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Yellow lab laying on the couch during a holidayYellow lab laying on the couch during a holiday

Dog Training: When the Trainer Becomes the Trainee

Posted by The SportDOG Staff

In the gun dog world, I often hear people say, “I trained that dog.” But, is that statement really true? Have you ever considered the fact that maybe the dog you just “trained” actually trained you? Here are two instances, when you have become the trainee.


At some point while training your dog, the dog didn’t do what was expected, because it didn’t want to obey. You stopped the session and told yourself “it’s just tired or confused.” Nope. Your dog trained you to stop when it wants you to stop. Your dog is smarter than you.

We come up with intricate training sessions so the dog doesn’t get bored. We teach a dog to understand hand signals and to know what a whistle means, and numerous other commands. This all happens in the early stages of a dog’s life. When you were young, could your mom blow a whistle and cause you to sit down and look at her? Most dogs we train are smart, and in some cases, outsmart us if we aren’t careful.


Remember when you were looking for your first dog? You probably said, “there’s no way my dog will get on the couch or bed, and it definitely won’t eat table food.” Five months later and your dog has its own couch, a spot on your memory foam mattress, and eats the occasional table scrap. The dog has learned to look at you with those puppy eyes and make you think it’s starving, because three cups of dog food isn’t enough! Those eyes convince you the hardwood floor is causing chronic back pain, so you make a spot on the couch for your dog. The dog trained you to react to certain body language cues so it gets what it wants. Soon enough you might be in a dog bed beside your California king with your pooch looking down at you!

Face it, at some point in your dog-training career, you’ve been the grasshopper and the dog has been the master.

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