The Wizard of Dogz
I think dog trainers are considered as wizards… but not the Harry Potter kind, we are more like the Wizard of Oz.
Our client, Dorothy, has some recall problems with her doggy Toto, so she travels the yellow brick road (could be yell.com!) to find the Wizard of Oz (us, dog professionals).
Along the way, Dorothy finds some well-meaning people, starting with the scarecrow, who tells Dorothy he isn’t qualified to help her, but because he loves dogs and wants the best for little Toto, he doesn’t give her unfounded opinions.
However, the Scarecrow has a curious mind and really wants to learn how to help dogs like Toto, so he joins Dorothy on her journey to meet the Wizard.
On their path, Dorothy, Toto and the Scarecrow meet the Cowardly Lion, who is scared of dogs, so he decides to join the trio and go ask the Wizard to help him overcome his fear of dogs.
Finally, the four amigos meet the Tinman, who believes they should use harsh methods to train Toto. The Tinman doesn’t have a heart and he doesn’t see a problem with punishing little Toto for not listening to Dorothy when she needs him to.
The Tinman joins the group to keep working on Toto, punishing him every time the little dog does something ‘wrong’.
As they travel across the land of Oz, they are confronted with more people believing that a shock collar or other punishing tools and methods will sort Toto out.
The Tinman, who has been observing the little dog flinging in pain every time he is punished, realises that he doesn’t like what he is witnessing and wants to change his ways.
The Scarecrow agrees with him, so he starts studying the science behind dogs behaviours and learns that understanding the dog in front of you and treating them with love and respect, along with yummy rewards goes a long way.
They all, therefore, agree to try force-free methods to train and assist little Toto in succeeding every time he is asked to do something, especially coming back when called.
However, while all of them see how good force-free methods are, there are still lots of flying monkeys and horrible witches who would rather hurt dogs than learn about them.
The Cowardly lion had enough and started telling all the flying monkeys to buzz off. He simply could not stand seeing a dog getting punished anymore.
Dorothy, who had been quiet, reached out to her friends and suggested they don’t judge balanced or negative flying monkeys, but that they in fact help them to understand force-free methods instead, so they too can be properly educated.
Finally, the gang reached the doors of the castle where the Wizard of Oz lived and walked in.
The Wizard looked scary and powerful, in his majestic and manly form.
The Wizard asked them all about their story and the reason they were there and, while he listened politely, he also disappointed them all gravely when The Wizard told them there was nothing he could do for them and asked them to leave.
At that point, little Toto ran off again and pulled some giant curtains, revealing a woman in her mid-40s hiding in what looked like a fancy recording studio.
The lady came clean and revealed that she was, in fact, the Wizard of Oz. She had to pretend to be a man, because we still live in a male-dominated world, so it would give her more street-cred to be thought of as a man.
Moreover, she admitted she didn’t have magic powers, but she had told them the truth… she couldn’t do anything more for them, because they already had everything they wanted.
‘Scarecrow,’ started the lady, ‘you studied and figured out that positive training and understanding each individual dog and the situations they are in is what will help to train them and to give them the best possible life!’ She continued, ‘You have more brains than most! Keep going!’
‘Tinman,’ the lady said looking at the man made of metal, ‘you think you don’t have a heart, yet it was your compassion and love that pushed you into finding help for Toto. And, most of all, to admit that what you believed before was wrong. It takes someone special to admit they were wrong.’ She added smiling. ‘Trust me, you have the biggest heart’.
‘My dear Lion,’ the lady smiled at the furry lion gently, ‘you are no coward at all! Not only you kept the flying monkeys away, but you did it so that Toto would not get hurt! You certainly are brave, and you care for dogs!’ She said encouragingly, ‘I think your relationship with dogs has certainly changed and you can be friend with them. Or, at the very least, with little Toto! This new friendship has helped you to overcome your fear of dogs!’ The lion smiled and nodded, giving Toto a stroke on his chest.
Finally, the lady turned to face Dorothy. ‘And, Dorothy, you have an amazing bond with Toto… and you were wise enough to realise this, so much so you want everyone, including people who would use punishment with dogs, to learn to be kind and loving instead. I think you already know that Toto comes back you wonderfully, but sometimes, or in certain situations, he might find that hard. In those cases, you could use a lead!’ The lady ‘Wizard’ gave Dorothy a beautiful sparkly red KAD/Stormridge lead, with a matching harness (probably from Perfect Fit).
‘And, please,’ the lady added, ‘don’t forget life can be stressful for dogs too. Have some Pet Remedy wipes and spray to help Toto when things might get a little too much for him. And for you, of course!’
The four friends left the lady with a smile on their face and with a sense of accomplishment and pride.
As they followed Toto out of the big doors of the castle, they met a kind witch, who had heard of their story and what the wizard had told them, so she decided to approve them all as KAD professionals.
From that day on, they all started working with families and schools to help children and dogs to live happily ever after.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction, based on the novel 'The Wizard Of Oz' by L. Frank Baum.