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I have dad puppies all of my life and they turned out just fine without any training.When I was little,we had dogs and my parents never seeked out a trainer.I am just wondering why most of responses always say,get them in training.
 

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DK your age but I would guess when you were young your parents' dogs lived outside (so did not need house manners) and did not go to town socially (so did not need new dog new human manners) and did not compete in any venues (so did not need to learn proper competition skills). Life changes- humans are also much busier than they were 40 years ago. And pay far more attention to their dogs.
 

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Kristy
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Usually by the time someone gets here looking for help, we have to assume that they've exhausted their own talents and resources for dealing with whatever issue they are facing with their dog. Most of the time the issue has been created by the owner not giving the dog proper structure and boundaries. If someone with experience and some training can help you achieve positive changes more quickly, it just makes sense to seek them out.

You say that you and your parents have had 'dogs and puppies' all your life that turned out just fine with no training and little effort. Think about what breeds those dogs were or what mixes of breeds. There is typically a big difference in 'problem' behaviors of dogs depending on what their original working behaviors are. Big sporting dogs have bigger issues than smaller herding breeds or terrier mixes etc. Smaller dogs don't cause the same amount of destruction, don't chew as long and mouth as much as puppies. It's just different with a Golden and typically they are smarter, more people pleasing and can be redirected with more exercise and smarter management. We try to share what has worked for us.
 

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I agree with Prism. Most people think that after they teach sit, down, drop it and stay and come that it's over, their dog is "trained". Heck they tend to think that when their dogs stay and don't eat their food until told to do so it's a full blown stay and don't know why when in public it doesn't stay.

That is just a dog that has learned commands but isn't trained yet. Training consists of socialization and correction in public settings so it understands what is acceptable behavior and what is not. It takes a long time to work with the dog in areas where there are distractions to really get a dog to listen in areas with distractions you must be insanely repetitive and it can take months, like 12-18 months to get your dog properly trained.

Do most people don't have the time, energy and even know how to train a dog properly? Like finding good safe place for distraction training. Or the time to take an hour or 2 a night after work. So finding a class will do 2 things,

1 is going structured classes 2 times a week is an auto blocking it off the time each week.
2 it gives people that aren't sure what and how to train something to focus on the next few days before the next class.

I think most people don't realize until they take a class is the class isn't for teaching the puppy. It's for teaching the human. They show in a training session how to train and get your dogs attention to do the training, you go home and do just that training till the next class. Then in that class it's about doing what was taught at home in a distracted area with other people and puppies. This shows the progress then they show you the next thing to train at work with and so on and so on.
 

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Kate
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I have had puppies all of my life and they turned out just fine without any training.When I was little, we had dogs and my parents never sought out a trainer. I am just wondering why most of responses always say, get them in training.
There's generally different people out there who never show up in classes.

You have the kind who beat their dogs with brooms and newspaper.... <= And have well trained dogs in the end. But hey, they are abusive...

You have the kind who keeps the dogs outside or caged inside and have very little interaction with the dogs. What an impoverished existence for the dogs. :(

You have the kind who keeps flipping dogs. They bring puppies home and as soon as the dogs show some sign of behavior that the people can't live with - either peeing all over the place or biting or attacking.... they dump the dogs in shelters and start all over again with a new puppy. There's a term for those people. It's got an A and an H.

You then have the kind who do not train the dogs but are good enough owners that they bring them out and about on occasion.... and might not know it, but people gripe behind their backs about how AWFUL their dogs are. And these AWFUL dogs lead to other people's dogs being PUNISHED by parks or businesses banning dogs.

Beyond that - a lot of young people have no clue what goes on outside their childhood bedrooms. They generally don't know what their parents did for raising and training family dogs. They assume a lot of stuff is just easy. They didn't see the tiny little things their parents did which made dog ownership easy. This includes natural handling. Some people are very good handling dogs and naturally know how to communicate with dogs. Other people don't see that. Leave it to other people, when things don't work they either quit or they get emotional or reactive.

This is a reason why even if you grew up with dogs, you still need to go to obedience classes and learn how to handle dogs kindly but practically as well.

