When I was assigned the task of writing the column for the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors, I was naturally flattered but at the same time somewhat concerned how to approach the assignment. I suppose the best way to begin would be by briefly outlining what NADOI is, what it stands for and what its goal is and how it hopes to accomplish that goal. Since its birth, NADOI has grown into a truly national organization with members in over 30 states. Its members are experienced instructors who are interested in furthering and improving dog obedience in general and dog obedience instructing in particular. Improvement is the key factor — we live in an imperfect world and I cannot think of any human endeavor that cannot stand improvement. An initial willingness to improve and to learn is essential to actual improvement and perhaps more than anything else, NADOI expects that willingness from its members; it also hopes that they in turn will pass it on to others.
I well remember that after my first few years in obedience and after having become rather confident about my new found “expertise” I was admonished by one of the old-timers that “when it comes to dogs we never cease to learn.” The longer I am in obedience, the more I have come to appreciate that observation. For NADOI the goal of improvement is two-fold: it is aimed not only at dog training itself but at obedience instructing as well. I for one always enjoy watching another instructor’s class because invariably there will be one or two times when I’ll say “Now why didn’t I think of that?” As a part of this general idea, NADOI distributes a monthly publication which keeps its members up to date on association news and serves as a forum for exchanging ideas both old and new. In a nutshell, NADOI is an association of experienced obedience instructors; it stands for quality instructing; its goal is continued improvement of obedience training as well as instructing and it hopes to accomplish that goal by example and education. There is one further observation which should be made: when I look at the telephone directory or the classified section of the local papers and see the many different obedience classes being offered by different organizations and individuals, I have often wondered how a member of the public who wants to enroll his dog in an obedience class can tell just where he will get quality instructions. The thought may not cross his mind but surely the classes offered will not all be of the same quality. NADOI on the other hand believes that membership in the association constitutes an assurance to the public of a minimum standard of experience and quality instructions.
©1971 J.J. Volhard