The Dangers of Dog Training

This is a serious matter. It directly affects YOU. So let me get straight to the point. There are two ways to become successful in the “dog world.” The first, is to find a real expert source and study the correct fundamental scientific principles, and then get hands on experience using those principles to train dogs under the tutelage of the true expert source.

Notice i said “REAL” Expert.

Learning REAL science from a REAL expert is tricky, because what’s currently popular in the dog world is spouting off half truths and sharing concepts that are blatantly incorrect. Beware of trainers who say things like, “I’m not a science guy”, “science doesn’t matter”, or my favorite... “dog owners don’t want to hear about science.” The truth is, these trainers do not understand science, and therefore they do not understand dog training and it terrifies them that REAL science can expose their FAKE advice. Finding someone to help you through your hands-on experience is just as tricky.

In order to learn properly, your mentor must be a REAL expert.

They must truly understand the foundation of how dogs learn, how to change, guide and control behavior problems, AND…This is the BIG one.They must have high levels of success with MANY dogs FOR MANY YEARS.


A REAL expert DOES NOT write a story on Facebook or Instagram with no proof to back up their claims.

  • A REAL expert DOES NOT tell you about their successes while they are sitting in the driver’s seat of their dog van.

  • A REAL expert DOES NOT use the failures of others as proof that their method “works”

  • A REAL expert DOES NOT use scare tactics about alternative training methods to set their methods apart

A REAL EXPERT can show you how, they can show you why, and they can do it MANY times, with MANY dogs.

This brings me to the real point of this message.The difference between a REAL expert and an information middle man. Being a “coach” is extremely popular at the moment. This is mainly because it is monetarily lucrative. Being a “coach” is easy and you can make A LOT of money.

These “coaches” are people who exchange advice for money.Oh, and it gets better. There are coaches for coaches. These are coaches who teach average Joe’s with little to no experience, how to be highly paid “experts”, literally overnight. Much of this is based on social media and marketing expertise. None of what they do is based on expertise gained through actual success in their field.

This is the second way to become “successful” in the dog world.

The first was the real way, the RIGHT way. The second is the con man’s deception. These overnight experts all claim “20-30 years experience!” They all say their techniques “work.” “Trust me…” “All the other good dog trainers do it this way, I’m not the only one…” Even with the most difficult and dangerous dogs. They write tons of stories on Facebook and and talk about this a lot from the heated seats in their car. But, they all lack real proof. Stories are great marketing tools. These overnight experts are great storytellers. Don’t get me wrong, I love stories, but only when there is proof and they are true.

Which brings me to another super important point.

These experts are nothing more than, what I call, information middle men. They swipe information and pass it along as their own. They never credit their source of knowledge because they think that will take away from them being the “guru.” They are terrified that their audience will not view them as the almighty expert. Some of this information is actually taken from real experts. Some is taken from clowns who are making it up as they go along. When these information middle men reach their final form, they just begin making it up themselves because their clients and audience will never be able to decipher the good from the bad, and let alone, ever question their benevolent “guru”.

A Copy of a Copy of a Copy…

The information that is taken from real experts is usually repeated with flaws because the middle man does not understand the advice themselves and they have never put it into practice successfully. Then, other middle men will repeat this flawed information, each time adding more and more flaws. Some of you might be old enough to remember VHS tapes. When you would record an original, the copy was OK, but it was never quite as good as the original. Then your friend would copy the copy, and the further down the line you went, the quality just got worse and worse. With these types of “gurus”, this is where dog training is heading. This is extremely personal for me because, now that I have started teaching my methods to the masses, there is an explosion of information middle men passing on my “information” without understanding it and without ever doing it successfully. The amount of “No Conflict”, “Without Conflict”, and “Conflict Free” trainers that have popped up in the last 2 years is almost laughable. I have seen “trainers” build an entire seminar career after coming to one of my seminars and watching some of my videos once or twice.