I have to add that having taken basic obedience classes before - you do see people come to the classes with a "this a joke" attitude. And they either continue like that and waste the money they spent on these classes... or they get serious about learning how to "talk dog" when they see that holding and pulling a leash isn't enough to not only control a dog, but to also engage that dog's attention and focus - all with soft hands and kindness.
 

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Puddles
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Totally agree with all of the above. Just one generation ago... kids weren't tied to their phones. There was no internet. There was maybe 4 channels not 150+ on TV, shoot it used to go off air at midnight. It was a big date to go downtown to the movies vs a red box on the corner. You didn't schedule time to go to the lake or a walk in the woods that was just a part of life. If you were lucky you scheduled a yearly vacay with the family. Kids live at the malls, have endless entertainment available and a whole world of online friends without ever coming out of their rooms. Like Prism said, life was different.

In general, kids want the lifestyle of their parents but have no clue of the years of work that went into achieving it. Same with the dogs... they want the well behaved, enjoyable dogs to show off but have no idea how much work those owners went through to have them. So many people are so focused on getting the dogs they don't bother to learn what the dog is going to need once they get them. Dogs are work, especially hunting dogs and 1st time dog owners have no clue what that new golden puppy is going to be like much of the time. Shoot, even hospitals now give classes to new parents... that's training too.

So when people post their struggles, most of the time it's because they have never had a dog before. They sort of expect the new puppy come pre-programed to understand how to behave, how to potty outside, not to bite the kids or tear up their shoes & sleep late in the mornings. LOL It's sort of like your first kid... reality sets in quickly.

Back in the day you had multi generations living together and you learned from the wisdom of the family. Without this knowledge you need to take classes and hopefully have your kids be a part of the process so future generations can pass on the wisdom.
 

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My family's first golden retriever was pawned off on my family from a neighbor cause at 6 months old the dog was no longer "awww a cute puppy" and was now in "ugh this dog is the worse and why won't it stop chewing and peeing on everything and I hate it."

My dad took the dog in assuming it would require ZERO training to be a hunting dog... cause that is how his family got hunting dogs. They got puppies and took them out with the older hunting dogs and the dog just LEARNED. Idk if he assumed it was a magic process where the older dog sits the puppy down a la "the fox and the hound" style but that didn't work. The dog was too unruly and untrained to be loose in the field so it fell on my mom to "take care of it" which meant the dog lived in the backyard with a dog house and as little interaction as possible. He didn't know how to walk on a leash and in fact, he dragged me down the road over a block when I was about 7 years old, because he wanted to say hi to someone. I can guarantee he was the bane of the neighborhood and it was constant struggle with me cause I would sneak him into my bedroom at night and snuggle with him in my bed... much to my mother's horror. But you couldn't DO anything with him. He didn't understand polite leash walking so walking around the neighborhood was out. He didn't tolerate car rides, so going out with him somewhere wasn't happening. He was deathly afraid of water and hoses so he always smelled bad. His entire 7 years revolved around a 10x50 foot backyard.

When I got my first dog as an adult, a lot had changed in the 20ish years between Sunny and Bear. Whereas my mother was a SAHM, I am in a duel income household, so time available to enjoy my dog was severely limited. Whereas banishing dogs to the backyard was commonplace, it is frowned down upon in general and 98% of rescues will not adopt dogs out to people who plan to leave them as outside dogs; so indoor house manners are very important. And now its much more commonplace to bring dogs out in public for what-have-you (dinners, play dates, dog parks, etc) because with so little free time, people combine things they love to get the biggest bang for their buck. Plus humans are packed more tightly together in most places, so respectful and kind neighborly behavior is important, including appropriate dog behaviors. Therefore, dogs now-a-days NEED to be well behaved which translates to well trained.

Most people are not good natural trainers. Obedience classes are about training the handler as much if not more so then about training the dog. Dog won't stop barking? The knee jerk reaction is to punish the dog when it barks. But go to training and most trainers will talk about rewarding the dog for being quiet, to create incentive to be quiet. And teaching the dog to redirect that behavior to curb it. Got a dog that won't stop pulling? Legit 75% of the posts I see in other forums talk about how people literally just stop taking their dogs out because it's not fun, it's too hard, it's too much work, etc, to constantly manage a dog. So most people extol the virtues of preemptive training so instead of FIXING problems, you are starting the dog off right. Bear was a puller. I struggled with it for EVER. When I got Lana, I immediately taught her heeling because I didn't want to repeat my struggles with Bear. AND IT WORKED. Now I have a 16 month old who I can take out ANYWHERE and I know I won't get my arm pulled out its socket, and it will be pleasant experience for us both.

