She stood atop of the massive metal bleachers, her puppy triumphantly standing on one of the rows, as she called down to me. “Aren’t you going to socialize your puppy?” she asked. “I’m good.” I said with a smile. “I’m going to work on engagement down here.” She looked perplexed. As if I had just…
That title takes great liberty with proper English, but forgive me my literary sins. I’m reprinting a letter written by Mr. Jim Alloway, President of the USCA in reference to certain rules proposals by the WUSV regarding training methods and tools. My purpose in doing so is to give it as wide a circulation as possible in the working dog world. The progressive-ism of the 21st century is reaching ridiculous levels of control around the world. Political correctness has run amok (or “amuck” if you insist) and threatens to eliminate many effective methods of dog training, and will shortly water down the effectiveness of the world’s finest dogs. We support Mr. Alloway in the content of this letter, and follow this latest development with great interest.
United Schutzhund Clubs of America
For the German Shepherd Dog
Dear Friends of the German Shepherd Dog:
USCA has been made aware of a movement toward a WUSV rule that imposes an international ban on the use of e-collars and possibly other training devices. USCA strongly opposes such restrictions for the reasons explained in this memorandum, which is addressed to our members and all WUSV organizations. Through its existing rules, USCA actively supports the continued progress of our programs through responsible and humane use of training methods. USCA asks the WUSV to reconsider this notion and urges other WUSV organizations to join us in support of our opposition.
1. USCA opposes any international rule that would dictate directly or indirectly what is or is not lawful in other countries. Unlike Germany, there is no legislation restricting e-collar use in the United States or in the majority of WUSV member countries. However, animal abuse is unlawful in the United States and in most, if not all, WUSV member countries. Legislation directed to equipment cannot prevent abuse, as any training method can be abused. Our AKC has adhered to this position for nearly two decades, “The AKC recognizes that special training collars may be an effective and useful management device, when properly used . . .” USCA does not intend to impose a rule on our members that is legal in our country.
2. USCA opposes any international rule that governs training. To our knowledge, there has never been such a rule. There are rules, policies, and procedures that cover what is and is not allowed at official events. Further, the rules have given direction to our judges to reward performance that evidences joy, harmony, and motivation. One only has to look at performances from just a few years ago to see the major impact this has had. This current standard of evaluation of a dog’s performance, strongly based on devotion to the handler with a free and natural performance showing no stress or avoidance in the execution of the trial exercises accomplishes the objectives and eliminates the need for training method specific bans.
3. This proposal would not accomplish the goal of eliminating abuse and could have probable unintended consequences. IPO rules have evolved for a variety of factors to support evolving goals such as speeding up the events, eliminating pieces that add no value, keeping up with increasingly better training, and evidencing increased control of our dogs. This final goal would be nearly impossible without the use of specific collars and methods; banning them could lead to dogs that no longer present such a controlled picture to the public. Further, without changing the rules to allow for less control, it may push trainers to use methods that truly are not humane. Inhumane treatment of animals stems not from methods or devices, but from the people using them. USCA supports the education and humane use of training methods and will continue to support the development and continuous improvement of training practices and overall trial pictures that are both harmonious and controlled.
Finally, and contrary to the opinion recently expressed, we applaud and support the lifetime achievements of our member, Debbie Zappia. We take great exception to the negative reference to her and a picture of her with an e-collar on her dog. Debbie is one of the most caring, developing, innovative, fair trainers to ever participate in our sport and more broadly, in all of dog training. Further, she is an unbelievably generous coach, who is willing to share any and all information to which she has access. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of working with Debbie has witnessed the thousands of repetitions with minute, broken down pieces of an exercise to ensure that her dog completely understands. We would invite anyone to review every performance of Iron and spend time with Debbie and Iron to witness the incredible bond and superior relationship she has with her dog. There is nothing inhumane or unfair in what she does. Insinuation that she is inhumane, if that was the intent, necessitates an apology.
USCA and its members respect the SV, WUSV member organizations, the WUSV, and the WUSV President for their dedication and fully appreciate their highest regard for the German Shepherd Dog. USCA joins with them by consistently promoting responsible and humane training, showing, and competition. USCA has developed and implemented policies and safeguards that are commensurate with the standards of the finest working dog organizations in the world to educate, enforce, and protect the safety of both our dogs and membership. These include, but are not limited to: An Aggressive Dog Policy, Helper and Track Layer Programs, a Judges Program, funding for regional education, and training seminars to provide continued education. Further, USCA members have attained great levels of success in show and performance trials including the current 2015 World Champion, many WUSV and FCI World Championship teams, regional/club/national events, demonstrations, and seminars. We firmly support and applaud these accomplishments of our members and recognize the skills they have demonstrated in balanced and responsible training. However, USCA strongly disagrees with any proposal for rules, policies, or procedures that would legislate the choice of training equipment. That would be a dangerous path, would not prevent abuse, ignores our progress, and should be rejected.
I thank each of you for time and effort in reading and considering the views expressed within. We ask that you, regardless of your position of support or dissent, communicate your member clubs’ position to Dr. Henry Messler. We know that he is a thoughtful, dedicated, and open-mined individual, who will appreciate the feedback for a greater understanding of the sentiments of the WUSV member countries with regard to this issue.
