I am still a dog trainer....
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Many months have passed. I am still a dog trainer, but not for the Veterinary Hospital anymore. I am just a trainer for my own dogs now. As much as I loved working with all different canine friends, I could just not live with the fact that old fashioned training methods were expected. Although the management was very happy with my work, the time for this Vet Hospital just has not come yet to enter the new era of dog training. Nor were the clients ready. So I acknowledged the fact that in order to be an asset to the company, I needed to step down from obedience training and I asked to be transferred back to the kennels, work which I also love, and can directly benefit the animals in my care without having to worry about my morals and ethics. What exactly is bothersome to me? I believe that kindness and time spent training a dog is essential, rather than putting a prong on the dog and teaching them that there is a correction always at the fingertips of the human. I like to encourage people to become a team with their dog, where both of them respect the other and can learn together. Sure there are consequences, but they never hurt the dog. Although physical correction can produce good results on the surface, I would rather have dogs that can trust that they are safe with their human partners, and learn to look at them for direction in all circumstances without fear of making a mistake. So even when I stepped down from the training, the management didn't quite understand how my training was so different from the training that has been promoted there for years. In both, there was a marker word (or clicker), treats, motivational training. They just couldn't understand why it was important to me to promote a thinking dog, versus a dog that just does as told. And I explained to them, that the clients understand the concept of having a dog that does as they are being told. That's what they want and that's what they are paying for, but I just do not want to be a part of that, when I can work beautifully in the background caring for their pets without the moral conflict it creates for me.
So now Velvet, my lab and I train with a small group of people.... there is some tracking, some obedience, we are thinking about doing some drug detection. We started with trying to find Velvet's "magnet", the thing that she cannot live without and will work for to find. We have a food stick that is hard plastic, so nothing she really WANTS in her mouth, but had a great time throwing it around, handing it to me and watching me pull treats out of when she found it. The next step is that she will look for the toy and then sits, and stares at the toy without trying to get at it. At the same time we would like to get the NAPWDA certification, which includes obedience on and off leash, more geared towards real life situations, and possibly their tracking certification. Come spring I will definitely do more tracking work. Tonight we will work on some of the detection stuff and parts of the obedience needed, in particular the drop on recall, and the sit in motion (from heel position). So there is a lot to be done, and maybe I will even bring my Bunny up to par. Let's see if she's up for the fun.