Answering those who criticise the regulation of training and behaviour

We knew from the start that there would be those who disagreed with the way in which ABTC was planning to organise a regulatory system for the training and behaviour of animals but given that:

  1. There was unanimous support (and, yes, that means everyone who expressed an opinion including some who are currently objecting) for the sector to be regulated and…..
  2. The overwhelming majority of organisations that had a vested interest in the sector supported the approach outlined by the scoping group that preceded the formation of ABTC.

..…it was deemed to be a worthwhile project. From the start everyone was and still is welcome to take part in discussions but as expected a small number of groups refused to join the Council and they still fail to answer invitations to join. The only effect their objections have had is to drive themselves closer and closer to the edge of a properly regulated profession.

A number of different tactics have been tried in an attempt to derail progress, all of which have failed and some of which have done nothing to enhance their own credibility. There are repeated claims that our members are all academics with little practical ability, which is patent nonsense and that as we deal with animals we can’t possibly compare with those who ‘specialise in dogs’, again a ridiculous suggestion. Firstly it is absurd to suggest that anyone can learn about dogs without studying them and as is always the case nobody knows the limits of their knowledge until they have studied the subject and as most of the ABTC listed practitioners specialise in dogs the latter comment makes no sense at all.

The latest accusation is that the ABTC is falsely promoting itself in the name of animal welfare, yet there is nothing false about this statement at all. Anyone who is unaware of the damage that can be done by using outdated training methods, inappropriate training aids or refusing to accept that unwanted behaviour might possibly be rooted in illness is clearly demonstrating their lack of knowledge and one should question whether they qualify to be discussing appropriate regulation of the sector in the first place. Such suggestions are simply engaging in irresponsible meddling in an attempt to hold back progress at the expense of the dogs (and other animals) that don’t get a say. They are also misleading those entering the profession into believing that no standards are required for this skilled work and devaluing the efforts of those who have worked hard and gone about their education and training in a responsible manner.

On the subject of no standards at all I am told a new website is planned listing anybody that wants to be listed as a dog trainer with no qualification or experience required whatsoever and that all are welcome to join it. It is ironical that the opportunity to join in the shaping of the future of our industry with ABTC has been ignored for the last four years and now that the ABTC has a regulatory system with registers of suitably qualified practitioners in place organisations should be invited to join something devoid of acceptance criteria. It can only be said that this will be a useful reference point for trainers to avoid when looking for a dog trainer.


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