We hear it ALL the time: "My dog is not very well trained".
Do you picture:
-A doberman holding a sit/stay for 35 minutes, while all sorts of distractions pass?
-That labrador who is a trained service dog in a restaurant, looking absolutely debonaire?
-A border collie so motivated to work he will keep himself busy training in impressive dog sports, grabbing his owner a drink out of the fridge, and learning an endless stream of obedience cues?
-That Mastiff that never seems to jump or move from the couch?
"My dog is not very well trained. He barks at me when he hears something outdoors, wants to go out, or simply wants attention. He is not very good at listening on the trail, and oh my- I could never let him off the leash! He never sits longer than it takes me to close the treat bag! He'll wait for dinner, but forget it if there's no food around!"
Here's the thing: You are always training your dog... and your dog is very well trained!
I laugh at the intelligence of my dog once I realize it. It's impressive how many of my habits my pup can pick up on... And if you want to talk about some serious intelligence, the scary and uncanny ability of my scarlet macaw, Rex, to pick up on my routines, common phrases, emotions, and frustrations. However, I don't feel like my dog's behavior is controlling my life. Why? Because we meet in the middle and "opt in" to behavior that suits as both (with adjustments as needed!).
It's actually very, very impressive! You've trained him to bark to open the door. You've trained him to bark for his breakfast, and you've trained him to jump on you when you come home from work... and you've probably even trained your pup to sit very well when you pick up the treat bag, or come running for cheese when the fridge opens. You've absolutely done the best job of doing it!
I don't mind begging. I think it's absolutely adorable and I greatly enjoy my dog sitting next to me, occasionally getting a bite of food. But- the game ends if he ends up on my lap. It ends if he vocalizes. It ends if he uses his paws. Often, I eat dinner with my dog staring and sitting politely- we're happy with that. He's great company. But that's surely not a goal for every pet owner; some of my clients prefer their dogs to sit on a rug with the "place" cue, and that is something we will teach them!
Our goal in our trainer-client relationship is to meet in the middle. We can teach your dog an appropriate behavior to get to the route they want. We make their default behavior a harder way to get what they want, and we make the "right thing" (our idea of proper behavior) an easy way to get what they want. In fact, if your pup communicates in a way that you prefer, jump up and work with that communication! We can teach you how to communicate- after all, that's what dog training should be about. It won't take endless hours. But, it will take consistency in your communications, some thought, and potentially a little bit of family therapy together.
You decide what behaviors will work for you, and we work together to figure out how to strengthen your communication to limit and eliminate those habits, by teaching an alternate route.