Attention New York Dog Owners

Big Brother is considering dictating (Bill# S00473) how you train your dogs.

S 113-A. OBEDIENCE TRAINING; REQUIRED. 1. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL BY RULE OR REGULATION ESTABLISH REQUIREMENTS FOR BASIC OBEDIENCE COURSES FOR DOGS AND THEIR OWNERS WHICH MUST BE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. SUCH REQUIREMENTS SHALL INCLUDE INSTRUCTION FOR THE OWNER ON THE PRINCIPLES OF DOG TRAINING, AND INSTRUCTION ON AND PRACTICE OF OBEDIENCE TRAINING BY BOTH THE DOG AND ITS OWNER. FURTHERMORE, THE COMMISSIONER SHALL ESTABLISH MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR THE SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF SUCH BASIC OBEDIENCE COURSES. 2. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL ESTABLISH REQUIREMENTS FOR DOG OBEDIENCE SCHOOLS WHICH ARE AUTHORIZED TO PROVIDE THE BASIC DOG OBEDIENCE COURSES FOR DOGS AND THEIR OWNERS AS REQUIRED BY THIS SECTION. 3. THE OWNER OF ANY DOG REACHING THE AGE OF ONE YEAR SHALL, ON OR BEFORE THE DATE SUCH DOG REACHES ONE YEAR OF AGE OR WITHIN ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY DAYS OF RECEIVING OWNERSHIP OF SUCH DOG, WHICHEVER SHALL BE LATER, SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE, WITH HIS OR HER DOG, A BASIC OBEDIENCE COURSE.

(text modified only to remove line numbers and make the paragraph work in the blog formatting)

So they want to dictate what and how our dogs are taught basic obedience. And require it of all dog owners.  Which on the surface of things I can see the theory.  But reality doesn’t work that way.  

First off, its yet ANOTHER state dictated expense for dog owning.  Unless they’re going to force trainers to offer the class for free, yah, that’d go over well.  Or maybe they’ll decide to subsidise it.  Like they are the minimum wage.  Yah, lets do that *headdesk*

And lets look at the practical issues:

Working farm dogs, especially Livestock Guardian Dogs, almost never leave the home property, are frequently not house pets, and are unlikely to pass basic obedience (or have an owner who wants them too).  

Hunting hounds are often not house pets, only leave the home property for hunting trips, and their owners are very unlikely to be interested in basic obedience classes.

A dog with dog aggression problems certainly needs training, but squashing one into a crowded “one size fits all” class will do them more harm than good.

Conformation show dogs are frequently taught modified obedience, including “down” or “stand” in place of “sit” because they don’t want the dogs sitting in the show ring.  If the mandated training dictates the use of the command “sit” show dogs are screwed too.

Never mind that not all dogs learn the same way.  What works for your average Lab might not work for your average hunting hound, never mind your average primitive breed.  Oh yes, the primitives.  Like the ones I own.  Both of whom are perfectly safe in public.  And both of whom would be very unlikely to pass your average “basic obedience” class, ESPECIALLY if it was done by the wrong trainer…..

HERE you can find your local Assemblymember and let them know what you think!

Click read more to see the letter I wrote.

Although I can see how requiring basic canine obedience lessons to all dog owners sounds like a good idea, there are actually SO MANY things wrong with the concept that it’s scary.

  1. Is everyone who currently owns a dog going to have to get their dog obedience certified?  I’m pretty sure that if the current dog owning public all tries to do this at once mass havoc is going to result.
  2. Not one single training organization can manage to agree on types and methods, and now the government is going to try to do so??
  3. Who’s going to train the trainers and certify the lessons?  How is that going to be paid for, handled, etc?  You’re going to force trainers to take time out of their generally busy schedules to travel to training classes and certification so they can lead these government mandated classes?
  4. You’re going to add yet ANOTHER government mandated fee (the cost of the classes) onto dog ownership??  Or are you going to require trainers to offer it for free?  Please don’t tell me you plan to subsidize it.
  5. What happens if someone DOESN’T get their dog through training?  Will the dog be seized?  Who’s going to enforce it?  According to my local ACO about half the dogs living on my street aren’t licensed, are you going to add this to the ACO duties too?  And who pays for care and training for the seized dogs?  Shelters are already crowded.
  6. What about experienced dog owners?  While I certainly know some folks who’ve owned a lot of dogs who could still benefit from such lessons, there are just as many experienced dog owners who don’t.
  7. What about working dogs?  Farm dogs, LGDs, hunting hounds?  Many of those dogs never leave the home property except for occasional off property working time.  Not only do they not need obedience lessons, such lessons could interfere with their ability to work. 
  8. Conformation Show dogs are frequently trained in modified obedience lessons because of how they need to behave and act in the ring.  Including replacing “sit” with “down” or “stand”.
  9. What about dogs with “issues”.  Such as dog aggression problems.  Although these dogs certainly need training, attempting to shove them into a one size fits all crowded training class is going to do them more harm than good.
  10. There’s a reason “one size fits all” is not a valid training method.  Just like humans, different dogs learn better from varying techniques.  My own two dogs for example are polite and friendly in public, and yet would likely fail, badly, at your average obedience class, especially with the “wrong” trainer. 
  11. Trying to create written in exceptions for any of the above dog types is bound to fail.  Who determines if a dog is a working dog or a pet?  Who determines whether a dog is going to do well in a class or not?  And who’s going to enforce and pay for THAT?

Please make sure that this bill doesn’t go anywhere!

 

Although I have no objection to someone copying this letter to send to their Assemblyman, please note that item 10 includes statements specific to MY dogs.  Please make sure you edit it to suit you and your dogs.

3 Comments

  1. Comment by joated:

    Another law written by someone who has no idea what they are talking about. Sounds nice, but it’s worthless in the real world. Kinda like the typical politician.

    • Comment by Ruth:

      Exactly….and who’s going to enforce this? And who’s going to care for dogs who’re seized for lack of obedience class? And train and certify the trainers? and…..*sigh*

  2. Comment by bogie:

    I’ve never had a dog to obedience school and all of my dogs were very safe around people, children and other animals (except when Prince got attacked by other dogs so often he decided dogs sucked – so I modified what I asked him to do). All of my dogs acted as I needed, when I needed them to.

    Oh wait, I lived with one dog that was “trained” – a Dobie that was a room mates. This is the one and only dog that ever bit someone or initiated dog fights. Not her fault, she was trained incorrectly for her temperament.