In dog training circles there is a well documented ongoing case about a UK trainer. Now, I’m not going to discuss any of the details as I have no first hand knowlege of him other than one very brief meeting along with his online presence where I took the decision that he was not a person I wished to have any contact with. You can read more about the ongoing case here if you are unfamiliar
I wanted to write this post after a recent conversation with a young female trainer who described insistant and unwanted sexual advances made by a male trainer she was hosting to deliver a course. Not only did she feel that she had no recourse to complain but she was certain that any complaint would lead to a destruction of her career. She saw this as a common and accepted part of the industry and would continue to rebook him for courses and presumably put up with the unwanted attention.
There are laws protecting people in the workplace from sexual advances from coworkers (not as complete as they should be and not always actioned but at least a framework) but in unregulated industries consisting of mostly self employed people there seems to be little or no protection from this sort of innapropriate behaviour and it is beyond dangerous. Its easy to see why so many begin to see their professionals contacts as extensions of their social lives and so a blurring of boundries has taken place. Many of these people are travelling to deliver courses regularly and seem to adopt a ‘what happens on the course, stays on the course’ attitude and view each pool of clients with the same attitude that they would walk into a bar on friday night (pre covid of course!).
Part of the problem may be one of demographics, most course attendees of any dog training course I have ever done have been female and with the recent increase of interest in dog training there are many more younger women at these events and yet proportunately there are more male trainers delivering the courses. Its time that the same standard of professional behaviour that are supposed to apply to the rest of the working world apply to the dog training world. The only way this will happen is with help and support from established figures both male and female so that unprofessional and predatory behaviour is met with serious professional consequences
The rules are pretty simple and straight forward.
It really isnt complicated or difficult.
If you are paying someone for their professional knowledge or experience,
if they are paying you for your professional knowledge or experience,
if they are in a mentor or mentee position with you
If you are professionally repsonsible for them or they for you
Do not attempt to engage in sexual activity with them
I’m glad that so many people have now been able to speak out about Johns behaviour and I applaud their courage. I think we need to have the wider conversation about the industry that still finds this acceptable.
Its not just John
#dearjohn #ibelievethewomen #metoo #moderndogtraining