The Everyday Trainer Podcast

Finding Balance Amidst Criticism- A Survival Guide in the Dog Training Industry

August 25, 2023 Meghan Dougherty
The Everyday Trainer Podcast
Finding Balance Amidst Criticism- A Survival Guide in the Dog Training Industry
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Whether you're a dog trainer or owner, at some point in your career you'll most likely come across some criticism for how you train, the tools you use, or the direction you take your training. Dog training is an emotional industry, which means there's a lot of big feelings tied to it and differing opinions that lead to mean comments or quite bluntly, online bullies. 

While I'm no expert navigating criticism, I do share my insights into how I personally handle the backlash that can come from being in the public eye in this industry and what I instill in my team.

We chat about being the best version of yourself, how to not take things personally, and that showing up regardless of our fears can make us better.

You know the drill, grab a tasty drink and enjoy.

The Everyday Trainer
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Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome back to the Everyday Trainer podcast. My name is Meg and I am a dog trainer. On today's episode we're talking a bit of mental health and how to deal with the haters. So this will be a good episode. You know the drill Grab yourself a tasty drink and meet you back here. Alright, welcome back. It's been a bit since I've done a personal kind of episode. So if you're looking for the, you know, like 10 steps to have a better relationship with your dog or like three things that you can do to potty train your puppy, this might not be the episode for you. I do have a lot of other episodes that are like that and have a lot of helpful dog trainer you know tips. But, as I've kind of mentioned in previous episodes, this podcast has kind of become like my talking journal and when I first started I really didn't think anybody was going to listen to it and I was just kind of, you know, ranting on about whatever. So we're going to have a bit, we're going to have one of those episodes tonight. So I'm actually recording. I say tonight, but you might be listening to this in the morning. I'm actually recording this from my van, so if it sounds better. That's why because my van is quite literally the best podcast studio out there and I love recording in my van, so a bit of housekeeping things. Last week I had Mike Jones on the podcast Amazing, I'm going to do my best to play it cool, but like that was that, was that was. That was cool for me. That was a cool, cool thing for me. I really liked Mike Jones. I really respect him. He has a killer fucking business. He's actually one of the reasons why I got Minka. I watched all of his training videos on YouTube and I'm a part of his membership, canaan University and I love it. Like I learned so much from him and he was the reason why I felt confident enough to get a Malinois, to get a working dog and kind of you know, like involve myself in that side of the dog world. Because if you've listened to my other previous episodes from like a couple years back, I literally say I will never get a working dog, I will never get a Malinois. Like I love my golden retrievers and it's just so funny because it's like okay, well, now I have a Malinois, yeah, so that was a really cool episode for me. I hope you all enjoyed it. I want to talk a little bit about what he's got going on. So he has the event September, the weekend of September 10th, called the fight. I will actually be road tripping out to California. I'm bringing all my dogs and headed to primal canine, which like what so cool heading out that way for the event. We're going to get Mike on the podcast again. He's got some other guys that are coming out, so Oscar Mora. I'm literally just going to name drop everybody and like force them to be on my podcast. So we got Oscar Mora. I believe Chris Sykes is going to be out there and there's a few other dog trainers on the West coast that I really want to get on my podcast. I've chatted with them and they're like, yeah for sure, and I don't think they know how serious I'm going to be, but I will literally show up at their house with my podcast equipment and get them on the podcast. So Mike's event is going on September 10th. It's called the fight, but let's say you can't make it out to the event, no big deal. He's actually raising money to train and transport dogs, personal protection dogs for the survivors of human trafficking or victims of human trafficking, to protect them so that it can't happen again, which is just so crazy to me. So these guys got together and put together this event. They put together this raffle. You can win a lot of really amazing things. I'm not going to go into all of the things, but basically you can train with Mike, you can get a tattoo, a bunch of other stuff. So enter that raffle. All of the proceeds goes to training these dogs, which are going to go to these survivors and protect them, which is just so freaking cool. I love that they're doing that and what a great cause. So I will include where to donate in the show notes. So if you'd like to donate to that, please, please do. It's for an awesome cause. Mike is a