"You can train dogs all you want, but as soon as they die, they forget it all."
I was a speaker at the 12th Annual International Association of Canine Professionals in Orlando, Florida over the weekend and met a bunch of terrific people and their dogs.
I asked the same question over and over of all the dog trainers I met: "How did you get into the world of dog training?
Along with a diversity in backgrounds, was a diversity of training methods. This was not a "one size fits all" crowd -- a point underscored in Martin Deeley's excellent presentation entitled "There Are No Magic Wands".
So what did I talk about? My presentation was entitled When Good People Think Strange Things About Dogs, and it was a naked attempt to try to get dog trainers to suit up for a new American dog culture centered on meritocracy, rather than to parrot the contrived British dog show culture fashioned to salute aristocracy.
Dog trainers, it seems to me, have a stake in people doing things with dogs, and they have a stake in dogs living longer so that their training investments are not wasted by disease, dysfunction and death.
As I told the conference participants: "You can train dogs all you want, but as soon as they die, they forget it all."
For those interested in the slides and the text of my presentation, I have put up a PDF of both here.