There are many dog training programs around the world.
But the British Veterinary Association has just released its latest Dog Training Index, which ranks the best dog training services across the world for dog training.
It comes after a long and contentious debate on whether dogs can be trained to be socialised to other humans.
And, crucially, it comes after it was revealed that the UK government has not kept tabs on the quality of dog training training services, as it was meant to do.
The Dog Training index is an international collaboration of leading dog trainers, including the British Academy of Veterinary Specialisations (BAVS), the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA), the Society for Homeopathy and Dog and Cat Health, the Association for Applied Animal Science (AAAS) and the British Kennel Club.
It ranks dog training providers according to how well they can train their dogs to behave, respond and interact with other people.
The survey asked more than 1,000 people how well their dogs are trained to behave with humans.
The answers are divided into three categories:Social behaviour training (SPT), where dogs are allowed to play, socialise and interact in social settings with other dogs and people;Interaction training (IT), where the dog is allowed to interact with people in other social situations; andDiscipline (DD), where a dog is given no access to human-to-dog interactions at all.
The UK’s Dog Training Network said the survey showed that more people were learning to interact socially with their dogs.
The dog training service also said the UK was ranked as the best in the world, beating the likes of Germany, Canada, Japan and Sweden.
The AAAS said the index showed that the most important thing in dog training was getting your dog to interact.
“We have seen some positive changes over the past 10 years in dog behaviour and training,” AAAS chief executive Rachael Hall said.
“There are a lot of improvements in the way dogs are being trained, which are not necessarily seen in other countries.”
However, she said dogs were still being trained in ways that are inconsistent with human behaviour, and the AAAS had seen problems with dog training systems that had been in place for years.
“Dogs are not toys and we need to be more aware of their welfare, but we also need to recognise the need to educate people about the benefits of dogs as companions,” Ms Hall said, adding that it was important for people to learn about the different types of dog behaviour that are acceptable.
“People need to know that they should never put their dog down, especially when they are being played with, or when they’re trying to interact,” she said.
“It’s not just about the dog, it’s also about their human.”
But Ms Hall also said there was a growing gap between the way in which dog training works and what the public is willing to pay.
“The public wants to know how many dogs they have to keep,” she added.
“In many cases they are not willing to take a dog that is not behaving well and spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on training a dog to be able to be comfortable around other people.”
Dr Lisa O’Connell from the AAAP, which commissioned the survey, said the results were an important step forward in the dog training industry.
“It is clear that the public wants dogs to be friendly and interact freely, but there is a gap between what people are willing to spend and what they are actually willing to do,” she told the ABC.
“While some people might have an aversion to paying for a dog, there are also people who are willing and able to afford a dog and there is no barrier to training a good quality dog.”
Dr O’Connelly said the best way to educate the public about dog training would be for them to visit some of the training facilities and see how they work.
“Some of the best training facilities are around Australia,” she explained.
“And they are very affordable.”
But the key is that you do not have to be a vet, or have specialised training or have to spend money, to be part of this process.
“This is about education, which is what we are doing in Australia.”