As the face of a professional business its important that I keep the head down, focus on what I do, and turn a blind eye to others. All I can do is continue to educate myself, become the very best behaviour consultant I can be, and hope that should dog owners need help then they would choose to knock on my door.
While the majority of my 'study time' is spent researching the latest doggie science, I have put in many hours of 'running a business' study over the years, and continue to attend business operations seminars.
Here's my dilemma. Its business suicide to 'bad mouth' other businesses. Its petty, comes across as spiteful, and is quite unethical.
But what do you do when you know other 'trainers' are using techniques that are, in my opinion and the opinion of the top animal behaviour experts, down right cruel?!
Do I nod my head and say 'enjoy your class, and if you need my services in the future you know where I am'?
What if I've worked with dogs that have been there, done that, and now where the emotional scarring t-shirt that we need to heal?
These 'trainers', I hope, do not wake up in the morning and say 'I'm going to abuse some dogs today'. But this is what they do. As soon as you put a choke, prong, or shock collar on an animal (or toddler) you are abusing them. You are abusing your power, the animals trust, and you are abusing your relationship with this animal.
Positive punishment tools often show quick results, positive punishment is a method of learning. Science shows this. Science also shows that of the four quadrants of learning, positive punishment is the least effective and has the most dangerous side effects.
Science also shows us that positive reinforcement (rewarding good behaviour) is the most successful method of learning with minimal side effects (besides drool I hear all you St. Bernard owners cry!!).
So what do I do when I hear a dog owner is bringing them to one of these 'trainers' who has not yet learnt the way of positive reinforcement training, or has not yet educated themselves in learning theory science?
Yes they may be cheaper than us. Have a look at Creedons credit card bill for the past 4 years and look at the massive sum we have spent as a team on conferences, training DVDs and books, educational courses, access to scientific journals, and so on. This brain of mine didn't come cheap ;)
What would you advice?
Do I say nothing?Do I start one of my never ending rants, only to find out my audience is actually the niece of this trainer?
Do I ask them for an hour of their time to explain why jerking and yanking the leash / using these tools / overwhelming your dog with fearful stimuli can cause irreversible damage?
My loyalty is to the dog. Always. But I also need to behave in a professional manner.
What would you do?
*Choke chains CHOKE your dog! Think it through! There is a better alternative. Mind your dog. You love them!
Lots to share !