In this post, I want to talk about insurance. The other day, I started to think about investing in dog training kind of reminds me of the way that people . When I say “investing,” I am talking partially about money, but I’m also talking about effort and time and engagement—everything that goes into the process of training a dog.
Think about car insurance. You might like the peace of mind the comes from auto insurance, but almost no one likes buying it because it feels like you’re losing on both ends. If something bad happens to your car, then hopefully the insurance company will take care of it—but something bad still happened, you have to deal with that, and you might even have a deductible. So everything is taken care of, but it’s still not a good situation. But say that nothing bad happens and you never use the insurance. You just put thousands of dollars into something you never used! You’re probably gratefully to have never used it, but it feels like you wasted a ton of money.
For these reasons, I doubt many people wake up in the morning thinking: “Wow, I can’t wait to go looking for insurance!” Dog training is very similar. People don’t like buying it, but they do it to hedge against problems that might come later. Or perhaps they’ve had a problem, and they don’t want to deal with something like it again in the future.
That distinction is how you can see the difference between people, too. Some people buy a new care and say “Well, the law tells me I have to have insurance,” so they buy the absolute bare minimum hoping they’ll never have to use it. Some people, whether they’ve had problems in the past or anticipate that problems could occur, buy awesome auto insurance with all kind of protections.
In the same way, a lot of people buy a dog and say “I think you’re supposed to do training with a dog, but I don’t want to put that much into it.” They go for the $100-$200 group class. That’s similar to that cheap insurance: it serves a purpose and reached you but if you ever run into a real challenge it won’t do you much good. It was designed to provide minimum protection.
But some people want value out of things, so they’re willing to put in time and effort and they aren’t afraid to invest hard-earned money in making sure their training is right. Both kinds of owners are doing the right thing, by purchasing this “insurance.” Nowadays more people are seeing dog training in the same way as car insurance, as something that you buy because it’s good for both you and the dog. But plenty of people still wait until after they have a disaster to invest in training. Typically, you don’t wait until you wreck your car to shop for car insurance, or until you get the cancer diagnosis to buy health insurance, or until your pet gets sick to buy pet insurance. Insurance is something you buy beforehand. I always encourage owners to think about dog training as something you do beforehand to make sure that problems don’t come later. We all know that if problems do come and you don’t have that insurance, you’ll pay a lot more out-of-pocket—in time, effort, or money—to fix them.
So find out what kind of insurance buyer you are. Ideally, you’re not the one that goes for quality, that wants training that will see you through every issue . That doesn’t necessarily mean just spending more money, although even if you don’t hire trainers you will need to buy books and videos and invest both time and energy. I’m not telling you to just go out and buy a bunch of expensive dog training (although I do think that’s great, since it keeps us in business every year!). This is more about making sure that problems don’t crop up with your dog, and doing your best to be the best dog owner possible.