great guy. Billy down in Miami, the tattoo company, he is also really cool. So, yeah, donate if you can. Other little housekeeping news we still have our leashes and our merch in the store. Thank you so much to everybody who has purchased leashes and supports us. It truly means the absolute world to me. Like I am in shock every single time I talk about it. It's so cool, like, thank you, thank you, thank you times a million. So if you would like to support us and you want to buy a leash or a shirt or an everyday trainer flag. Our dogs are drugs flags, which they are just so cute, and when you all send me videos of you hanging them up, I'm like gosh, so cool, I feel like such an influencer. But anyways, last little thing my membership page. So I've gone ahead and opened it up to everybody. So if you would like to join our community, I will also include that in the show notes. But it's communitytheeverydaytrainercom. You can go check it out. Everything is open. All of my courses are in there. We got a crate training course. We got a communications course, so we talk about our communication system, marker words. We go over E-caller stuff. I did take out my full E-caller course. I want to kind of like update it a little bit, so I will plug that in there whenever that's ready. But I went ahead and took the paywall down because I really like I created the community to help people. I always want to be the resource that I wish I had when I was struggling with my dog. So if you want, you know, tutorials, videos. We got loose lead walking little mini course in there and then also just a community of like minded owners, like the owners that are in there are so nice to each other, it's really just like it's the coolest thing, like I love that. There's just like a little community of people that we all feel safe with and can talk with each other, because social media can be a really scary place. And that kind of leads me into the topic of this episode, which is, you know, dealing with the hate that comes with dog trainer social media. And very recently I would say, I've been getting more, more, more negative feedback than usual. But I want to bring it up because I feel like I have a very strong stance on this and I talk with my trainers a lot about how to deal with, honestly, bullies, bullies online, how to deal with that, because it's very easy to get reactive or defensive whenever somebody you know says something mean or criticizes the way that you do things. And I have a lot of experience I've been on social media for a while now, so I don't really get phased by it anymore. But I do get a lot of DMs from people who are like I'm a new dog trainer and I'm just so scared to show up online because I see like the hate that you get and it seems so unwarranted and I'm just scared, like I'm scared to basically be attacked by people online and so I don't show up. And for me, I definitely do get that hate and some days it affects me more than others. I've always been very open about my struggles with my mental health. I've struggled with depression pretty much my whole life and Sometimes you know you'll already be feeling some type of way and you get a negative comment and it can just like really send you down a dark hole. And that's really why I wanted to bring this up is because I know we all kind of say like you never know what other people are going through. But it's really true and even myself, like I'm a pretty sensitive person, like I, my default is like cry Like somebody hurts your feelings, cry Somebody's upset with you, cry Like I'm not like an angry person at all. I don't. I don't like mouth back, I don't get sassy back, I don't get an attitude like I'm either unfazed by it or I'm crying and sobbing over it. Basically, but there are. No matter what you do, no matter what industry you're in, you're going to get people who dislike you for what you're doing. They could dislike you for the way that you look, or I've gotten a lot of hate for, like, my nose piercings. Weirdly, when I first got my septum piercing, I got a really like surprising amount of hate for that, for just the way that I look. I get hate for the way that I dress or how I talk or, you know, the way that I train my dogs. I get a lot of hate for the way that I run my business or even the podcast. I've gotten a few, you know, angry DMs or text messages from people telling me that you know just their opinions of my podcast and that they don't like me. And I guess my piece of advice to you know the people who are maybe a little bit hesitant to show up online because they're scared of that. It's there's really nothing to fear with people that spend their time talking shit about others. I'm very clear with my trainers that we don't do that. I don't ever want to walk into my home and see my trainers talking shit about what other people are doing, like that is not what successful people are doing. Successful people are not bringing other people down. They are too busy. They're too busy, and that's kind of my take. I really don't involve myself in, you know, the social media drama too much because, quite frankly, I'm too busy training dogs and running a business. I have a staff of people that I have to take care of and I have a you know, large, large client base that I have to take care of and, at