Here's a great article that I thought I would pass on...hope you find it interesting! –Kim
The Real Man's Guide to Dog Training - Part 1
By Eric Goebelbecker
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." –John Quincy Adams
Dog training is an activity that is clearly dominated (if you'll pardon the pun) by women. I don't have the actual numbers in front of me, but it's probably safe to say that at least 90% of the people involved in dog training are women.
Why is this? To be honest, I'm really not sure. The most recognizable dog trainer on television (and probably in printed media) right now is a man. He takes a very masculine approach to dog training, with a lot of "macho" language and posturing. He certainly makes it look like something that men (at least, sterotypical men) should not only be good at it, but also be attracted to it.
So why are there so many more women than men "down in the trenches?" Is there something about dog training that makes it more appealing to women than to men? Are women better at it? Is it just too hard for men to do well? Is dog training unappealing to men?
Having spent the better part of the last decade becoming a dog trainer, I think dog training is pretty cool – and I obviously think it is something that a man can do. For this reason, I have decided (with a little help and convincing from some friends) to put together "The Real Man's Guide To Dog Training."
(Based on the very demographics I just complained about, there's a good chance that you are a woman. Keep reading! You won't find this boring and you may find some of the information useful when you deal with men that are trying to figure out dogs.)
There is no reason why men shouldn't be interested in dog training. As a matter of fact, when you strip all of that "pack leader," "alpha wolf," "dominant" rigamarole away, dog training is really about the true essence of leadership.
Why Dog Training?
What makes a guy decide to become a dog trainer?
I first became interested in dog training when my wife and I adopted Caffeine, a 9-week-old puppy, who turned about to be quite a handful. This is a story I share with probably half of the dog trainers out there. The other half are the trainers that were always interested in some form of animal training and/or animal career.
Don't get me wrong, I have always been fascinated with dogs. But when I was a kid, I wasn't able to have one. When I finished high school and left home, it was straight into the Army for 8 years, where having a dog just wasn't practical. When I returned to the States with my wife (whom I met while in the Army), we lived in a few different apartments where pets weren't allowed.
Finally, we bought a house, and within a few months, a fence was installed and we adopted our first dog together, Sally.
Sally wasn't the kind of dog that makes you a trainer. She was already 5 or 6 when we brought her home. (We found this out later – we thought she was 2.) She was completely housetrained, had a notion of basic obedience, and never chewed or destroyed any property. She had ample energy that, with her brindle and white coat, contributed to the confusion over her age. But she had a great temperament and was always very agreeable – what some trainers call "biddable." My wife and I would watch the occasional dog training program on TV (hosted by a guy who now seems to spend all of his time writing how terrible other trainers are, nowadays), but we really didn't have any serious problems with Sally at all.
We lost Sally pretty quickly to cancer after six years or so. I don't think we lasted a month before we were looking at Petfinder and calling rescues.
We decided to get a puppy. We both knew that a puppy would be a lot of work, but not knowing how old Sally really was made us want to start with a dog from "scratch."
We brought Caffeine home on a Friday night. That Saturday morning, we woke to a horrible mess of vomit and feces. She had parvovirus, a frequently fatal viral infection. She spent three days in intensive care, and when she was sent home, our veterinarian said one of the funniest things (in retrospect) I have ever heard.
"She won't have the energy she should for a while."
Well, if that was true, thank heavens.
Caffeine was nuts! At the age of almost nine, she still is. This lead to a journey of sorts — which I will write more about in the next entry in this series.
© Dog Spelled Forward (Eric Goebelbecker) / CC BY-ND 3.0