President – United Schutzhund Clubs of America
United Schutzhund Clubs of America 4407 J – Meramec Bottom Road St. Louis, MO 63129 314.638.9686
I know this must have occurred to someone, somewhere. But I’m going to put it out there for discussion from my vantage point. Why isn’t IPO included in the Olympics?
I’ve seen horses. I’ve seen golf. I’ve seen an American man that seems more Dolphin than human…
Our sport is every bit as exciting as any form of volleyball played…Why hasn’t anybody from any of the IPO organizations proposed this? Yes, there are competitions that most of us are familiar with, within the fold so to speak. But the viewing numbers outside the sport are dismal from a marketing standpoint. The Olympics would be the perfect venue to demonstrate and widen IPO into the mainstream. I can see Dave Kroyer on a box of Wheaties already…Maybe Katie Gillies would be better at first. We can save Dave’s mug ’til the public gets used to us. Yeah, definitely Katie…
Seriously, there should be no question to this. How do we petition the Olympic committee on behalf of IPO? HAS IT EVER BEEN CONSIDERED? Lets hear some discussion for or against this!!!
Maybe the Curmudgeon in me got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Maybe I was just looking for a Writers Prompt to show its head. Or maybe I just responded to something that I strongly believe to be an immutable Truism.
For whatever brain dead reason, I opened Flakebook. (I’m purposely doing this less and less) The first thing I read was a post regarding, ‘Finding what you want to do’…” The authors advice was to have a “Do Nothing Day”, and discovering what you couldn’t stop yourself from doing during that day.
Do Nothing, To Discover Something.
If you are under 40 years of age, and you take this advice seriously, you are going to live a life of underachievement, rife with periods of unfulfilled wishful dreaming, leading to blaming everyone but yourself for life not being fair. It’s the moral equivalent of stubbornly refusing to WALK to your destination, while opining that someone should quickly build you a bus stop, subsidize a Bus line, and take you directly where you want to go, when you want to go. And yet, we seem to have raised a generation that is ready to do just that. Wait for something to happen, and complain that nothing ever happens.
What does this have to do with Dogs? Specifically? Not much, unless you put it into a broad based conclusion regarding life in general, and modern societal paradigms. Although, upon reflection, when a dog trainer advises you to “Ignore bad-behavior” and offer no correction, it IS quite similar.
In order to minimize the “rant-like” tone of this post, let me be succinct in voicing my recommendations.
If you truly feel like you are searching for “something to do”, don’t sit around on your IPhone or tablet, looking at what OTHER people are doing, WISHING that you could do something. Go out and DO SOMETHING!!! You MUST begin to do something, with goals that point towards what you will ultimately end up doing that puts the wind in your personal sails. Sitting idly by, waiting will get you nowhere, and expecting perfection immediately, will only kill whatever ambition you may have inborn already. If Michelangelo had decided that his first painting or sculpture, was terrible and unworthy of display, he could have decided to do NOTHING about it, and wait for talent to land on his hands. But he didn’t. He painted and sculpted, and studied, and learned, and practiced, and generally chomped at his own bit. Eventually, he produced works of such soaring beauty, grace, and power, that his work will live forever. Good thing he didn’t have the internet.
If you want to discover what it is that YOU want to do, go do something. It may not be what you want at first, but effort breeds success. Go mow your elderly neighbors yard without expecting to be paid. Do something that helps other people in the community. Go introduce yourself to people, find out about their lives. Tour a Firefighting Station, a real, live, working farm, or a control tower at an airport. Plant a garden, or help someone else plant theirs. Get your hands dirty. Take a seminar in whatever interests you, be it dog-training or local archaeology. For the truly courageous, pick up the Bible and READ it. Go on a ride along with a local police officer. Build a Bat-house. Learn about Bee-Keeping. Go Fishing. Make the road to personal Discovery an adventure! Raise the dust, brave the storm, ignore the scornful and the lazy, DO SOMETHING. ANYTHING that lights your fire, and doesn’t harm anyone! A “Do Nothing Day”? Not in my life, Not in my Adventure…
Enough said…I’ve got THINGS TO DO!!!
I’m contemplating a haggard and forlorn pair of Docker shoes that are sitting under the table of our patio furniture. They’re about 3 years old, leather, with soft rubber soles. The once dark brown tone is now sun-bleached and several shades lighter. The left shoe is missing the entire toe, which has allowed the sole to partially detach and flap freely when I wear them out in the yard. The right shoe, while intact cosmetically, is missing the padded insert and leather cover that had the Dockers logo branded to it. Currently, both shoes are soaking wet. They smell like…well, like old, wet, shoes. My wife throws them in the trash bin on a weekly basis, and I recover them on the same schedule. “Those things are just gross…throw them out!” she pleads with me.
“But they’re my yard shoes…” I counter, ” I need them to mow in, and work the grill, and take puppers out for…
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“It just doesn’t seem like he really likes his dog, “ I said as the trainer moved rigidly and robotically in sync with the dog at the end of his leash. They were practicing a precise heel, and as they moved through the exercises, the trainer rarely celebrated his dog’s success. Instead, he focused most…