Bottom line, we want to see people enjoy their dogs. We want to see dogs stay with their original owners. We want to see responsible pet ownership. We want to see lifetime commitment to our animals. So when people come here at their wits end over behavioral problems, it makes sense that the first line to tug is "what kind of training have you taken/are taking?"
 

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I was in the “I don’t need to go to a class” boat since I did not with my other dog and he is awesome!! He truly is but he’s also a 10 lb Brussels Griffon ? Fletch and I start Puppy Class next week—he knows commands and is a very calm, sweet pup but I do think a class will give us both some extra challenges and learning something new/new environment should be very positive.
 

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Until you own and train a truly talented and exceptional dog you have no real appreciation for how smart they are and what a valuable addition they will be to your family.

I love dogs, but my sister owns a dog that drives me crazy. She brings it to our family dinners because she owns a vacation home and my parents house is the midway point between her home and her vacation home. It barks for attention. We have to be careful when opening doors not to let it out because it won't come back when called. It will not sit quietly the entire evening. You can't pet it or calm it down because it is so anxious. I'm honestly not sure exactly what it is. It's cute, but not that cute. She always says it doesn't act like that at home. She never saw anything wrong with it until my Dad's 80th B'day last month. My son is as annoyed by the dog as I am. He's pretty good with training hunting dogs. He had a six month old lab that was preparing to go to our field trainer. This puppy is his jump from hunt training to field. He decided to take it to the family dinner as well. He brought in his puppy and it quietly sat either beside him, or on the rug by the door unless someone called it to them. It knows all the basics, plus a lot of off leash work has been done. My sister was amazed at how a puppy could behave. She looked at her husband and said "we should have bought a lab". My son laughed and explained the hours of training and that Ellie would be leaving in the next few weeks for the rest of her training. Ellie is from a long line champion field labs. Ellie is so high strung that she doesn't run, she leaps like a deer when she first takes off. She is by no means calm, but she is trained. My sister is now working with her dog. I don't really have big hopes, but she did finally see the difference.

For people that really train their dogs, and have expectations of other people to do the same, it is very annoying when we leave our dogs home and are annoyed by others dogs behavior. We try to hide it, but it's still annoying.
 

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Puddles
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There are a ton of breeds that don't require much more than some simple basics and a walk twice a day. Too many people just assume this will apply to their golden puppy. Possible, yes but not likely. Sadly one of the reasons there are so many labs in rescue. Any hunting breed is going to require more than most people realize. Lack of training and exercise is always the 1st thing experienced golden owners suggest as it is usually the answer to their problems.
For some reality happens the 1st week when the landshark is wanting to eat everyone and mistake this for aggression.
If they make it to 15 weeks the energy level has usually doubled for most and curiosity has peaked and suddenly their sweet puppy has changed :)
Puppies are just growing and their need for learning & exercise has just increased.
If they get through this phase it all hits again when they are close to 1 yr and they suddenly have a 60+ lb dog they assumed would have settled down by now. Oops! Why would they settle down when they are having so much fun doing whatever they want?
So this is the reason training classes and increased exercise is always the go to answer.
 

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Short answer is NO; you don't ALWAYS need a trainer..


Like you and have had dogs all of my life, and my parents lived in a large house, with over 2 acres of un-fenced land, and my childhood dogs were all indoor dogs. Not saying that trainers are bad, just not needed for EVERY instance.
 

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You could also not send children to school/education and they’d likely make it to adulthood too. The functional difference would be there but if just existing with minimal skills is the goal, school would not be a necessity either.

I don’t know a single responsible breeder that doesn’t make taking puppies to training classes a requirement or strong recommendation. There is a reason for that.

Education is never a bad thing and most pet owners are very undereducated when it comes to training their dogs and reading situations.
 