The Blind Leading the Blind

When your audience is filled with dog owners and aspiring dog trainers that know nothing or next to nothing, it is absurdly easy to seem like an expert. This has nothing to do with proven expertise or actual proof with dogs, but just boils down to the fact that you know just slightly more than the dog owners or aspiring dog trainers.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I love to make analogies to martial arts. My favorite way to describe this type of scenario is to tell people to imagine walking into a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym, and getting ready to start their first class. A student approaches you, let’s say he is a blue belt or even a white belt, but it’s a very dirty white belt so you know he’s been there a while (lol). He begins telling you all these things that he has learned in his short time practicing, that completely blows your mind because you are brand new and everything seems like great information. The only difference between the two of you is that that student started 12 months before you. This does not make him an expert, nor does it qualify him to teach anyone. Later on, you start your class and your actual teacher, the REAL expert, begins teaching you and you come to realize most of the stuff that student was teaching you was butchered, inaccurate, and in many cases, completely false.

This is how the current state of dog training functions. There are trainers teaching things they do not personally understand. Unsuspecting dog owners and bright eyed aspiring dog trainers are duped into believing they are having their minds blown by a person whose only expertise is marketing and the use of smoke and mirrors.

This is unethical and blatantly wrong.

By now I’m sure many of you have had a chance to talk to some of the students that take my Certification Program. I am sure most of them have told you it’s an intense and tough program. I always ask my trainers for feedback because I am not only interested in them being great, but I want my program to be the greatest out there. I ask them what they believe is the most difficult part of the program and the answer is almost always the same.

The hardest part is having to unlearn all the lies, inaccuracies, and misinformation that they have learned on their journey through dog training. Some students are lucky and they have only been training a few months or a year or two. But imagine being a dog trainer for 10-15 years only to realize that what you know is incorrect. You’d be amazed how many trainers tell me they feel like they need to go home after the course and apologize to every single dog they’ve trained. It is heartbreaking to hear this.

The Imitation Game

Every time we put out a newsletter or a podcast, a few days later, my team and I start to see quite a few Facebook posts parroting exactly what I have just said. They try to use a few different words, maybe make up a scenario or two, sprinkle in a dash of talking about how much damage “other trainers” are doing and voila! CONTENT! The information cut, spliced, pieced together, and it is now mostly wrong and inaccurate. Typically no proof is ever provided, it’s usually just a picture of them with a dog telling you how much progress they were able to make in a short time. Most importantly, no credit is ever given to the source.

Let me be clear. It is extremely disrespectful to not give credit to who you learn from.

And I know... you are getting a lot of “likes.” But, we see you. And many of your followers know the truth too. If you want to see something funny, watch a “guru” try to justify their “knowledge” to a doubting follower. It’s truly comical. Sorry, I got sidetracked… Many students who take my Certification Course have come to me and told me how they were fooled before my course. They were paying someone else who claimed to know my stuff. Some say they learned from someone who claimed to learn from me in person. With the amount of people that claim to have “studied under”, or “apprenticed”, or “worked alongside” me, I must have served more people than McDonald’s by now. You’ve seen them, all these “play based”, “no conflict” experts and coaches cashing in on the seminar circuit. Their clients don’t get too far into my course before they realize just how badly they have been duped. And they all feel like they got swindled.

The best thing to do is to be honest.

Imagine that! If you are not an expert, spend the time it takes to become one. Don’t just claim it and charge fees like one. If you are going to share something you just heard or learned from me, or anyone else, reference it.

Give credit.

The funny thing about this is, when you give credit, people respect you MORE. More people will choose to do business with you because you are honest. I have a student who talks about me on social media all the time. He always tells people he got the information from me. He constantly tells people to learn directly from me. And you know what? His business is BOOMING. People aren’t stupid. Give them a little credit. They LOVE honest people. Anyone that has listened to my podcasts knows that I am the first to provide citations and links to any knowledge I put forth. The amount of people that message me, thankful that I opened their eyes to incredible experts in their field are innumerable.

Give honesty a try… I dare you.

Thieves will always be thieves, but my advice would be to do it the right and ethical way instead. I want everyone to learn and understand the information that has taken me 40 years to develop. But, it should come from me so everyone is able to get the CORRECT information. Many think the money they make justifies being this copycat expert information middle man fraud. If you feel this way, you and I think very differently. There are two ways to become “successful” in the dog world. One is real, the other is bullshit.

Choose wisely.



About the Author

Ivan Balabanov is known worldwide for his paradigm shifting knowledge in dog training. Although many possess the ability to train a dog, few people have the gift of teaching other trainers how to train a dog to a world championship level like Ivan. His experience includes 30 years of development, raising and training over 1,000 puppies, winning 12 National and 2 World Championships, and helping thousands of trainers around the world through the TWC Certification Programs.

Learn More About Ivan