I recently became eligible to place the letters “CPT” for Certified Professional Trainer after my name, by completing the course work at the National K9 School for Dog Trainers in Columbus, Ohio. My wife completed the course as well, and it was an enjoyable experience for us both. It’s a top- notch school and curriculum, with great Instructors. Does it make us “Instant Dog Trainers”? You know, just add a business card and” Poof”? No it doesn’t. Not by a long shot. But it does re-inforce what has become several years of experience with dogs for us. Not only that, it also gives us something that the vast majority of Canine Behaviorist Phd’s don’t have, Training as Dog Trainers.
The program also reminds me that just because you have a degree (of any sort) it does NOT mean that you know what you’re doing. Lots of evidence to support THAT statement out there…In fact it got me to thinking that what German Shepherd Adventures needs to be a part of is the development of a Degree in dog-training that has real bite to it, (pun intended), real credibility. And the program I’m speaking about came to me in a flash. It’s NOT an easy degree to earn, and it will take time. There will be hard work, doubts, tests, setbacks, joys, and intrigue. I have observed that becoming an educated trainer and observer of canines involves something so basic and fundamental that it defies modern convention in the educational field. And the activity that helps you earn this degree is probably WAY below the activity that most University level students would consider. But, if you’re willing, you CAN understand your dog, other people’s dogs, and their behavior. And…how to help them, teach them, and give them the life that every dog deserves. I now offer you the Dog Trainers Degree that really demonstrates your fitness and qualifications to be called a “Dog Trainer”.
It’s called the ” I.S.P.” degree, and many in this audience have already earned it. Many others want to earn it, and a whole lot more NEEDto earn it. Especially when it comes to the Behavior of Dogs. Any reasonably intelligent person can learn to teach a dog the basic obedience commands by any number of techniques. But this doesn’t mean that you have mastered the art of training dogs. You can quote Operant Conditioning formula’s verbatim, ad nauseum, and all it proves is that you’re a Purely Positive Drone Worker. No, earning an ISP Degree® involves really seeing a dog from it’s very deepest and most basic mentality. Over a fairly extended time. It also marked by getting dirty. Maybe losing sleep as you watch over a bitch giving birth over several hours of labor. Nursing an ailing dog thru some sickness that occurs. All of the details of having a dog responsibly. You see, ISP® means, “I SCOOP POOP.” Without exception, the very finest dog trainers, handlers, and “behaviorists” have all worked with dogs from the bedrock bottom up to whatever level they may have achieved. Some of the most instinctive and capable “trainers” work in Day Care facilities and make barely more than minimum wage. But they see and work with dogs Everyday! They move large groups of dogs thru facilities without a leash, and do so without incident. Everyday. Really talented breeders are capable of this same type of activity as well. They are LEADERS. The Elite holders of this degree, still scoop poop everyday, or at least whenever necessary, without complaining too much. These are the people that have observed dogs singularly, in large groups, on-leash, off-leash, in the living room, on the training floor, during a seminar, in the backyard, in the Agility ring, the Schutzhund field, and wherever else they choose to spend time enjoying their dog. They’ve shed tears at the loss of a beloved dog, rejoiced at the birth of a new generation. They’ve taken the TIME to make a dog or dogs, part of their life in a significant manner. Titling a dog in competition, or winning show prizes DOES NOT automatically make you an ISP® candidate. It’s more about the humility to admit that you are your dog’s student, and a student of dogs. Humility is a scarce commodity in the human part of the Dog world. But without it, the ISP® is wholly unattainable.
So what do you think? Have you earned your Degree yet?
German Shepherd Adventures will be awarding Honorary ISP Degrees to various worthy individuals in the Dog Training Community. I will be posting a page here devoted to the holders of the Degree. Should you find yourself a recipient of one of these prestigious degrees, please feel free to place the ISP designation after your name.