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Kate
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I am not saying not to train your dogs or puppies,but I think that you can do it yourself with a few suggestions.and not have to pay a trainer to do it.
Speaking honestly here, it depends on your ability to learn theory and application from videos and books. At least where it concerns teaching the dogs whatever is important for you.

If your only specs for a dog is to sleep in a crate at night, walk nicely on a loose lead, sit on command, lie down on command, give paw as a trick....

These are things you can teach at home within the first 1-3 weeks of your pup coming home.

If your primary specs are teaching "leave it", staying off counters, being able to be loose in a room while people are eating without lunging up and grabbing food off plates, etc.

These are things which are difficult to teach in a class setting. An instructor may touch on them in class, however beyond teaching leave it and "watch" commands, the majority is left to you to teach in full at home.

But if you know what you are doing, your pup should know these things well before he's 4 months old.

If your primary specs are being able to take your dog to work with you, take your dog into stores or other public places where there are people and other dogs around in close proximity.... and not having to worry about your dog either going into a full panic attack, lifting his leg on everything, barking or lunging at people or dogs....

These are things you will ABSOLUTELY address in classes - presuming you do classes regularly between 4 months and 24 months.

By the time your dog is 2 years old, a lot of behaviors become set. If he has anxiety or fear aggression around other dogs by then, that's pretty much set for life. You can work a dog through problems with the help of a trainer beyond 2 (especially if the dog already has a good foundation as far as obeying you), but you should always be aware and wary of your dogs reactions around situations which may set him off. <= This is a huge reason to work on both ends (obedience training and positive socialization) through all the different fear stages as puppies grow up.


I'll also add very candidly that my youngest pup (18 weeks old) has not been in any obedience classes yet.

This does not mean he's never been trained in a class environment or his training has been allowed to slide.

Currently speaking, he has already been in his first obedience fun match. I was debating on entering his second one this week - depends on whether there are still openings through tomorrow night (I'm trying to let people who are entered in a trial at this location sign up first).

I've had him for 10 weeks.

In those 10 weeks -

He learned his name <= which seems silly, but for a puppy learning is name is the first part of teaching all the other exercises, especially recalls.

He is fully crate trained.

He is fully potty trained.

He is fully border trained (no fence).

He is learning to heel off leash. He's very good at being glued to my side, but we are working on keeping all feet on the ground vs boxing his feet in the air every step. He knows to automatically sit straight up and down in heel position every time I stop walking.

He knows sit on verbal command.

He is learning sit on hand signal.

He knows down on verbal command and hand signal. My next step is teaching him down on hand signal alone.

As he learns both sit and down on hand signal, we will begin teaching position changes from a distance - this includes drop on recall, it includes a called sit when sent to a mark, it also includes signals from a distance.

He knows "Come" and is solid with recalls.

He is learning his sit and down stays - very early beginnings, but he's been solid so far with him clearly understanding what I'm asking of him.

He will be learning stand stays soonish. I held off while teaching him to free stack (for conformation). As he now knows to set all his feet correctly on his own when told to stand on command (I have a verbal command and hand signal), we can now begin teaching a stay.

He will also begin learning a hand signal (distance) for stand - and the long term goal is to be able to be 15 or 30 feet away and have an excellent stand from a sit or down position.

He is learning a basic front after recall - which is automatically sitting in front after a recall.

He is learning the silly things like sitting up on his haunches, spinning both ways, giving paw, nose touches to hands, back, army crawl, etc. Most of these things are taught as a "release" or building play/excitement while training.

He is learning how to search by scent - (me touching a treat on the ground and building a track for him to follow to an eventual self-reward)

He is learning "mark" - with me training him to look a certain direction as I'm indicating with my hand and going there when I've sent him. <= this is in foundation stages. As he progresses, I will gradually work with him being sent to fetch a target on command. Then I will give him multiple targets as distractions while he's sent to a specific target to fetch.

He is learning retrieves correctly from the very foundation (take, hold, give). He does get to retrieve dumbbells, but primary focus is building the foundation. There's some allowance with a teething puppy and no rush.

As he hits 20 weeks, I'll start introducing the very beginnings of jumps. He's a long way from being asked to jump like he would for obedience. But there is a time to teach foundation skills for jumping.

