Just food for thought.

Many of us that have an interest in dogs and their welfare, have been involved in canine sports and activities, or rehoming and rehabilitation and will have made many like minded friends with strong interests in behaviour, learning/training along the way.

When it comes to continued education, keeping up to date with research, getting involved with webinars, listening to podcasts, joining in discussions and attending seminars with experts in their fields all play a part.

With different views coming in through different lenses it’s a jungle and quite a task although a very interesting one.

Science, neurology, ethology, psychology, epi-genetics, evolutionary biology, behaviour analysis etc etc. We may be looking in the same book, and on the same page, but still not necessarily agree with every paragraph.

Even all of the above experts that work in those fields, don’t always agree with each other.

Every lens you look through seems to have the answers “look through this one” When in truth all play a part, all parts make the whole. Like a jigsaw, each piece is needed to make the picture.

In the past many homes had dogs, and before “obedience” really hit the competitive scene, there was pretty much only displays of police or service dogs seen at county shows jumping through rings of fire, scaling walls, gun dog demonstrations and breed showing. (Crufts first obedience 1955)

In the 50s, 60s and 70s people and dogs had so much more freedom to be who “they” were, very few training issues and very few independent “dog trainers” or “dog training establishments”.  Most classes that were held, were run by dog clubs, and ring craft classes. Dog training classes and obedience competitions really started to move to popularity through the early 70s in the UK.

In resent years, I’ve watched promotional videos of trainers being promoted by organizations that have taken them through their training programs at great cost. Usually they show one behaviour being practiced, that they are teaching. What I have noticed is fixed silent statues, body language that could just as easily be a window manikin or soldier on guard duty, no emotion, no giving of themselves to the dog. So how does this translate in real life?

Real life is not something that happens in a training hall behind closed doors, people are unlikely to stand straight, shoulders back and bum tucked in, and adopt an expressionless face before calling their dog from an approaching cyclist or from running towards a road, or a deep muddy puddle for that matter.

I‘m not saying I think training inside is bad, anyone who takes part in the many canine activities now available to us all, will know the worth of having indoor all weather space to practice and keep their athletes supple and fit, especially in the winter. Also for anyone that is looking for help from a trainer,  a quiet area to talk and concentrate on the work in hand is a great asset.

BUT it’s become planted in peoples minds that they need to go to “dog training classes”  if they have a pup or a new 4 paw member move into the family.

We now have more “dog trainers” and more “be a dog trainer” courses than ever before, and more issues.

More people now are able to make a living out of dog training and that’s being exploited. Some years back it was only people that had a passion already that survived as trainers, often doing other work to support their
interest/passion. Some training classes were run alongside an existing kennelling business.

There has long been groups and clubs, that get together to practice and share in their sport or activities, all paying club/group fees and enough to cover the cost of venues. Supporting each other and inviting guest coaches/speakers etc.
Since CV19 and so much going online, it has really highlighted the “be a dog trainer” band waggon.

People who have contact with dog guardians, like vets, and groomers and boarding kennels and day care will deal with many different dogs, and many families and their dogs that have never been to a dog training class, more often than not, these people have had dogs in their family through growing up,  mum, gran, and beyond have never had issues, dogs always been part of the family.

It seems so strange, that since the “be a dog trainer” courses with the pay yearly to stay accredited organisation took off, we now have more problems and more different “specialists” attached to note books than ever before. Many have never lived with an animal.

Certificates can be collected to show continued education, to the accrediting organisations. Buy a webinar, then buy the certificate. No proof of engagement needed.

It’s fantastic that people want to learn more about dogs, want to understand more, especially getting to know who those dogs are, understanding them as individuals.  Grow the passion.

What starts off as hand crafted, then becomes popular, very often ends up in plastic moulds on a conveyor belt.
Too many plastic moulds on the conveyor belt with not enough good solid filling.

Just for fun 1940 dog training. Games are nothing new.


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