Articles by Val Bonney
australia's knowledge of dog obedience. Is it making a difference?
11th November, 2013.
AUSTRALIA’S KNOWLEDGE OF DOG OBEDIENCE. IS IT MAKING A DIFFERENCE?
.I have been asked to write this, to bring you up to date with what has been going on in the background.
Fifteen years (15) ago, I was contacted by the University of Queensland. They were looking at having students from Japan visit Australia for a week long o/seas learning experience. Would I be able to assist them?
I went to Japan with the Director of the University to visit with the Communication Art Colleges in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Hokkaido. The idea was that students from these colleges would spend 1 week a year, hosted by the University, developing skills that they were already training for. Things like Grooming, Dog Training, Vet areas, Physio for Animals, Working with Dolphins, Horse racing and a few other disciplines.
While some of these disciplines have gone by the board over the past 15 years, the Dog Training and Grooming has held its own. The students and teachers have to grade everything that they do while they are here, and along with (in recent years) Craig Murrays speciality Dog Training, Bonnies have just completed our 15th continuous year.
Around 8000 students have gone through our hands in that time.
All of this day training has taken place at the Durack Grounds which the Caretaker has really kept in such good order for these Japanese Experiences.. Usually we have a group of 500 to 600 students over a 3 day period each year. We must not lose sight of the fact here that there is nothing like our Canine Control Grounds in Japan, so this on its own is quite a revelation to and for the students and teachers. They are always amazed at these wonderful grounds we take so much for granted.
Bonnies training can only be done by a group of loyal trainers who give their time and expertise to this Australia – Japan cross over. Dog Training in Japan is very different to what it is here. We are by far ahead of what these students are being taught in their class rooms, but the knowledge they have gained from our experienced trainers has broadened their understanding of how we teach our dogs here in Australia.
When they first started coming all those years ago, the students were very naïve. They were very young in mind and experience. They were 20 to 22 year old’s but very different to our young people of the same age. We have noticed a vast difference over the past few years. Now the boys and girls arrive with different coloured hair, ear piercing, some tattoos, and usually a great attitude. I must say here at this point they are a pleasure to work with.
We have to teach them as much as we can in their short visit. This means, Basic Obedience, Puppy Training, Advanced work, Agility and recently Dancing with Dogs. The Trainers we use all bring their own dogs, so we have about 14 dogs for the students to handle. My main concern with the dogs that come is NOT how good they are, but that they are as bomb proof with people as we can make them. WE HAVE NEVER TO THIS DATE HAD AN INCIDENT WITH A DOG AND A STUDENT. Thank you Lord I tell the students the only dogs I can guarantee will never bite are :- DEAD ONES. STUFFED TOYS, OR HOT DOGS. It usually gets a laugh from them, but they get the message.
The trainers themselves come from varied Clubs, and it is time these Clubs recognised the worth of these people who work with their clubs every week.
LOGAN DOG OBEDIENCE. Lawrie Knauth . IPSWICH DOG OBEDIENCE Tina McKenzie, Ann Clarkson, & Dell Francis, METROPOLITAN DOG OBEDIENCE. Aldo Calderera GOOD DOG-BAD DOG TRAINING SCHOOL Joanne Meredith, and of course Bonnies trainers Paul McKie. Ian Wilson, Patricia Farquahson, Bruce Bonney, Pam Robson, Heath Finn & myself and there are another couple who also assist Kay Davis, and Ann Forrest. Many of these people have been working in this area since its inception, and others for a number of years now. They are all experts in their fields, and work their butts off on teaching these students. Remember all teaching has to be through an INTERPRETER which doesn’t make it easy and all takes extra time. The dogs get very tired, and all trainers go home dead tired, but I think feeling very pleased with their efforts.
The hands on work these students get is unique. They are often dealing with dogs, they have never handled. German Shepherds, Swiss White Shepherds, Munster Landers, Rottweilers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Border Collies . We are proud of our NO INCIDENT record. This goes for no problems with the dogs working together either.
Over the years, we have had Nelson Edyvean (dog Manipulator) come and give a lecture, we have had the Gundog People come and give a display, and we have taken the students up to Corrective Services at Wacol (Prison squad). Taught them Drug Detection work and shown them some MAN WORK. These things may never be experienced by these students again.
Some Breeders have bought their puppies along for the students to see and to hold. Puppies are not often seen by students in Japan, and certainly not by these Communication Art College Students.
Nancy Hardie (German Shepherd Breeder) has been a great supporter over the years.
This year we had Katrina McKenzie (Swiss White Shepherd Breeder) bring 8 puppies. They were a real hit. My sincere thanks to these Breeders and all who have taken an interest. The working with and Understanding the necessity of working with a puppy is so important for them to understand.
I guess the work we have done during this period of time has been tremendous and from my point of view very worthwhile. I know many (most) of these students may not make it as trainers, but they certainly have had upbeat presentations of what training should be. This will help them in whatever field they finally take on as their Career. We emphasise that people training is a very important part of whatever they do in the dog industry, or indeed any other industry.
The Cultural Value and interaction between Australia and Japan has been the best we can provide and I could go on and on with many stories that have transpired over the years, but the Dog World Magazine doesn’t have the space for them all.
The reason this has now been written, was your President Norma Zimmerle came out to Durack on one of our working days. She was amazed at what she saw and wanted to know more about this project. She felt you should all know what your State (Brisbane) is doing for other parts of the World. Hence this story. It was great to see the interest she showed. THANK YOU NORMA!
HOPE YOU ENJOY IT, AND APPRECIATE THAT WHAT WE HAVE DONE AND ARE STILL DOING REFLECTS ON EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US – YOU INCLUDED.
HAVE WE MADE A DIFFERENCE? WE CERTAINLY HOPE SO.
Val Bonney (Bonnies Dog Obedience Trainer- Canine Behaviour Specialist/Author)