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  • Richard Chan

Is slow always better?

Slow is not always better than fast.

I have met many clients who said they were told they needed many months or years to train their dogs how to do simple things like walking on leash without pulling.

They were told slow is better because fast meant a short cut was taken.

There were told there would be short falls if they focused only on the result.

But that is over generalizing things.

I believe as trainers we need to take as much time as it takes to get good and reliable result for our clients. But l also believe we need to equip ourselves with the best methods and techniques so we do not need to drag the training on longer than is necessary.

A dog does not live very long. Most owners want to have a life outside of training their dogs. It is the reality.

To train a dog a simple task for years without significant result when better result can be had in a matter or weeks or days is just wrong.

I want to be able to go places with my dogs. I don't want to stand and turn around again and again in the same spot for months or even years before l can walk my dog on leash.

I want my dog to listen to me off leash even if l do not have a fillet mignon on me. I don't want to never let my dog off leash because he loves to chase deers or cars or squirrels. I want to teach my dog a reliable recall so l can give him more fun and freedom - and it should not take 5 years to achieve. Because by then my dog will be a senior!

Rushing a job is bad, but using an ineffective method that doesn't yield good result after an unreasonable time frame is just as bad.

That is why l don't like stereotyping. Both fast and slow can be good or bad, the key is the result.

Owners have the right to ask for proof of results. They should ask for examples of a successful transformation, ask to see proof that this trainer has done something you need and it actually worked in a reasonable time frame.

An effective method should yield reliable result that works in the real world around real people and real dogs. It should not only work in a classroom.

If l was a dog, l would want the training to be completed sooner so l can enjoy my new life. I would not want to spend years in a classroom and only walk around my house.

As a trainer, l believe we should strive to provide fast and reliable results for our clients. Some jobs take longer than others as some dogs do need more time, but we should not use lame excuses to justify something we do not know how to effectively tackle by attacking trainers who know what they are doing and are able to produce better result much faster.

The best way to prove that we know what we are doing is to show our work in the open.

Talk is easy, result speaks volume. A dog will not lie for anyone.

If a dog can be transformed in 4 weeks and he is happy and reliable, you need to ask yourself why someone else has taken you 4 years and the result is not even close.

So, to me, the question is not fast vs slow but whether a trainer knows how to tackle a problem effectively. It is about whether the time frame is reasonable.

If a job is rushed and the dog comes out all messed up, then in that case, the training was bad. But that does not and should not imply all fast results are bad; same with slower results, sometimes a job needs more time to be done properly.

Bottom line is a dog should not need to go through a ridiculous amount of time to learn something simple. A dog should not be rushed to the point whereas he does not understand the expectations.

Trainers are accountable for their work, and in my opinion, the best way to show their accountability is to show their work with videos so everyone can see the actual results. This way, owners can judge whether the trainer can produce good results in a reasonable time frame.


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