Caroline Barnard, who owns and runs the Dog Zone, has had Dobermanns for 32 years. She worked her first Dobe at a club run by South African Police Dog Unit reservists, and handled him right through police training, including obedience, obstacle work, tracking and attack training which included crowd control, attack over obstacles, attack under continuous fire and multiple assailant work, as well as exercises such as pulling an assailant out of a getaway car and water attacks. She drew the line at bomb detection work, being only 15 at the time!
Her original qualifications were in Pure Mathematics (an Honours Degree from the University of Cape Town) and she taught and tutored Mathematics for some years before moving into Information technology, in which she specialised in data management, including a stint with IBM, and which still pays a fair portion of the rent.
During this period she became interested in psychology, and completed Psychology I and II at UNISA, both with distinction. She also spent three years as a Lifeline counsellor, and was (and still is) a keen amateur classical singer who used to sing in the CAPAB ad-hoc Opera Chorus.
At this stage she also began breeding Dobermanns (which she still does very occasionally) in syndication with Barbara Preece and her late partner Sharlene Sutherland of Sharbara Dobermanns. Caroline handled Ch Pandemonium Falstaff "Slug", the male she kept from her first litter, through to a Best Puppy in Show in Port Elizabeth in 1998. He took 3rd place in KUSA National Puppy in the same year, and she went on to take Reserve Supreme Puppy with him at the very prestigious Vets Choice Supreme Puppy competition in 1998 (pipped to the post by a Toy Poodle!)
After opting to reduce her involvement in corporate Information Technology, she moved to McGregor, where she completed her Certification in Companion Animal Behaviour (with the highest marks in her year) through the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria (Onderstepoort). She ran a small behaviour practice in McGregor and as far afield as Worcester, Swellendam and Barrydale, as well as consulting via the internet.
She served on the committee of the Dobermann Club of the Cape as the consultant behaviourist and editor of Dobe Capers, the club magazine, for several years. Her article on Sauer, the South African Police Force Dobermann who set the World Tracking Record over 80 years ago, has been reprinted in UDC Focus, the magazine of the United Doberman club of America.
She is a keen clicker trainer and ran a clicker class in McGregor with a group of underprivileged children from the local orphanage, as well as several adults who saw a chance to get their dogs to behave a bit better!
She is fascinated by learning theory and behaviourism, although she objects to the neo-behaviourist notion of the dog as a tabula rasa, or blank slate, and her original dog behaviour website, http://www.clickermagic.com, has been cited as a source in various dog and academic internet publications, including the proceedings of an international conference on, of all things, Polar Bear husbandry!
She also enjoys ethology, behavioural genetics, behavioural pharmacology, and cognition, and believes in a multi-disciplinary approach to resolving dog behaviour problems. Being involved in the guarding breed world, she has gravitated naturally to specialising in aggression cases.
She currently runs a small weekly clicker workshop and operates a limited practice (as time allows) and is interested in finding unusual case study material. She is also extensively involved in developing this site as an educational resource. She has bought a property which is ideal for use as a behaviour facility in Kalbaskraal, near Cape Town, and plans to offer remedial socialisation and growl classes in addition to her other activities. She also hopes to be able to start an M.Sc. degree in canid cognition in the next year or two.
She is an accredited member of SABCAP (the South African Board of Companion Animal Professionals.)
On a more personal note, she is a Royal Air Force brat and Dobermanns are inextricably linked with her family history. Her first Dobermann, Billy Black, was named after a brown and tan Dobe called Billy Brown, who was owned by her father, the late Squadron Leader Barny Barnard of the Royal Air Force (Transport Command). Billy Brown was given to Barny and his younger brother Flight Lieutenant Philip Barnard, also of the RAF (Fighter Command) by world-famous Battle of Britain Hurricane ace Group Captain Billy Drake.
Her love of dogs is an expression of a wider commitment to green politics, feminism and respect for the miraculous nature of all life, not just human life. She feels this is most beautifully expressed by the following quote from The Outermost House, Henry Beston’s wonderful account of a year spent living in a beach cottage on Cape Cod in the 1920s:
"We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilisation surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth."
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