What is the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI, pronounced “nay-doy”)? To the dog owning public it means that they can rely upon the NADOI membership procedure to evaluate an instructor’s abilities. To an instructor it means an opportunity to exchange ideas about class training programs, teaching techniques, and problem dogs, with other instructors across the country.
To become a member of NADOI an instructor must have at least five years’ experience in obedience training and must have taught at least 104 class hours (over a minimum of two years) as a full-charge instructor of basic obedience classes. Provisional membership is offered to instructors who lack the requisite hours of instructing experience but who prove themselves qualified in all other aspects. Advanced levels of endorsement may be obtained with an additional 52 class hours of instructing at each level and are dependent upon endorsement at the previous level.
The idea for NADOI came about in 1960 as the result of some brainstorming by Milo Pearsall and Earl Traxler. These two men thought that there was a gentler, kinder way to train dogs. Margaret Pearsall, Milo’s wife, wrote in the preface of her book, The Pearsall Guide to Successful Dog Training, “When, in 1944 we started our first dog in obedience training (a five-month-old Cocker Spaniel, Pearsall’s Black Charger, trained by Milo), there was only one way to train and nobody questioned it. The theory was “complete master dominance,” and the tools were a heavy chain collar, a heavy lead with a big bolt snap, and plenty of muscle and voice so you could yank the lead and yell at your dog to make him do what you wanted.” Milo and Earl also thought that there should be an organization to help the public make certain that the dog obedience instructor they choose is qualified to make that claim.
This idea didn’t become a reality until 1965 when a group of 13 students gathered at one of Milo Pearsall’s training camps. It was at this gathering that John Saucier took “the bull by the horns” and became the first president of NADOI and Mrs. Wright-Smith was the first treasurer. NADOI now had officers and needed a committee to work on the regulations that would guide the membership. The regulation that has been passed to the NADOI historian, Fran Tardif, is: Everyone, including charter members, had to take a test of their performance. This test would consist of a group of students that you would give instruction. The catch was the students were selected by the examiners and could be anyone! Potential members would also need to pass an oral test.
As NADOI grew, they experienced some growing pains and there was a need for a meeting to reorganize. The group went back to Pearsall’s training camp in approximately 1967. It was at this gathering that it was decided to put the idea of a gentler, kinder method to work. A white toy poodle was used as the guinea pig; the dog would be trained during the entire two weeks with her leash hooked to the dead ring. The dog’s point of view was considered as each new behavior was being taught and the gentler method was employed. After two weeks of camp that little white dog was able to perform well enough to get the job done in novice, open, utility and she also did some tracking. This experience helped to prove the theory that there must be another way to train dogs.
NADOI has grown over the years from 13 members in 1965 to over 400 today. NADOI still has the NADOI News publication which started in 1969 and the NADOI Notes column which I believe started in 1971. These two avenues of sharing information and ideas are as important today as they were 30 years ago. Some new avenues for sharing information have been developed: The NADOI Puppy Pamphlet, which helps the public get off to a good start with their new puppy, and the NADOI Veterinarian Pack which is a way to let the veterinarians in your area learn about NADOI.
We now have added the quarterly magazine Forward which is available by subscription to anyone who is interested in learning more about being a dog obedience instructor. NADOI has a web site, https://nadoi.org for those interested in learning more about NADOI and its members. If you are a computer user, have computer access, and a NADOI member, there is a discussion list to share ideas and encourage communication of issues important to us today.
NADOI is an organization that continues to grow and change as the years go by. Some of the events to look forward to are: the NADOI-sponsored regional educational seminars and, of course, the annual gathering of members, which is a great place for the members of this national club to get to know one another and learn together.
Thank you Earl and Milo and all the students at the Pearsall’s training camp, NADOI was a great idea!
©1997 Carol Cronan (Gannaway)