Appreciating the "Doers" in the Dog Training World

Sep 3, 2023

Let's take a moment to appreciate the "doers" of the dog training world. The people who put themselves out there to benefit this little community of ours.
For the trainer who makes it their focus to continually improve their craft. They attend as many seminars, workshops, and webinars as they possibly can, all while being a student, constantly training, learning and working to grow.

Yet these amazing "doers" take it a step further. They work to bring those fantastic learning opportunities into their community so their clients may benefit as well. Being a learner is one thing, being an event coordinator is a whole other ball of wax. We should tip our hats to these people for taking this leap, as it is challenging to say the very least!

For the trainers and instructors who, upon identifying a need, open and run their own dog training facilities designed to better serve their community and clients. The goal is to network with dog owners, handlers, fellow instructors and colleagues alike, building a supportive and helpful atmosphere, focusing squarely on celebrating the dog.

Running and maintaining brick and mortar businesses is HARD. There is a never-ending mountain of tasks and expenses that have absolutely nothing to do with dog training yet require daily attention and focus. Headaches and unforeseen challenges abound. We should be beyond thankful these "doers" have taken this leap to offer us these fantastic in-person dog training opportunities.

This is further exasperated if those very same trainers and instructors decide to help their clients virtually as well. Technology is no small hurdle to clear and the fact that so many are not professional software developers are also leveraging impressive tools to better assist their clients is amazing to say the very least! Debugging issues alone can be a full-time job, yet these "doers" tackle this head-on and work to ensure their clients are not lost in the technology jungle.

For the individuals or clubs who delve into the monumental task of hosting a dog sport trial of any sort. This is an immense undertaking to say the very least. Think back to the very first time you attended a dog sport trial...did you feel overwhelmed by how much was going on? Now just imagine what it was like to coordinate all of a side gig on top of a full-time job, family commitments and maybe eking out some time with your own personal dog!

Just a few of the roles that can quite literally make or break a dog sport trial include the trial chairperson, trial secretary, scribe, score room lead, volunteer coordinator and gate steward, I can go on. All of these "hats" involve an utterly insane amount of work, require meticulous attention-to-detail, the ability to function in high-stress situations, be a team-player as well as a self-starter...oh, and can also be unpaid or volunteer positions on top of it. We should take a moment to truly appreciate all the hard work that goes into putting on these dog sport events where we can make memories with our pups. It is only possible thanks to these "doers".

These are only a handful of examples, but each cause me to marvel at these amazing people. Oftentimes thrust into a situation where they must learn and master new skills on the fly, think on their feet, stay cool under pressure and be solely motivated by their love of dogs is simply awe-inspiring.

But why does any of this matter?

Well, it is far too easy for us to complain, nitpick and be rather unappreciative.

"Ugh, it was so cumbersome trying to register for that event."

"I emailed them yesterday and haven't heard back, they are the worst!"

"Why don't they offer that training opportunity when it works best for me?"

"Well, that trial was a bust, it was their fault!"

You get the gist.

Such comments makes these "doers" feel small and question why they are working so hard in the first place.

Before taking to social media to air your grievances, take a moment to breathe and reflect. Have you reminded yourself that "those people" you are so irked about are real people who love dogs just as much as you do? Have you considered that they are likely working ridiculously hard to HELP you and your dog? My guess is, after thinking it over, your approach will be altered a little bit.

Instead, I propose we all celebrate the "doers".

For instance, make it a point to post how much you enjoyed that class, seminar, workshop or webinar you attended. Share how you love the details in the training room, such as the cute paintings on the wall and all the props and equipment anyone could ever possibly want or need. Highlight how amazing it is when multiple learning opportunities are offered. Share how you cherished the ability to walk to the line with your dog and are thankful that this club or individual people made it possible. Let's make these "appreciate the doers" posts more frequent and the icky ones not so much.

So thank you to all the "doers" out there in the dog training world, you are simply amazing in my book.

- Dianna L. Santos, Owner and Lead Instructor of Pet Dog U

Consistently amazed at the all the "doers" in the dog training world.

Dianna has been training dogs professionally since 2011. She has done everything from teaching group training classes and private lessons, to specializing in working with fearful, reactive and aggressive dogs, to being a trial official and competition organization staff member.

Following a serious neck and back injury, Dianna was forced to retire from in-person dog training. But she was not ready to give up her passion! So, she created Pet Dog U and Scent Work University to provide outstanding online dog training to as many dog handlers, owners and trainers possible…regardless of where they live! Dianna is incredibly grateful to the amazingly talented group of instructors who have joined PDU and SWU and she looks forward to the continued growth of PDU and SWU and increased learning opportunities all of these online dog training platforms can provide.

In June 2021, Dianna and her business partner, Sean McMurray launched Cyber Scent Work, Inc., an organization that operates in the gray space between training and trialing in Scent Work. With Cyber Scent Work, Inc., handlers have the opportunity to earn Qs, titles and ribbons while also receiving helpful training advice regardless of whether they qualify or not! Be sure to check out Cyber Scent Work, Inc., you will be happy you did!

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