Racism in the Dog Community: Dog Training Community
In the second post in our series on Racism in the Dog Community, we are providing resources and information on racism in the Dog Training Community. We share the stories of people who have experienced racism, along with the overall effects of systemic racism, throughout this industry.
We encourage our followers to listen to their experiences and to learn. We need to provide a respectful space where people feel they can come forward and share their experiences.
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Mind Your Own Dog Business Podcast
Mahogany Gamble shares her experiences as a Black woman in the dog training industry and speaks on systemic racism: "The system is set up to help white people, particularly when it comes to small businesses, and it is not set up to help Black people."
"Black people do not have access to the same resources to start businesses."
"Coming into this industry and not having the community and the support and then having to deal with all of the racism."
Mahogany Gamble calls attention to the lack of access to loans and the biases banks and lenders have, which led to her starting her business from scratch.
The Functional Breeding Podcast episode:
She came on as a guest to discuss systemic racism in the dog world. She mentioned how hard it is to find representation in the dog training community and the effects of that: "If you want to be a part of something and you don’t see people who look like yourself, it’s really hard to want to be a part of that thing.”
Inclusivity in Dog Training:
a Facebook group she created with the description, "A group focused on providing a safe space dedicated to creating inclusivity. Our focus is on Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) in the pet professional community. What does inclusivity mean? It’s more than just feeling welcome. It’s about BIPOC feeling heard. We amplify those unheard voices, hear their stories, help them find support, and provide opportunity.”
People can request to join the Facebook Group, and she has also created a spreadsheet of breeders interested in mentoring BIPOC, which she has shared in the group.
"Outside of that, just being able to get to that opportunity. There’s so many — I wouldn’t even call them hurdles because hurdles are designed to be jumped over, ... but it’s like a huge brick wall ... You don’t see anyone who looks like you. You certainly don’t have money to join any clubs, much less buy a dog. If you do get a dog, it’s probably going to be a 3- or 4-year-old generic mutt from the shelter and then you’re stuck fixing whatever problems that dog has. So it’s so so so much to even get to that point to be able to be a representative for other people to look up to."
Curtis Kelley, CPDT-KA
Curtis launched Pet Parent Allies in 2018. He mentioned there are less than 10 Black positive reinforcement dog trainers around the country.
A question he receives a lot from people is, "Is it possible my dog doesn't like you because you're Black?" or people assume he doesn't like dogs even though he is wearing his "Pet Parent Allies" branded dog training shirt and is welcoming of dogs approaching him.
"In case you've ever wondered if a dog is a racist, ZERO dogs are inherently racist."
What needs to be done in the positive reinforcements dog training community?
Direct funding from some of the major certifying organizations
Fully paid apprenticeships need to be offered specifically to Black people and people of color
Funding for free community training
Breeders looking at how they can send some of their dogs into these communities
"They come always random and always without predictability adds to the level of fear and the level of imposter syndrome about like ‘When am I going to be questioned about my profession that I have been doing for years simply because I am not a middle-aged white woman?’ Simply because I do not fit the archetype of what people think of when they imagine dog trainer or positive reinforcement dog trainer."
- Curtis Kelly
Taylor Barconey, CPDT-KA, and Jiovany 'Jio' Alcaide, CPDT-KA, of Smart Bitch Modern Dog Training discussed their experiences as two women of color in the dog world on the "Disorderly Dogs" podcast, while providing a list of red flags and suggestions.
Barconey described that New Orleans is a pretty diverse city and that at a job she had, the staff did appear to be diverse. However, with that she adds,
"But you’ll find that maybe sometimes the people that are of color may not get promoted … Even if you hire a bunch of people of color but you don’t stand behind them even if they are very well-qualified or you don’t give them the same chance you may give a white employee … It’s the same kind of racist ideal we have in America right now … You have to give everyone a chance.”
Sources & Call to Action
Bravo Dog Knowledge Podcast: https://anchor.fm/dogknowledge/episodes/Racism-A-Black-Dog-Trainers-Experience-efb2jh/a-a2erfdp
Curtis Kelley: @petparenteducation_cpdtka on Instagram, https://petparentallies.com/
Disorderly Dogs Podcast: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2mYb9X21B7nL1fEj40SetJ?si=hkC1Lrq8RxuKOFE84w3Gzw
The Functional Breeding Podcast: https://open.spotify.com/episode/03YfUtQllzogk3jBT00h2A?si=pKPmP4sOSpumxXx9nXgJFA
Mahogany Gamble: @mahoganygamble on Facebook, http://infinitek9.com/
Mind Your Own Dog Business Podcast: https://open.spotify.com/episode/6tTrd2EKop0Eiby9cwesty?si=E5Z22eTmR0KIshbDyHYxWA
Oluademi James-Daniel on Facebook and "Inclusivity in Dog Training" Facebook Group
Smart Bitch Modern Dog Training: @smartbitchdogtraining, https://www.smartbitchdogtraining.com/
We encourage our followers to share resources and continue to learn about racism in the dog world (both in the past and the present), so we can make a change. If you or someone you know has seen or experienced racism in the dog community, we want to hear your experiences and amplify your voices. Please leave a comment below or send us an email.