Several of the major dog training associations have addressed the issue of racism and have recently issued positions and messages to members. That’s encouraging! I hope that these statements will be followed up. Note that each of us can have an impact on this. If you are a member of any dog-related group or association, let them know that you are excited about and count on implementing specific plans and actions to increase diversity among the ranks of professional and amateur dog trainers.
– Laurie C. Williams
Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (ccpdt.org)
The CCPDT, together with other organizations, expressly declares that systemic racism, injustice and discrimination permeate our society and culture. We hope that profound and lasting changes will come.
We are aware that our organization – together with our industry – lacks diversity. We will review our policies, practices and our commitment to inclusion, equality and the elimination of racial differences. Every interaction we have with a client, candidate, certifier or colleague is taken into account. On behalf of the CCPDT Board of Directors, we will build a more inclusive community of educators, embrace diversity, and create equality in our work. This includes in particular:
• Review of the CCPDT publicity work prior to the election of the board members.
• Ensuring fair and impartial questions and requirements is part of our formal application and examination processes.
• Creating a path into the profession so that everyone who wants to become a dog trainer has the opportunity.
We undertake to continue this work with renewed strength and purpose. Suggestions are welcome.
International Assoc. from animal behavior consultants (iaabc.org)
What can (the IAABC) do as an organization, as a community and as an individual to improve this situation and to reject the normality of the racist heritage and politics of this country? What can we do to finally wake up fully and demand the equality and fairness that this land of opportunity should offer?
• We can learn.
• We can carefully examine our own prejudices and fears.
• We can do the work of understanding and seeing.
We have done all of these things for the nonhuman animals we work with. We have to ask now, did we do it for ourselves? For our neighbors? To paraphrase the historian Ibram X. Kendi, to highlight the points he makes in his crucial book: How to be an Anti-Racist:
• “Racist” should be a clear, descriptive term for guidelines and ideas that create or justify racial inequalities and not be used as a personal attack. It’s just a no-nonsense term.
• You are either racist or anti-racist. There is no such thing as “not racist”. You either benefit from (or suffer from) racist measures or you fight against them.
• “Non-racist” and racist are therefore the same thing.
Trainers and behavioral advisors are in daily contact with the public. We can make a difference, one interaction at a time, one effort at a time, to improve our little corner of the world. We know how it works. We understand learning and we understand how success builds on success.
Karen Pryor Clicker Training (karenpryoracademy.com)
Too often, KPA stands with protesters against the violence black, indigenous and colored people are exposed to. Change is required. As positive reinforcement trainers, we know that behavior is never static. When we remain silent, we practically reinforce past behavior. By speaking out and protesting, we can change the environment and create the basis for meaningful change.
We also recognize the need to identify and explore ways to take a stand and contribute to change in our own industry. Black, indigenous and colored people are underrepresented in the dog trainer and behavior specialist professions as well as in related professions. We are committed to the conversations and dialogues, the training and the steps that can lead to a better understanding and make the profession more inclusive.
PetProfessional Guild (petprofessionalguild.com)
PPG’s statement reaffirms its commitment to Solidarity Against Racism in support of #BlackLivesMatter:
It was important for our organization not only to make this declaration, but also to commit to action in the short and long term. We are working with our membership to develop an advisory group that can identify and develop specific, actionable programs that will help us more fully engage our industry.
For this reason, we are pleased to announce that we have appointed Connecticut-based dog trainer Christina Horne and Virginia-based dog trainer Laurie C. Williams to formulate, build and oversee this advisory team to drive our goals with this one To support projects. Christina and Laurie will report directly to PPG President Niki Tudge. Together they will ensure that we have enduring practices in place that hold us accountable for our commitment and that both PPG and the pet services industry as a whole represent the diversity of our populations.
Training organizations develop a joint survey
The IAABC worked with the CCPDT and the Karen Pryor Academy to produce an online survey for members of these organizations. Leaders in the positive reinforcement training and behavior community urge all training and behavioral experts to share information to identify key steps to ensure equity and diversity in this area in the “Survey on Diversity and Equality of Training and Behavior” at https: / / to company iaabc.typeform.com/to/cQeE6A.
The survey is used to strengthen and improve the organizations’ policies and practices, and to keep prospective speakers and panelists informed about issues that are important to members of the participating organizations.