the end of the day, my energy just simply cannot go to worrying about what other people are doing or how other dog trainers are training or what people are doing on social media. So something that I really hope to instill in my staff and my trainers is that the only way to deal with that is to just be better. If somebody really dislikes the way that you train or dislikes the way that you do things, that's okay. Like they are very much allowed to have their opinions on how you do things. You have your opinions and you know, like that's what makes the world go round. Like I can't imagine living in a world where we all have the same opinions and there's you know we're all dressed the same and you know everything's the same. Like that's not a good place to be in. So I do encourage like there being different views on dog training or how things should be done. I think that's how it should be and I do think in some sense there should be a bit of checks and balances. You know, maybe maybe there are things going on in the industry that shouldn't be, but most of what I see online is either other dog trainers bashing other dog trainers or different communities bashing other communities. So I typically don't get too much negative feedback from other dog trainers, quite simply because we're all kind of training dogs the same way. Like we're using food, we're doing positive reinforcement, but we do also use tools in a very fair way. I think all of the people that I have kind of surrounded myself with and some of the best dog trainers that I know, we're all training dogs very similarly, so we're not sitting around bashing each other at what we're doing. I think the one thing that I see dog trainers do is kind of get hung up on like semantics and, you know, like silly little things. But at the end of the day, if you're a dog trainer, I can tell you you're not a dog trainer for the money. You're a dog trainer because you want to help people and you want to help dogs, because there are so many other ways to make way more money than dog training and dog training is no joke. This industry is no fucking joke. I was much, much softer five years ago than I am now, and softer in the sense of right. Currently, I don't get upset by other people. I don't get upset by what other people have to say about me and, quite frankly, I just don't pay attention to it. If you know, let's say, I get a DM where somebody is like saying you know, I don't like the way that you do things or they don't like you know, whatever I'll probably read like the first sentence of it, and then I'm like is this productive to me? Is this productive to my energy or is this draining? Is this draining me? If it's draining me, I'm not even going to waste my time reading it. I don't read comments. I don't. I don't like stitch other dog trainers. I don't, you know, comment on what other dog trainers are doing. Really, the only thing that I can do is to be better, and that's something that I really want to instill in my trainers. I don't ever want to walk in my house and them be talking about. You know, susie, the dog trainer down the street is doing this, and how dare she? And blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Well, if you just like the way that somebody is doing something. Just be better. That's it. Just be better. Show the world. You know why what you have to say is so much better? And I think the problem with social media is that the people who are on social media the you know dog trainers that we all know and love, that we follow they are on social media because they have the time to be on social media, which means that they're training dogs less. So sometimes the best dog trainers we don't really get to hear from because all of their time is going to training dogs. The people that have the time to sit around and watch and complain about what other dog trainers are doing are simply doing less. So when I get these people in, you know my DMs or even just friends who will kind of ask me like I'm scared to show up online, I'm scared to do this. That's always my piece of advice is the only criticism that you're going to get is coming from people who are doing less, and this can be applied to if you're training your dog. You're going to get some feedback from people, whether it's your family or your roommates or even your husband. You know there's, there's always going to be the people that have something to say, but it's always coming from people that are doing less than you. Somebody who is super successful or has a really well trained dog isn't going to look at you putting in all of this time training your dog and criticize you. That's just not what those people are doing. The people that you look up to are not criticizing. They're not talking shit about other people. They're just being. They're just being better and, at the end of the day, the only thing that you have control over is yourself. You have no control over how people perceive you, how people perceive your training, how you know anything. The only thing that you have control over is yourself and I'm real big on you know. I talk all the time about acting how you want your dog to act. Be the person you know. Be the change. Be the change that you wish to see in the world. Be the person that you want around you Like. Embody