Updated: Oct 10
DOGS IN JAPAN AND ONE MAN’S DREAM.
Just what one person who dares to dream, can achieve. It’s amazing. Perhaps we can all learn something from it?
When we think about dogs in other parts of the World, I guess we don’t really see them as being the same as ours.
Dog’s themselves are the same the World over, but their living conditions, and their relationship with their owners can be very different to what is considered normal here in Australia.
Several years ago a Japanese gentleman lived here in Queensland, and trained a German Shepherd to achieve his U.D. Title. This alone is very rare as people of Asian descent are not normally really good dog handlers especially with a large dog like a German Shepherd.
Johnny returned to Japan, and took his dream of making a difference to the people of Japan and their attitude to their family pets. Dog Obedience is almost unheard of in this country with most Obedience work being done by a very few, and the Police.
Training in class situations was never done. The dog had to be sent away to these trainers, and then returned to their owners with a certificate which said : “Your dog is now a trained Guard Dog”. Cost a fortune, and the training was minimal with the owner still not able to handle their own dog.. Remember these were dogs of all sizes and Breeds, from a Saluki, to a mini or toy poodle.
Johnny’s idea was to set up a Club structure to train in a similar fashion to how we train here.
After many difficulties with Government officials, Councils etc who said it couldn’t be done Johnny formed 2 Clubs, one in Matsuyama, and one in Imabari. This was about 21 years ago.
I have just returned from my 19 visit to these clubs. Nearly 2000 members later, 8 trainee Instructors (3 having completed their 3 years training with Johnny) now qualified Trainers, 3 hard working committees, and all these wonderful different Breeds of dogs working hard and well for their dedicated handlers it was my pleasure to Judge 79 of them at all levels of Obedience with the first U.D Competitor ever in Japan taking to the ring (unfortunately didn’t qualify, but certainly gave a great performance). All this from one man’s dream.
On the Sunday morning we had 407 dogs on the ground. These were trained in different classes and training goes on over a 4 hour time span. This was but one day. They train at least 3 times a week. It was 2 degrees temperature. I would have been freezing except they had purchased for me a fur lined Parka.
The dogs being trained cover Breeds like, German Shepherd (about 5 of them) Golden Retrievers, Labrador, Poodles, Spaniels, Saluki, Akita, Dobermans, West Highland Whites, Shiba Anui, Whippets, Italian Greyhounds, Beagles, Bassets, Burmese Mountain Dogs, Huskies, all the fluffy little dogs, Dacshund, (apologies for all the spelling errors too tired to get out my book) and almost every other Breed you can think of with the exception of the Rottweiler. At the time I first wrote this I have been going to Japan training now with the colleges for around 9 years, and I have never seen a Rotty.
The dogs are all beautifully kept, well groomed, well fed (overfed sometimes.) And certainly well loved.
Their Junior Handlers are great and it is always my pleasure to encourage them to look after their young members, as they are the future.
These three Clubs are extremely financial, and their mode of looking after their members needs to be seen to be believed. Three Clubs,Three Committee, but one name, one aim and one person who is their Sensi (Teacher).
I love the time I spend with them each year, and look forward to joining with them again for at least I hope another couple of years. I think age is catching up with me even though they fly me 1st Class and look after me extremely well. But 9 hours a day for 6 days is a pretty gruelling schedule to keep.
I have started them off with their Therapy Dog work, I have spoken to their Councils who were very anti the whole program originally, and they have now come on board. More and more cities are asking Johnny to set up in their areas, and it is his intention to send out his qualified trainers into some of these areas. These young Instructors are very loyal, dedicated and people orientated people who want to learn more and more
This group of dedicated people have changed the very manner in which dogs are thought of in the Cities in which they are working. Dogs now lead a wonderful, constructive and happy life which shows.
Time has passed since the top part of this was written, and these Clubs continue to grow. There are now2600 members and the Clubs have expanded into another City. Johnny is now doing demonstrations with two teams over 30 in each team, before Baseball Games and any other Venue he is asked. He has sent me videos of these teams, and I have seen them training.
They are all working to music and their precision is great. What a spectacle they are for the Japanese people. They just love them
I will be off to Japan again in March 2018 so hopefully I will have more interesting things to report on our compatriots overseas.
Dogs in Japan are certainly treated differently to those in China, and I”ll tell you more about the training and Dogs in China next time .
All this has stemmed from just one person who didn’t sit around and say “Why doesn’t someone do something about it”. He became that someone. Well done Johnny Kobyashi, an ex member of the Canine Control Council of Queensland.
It's now October 2019 and Johnny has just overcome Lung Cancer and is no longer doing much training. He has left the clubs in great hands and they continue to grow.
He has and always has had my greatest respect. WELL DONE JOHNNY. YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.
Val Bonney (Canine behavioural Specialist/International Trainer).