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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wanna Be's

Posted Tuesday, December 4, 2012, at 1:58 PM

Penny of the Humane Society of Branch County, 969 Wildwood Road, Quincy MI 42082, 517-639-4426, hsbc@frontier.com, https://www.facebook.com/mscoy/posts/182339171904905?comment_id=620565#!/pages/Humane-Society-of-Branch-County/103579396402030
This past week I was apprised of a situation involving a local business offering dog obedience training, having a supposed trainer that presents herself as something she is not. This woman has gone so far as to provide an interview with a local newspaper touting her successes and certifications, which if this media source had requested, she could not have provided. How sad for the world of dog training.

There are numerous excellent trainers in the southeast Missouri region. It is not difficult even for the average pet owner to weed out the fakes from the legitimate trainers. Never assume because a national chain is offering classes the trainers they employ are the best in the business. This is not to say they are not capable, it is to say this should never be taken for granted.

In addition to not being what she has presented herself to be, this particular woman has shown blatant disrespect and bias toward certain breeds. The fact that she has publicly stated to more than one Pit Bull owner how much she hates this breed, has gone without challenge until she pushed her opinion on a team member of one of our legitimate Search and Rescue teams. I have mentioned in more than one entry to this blog forum that in my opinion all the volunteers and the dogs involved in SAR are to be held in the highest regard. To show disrespect to one of the members of this discipline because of her choice of dog, is beyond contemptible. To have someone presenting herself as a dog trainer, in a public arena, spewing her contempt in public is beyond reprehensible.

I will always be someone that promotes dog obedience training as the first sign of dog owner responsibility. I will always encourage dog owners to seek out a trainer they are comfortable with and who uses methods that address the needs of each individual dog. I would also like to take a moment to encourage those seeking training classes to do their homework.

Just because someone has had good luck with one dog, does not make them a trainer. Nor does the fact that they have taken a class and watched a couple of movies, make them a trainer. There are a blessed few that are born with a natural ability to train dogs. I have seen this evidenced by my time with the Puppies for Parole program and a couple of the young people my friend Yvonne Roman has spent time mentoring. These are rare individuals. The skill of dog training comes from many hours and sometimes years of spending time with various breeds and working with as many established trainers as one can find.

This is a craft that takes time and commitment to hone. It does not come easy and it does not come with hard work. Ask those presenting themselves as trainers for references or information on their background. Missouri does not require certification of its trainers but that does not mean there are not certifications available for different training disciplines. If someone is presenting them self as having certain certifications, ask to see them. I can tell you for myself I am proud to show off my accomplishments. Beware of anyone that finds an excuse for providing legitimate documentation of their accomplishments.

I would also advise using a little common sense when meeting a trainer for the first time. Not all trainers are required to be grey beards but common sense tells you someone that has not had a drivers license for ten years is very likely not in possession of vast experience. How many dogs have they themselves had that have excelled at something? Who have they apprenticed with and does that trainer recommend them? What methods are they incorporating and how many ways are they prepared to address specific behavioral issues? These are all questions a legitimate trainer should be prepared to answer. Please remember, anyone can tell you what you want to hear but only a truly talented person can speak through their ability without words.

In this case the phrase "Buyer Beware" could not be any more true!

FYI: The following businesses in Cape Girardeau do offer excellent training opportunities: K9 Training Center, 573-579-3318, Busch's Pet Products, 573-335-4076, Dana's Pet Salon, 573-334-4669. If you have questions regarding a particular trainer, you can contact me at mscoy@netzero.com

PHOTO INFORMATION: The photo attached to this entry is of Penny, a 14 year old hound mix who, with her sister Frosty, has lived in a no kill shelter her entire life. This pair of bonded siblings has never known a home of their own. Penny was recently diagnosed with cancer. Her days are numbered, this is true, but that does not mean her capacity for love is in anyway diminished. Upon Penny's death, her sister will be alone for the first time since conception. It is my wish that during this season of miracles someone would step up to provide a real home for these girls to spend their last days knowing what it means to be a cherished pet. Please consider giving the gift of love to a pair that has been passed over their entire lives.

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Canine Advocate
Melanie Coy
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Melanie Coy has been a pit bull fancier for 29 years. She's also been involved in obedience and other training and showing animals. Coy became involved in animal legislative issues in the mid-80s to dispel myths about the pit bull breed and fight against breed-specific laws. She advocates responsible dog ownership through training and educational programs, and helps shelters make dogs more adoptable.
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