And I can go on and on and on about everything that my 18 week old pup is working on right now.... without ever being in a class.

Does that mean he will never be in classes???? NOT likely! LOL.


My point in describing everything we are working on is to emphasize that I still value what we can get out of private lessons and group classes - regardless of what I already know how to train on my own.

My handling skills from one dog to the next - needs somebody else telling me what I'm doing wrong. The more advanced that my dogs and I are as a team, the more we are open to critiquing and suggestions from the people I train with.

As well, all of the ten million things which a puppy learns in the first 6 months of his life even before he's in regular classes.... I know to teach these things to this puppy, because I've raised several puppies from puppy hood while attending classes almost nonstop. What I know is what I learned in actual classes from very accomplished trainers. I've learned some things while watching youtube, but majority of what I've learned - I learned hands-on in a class environment.

If you've had the same experience, then you likewise do not need to be attending as many puppy classes, basic obedience classes, CGC classes, etc, unlike somebody who is very green and new to dog ownership, dog raising, dog handling, and overall everything dog training.

Requiring that people sign up for classes at least for puppy classes, basic obedience, CGC - the first year. And then maybe agility for fun, beginner rally, and scent foundation the second year... <= This seems ridiculous for somebody who just wants a dog for company. But all those sessions of classes are a guarantee that you will train your dog at least 18 times the first year and 18 times the next year - assuming you are taking 3 sessions of 6 weeks each year. Some people only train their dogs at classes. :nerd:

This is obviously over and beyond what somebody with a pet golden is willing to do or has need for. And there's a pretty huge mental block that a lot of people have when it comes to training dogs in obedience classes - some of which comes from many of the vet recommended classes being so GODAWFUL. >.<

All I can say is search for the best location to train that you can. The benefits you can get out of it is learning maybe 1-5 things which you didn't know before hand. And having a dog who is reliable in a variety of situations thanks to training. And doors get opened the better trained your dog is. Ages ago when I was training my first golden through classes, we got to dip our paws into field and agility. As of today, there are a ton of different venues that people can go into with their dogs.

I recently watched a nosework test (at a show) and I got HOOKED after watching each dog go through the two courses. It's something I want to try out with my dogs next summer - we just need to take a few classes to learn how to do it! I *think* it should be easy based on them already knowing how to hunt by scent, but we'll see!

Pet classes can be very much like an assembly line and you might not get too much help from an instructor who lacks training experience or is primarily checking off boxes and selling equipment. And some places overcharge... :( Again, please look around for good places to train. And very least aim for Star Puppy and CGC programs.

Good Luck<:
 

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I am not saying not to train your dogs or puppies,but I think that you can do it yourself with a few suggestions.and not have to pay a trainer to do it.

I guess it depends a bit on the dog and a lot on the quality of life you want to have with your dog.


For example, if you have a small dog, it doesn't really matter if it pulls on leash. And if you don't take your dog for walks on leash, you don't really need to train it to walk nicely. If your dog never goes anywhere, it doesn't really matter if it behaves well in public places. If you get a nice, laid-back dog and what you're looking for is a quiet companion in the house and yard, then you don't need much training. Most dogs will learn what is and isn't acceptable by trial and error.


My parents had dogs - there was always a dog in our house. None were ever trained (except for hunting - they were all great at retrieving ducks). I remember one, when I was very young, that was euthanized for aggression - looking back, this was probably only a management problem that could have been solved by early training. I remember one that used to chew shoes. I remember another, a spaniel, that was never really house-trained - it often used to pee in the house. But he was a sweetheart - probably my favourite childhood dog. I think we tend to romanticize a lot when looking back at childhood animals. I'm pretty sure that as an adult I wouldn't now enjoy living with any of those dogs.


Personally, I like to take my dog out and about. I like him to be able to come along when we visit people, and when we go on vacation. I enjoy knowing that he's well behaved enough to take to hotels. I like knowing that, if I take him to a public beach, he'll come back to me when I call him. I enjoy walking, and like to take him with me - which I couldn't do if he hadn't been trained to walk nicely on leash, because he weighs upwards of 50 lbs. I like knowing that, when I'm with friends who have young children, he's not going to knock them down or bite them. I think his life is richer because he's trained properly - because he gets to do all kinds of cool stuff with us. My life is certainly richer for having him around. He's a pleasure to live with.


