Everywhere I look over the last month or so there has been some raging debate over some topic or another. People trying to prove in this cut throat world (there, I’ve said it!) that because they have or do A, B, C that makes them the best, and how X, Y and Z are the worst and shouldn’t be dog trainers.
Seriously guys, calm down. I know we all have our moments, where we see something that really gets our hackles up and the temptation to join the bandwagon with pitchforks is REALLY BLOODY TEMPTING – I know. I’m not an angel. I’m not perfect. Neither are you. Neither is your favourite trainer. Neither is your mentor if you have one… but lets take stock, and look at some of the key points.
1) It’s OK to admit that someone is more knowledgeable than you
Many of the best trainers I know have my respect because they know where their professional expertise starts and ends. They are aware of what they are good at, but also in which areas they need development. They aren’t scared about referring on because they know what is best for their client their dog, their family, their friends and the wider local community.
They don’t run classes because they are yet to develop the social skills and confidence to do so. Hats off to you if you are one of these people it takes proper balls. Even bigger ovaries if it’s your own dog/dogs. No one knows everything, if your trainer claims to then run for the hills! It’s OK to keep learning! In fact you should make it a priority.
2) Joe Bloggs is always going to copy what is on TV
As long as there is an opportunity for certain trainers to appear on the screen people are going to try their methods regardless of any disclaimers. Whilst I know that just because someone appears on TV that doesn’t make them a good dog trainer we sound like a broken record. Instead of making these trainers defensive because we’ve rushed at them with our flamethrowers, lets take stock and try and solve the problem in an intelligent way.
If we didn’t spend so long accidentally promoting the things we don’t like with our outraged comments and shares and instead spent more time promoting what we do like then perhaps we would start to see a shift in what gets aired on television.
3) It’s not a bloody competition
I am lucky to travel to lots of different places, do workshops, do displays and occasionally even do media work. I have multiple sponsors and I utterly LOVE what I do. However I take these opportunities because they are FUN and I get to LEARN from and TEACH so many cool people and dogs.
What I do is probably a drop in the ocean in comparison to the people I admire in the industry. Equally, there are people that do none of the above and are still AWESOME trainers. Do things because you are having fun and stop comparing yourself to others.
4) Bullying is never OK
I don’t care whether you have 60 years or 6 months of training experience behind you. I don’t care if you are a crossover trainer. I don’t care if you are an accredited member of an organisation. I don’t care whether you barely scraped through your GCSEs or have a PhD. I don’t care if you are a man or women. I don’t even care if you have seen questionable methods on TV. Threats, ganging up and aggressive posts shouldn’t be practised in the playground let alone by full grown adults. NOT COOL PEOPLE!
I know its cheesy. I know I’m an IMDTer so I’m a bit biased but one of the reasons I joined the organisation is because it has a culture of DOING. Want something to happen? Figure out how you can make it happen! Fed up of something? Do your bit to combat it.
Admit when you need to take stock, breathe and do something more constructive. Be kind. Realise that we can strive for perfection, but it takes time to get there. Realise there is strength in numbers and be supportive when things go tits up and change it.
Keep an open mind, no one knows everything. If you need a moan, guess what its OK. Everyone does it. Everyone needs a listening ear, don’t keep it bottled up but do your best to be part of the solution not the problem.
About the Author – Ruby Welsford
Ruby runs one of the only Disc Dog Schools in the whole of the UK and is the co-founder of UK Disc Dog Association. She is also a full member of the IMDT and owner of Betsy Boo the Amazing Frisbee Dog sponsored by Natures Menu and DogStreamz.