|baby pixel. just because. |
Each set of pet classes I teach start off with an Orientation night. A one hour class that people have to listen to me talk. It's my favorite night. ;)
I talk about what the class entails, what to bring, what to expect, and most importantly I talk about dog training. How dogs learn, how to communicate with them, the importance of a balanced reward system, and how all of that combined is the key to being able to teach our dogs stuff.
I also talk about myself, my experience, where I started, what I've done. And somewhere along the line I always mention just how far dog training has come in the past 15 years. I feel it is important for people to know- that 15 years ago it was the norm to correct your dog until it figured out what you wanted, but now- not so much.
In my opinion the dog training world is moving quickly in the right direction. Away from chain collars, and correction based training. More into fixing our dogs problems before they start, and using positive, kind methods. I think that mind set is becoming more the norm. Despite the tv personalities that contradict that- I do think that even the joe blow public is starting to get it!
When I ask people in class who has heard of clicker training almost every hand goes up! When I talk about the tools and collars I allow and don't allow in class I often get asked what a pinch collar is! (that is in the not allowed category) Advancement I say! And how do people (average pet owners) learn this? Education!
I recently applied for a Scholarship to one of Denise Fenzi's online classes. One of the questions it asks you is about what your passion is in regards to dog training. I can't remember what I said- but looking back after my most awesome orientation night I think it is Education. Educating the average dog owner that there is a better way. And I think that as dog people it is our job to educate as many people as possible. Because the more people that know and understand even the basics about how dogs learn the better! They will take that information and pass it on to their kids, their neighbors, their friends. And that is how we promote positive training!
I think that also goes for responsible dog ownership on a whole. Educating the public about where to buy puppies from, teaching them how to select the right kind of dog for them, show them that starting to train at a young age will prevent so many issues down the road. It is all connected, and all part of our duty as dog people. I firmly believe that.
If everyone of us- (dog people that is) shared even a bit of our knowledge to one person every day- think about how quickly we could make a difference! Wether in regards to training, or health, or being a responsible dog owner. All important, and all could make the life of a dog just a little bit better.