Who Is The Jaded Dog Trainer?
There is a reason that Matt Akenhead uses the moniker, The Jaded Dog Trainer. Currently the VP of Sales and Product Development at Ray Allen Manufacturing, Matt has spent over 40 years working with dogs in some capacity. During that time, Matt came to realize that the majority of the problems dog owners were facing with their pets was caused by a misunderstanding of the breed and what that dog’s purpose is.
Instead of having to correct actual behavioral problems, Matt was explaining to the owners that the behaviors were often exactly what that dog was bred for. It was through this repetitious cycle that the alter-ego was born. Matt began creating these videos to explain what many dog owners don’t seem to always understand: every breed of dog has a purpose, and it is important that the owner helps their dog to fulfill that purpose.
A Passion For Dogs
Matt got into dog training at an early age. His father spent a lot of time raising German Shepherds, and when Matt got his own dog, a Sheltie, his father made sure to take Matt to an AKC club to begin training it right away. It was in 1980 that Matt got a Novice (CD) title, and he’s been working with dogs ever since. He began hunting with coon and rabbit dogs, working with sport dogs, police and military K9s and Dachshunds, and even raced sled dogs in 40 to 150 mile races.
The Jaded Dog Trainer was born out of Matt’s reasoning for his love of dogs. He is fascinated by the fact that no matter the breed, a dog always knows exactly what its purpose is. For example, a rancher fixing a ram pen can bring along his cattle dog to keep him safe. That dog will know that, if put in a position to do so, he/she will protect the rancher. When the job is done, the rancher can call the dog back until protection from a ram is once again needed.
The issue is that while dogs are amazing at knowing what they were bred for, owners sometimes don’t fully grasp this concept and don’t do any research on a breed before buying a dog. Owners will tear their hair out wondering why their new Dachshund is tearing up their shoes and boxes, never realizing that Dachshunds are badger hunters by nature. Parents are shocked when a Border Collie bites their child, not realizing that the dog is actually looking out for the child and trying to herd them. Generations of selective breeding and evolution has given these dogs specific life-long purposes, and it isn’t just a switch that can be turned on and off at will.
How Has Dog Training Changed In Recent Years?
There’s no real name for it, but Matt calls it the “wussification” of the dog world. Most owners want to pamper their new dog, not understanding that the dog has primal needs that, when met, keep them healthy and well behaved. Dog breeds have been trained for specific purposes for generations, and not allowing your dog to fulfill that purpose, is a recipe for disaster.
Is your Labrador gaining an unhealthy amount of weight? Is it eating all the time, no matter what you try to do to stop it? A little bit of research would teach the owner that Labradors have been trained and designed to spend entire days constantly jumping in cold water to retrieve birds. Labradors should be able to consume large amounts of calories and still maintain a healthy weight. Instead of walking the dog or leaning into what the dog was designed to do, with exercise and play time; the owner will assume they’re taking care of the Labrador by overfeeding it treats and petting it. Dog training and proper care for a Labrador, doesn’t work that way.
Matt can never reiterate enough that dogs are born with a purpose; almost programmed to achieve one thing. Like humans, when you take away a dog’s job, or their purpose for living, they are more likely to become sick, and/or die, at a much younger age. Matt stresses that owners need to embrace their dog’s instinctive needs instead of attempting to discourage them. Matt explains that owners might not like that their Beagle is extremely hyper, but there’s nothing better than watching that same dog fulfill its purpose by chasing rabbits during a hunting trip. The same goes with coon dogs or the Great Paranese. A Great Paranese owner may not like the constant barking, but when the owner understands that this is their way of protecting the home and family, it’s easy to begin to realize just how amazing these pets are.
So ARE There Easy Breeds?
To Matt, understanding what kind of dog is best for you is important and simple, once you have an understanding of the breed you are intending to acquire. Just as there are many breeds that are trained for specific purposes, there are also many breeds that are not trained for a job, or the willingness to perform such task has been bred out of their DNA, over time. For example, smaller dogs like the Teacup Yorkie, was used hundreds of years ago as foot warmers in castles. They weren’t bred for any demanding purposes - just intended to be a simple pet.
And that’s not to say that working dogs don’t make good pets. On the contrary. They can make the best of pets, provided the owner is ready to put in the work. Matt believes that the most important thing for a new dog owner is to learn what your dog is good at, and spend time with them directing that behavior in a positive way. If an owner is considering a Bloodhound, they should address their need to use their noses; possibly purchasing scentwork equipment to focus the dogs energy toward a task the dog wants to complete. Before buying a Labrador, the owner should consider getting fetch toys so that the Lab can address the need to retrieve. Not only does this give the dog satisfaction, it keeps them healthy and active, while addressing their behavioral tendencies.
The Jaded Dog Trainer exists to remind people that the relationship between a dog and owner should be symbiotic. To achieve this, it’s important to learn everything you can about a breed, before fully committing to one. Let us provide you with the necessary equipment for the journey of raising and training your dog.