Choose A Trainer, Not A Method

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This post originally appeared on the website of our Master Trainer, Nick Miller. For more of Nick’s daily training insights, visit

“Hi, I’m interested in working with you, but I’d like to know more about the methods that you use.”

And there you have it. One of the most frustrating questions a trainer can field from a potential client.

The question is always asked innocently enough. The stock answers being sought after are usually: Clicker Training, Balanced Training, Purely Positive Training, etc.

So why is it frustrating?

Because it’s out of the norm and at times difficult to explain that I will be soft when your dog needs me to be soft, and I will be firm when your dog needs me to be firm.

And how do I really get to the essence of explaining that I will move slowly and be extra clear when your dog is just learning something, or seems confused, but I will demand obedience when the dog clearly understands what is being asked of him and has decided to blow me off?

Is there a method that incapsulates taking responsibility for my errors as a teacher, as well as holding a dog accountable for their errors as well?

Use it all. Be purely positive, balanced and throw a clicker in there for good measure if you’d like. But don’t limit yourself or your dog. Choose a trainer, not a method.