that If you don't want to surround yourself with negativity or people who are putting you down or aren't supportive of you. Be that person for yourself, and that is what I've always kind of done and why I've been able to get to where I'm at today and have this podcast and show up every week and show up on social media and, you know, keep my business going and show up in these people's houses and help these owners, is because I know that, at the end of the day, all that I have control over is myself and how I interact with my clients and how I interact with the dogs that we work with and everybody that we work with. I have to embody what I want to surround myself with, because if I become a person who talks negatively about other dog trainers or, you know, even is not kind towards my employees or the dogs, like that is what's gonna be reflected back at me in my environment and that's the energy that I'm going to get. So I will always choose to just be better and, you know, control myself. At the end of the day, that's all that I can do. I don't have control over anybody else. And another big piece of advice and kind of how I live and I was actually just talking to my friend Clayton over in Austin, austin dog culture, about this today he was like, oh, I'm gonna stitch this video of this girl that was, you know, talking about dog parks and how her dog is friendly and ran up to this other dog outside of a dog park and he was like, well, I'm gonna stitch this and, you know, talk about how that's wrong. And I was like you, do you, you go ahead and do that. I will never, ever, ever, stitch a video about, like talking about somebody else, like that is just not who I am. And he was like, yeah, but like that's kind of like how the internet is, like you're just like stitching videos and talking and, you know, sharing your opinion. And I was like, yeah, I definitely think that that is what you know, social media is for and what we're supposed to be doing. But for myself, I don't want that. I don't want people stitching my videos and talking shit about me. So I'm not going to do that, right? I don't want my trainers talking shit about other trainers or just involving themselves in drama and gossip. So I also do not do that. I will never, ever, ever put another dog trainer down. I will never put my own trainers down. I will always be there to support them, because that is what I would have wanted. And it kind of just kind of like it goes back to this golden rule you know, treat people how you want to be treated. So I will never stitch, I will never complain about what other dog trainers are doing or what other people are doing. I will simply just do what I can to be the best version of myself. And also, you never really know what other people are going through. You don't. And as somebody who has struggled with depression my whole life, I know what it feels like to be in a really dark place and to have something little, just kind of, you know, tip you over the edge. I would never want to be that for somebody else. I would never want to send a nasty text message or say something just mean and kind of bullying somebody or treat somebody poorly whether it's, you know, a owner or a dog or my trainer, and have that be kind of that tipping point for somebody. Because we all have our own struggles. We all, like we've all had bad days and we all know what it feels like to be kind of kicked when you're down and I'd never want to be that for somebody. So I will not, I won't ever do that, you know. And just for myself, like I can only speak on my experience in this industry. This shit is hard, this industry is incredibly difficult and it will chew you up and spit you out and it takes a very specific type of person to be able to kind of survive in this environment. And I think that's why we end up with a lot of these trainers that have this kind of like I don't give a fuck attitude, right, and I'm right and you're not. It's really this kind of survival mechanism, like you have to be that way in some sense to kind of survive this and survive the criticism. And you know, like I had recently a TikTok of mine get stitched with a whole bunch of people and they're like purely positive people and they don't agree with me and that's totally fine. But just the past couple of weeks for me in my business have been incredibly difficult and it's it does affect me. I wish I could say that it doesn't, but on the flip side, I'm glad that it does, because I don't ever want to become that person that is just so calloused and in their ego from the criticism and from feeling the need to kind of like stand up for yourself. I don't ever want to become that, because I think this industry does need softer people, right? It seems like the people that are surviving in this industry are the ones that have kind of become calloused over and have this like I don't give a fuck attitude and I don't want to be that. I can definitely see myself getting to that and I verge on that with a bit of burnout, but I always kind of bring myself back to center and go back to my why At the end of the day, we're all here to just kind of help dogs and owners. And going back to that is so important because it's very easy to get caught up in the industry and kind of what everybody else is doing and what's going on