Another Potentially Dangerous Dog Trainer

When dog owners are considering hiring a dog trainer they have no shortage of options. The internet is flooded with all manner of businesses, products and individuals touting results and guarantee’s. Many tout credentials and associations with organizations to assure the dog owner they are spending their hard earned dollars well and getting the best service.

What many of the dog trainers do not tout is the how they will train the dog, how they will educate the dog owner and what exactly are the methods they use and if there are risks associated with those approaches.

Many trainers will promote various collars, both choke and electronic and many talk about “dominance” and “leading the pack” and of course the ever popular “life time guarantee” is seen all too often.

When pressed to explain exactly what they are going to do to the dog you never read these words, “we choke the dog into submission until the dog comes close to passing out” Nope, they say things like “we teach you how to be a leader and the dog learns to be calm and submissive”.  They do not explain that they will potentially slam your dog to the ground for a minor infraction such as barking at a passing jogger. They say things like “we teach the dog to obey on command”. They do not explain they will shock the dog for growling at the person next to a food bowl, they say, “We reduce the dog’s jealousy and spitefulness”.

They do not explain that dogs make associations based on being safe, unsafe or neutral due to functions of the amygdala – the fear regulating part of the brain. They do not explain that dogs work very well with predictors of reinforcement. Meaning when the dog sees a leash it usually predicts a walk. When a dog hears a beep setting on a shock collar it predicts a shock – i.e. pain.

Now transfer this predictive learning to hearing a beep from a shock collar, or a “shzt shzt” that precedes a neck jab, now seeing a passing person predicts being choked, jabbed, shocked etc... These bits of stimuli such as people or dogs etc…now predict fear and pain and now that stimulus has a negative association or a further negative association. The results from abusive methods are aggression, fear, being anxious or shut down dogs.

These pain trainers do not explain that dogs generalize fear very well. They say things like “the dog is stubborn, or disobedient and showing “dominance”, “it’s in the genes”. Yet when asked to explain those terms behaviorally they run at the mouth with more garbage buzz words or go into a nonsensical diatribe on the “energy” of the people and the dog.

No matter how good the hack trainer feels their timing is they cannot guarantee what the dog will associate the aversive to. Many times the association is to other dogs and people in general.

One would think that the goal would be to condition the dog to have a positive emotional reaction to the world in general, and then teach the dog and the owner’s simple effective ways to communicate and obtain reliable behavior. One would think, but alas this is not the world we live in.

Perhaps some dogs will stay under threshold with the owner or trainer and appear “calm” after the fear & pain has been issued yet what is happening is the dog is in a state of learned helplessness” not “calm submission”. That is another fictional assessment, or they toss out a buzzword euphemism to cover up the fact they have no clue, or perhaps they just do not really care as much as they say they do? Actions speak louder than words.

What about the owner that shuts down the dog with harsh aversive methods and removes the protracted warning signs such a growl, a bark, a freeze, and now they let the dog go into a dog park or mingle with people in their home? What about the new friend that visits the house that reaches for the dog thinking “the dog must be friendly my friends own this dog”.

The result could be aggression, the result might be a submissive dog, the result might be anxiousness, but something will occur based on the fear and pain that was administered to the dog, and when predictors start kicking in the triggers the dog views the environment as unsafe it is the result of the primary humans imprint on the dog. 

This fear and pain approach to “training” is far too risky a venture and it smacks of callousness by these hacks that underscores an even greater ignorance about behavior in general and a delusion comparable to the flat earth society. 

A dog’s over all behavior is the result of the choices the humans made in regards to how they addressed the dogs behavior. Ie. Imprinting. 

It is not the fault of the dog. It is called owner imprint and in a large sense we can also look at the “trainer imprint”. Owners will do a version of what the trainer showed them, so indeed the dog trainer has a big influence on how the owners will be proceeding training the dog daily.

When there is a professional dog trainer in the equation that took money and promised a service, they are squarely culpable and in many cases responsible for the dog’s treatment based on their instructions for the dog owner. No different than instructions on a bottle of medicine.

Dog owners by and large will do what is accepted in culture as a methodology. They will also do what the trainer they hired suggests and then that becomes the way they deal with reducing unwanted behavior daily. After all they paid for this advice they will attempt it.

So if the dog “trainer” simply says “give the dog a shock when they bark at the people passing the fence” the dog owner will comply. If they say “pin the dog on its side when they growl at the food bowl” they will do it.

Or at least do a version of it. If the dog shuts down, they consider it a success, when the dog fights back or bites; the dog is blamed, by some and depending on the humans they may become incredibly violent and ramp up the fear and pain.

Many times people do these abusive things against what they feel in their heart. But hey the magical dog man that they paid told them to do it and they saw it “work” on TV.

They will do these abusive methods until the results yield them a dog that is worse, or they will stop when the dog shuts down. In any case all this violence in dog training is a slippery slope. It is also just plain stupid and the wrong approach to keep dogs and humans safe.

The environment influences dog behavior and humans by and large control most of the dog’s environment.

Even when the dog is always in the same environment the context will change. The dog will at some point be motivated to exhibit the unwanted behavior, and then the owner will go for the abusive approach or re hire the “trainer” or perhaps hopefully and finally get another assessment from a qualified humane dog trainer. It is quite a bit of wasted time and it’s really risky.

Hopefully it will not be too late. Hopefully the dog will still be “all there” and not too far - gone.

This is where the pet dog training system is failing dogs & owners miserably.

Recently there was a dog “trainer” abuse case in Colorado where a man, Ryan Matthews, was caught on film and in the presence of witnesses slamming his own dog through a wall!

