The Way of the Dog has taken on several behavioural cases where the root cause has been linked to the activities and actions of, and handling by individuals and businesses paid to take care of or train the dog.
In all of theses cases the evidence suggests a clear and worrying lack of qualification, experience, and knowledge on the part of those individuals and businesses.
From a dog owners point of view, we are unwittingly placing our trust in individuals and businesses who are working outside the limits of their own authority, accreditation, qualification, expertise and experience.
This article has been written to supply dog owners who are seeking the services of any dog based service (where your dog is handled, managed or cared for by somebody other than the dog’s owner) with the recognised minimum standards expected of the service provider.
Why do we need standards and regulation?
Pet care in the UK is a multi-million pound industry. This has tempted many individuals to give up main stream professions in pursuit of their dream job, such as working with dogs. This has led to a rise in the various types of dog services available.
Due to a lack of regulation and no defined standards, there have been no barriers for likely entrepreneurs to cross. On the outside such services might seem like a blessing for those in need of support and assistance; however the variation in standards and lack of regulation is a real concern.
Have you ever stopped to think about who is handling your dog and questioned their ability to do so? Are they qualified and are they adhering to any professional standards? How would you know the standards they are expected to achieve?
With the release of the National Occupational Standards for the Dog Industry, you now have the tools to address these questions.
The National Occupational Standards
In October 2014, Lantra (sponsored by Government) released the following National Occupational Standards (NOS) following consultation with organisations including the Pet Education Training and Behaviour Council, the Kennel Club, the Canine and Feline Behaviour Association, British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers, Guild of Dog Trainers, and the Cambridge Institute for Dog Behaviour and Training.
The NOS aim to promote criteria that are relevant, accurate, and considered a suitable benchmark for those working with dogs (Lantra, 2014).
In each NOS there is a list of ‘Performance Criteria’ of which the individual professional must be able to demonstrate in addition to a list of ‘Knowledge and Understanding’ that they need to essentially know and understand. The ultimate purpose of these standards is to support the primary aim of protecting the welfare of dogs and to recognise that dogs as a species require a separate NOS and not an all-encompassing approach as set out in Animal Welfare standards.
- LANCTB1 – Observe, Assess and Respond to the Behaviour of Dogs
- LANCTB2 – Handle and Control Dogs
- LANCTB3 – Plan and Implement Training Programmes for Dogs
- LANCTB4 – Plan and Implement Training Programmes for Dogs and Handlers
- LANCTB5 – Plan and Implement Programmes to Address Undesirable Behaviour in Dogs
Who do the National Occupational Standards apply to?
The standards are relevant to all those who work professionally with dogs such as veterinary paraprofessionals, groomers, walkers and day carers, trainers and behaviourists, those providing therapies of any kind, micro chippers, and by and large anyone who works with dogs on behalf of the public.
The standards documented in LANCTB1 and 2 are aimed at every single person within the dog industry who works with or handles dogs. Any person offering or providing dog training must achieve and adhere to the standards of LANCTB1-4, whilst dog behaviourists must achieve and adhere to LANCTB1-5.
At The Way of the Dog we feel that all those that choose to work with dogs should be familiar with the National Occupational Standards and aware of the criteria relevant to their practice.
Although the NOS are not currently enforced and only serve as guidelines to those working in the industry they – at the very least – give all dog owners a standard practice of which they can expect to receive if paying for dog services of any kind whether professional or amateur.
The truth of the matter is that many individuals and businesses within the dog industry are falling short of these standards and their lack of qualification, experience and knowledge are having a detrimental effect on the well being, health and behaviour of the dogs in their care.
We would urge all dog owners to read the NOS documents linked above and use them to assess their current and future dog care, training and behaviour service providers. You should address any concerns by asking that provider how they adhere to any particular standard and be happy with their responses.
A good service provider will be happy to address your concerns and pleased that you care for your dogs well being.
Do you have questions or comments about NOS?
Do you have any questions or comments about the National Occupational Standards and their implications. Do you wish to respond to this post? If so, use the comment section below and we’ll respond with our views.