Or, one could turn that around and ask thyself...
Who am I to judge?
In essence Alec, you're asking the difference between someone who can gain the respect of thier peers vs. someone who can't.
Given the lack of absolutes in this thing we call "dog training", I'm not entirely sure anyone is qualified to judge anyone else on any basis.
Hopefully, everyone we encounter just loves thier dog and wants to give it the opportunity to enjoy it's life to the fullest...
Some will be more adept at that than others, as is the case in all endeavors we humans undertake.
That doesn't, in my mind mean I should be labelling people one way or another.
I've been following this thread since it first started. Being philosophical isn't something you switch on and off, but my pondering mode has finally kicked in. So this hypothetical situation kind of popped into my head. At first, I had no idea where it would lead.
Two strangers meet on an airplane. After the normal exchange of "hellos" and "how are you?" One asks the other (other being me), "Do you have any hobbies?" I replied, "Yes. I have four dogs that I train often."
He asks, "Are you a trainer of dogs or a dog trainer?" Well, being kind of a smart "donkey" and caught off guard a bit, I replied, "Yes."
In my mind, I'm thinking, "Do those mean two different things?" and "He did say or."
His polite reply was, "I guess so." To which I replied, "I never thought about it that much." The stranger's retort was, "Me either, but yesterday I was reading a thread on the RTF and was hoping you could clear that up for me."
Two hours of silence pass. The plane is about to land, and the stranger turns and asks, "Well, what do you think?" My reply was, "About what?" :)
Grasshopper, some dogs "no-go", must be forced pile. Some people "no-go", must be forced to truth.
Everyone starts out as a person that trains dogs.....If they stick with it long enough, and are 'doggy' enough, they will eventually become dog trainers...
I am on the long road....somewhere between point A and point B....maybe someday I will reach point B...until then (and/or after) I will enjoy the journey.
Relatively speaking, I haven't been training labs long but I trained Border Collies several years ago.
My thoughts on this is that anyone can get a dog, buy a book and or DVD on training and maybe even find a good mentor to help them along the way. Technically, they can follow the steps, or flow chart, from A to Z. Maybe they get lucky with a good dog and acheive some level of success. These people train dogs.
Dog trainers are also able to follow the flow charts and the technical aspects of training but they are able to take it to a different level. They are able to bend and adjust their training to each dog individually in order to get the most out of them. They know what makes THAT particular dog tick and how to reach that dog in a way that allows them to reach some level of success. Sometimes because of, and other times in spite of, that dogs talent level.
The analogy I think of is someone taking up playing a musical instrument, say piano. Many can play the notes...they play piano. The true artists can turn those notes into inspiring music...they are piano players.
Since Alec has yet to agree on what he means with this question, I'll share my initial thought. When I hear someone describe his or herself as a dog trainer, I immediately think PetSmart obedience or animal behaviorist or... well you can fill in the blanks. We get enough of them posting here daily: the instant experts that know everything there is to know about the canine mind so their own minds are closed to any new or different method.
I've met some outstanding pros who had an almost instinctive ability to read a dog and get the maximum out of any dog. And I include in that some of the huntsmen I knew from fox hunting: the kind of people that know what a dog's going to do in a situation almost before the dog does it, and trains accordingly. And not one of them described himself as a dog trainer. Although to those unfamiliar with the terminology they might answer a question with the explanation that they train dogs.
Philosophically and phycolgically speaking,,sometimes it just boils down to who has the biggest wee wee
Never compare yourself to others,,you'll always be disappointed
Nothing is different in the dog training world than in any other trade.