Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 284 - Undercover

As a dog trainer I'm always up for learning more about the craft and more so, finding out how my competitors train. I always wonder what makes them different, and what makes them successful. So when the opportunity came to go spy, I mean attend a different, local training facility, I jumped on it. Following here is my take on my recent visit wherein I accompanied my friend, who accompanied her friend who was training his dog. Please note, participants names have been changed for security purposes.

I have to admit, when I found out my friend, Under Cover Agent Snack Cake was attending a competitor's dog class with one of her friends, Civilian A. Gunner, I was a bit envious and thought, "I want to go see too!". And when that thought became words, Agent Snack Cake invited me to tag along! Upon arrival at the training grounds, Agent Snack Cake and I parked in the back of the dimly lit facility and that set the mood for our stake out. We watched and waited for Civilian A.G. to show up to no avail. I had hoped for a pre-class briefing to discuss what role would I play, what would be my cover? But alas, it did not happen. With 5 minutes to spare before class start time, I told Agent SC that we should go in. That's when we realized Civilian AG already arrived and was working with his dog inside the classroom. Obviously, our surveillance skills need work.

Once inside, there wasn't much for me to do but observe, and that was just fine with me. As I watched the instructor direct his students to correct their dogs, I couldn't help but wonder where had the humanity gone? Why were these students putting so much faith in instructions that physically hurt their dogs? My sad realization was that they had given the rolly-polly man a God complex which he did not deserve. Not once did the teacher actually teach his students why they were doing the things they were, and not once did a student ask. At my age, I've learned to ask and question authority, respectfully of course. Why didn't these people?

While I did learn one trick of our mutual trade, I found myself utterly disgusted with the instructor as he harshly smacked the muzzle of an overly stressed dog in efforts to get it to "behave". I couldn't help but think, "If he had done that to MY dog I would have...". And that's about when our under cover surveillance session was over. My report to headquarters stated that from my surveillance I learned how to be a more compassionate trainer, and will continue to explain the "why" to my students and hope that they feel comfortable enough to ask me questions. I will strive to keep an open dialogue and a much needed open heart when dealing with the public. More then anything, this stake out of sorts led me to share this quote with you...

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” - Buddha


  1. The right path is always clear to those who listen to their heart and not just their head. You and Agent Snack Cake have learned a powerful truth about yourselves. Compassion is a much stronger tool than abuse could ever be. Spread your truth as far as you can and when you think you can't go any farther, take one more step. I have faith that you can do great things if you let yourself.

  2. Awww- thanks B-rob!!! Great comment!!! I think me, you and Agent SC have some great adventures in store!