I am currently in the animal and poultry science department, however, as I have mentioned before, my real passion is dogs. In the working dog world, there are more male trainers than there are female trainers. Over the past years, women have become more and more involved in training, but there is still not equality.
When men enter the working dog world they are welcomed with open arms because they are another body to be put in a bite suit or hold the end of a leash for a large dog. On the other hand, when women show an interest in working dog training they are fought with questions and comments such as “You know you can’t pet the dog, right?” or “Are you sure you can handle that dog?”.
Women who want to succeed in the working dog world have to prove that they belong there. Like Purgason states in the article, women need to give 200% to prove their worth and gain respect from their male counterparts. They not only have to work hard to train the dogs, but they have to work even harder to prove that they deserve to be there.
The dogs that are apart of the working dog community are generally strong dogs with crazy amounts of drive. This means that they will do just about anything in their power to get to a decoy or a toy. Now, I am not saying that there isn’t a physical difference between men and women and their bodies. I am fully aware that women need to be in shape and strong to be able to handle strong, crazy dogs, but so do men. What I don’t quite understand is not believing in their training capabilities with hard dogs.
To combat this disadvantage, I have kept my head down. I have watched videos, listened to podcasts, read books, and asked questions. I have reached out to and made connections with people who have a name in the industry and have knowledge they are willing to share with me. I will continue to fight my way into the industry until I am where I want to be. I have to let the dogs I train be proof of what I can do.
The link below is an article from a woman in the industry about female trainers. I find the article very encouraging.