Early on in my career, I noticed a disconnect in dog training. There were many dogs who knew commands, yet they still were unruly and mentally off-balance. There was a lack of respect in the relationship between humans and dogs, and often dogs would listen only if a treat was present, or if there was something “in it for them.” The opposite also existed, where the dogs listened out of fear of punishment, rather than a willingness to cooperate. It was essentially as though obedience was taught simply as series of tricks, which might impress our friends at a party, but does nothing to achieve the calm, cooperative mindset that we all associate with a “good dog.”
Mere knowledge of the commands is the end result in this type of system. The mindset of the dog, and the relationship between the dog and the human is almost always neglected.
Dogmanship is my response to the traditional dog training world. I began using the term
after I read a book by famed horse trainer Pat Parelli. He explained Horsemanship as a term that signified the relationship between the animal and the human, where consideration of the animal always comes first. Hence, Horse-Man-Ship. I decided instantly that this term could be perfectly applied to my style of working with dogs, so I adopted Dogmanship.
My training process has evolved to take into consideration the needs of both the human and the dog, and the complexities that can arise when that relationship becomes strained. Dogmanship is the meeting ground where traditional dog training melds with an understanding of the psychology of the dog, and the dynamics involved in the dog-human relationship.