As a dog trainer I can tell you we are a passionate bunch, if there is anyone that jumps to the rescue of a dog in need it’s a dog trainer. That can sometimes mean that we lose our tack around subjects that are near and dear to our hearts. However that is the mentality that I try very hard to avoid. I don’t judge other dog trainers methods that differ from mine, and then pick them to pieces and tell you where they are wrong. That is why I advocate training the way that you want, provided it is fun for both you and your dog. It’s a simple rule, and it’s really easy to follow.
I was recently disappointed by a comment on a former TV dog trainers Facebook page naming and shaming an online store for selling products that he didn’t agree with. I have heard dog trainers (famous and otherwise) pick apart the training methodologies of other dog trainers for a long time, and you will hear a lot about the products that are socially deemed to be inhumane (although not always illegal). There is even a saying “There is only one thing that three dog trainers will agree with, it’s that the other two are wrong.” What I was disappointed by was this person using his influence to try to boycott a company that isn’t doing anything illegal. If you think that a person is harming a dog you can report them to the police, the RSPCA the ASPCA you don’t have to name and shame a company publicly. The end result is just free publicity for the company you are trying to hurt, and that doesn’t make sense if you are on a moral crusade, it’s hurts other dog trainers who are trying to make a living, and ultimately makes you look bad.
The second issue is that the rant went out to people who have “liked” him on Facebook, these people are obviously going to be on his side and agree with his methods, so it is the wrong platform to try to “educate” people against the tools or methods that this other company was advocating. Again, it was the wrong soapbox to be on to get the message out. All it looked was someone who was trying to start a fight, and that is an ugly colour on anyone, especially a public figure.
I am not going to make the same mistake and name and shame this person, it is a practise that I don’t subscribe to as there are many better ways to get your message across and truly educate people as to the message you believe. I also don’t use the tools that this person was suggesting shouldn’t be used, I too, believe that they are inhumane, I don’t want people to lose their shirts over it, I would rather people make that shift towards a more positive relationship with their dogs without the need for these expensive tools.
In regards to tools like prong collars, or shock collars: I would say the same to someone in business to someone who trains dogs, There is no easy money. What I mean by that is that you can’t make a million dollars quickly and easily. And you can’t train a dog effectively if you want it to be quick and easy. That is what those sorts of tools claim to do. However that is the antitheses of effective dog training. There is no such thing as quick and easy, you need to be patient and kind, the same way you would to a child who is learning. If you have an aggressive dog, a shock collar or prong collar may seem like an answer, but it is just an “in the moment” fix. It doesn’t treat the problem.
There is always a right way and a wrong way to do anything in life, and it is always in the eye of the beholder to decide what is right and wrong for themselves.
You stay classy, dog trainers.