Why join the Kennel Club Scheme?
Over the last few years the Kennel Club has looked into the issues surrounding dog training, with concerns that anyone can set up a dog club or service without qualifications and give training and behavioural advice as an 'expert', to a 'blissfully' unaware general public.
Several organisations have formed over time, all trying to address standards and give educational guidance to certificate their members. This Scheme complements others, but goes further in unifying all aspects of knowledge and experience in the world of dogs. It oversees personal development and recognises each member as an individual in the role they wish to play.
What is it all about?
This is the first really comprehensive scheme that in its flexibility allows anyone who is instructing or advising others at any level to join, whatever their interest in dogs. A primary aim of the Scheme is to set a national standard to safeguard the public, but it also aims to guide its members in their search for knowledge and experience, encompassing a wealth of information and sharing ideas for improving the future of dog training and behavioural advice.
Following a thorough investigation into dog training and behavioural services in the UK, the Kennel Club launched the KCAI scheme as a pilot in March 2001. The aim was to work with a large number of pro-active people, from a variety of backgrounds, to help with its development. The Kennel Club wished to ensure that the Scheme would meet the needs of the dog owning public, and also benefit the membership and offer a worthwhile accreditation.
How does it work?
Members are credited with points according to their personal level of understanding of issues relating to dog training, behaviour and welfare. Members agree to be bound by a Code of Practice and, recognised for their individual levels of expertise, are registered on a database for public / professional / membership referral.
How does this education programme work?
The Scheme follows a modular programme with common core subjects, and optional areas of diversity. It lists topics (syllabus) for you to credit yourself with points for everything that you know and do. It encourages you to keep up-to-date or find out more by talking and listening to others, reading; watching and doing; allowing development in your own time, in any way you choose. The programme is divided into three main sections but it links applied knowledge (section A) and background experience (section B) to practical instructing / coaching (section C) - giving opportunity for you to show that you have a working understanding of each topic.
How do I join?
You fill in an enrolment form, which asks questions to give a rough idea about you and your involvement(s) with dogs and instructing. You pay a registration fee and sign to declare that you are prepared to abide by the Scheme's Code of Practice. You automatically become a member of the Scheme, as you have agreed to be guided by it. Everyone who remains in good standing is welcome, without discrimination, becoming part of this network of like-minded people. Once provisional points are credited, you will be recorded on our database as a 'Student Member' (if under 3 yrs instructing and / or less than 1000 pts) or 'Member' (if instructing over 3 yrs and 1000 pts, supported by a reference). This network aims to serve others, helping them to enjoy their dogs through education, training and responsible ownership, in the dogs' best interest.
What is the Code of Practice?
This Code simply expects you to be honest and concerned about the services you personally offer. It will give the public confidence, as they can contact the Kennel Club to confirm your details. It gives us confidence, as you are showing that you are prepared to be a) bound by the Code and b) checked / assessed at the level you set for yourself.
We will do our best to ensure that all members are treated equally and that no one is disadvantaged by the Scheme. In the event of a query just contact the KCAI Office at the Kennel Club.
A summary of the stages:
- First, become a member - fill out the registration form, send it in with the correct registration fee.
- Receive your Educational Guidance Pack, which consists of a series of modules for you to work through and also provides the basis for your portfolio. This will be accompanied by an 'Assessment of Prior Learning' (APL) document. The APL is simply a way of working out your membership level within the Scheme, and is also a good way of 'getting to grips' with the KCAI points scoring system. Reference notes are also enclosed to give you any extra guidance. You will be required to complete the Assessment of Prior Learning document to claim your provisional points and gauge your membership status.
- Once you have submitted your completed APL you will be registered as a Student Member if you have less than 1000 points and / or less than three years instructing experience. If over, you will be registered as a 'member, working towards Accreditation.'
- Read through all the modules and examples to be sure that you understand exactly what is expected. Contact the office or a mentor if you are confused over anything at this stage.
- Build a portfolio by listing, creating and collecting evidence in support of the scores you are claiming.
- With sufficient points, and over five years instructing experience, having submitted all the required modules, apply for full oral and practical assessment in your chosen activit(ies), at your chosen level.
- With sufficient points, apply for 'Advanced' grade.
- NB - An annual CPD return (Continued Professional Development) will be required by all members, at all grades, to show increased scores, or to give details of how you have increased your experience and / or updated your knowledge.
What is the Kennel Club's part in this?
- The plan is entirely in your hands, but we are always available to guide you and advise you.
- We will keep a record of your points and recognise and encourage your personal development with up-grades and annual updates.
- We will keep you on a database for referral.
- We will produce a quarterly newsletter for dissemination of information.
- We will encourage your contact with others, and feedback to the Scheme to ensure its continual improvement.
- We will progress the Scheme, adapt and modify it, keep it flexible and in line with changing times, suitable for the prestige of national recognition.
- We will promote and maintain the Scheme's credibility in the public eye.
- We will use the Scheme to raise the profile of our members and their services for their contribution as part of the front line in canine welfare for the dog-owning public.
- We will promote the Scheme's network to encourage referral, communication and respect for fellow members, working together to ensure that the advice given to dog owners is appropriate and services are suitable.
- We will strive to educate all those involved with guiding aspects of dog ownership, training and behaviour, to ensure understanding, handling skills and respect that works in the dog's best interest.
- We will bring your attention to issues of legal and professional aspects of instructing and advising.
- We will do our best to accommodate all, and consider options to ensure that no member is disadvantaged by the Scheme in anyway.
- We will maintain a register of Course Providers, who support the Scheme and can give appropriate advice on your needs for portfolio evidence.
- We will do our best to administer the Scheme in consultation with, and for, its members.
For further information on the Scheme framework, points, 'jargon' and all other details, please download the 'KCAI Scheme FAQ's' document.