What’s in a name?

by Jennifer Ruiz / Thursday, 18 February 2016 / Published in Uncategorized

What’s in a name?

Just recently I’ve been thinking about the importance we attach to our job titles in our work with dogs. The differences between assistant, carer, trainer and behaviourist are huge in terms of the value we place on them, but actually minuscule if we think about things from the dog’s perspective.
Inspired by Jean Donaldson’s article ‘If they could march’ in which she compels us to consider what dogs would vote for if they could wager political influence on their own lives, I’ve been pondering what dogs would call the humans in their lives if they had the choice. Probably, we’d find that wouldn’t care too hoots about our job titles! Which got me thinking very deeply about what they would care about…

In my last blog, I talked about the A.P.E.T.S philosophy that every interaction counts. In the companion dog sector, we have historically spent an inordinate amount of time concerning ourselves with some of the fringe issues – names, roles, job titles – and far too little time thinking about how each and every one of us can charge ourselves up to make our daily interactions with dogs really matter (to us and them).

This is where A.P.E.T.S is attempting to set the bar. With an anthrozoological focus, that is, one which guides and supports us to ask, ‘what do the dogs think?’, our inaugural ROOTS programme will challenge you to remember that you are more than a name/role/job title. Whilst aspiration, rigor and professional practice are as important to us as they are to you – that’s why our Roots programme is competence-assessed and has been carefully crafted to meet professional standards of practice outlined by the Animal Behaviour and Training Council. Yet our course is designed to push the frontiers of what it means to care about as well as care for dogs. We strive to inspire you not to worry about what you’ll be afterwards, but actually to shape and mould who you are now.

‘Dogs live in the moment, and it’s time we did too.’

Ps: When we asked the dogs what they wanted us to call our ROOTS graduates, they were non-committal and had other more pressing agendas… like, what time’s dinner?! So we’ve taken the liberty of advocating for them and calling for a new wave of professionals who are ready to take their interactions with dogs to new levels. Our graduates and affiliates will be A.P.E.T.S Canine Practitioners and (although the dogs couldn’t really care what we call you) we can’t wait to help you to polish your nameplate with pride.

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