For as long as people have kept historical records, we can find accounts of a strong bond between people and dogs. In primitive times when hunting was man's only way to survive, people realized that using dogs could make the hunt more successful. This partnership was more than just people dominating animals because dogs and humans worked as partners with a goal benefit both species. Dogs and their human companions developed an unspoken ability to understand each other. So throughout history, when dog training was designed, it was focused on the working relationship between dogs and people.
Historians have evidence of art and documents from ancient civilizations. They discovered drawings depicting dogs serving as guides and companions as far back in time as we have records. No doubt our ancient grandparents knew that the relationship that they had with their dogs served the people and the dogs equally and that their trusted canine companions were prized and cherished part of their families much as they are today.
It isn't a stretch to say that as long as there have been human culture and civilization, dogs have been part of it. When society was agricultural, dogs were important in protecting livestock and herding sheep and cows. But as people began to realize how easy it was to train dogs, they began to be used in other agricultural chores as well as in military and police functions. Then dogs were bred and trained for the very purpose of serving people's working need: Hunting, herding, protection and pulling.
Turkish and British used the natural abilities of their local dogs for guarding and herding livestock. Inuits and other Northern culture used their dogs for pulling sleigh across the snow The Lasha Apso was bred to guard temples and palaces in Tibet The ChowChow one of the oldest breed originated from Mongolia and was bred for hunting, pulling, guarding and herding. The Roman Empire developed full battle ready battalions comprised entirely of dogs. Later, during World War I and II, dogs were vital to the war effort delivering messages and protecting military encampments and guarding prisoners as well. Along with these duties, dogs also pitched by serving as scouts, finding mines, tracking the enemy and delivering important military messages during battles. The ability of dogs to help the blind has been going on since the first century as has been proved with ancient artifacts of the time. 1788 see the first ever training facility to teach dogs to aid the blind atles " Quatre Vingts" in Paris, France. Even though modern medicine has advanced significantly, dogs have more jobs than ever helping patients recovering from therapy, assisting people with disabilities including epilepsy and autism and even making contributions in cancer detection.
In 1939, when WWII started, young servicemen were taught the military method of training service dogs, which used the choke chain and harsh training method. When the war ended there were a group of young ex-military trainers available to help civilians train their dogs. By now the original trainers and their method of training had pretty much disappeared.
It was in the 1970's thanks to TV that Barbara Woodhouse was able to bring her method of training to the masses. Choke chains became as popular to dog training as moon rocks had become to fish bowls. By this time the use of physical correction was widely accepted in dog training.
By the 1980's the buzz was dominance, not by the dog but by you over your dog. This method led to all kinds of pack leadership ideas. It was decided that if you didn't dominate your dog he would dominate you, and that there was simply no other way to train a dog than using the pack leader method.
And just like politics that swing back and forth like a pendulum, by the 1990's we had swung the other direction.
This was when animal behavior experts and psychologist started to understand dog's behavior and their body language. More interested by the overall well being of the dogs and how they communicate with each other, experts such as Turid Rugaas, Patricia McConnell, Karen Prior and Ian Dunbar opened a new door to dog training, behavior and psychology.
The focus became more about teaching owners how to understand their dogs better and enhance the positive natural abilities of the dog rather than dominance and other forceful methods.
As the population of dog lovers responded to these new techniques, more and more up to date dog training courses have become available. The number of dogs entering human homes continues to rise. It seems there are more and more dog owners looking for companionship in our four legged furry friends.
TV shows with popular Cesar Millan have create an awareness around dog training. Like him or not, now more than ever, people are taking their commitment to well trained dogs very seriously and more dogs than ever before are being trained because of the dog whisperers popularity.
It can seem a little bit strange to be able to train your dog at home in the comfort of your living room or backyard but when you think about it isn' t dog training about educating the human first?
From a partnership for survival to online courses, dog training has evolved with our society and technology.The number of dogs entering human homes continues to rise. It seems there are more and more dog owners looking for companionship in our four legged furry friends. No matter how the training is delivered, dogs are here to stay and always be an important part of our society.