We Coach The Human End Of The Leash.
What Is The Need For K9 Trainers?
Why Is Coaching The Trainer So Critical?
Currently, there are no formal training institutions that translates theory into practice. There are no formal education requirements for any dog trainer in the US - whether military, law enforcement, service dog, or search and rescue - so even people training and selling dogs are not formally trained in behavior and learning.
Reputable working K9 teams are certified when they deploy. This certification is validation of the field skills and abilities of the K9/handler team. When administered by a third party with published standards, this is an effective tool to evaluate skills. However, when there is a breakdown in team performance, additional training is required. Often the human end of the leash is the weakest link.
In the working dog world, dogs are rarely trained and handled by the same person, and once trained, most dogs are delivered to a handler with no prior experience with the dog. Many trainers only have experience managing dogs on a leash, thus all direction goes down the lead. This results in inconsistent performance in the field.
What is the need for K9 Trainers?
The need is urgent. Sadly, as natural disasters, crime, and even mental illnesses (such as dementia) continue to severely impact communities across the globe, the need for highly trained working K9s is increasingly dire.
Working K9s typically start their careers between 18 months and 2 years of age and on average, work 5 years before retirement. The industry loses approximately 20% of its working dogs to retirement each year.
Most handlers and trainers have more than one K9 partner, so training the human end of the leash will impact their subsequent partners. The need to support these teams has never been greater.
“In the United States anyone can work as a dog trainer, regardless of the person’s qualifications. Scientific research in animal behavior and canine ethology indicate how to humanely train dogs, but nothing in the law requires that dog trainers apply these proven methods in practice. Dog trainers may use training techniques that bring harm to dogs and deceive consumers as to its efficacy. The onus is on consumers to educate themselves to these dangers when selecting a “qualified” dog trainer.”
Elizabeth M. Foubert,
John Marshall Law School member of The Animal Law Society