style. That's why I developed the Piloting method of dog training over 20 years ago, a force-free method of dog training and puppy training that didn't rely on abusive shock collars or cruel prong collars, yet didn't constantly bribe with non-stop click-n-treat style dog training. I want a bond with my dog based on trust and communication.
Learn more about our Piloting method of dog and puppy training here.
Find out more about our private in home 30 Day Best Dog Ever and 30 Day Best Puppy Ever training packages here.
Have questions about our puppy training or dog training?
Dog Training and Puppy Training
Greater Cleveland Area