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dog listeners & consumer legislation, why you can be confident
Recently there has been a massive shake up in Consumer Protection Laws giving major new powers to, amongst others, Trading Standards Officers. To tackle ‘Rogue Traders’ It is said to be the biggest change for forty years.

There are many ways that people can be misled into parting from their money from complete lies to just giving the impression that a person is qualified and experienced enough to competently undertake the task required by the client when they are patently not. In the world of ‘Dog Training’ when you encounter one of these often well meaning people and it all goes horribly wrong, it will not be their fault, oh no, it will be your fault for having that particular breed of dog, whatever it might be. “Well if you will get a (fill in breed name here), what do you expect?” Is what you’ll hear, or maybe “That dog’s over the top” or “Your dog’s stupid, you won’t be able to do anything with him”.

In the canine world there is nothing to stop anyone from hiring a church hall and advertising ‘Dog Training Classes’ and taking peoples money when in fact they have little or no experience with dogs other than their own pet pooch at home. Indeed there is one very well known personality who makes a very good living from giving advice in how to deal with canine behavioural problems, who has never owned a dog. Another person in the same line of work who, although having some background in dogs, seriously over states their CV. Of course, if someone had letters after their name that might reassure you. You could be misled. There are organisations that people can join, the only entry criteria being whether they can afford the fee, which then allow them to put a string of letters on their website. Poor old Joe Public comes along and says, “Hey these people are well qualified, lets go with them”. Another ploy used by some people is to set up their own organisation which can allow letters to be used. There is one such person who lists themself as ‘Chairman and Founder Member’ of the particular association. Of course I can’t help but wonder how many other members there are. Is this person any good? Who knows, but always check the reality behind the window dressing before spending money it may save you both grief and money further down the line.

There are many good ‘dog people’ out there I’m not trying to scaremonger I’m just saying be careful. If it’s an obedience club, agility, field trials, flyball or any other dog activity that takes your fancy then go along without your dog and just watch. Do the instructors seem competent? Do they need to use gadgets to achieve the desired result? Is there any aggression used either verbal or physical? do the owners seem happy? And most important of all, how are the dogs reacting? Always ask questions. If the trainer, consultant, listener or whisperer, the title doesn’t matter, is evasive then walk away. If your instinct makes you unsure then you’re probably right.

As a ‘Jan Fennell Dog Listener’ I welcome this legislation because I know that I, and all of my colleagues working under Jan’s name, with her blessing, are squeaky clean. Jan is a very strong lady who holds the integrity of ‘Amichien Bonding’ as sacrosanct. This system is her baby, she developed and refined it and introduced the rest of the canine world to it and she’s not going to let others come along and hijack it.

Why would people do that? Because when the words Dog Listener are used, even if they don’t know her name people think of Jan Fennell. As a result it’s easy for people to use the name or variations of it to hitch their wagon to a rising star, much easier than making your own reputation isn’t it? Jan could very easily have sold franchises as other organisations do and she’d have been a very rich woman. However the welfare of both dog and owner has always been Jan’s first and only concern.

When someone approaches Jan wishing to become a Dog Listener they have to attend a foundation course. At this time Jan will decide if the student has the potential to go further. If so they are invited (just paying some money won’t do), to attend the advanced course. On successful completion of this course they become a ‘Non Active Dog Listener’ moving on to ‘Preliminary Dog Listener’ then to ‘Recommended Associate Dog Listener’ and then ‘Highly Recommended Dog Listener’. At every stage to progress to the next level or maintain their current status, every Dog Listener must fulfil a number of strictly enforced criteria including, every client having phone or email back up for the life of their dog and full case histories of consultations going to Jan so that she can monitor the standard of work and contact clients direct. Every client is given an evaluation form which goes direct to Jan as a quality control measure. Every Dog Listener that reaches and maintains the standards set by Jan is listed on her website.
I guarantee that, as a Jan Fennell accredited Dog Listener, I subscribe fully to Jan’s quality control standards and requirements.
Carol Purcell - June 2008 - with acknowledgements
01322 662113 -  07759 428817
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© youtakethelead 2009