The first step to being a dog trainer is understanding dogs for who they are, as a distinct species. Dogs spent thousands of years of history with humans, co-evolving with us, but they also have been specifically selected over the last few hundred years to work and live with us! That gives them a unique cluster of skills and traits that they bring to their relationship with us. Clients have a lot of misinformation available to them from popular media, and as their professional, you should have accurate information. Are dogs really what you think they are?
- The co-evolutionary story between humans and dogs, from earliest history to their more recent roles in society and how both they and we have benefited as a result
- The social structure of dogs today: are they really pack animals? What is it to be a “pack” in animal behavior? Do dogs meet criteria?
- Cognitive skills they have (and some we think they don’t!). Are dogs self aware? Dog dogs feel guilty? Can they reason?
- The emotional lives of dogs, and the importance of reading them accurately: what emotions are dogs likely to have, and which ones they’re not likely to have.