on social media and to take those negative comments and kind of say, oh well, this person is completely in the wrong. You know, I think the world goes round because we all have different opinions and that's how it should be. You know, everybody is entitled to their opinions. But I guess what I just wish is that we were all a little bit kinder to each other, especially those of us who are dog trainers. Right, we get so much hate and backlash from the general public for using things like e-callers and prom callers and, you know, like some of the things that people don't agree with, like crate training, you know that I just hate when we're also getting it from each other. I just think that's so awful and I I definitely have the opinion of, like we, I definitely have the opinion that, honestly, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it, just be better. If you don't like the way that somebody is doing something, simply be better. And I've talked in previous episodes about you know, like the mental health stuff and how our state of mind really influences our dogs, because it does. There's definitely this like epidemic of high, strong anxiety that is going on in the dog owner world and I see the exact same thing in our dogs because, at the end of the day, our dogs are just little mirrors. And that's why I say you know, act how you want your dog to act. So when you see these trainers or you know people online who are bullying others, who are being mean, who are saying horrible things, I come from the firm belief that how you do one thing is how you do everything. So if these trainers are willing to bully people in the same industry as them, I can only imagine how they treat the dogs, how they treat their clients, how they treat everybody else around them and I always talk about our own mental health and how much that affects our dogs. So I feel like it's our job as dog trainers or dog owners to be supportive of one another, because we're all in this industry because we want to help dogs. So, if that's the case, we have to help each other. We have to help people, because our dogs are little mirrors and they're going to reflect everything back to us. So if you're stressed and you're being hateful or bullying people online, one, I'm sorry for you. Two, I hope that you don't also do that to your dog. And also, like we don't need any more of that in the industry. If your goal is really to help dogs, you have to help the people who are helping those dogs, because you cannot help other people, you cannot help other dogs if you can't help yourself. So this is my little PSA episode of like why can't we all just be nice to each other? And it's something that has definitely affected me over the past couple weeks and I say affected, it affects me very lightly. The social media stuff is honestly like 2% of my real life. So when I'm getting a bunch of videos of people who don't like me or don't like how I train. It really doesn't affect me because I spend my whole day helping owners and training dogs and they're so happy with us. So it doesn't really affect me because the online stuff isn't the realest to me. What's really real are the people that we're helping in person, the people here that we support my trainers, my clients, all that jazz. And I'm recording this episode not to be like, oh, I'm so hated. I'm really not. But this is something that a lot of people message me about. They want the courage to be able to post on social media, but they're honestly scared of the backlash. And this is me just saying don't be scared of the backlash. Just be the best version of yourself. Just genuinely. All you can be that's all you can do is just be better. Be the best version of yourself. You are your only competition. We are not competing against each other. Whether you're an owner or you're a dog trainer and you're in the same industry that I am, we're not competing against each other, we're competing against ourselves. Literally, just be the best version. Be the best dog trainer. If you don't like the way that somebody else does something, then just do it better. That's it, Plain and simple. At the end of the day literally just be better. So I just wanted to make this a quick little episode, kind of you know, checking in with you all. If you relate to this, I hope that you can take this episode and be courageous and show up online, regardless of what people think, because at the end of the day it really just, quite frankly, doesn't matter that much. So I don't really know if I announced this at the beginning of the podcast, but again, if I did, I'll be taking the month of September off to road trip, super excited about that. We're taking the podcast on the road this coming month and I really hope you all will join me on this little adventure of mine. If you like the podcast, please leave a good review. It would make my day. If you would like to join our community, you can do so by following the link in the show notes communitytheeverydaytrainercom. If you want to purchase one of our leashes and support us, you can visit shoptheeverydaytrainercom. And, as always, thank you so much for being here, so much for your support. Like y'all make the world go round for me. So thank you. We'll see you next week.

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