Can you get a dog like that without training? Maybe. Can you get a golden retriever like that without official training? I'm not sure. They are big, boistrous dogs. I've met a lot of barely trained or poorly trained goldens, and while I love the breed, I wouldn't want to live with those dogs. IMHO it's essential to bring out the best. It's possible to do it without the help of a trainer, but in reality, regular training classes are a great motivator to for participants to keep up with one another and put in the time to train the exercises properly. The problem with "do it yourself" trainers is that the vast majority of them don't see it through. They're enthusiastic for a week or two, and then let it slide.


Apart from that, training classes, if done properly, are a whole lot of fun and a great way to build a relationship with your dog. Who wouldn't want that?
 

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IMO, that's the wrong question to ask. Training is a large part of dog ownership (done right), I would argue that it's just as important as regular vet care and access to shelter and food. I bet that if more people thought it was just as vital, we'd probably have lower incidences of dogs given up to rescues for varying behavioral issues (incessant barking, inappropriate chewing, and instances of aggression/reactivity - barring medical issues (pica) or innate aggression/reactivity in some dogs due to bad genetics or rage syndrome or whatever). I have never personally read a study or an article on that, but it just seems to me that if people thought taking their dog to classes or consulting with a trainer was mandatory from the get-go, it would prevent some of these issues from happening - it's the whole "it's easier to create new behaviors than it is to change old/bad ones" thing.

The right question to ask, again IMO, is "why shouldn't we take classes or consult a trainer?". You gain far, far more than you lose when you take a class - provided you've chosen a trainer who you're comfortable with. You learn how to work with the dog in front of you, which in turn helps build the relationship between dog and human. Your dog learns to focus on you amid other dogs, people, new sounds, a new environment, etc. and that is always beneficial. There is no other environment like a group class environment (and thus, there is no distraction equal to the one a group class presents). You're providing your dog with mental stimulation - which, I feel, is underrated by the vast majority of people. I think mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise, if not more important depending on the individual dog, but generally speaking people rarely ever take that into consideration. Sometimes I see people think about it by using food puzzles or stuffed toys to give their dog, which definitely counts as mental stimulation, but I don't think it counts as enough all the time and it shouldn't be the only method used. But training new behaviors using different learning methods definitely counts as mental stimulation because then you're exercising the dog's brain by giving them a problem and seeing how they solve it or by challenging them in new ways. A group class is definitely pretty taxing mentally. Mainly because you're asking the dog to focus on you for an hour at a time while surrounded by new people and dogs in a new environment. As the weeks in the class pass, the people and the dogs and the environment become less new, but then you and the dog are given new material (new challenges) to learn. And if you get bit by the training bug, then that opens a whole new realm of possibilities - agility, rally, obedience, nose work, barn hunt, tracking, tricks, etc. Things you definitely would benefit from having a trainer for vs looking it up online (except maybe tricks) because they definitely require your dog to be able to perform in various locations.

That isn't to say you can't or shouldn't teach things on your own at home. I just think it would be a mistake to rely solely on yourself and your prior knowledge (if you aren't/weren't super involved with dog training) because everything changes and there's always new information available. The way people live with dogs now is certainly not the way it was 50 years ago - dogs used to be outside dogs and feeding Ol Roy or table scraps was acceptable. Now they are a more central part of our lives and their quality of life is better than it was previously. All that alpha roll and dominance theory stuff was dog training bible not so long ago - I think (and I have not been alive for very long so correct me if I'm wrong LOL) that it's only been recently that those theories have been discredited. Sometimes using YouTube or google to find ways to train can be more detrimental than not - Cesar Milan is probably the most popular (?) example of that. How many people swore by him and his methods? I think now most people agree that his methods are outdated and borderline inhumane, but you still have people who insist that he truly is a dog whisperer. I know someone who thinks the best way to teach a dog "leave it" is to present them with something and then yell "leave it" at them - she grew up in the 70s. Most people who understand anything about dog training will tell you that does not teach a dog anything whatsoever, but yet there are still people who think that's how to train.
 
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