Was done under the guise of “training”.

In what context would it ever be acceptable to “slam a muzzled dog into a wall”?

What was the purpose of this? What exactly was the man “training”?

You might be reading this and thinking this was an “extreme case”, you might say “not all dog trainers are abusive”, you might think “my dog is ok and I have shocked, choked and pinned him down”.

However you might also not have the proper perspective to really understand just what a nightmare it is for dogs when it comes to learning how to make associations to the world around them when they are fearful or given pain.

It impedes the dogs learning, they go into survival mode.

Everyone is entitled to their own “opinion”, however we are not entitled to our own “facts”.

These “fictional explanations” that some so - called dog trainers toss out are just plain nonsense. Some of these fictional assessments are classics. The dog is “stubborn”, the dog is “dominant” the dog is “ jealous” the dog is “disrespectful”.

Amazing how these so called trainers never ask, “what is wrong with my approach”, they never admit they are the one’s getting it wrong, they blame the animal. This is categorically wrong when you look at the dog’s behavior in a legitimate sense based on behavioral science. It is also patently wrong when you look at legit animal trainers.

The fact is that dogs learn the way they learn, through associations and consequences, when those associations and consequences are fearful and painful dogs will develop a negative conditioned emotional response. Period. 

Science in this is case not up for debate. That is how behavior works. It works this way for dogs and humans. Humans however have a thing in our behavioral make up called “cognitive dissonance”.

We as a species can stuff it down, ignore and generally refuse to admit or believe something until it comes back to bite us. Dogs are very clean behaviorally. For dogs it is all about safety; and survival contingencies & sound safe reinforcements. When those criteria are considered and dogs are taught not forced or frightened; most dogs will do pretty darn well.

Many dogs also mask pain as a survival mechanism, thus leading the abuse “trainer” to think the dog is “ok”.

On the scale of negative associations and on the trajectory of consequences dogs can take many roads. Dogs are amazingly forgiving, and their innate innocence is what makes them targets for people looking to dominate, subjugate and “own” them and use them as a way to work out their own troubled souls.

The fault of the dog is their willingness to be loved, their ability to forgive even the evil people that torment them, that is their curse.

The one thing people should be seeking for their dog or any dog is the road to soundness. Perfection is a lie so please stop buying into it.

Look to the best for the best information

This man knows a bit about animal training, his name is Bob Bailey.

I recently attended a two - day seminar that Bob Bailey presented. He is as brilliant as everyone had told me he was. His level of knowledge in regards to animal training is beyond reproach so he is not someone anyone can really challenge unless they can match his skills and his resume is astounding.

Bob Bailey is perhaps the worlds most accomplished animal trainer. He has trained dogs, chickens, bears, birds and dolphins for over 60 years using non - force – non - pain based methods and achieving incredible eye popping results. “Wiz Bang” as Mr. Bailey would put it. 

Bob Baily trained dogs for the military as well as trained humans to train dogs for the military. Those dogs cannot have any negative associations that would lead them to shut down or not do the job. If so soldiers die.

They train military dogs with humane methods to ensure the dogs are sound and trained to fluency. They do not “dominate” them, they teach them.

Bob Bailey is known to say that “Training is simple but not easy”,empower don’t overpower”, “there is no such thing as perfect behavior” and one of my favorites “there is nothing worse than yesterdays science”.

Bob Bailey is a master behavior technician. Most pet dog trainers, are lucky if they can even understand why a dog is distracted and not sitting on cue, let alone observe dog behavior based on legitimate scientific information and assess fear and aggression concerns.

Sad to say that most pet dog trainers, even the one’s that do not use fear and pain are quite frankly vastly unqualified to do much more than teach sit and perhaps one or two “cute tricks”, if that, more on the “cookie toss crowd” later.

Bab Bailey also says “if you cannot explain what you are training in one sentence it is too complicated for the human and the animal”. I would also add that if someone uses one - word catch phrases to explain methodology they are being evasive and illustrating their ignorance. Buyer - beware indeed. 

If more dog trainers and dog owners looked at what they are doing as a point of change then perhaps they’d be making some strides to help the dog. The focus should be on the human behavior and the human mechanics.

One of the major problems between dogs and humans is how the human fails to look at the training as it relates to what they do, not so much what the dog does.

It is this narcissistic self - denial that has dogs being blamed for things that they cannot help, but need help reducing. When done properly the results of dog proper dog training can be eye popping and the very least reliable and a whole lot less stressful!

What matters is the economics of behavior.

We’ve all heard the phrase “it’s the economy stupid”. In legit pet dog training the economy is also the answer. The economy of movements, of verbal cues or prompts used by the human, the rate of reinforcement (pay) for the dog getting it right, the humane consequences placed at the right moment to teach the dog what works not jut simply stop the unwanted behavior, and of course the amount of time and energy that the human dedicates to getting it right so the dog learns. Leg work and brain work go along way when humans get the proper info.

All this could be filed under economics of behavior. Much time is wasted on nonsensical fictional assessments, too many human concerns over what the dog is “thinking” and then using abusive approaches, these are literally killing the pet dog training culture. It is dividing the trainers and it is messing up far too many dogs and giving far too many dog owners more stress than they need or deserve.

As I have said before training should not be a loophole for abuse. Sadly it is. 

Cracks in the system are starting to show.

Back to the sociopath disguised as a dog trainer that slammed his muzzled dog into a wall. Ryan Matthews is a former solider in the US military.

He is also a member of the Association Of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT).

I’m certain that both of these “credentials” are selling points to pet dog owners.

Oh yea he’s also fond of using electronic shock to “train” and claims that it does not “hurt” if done “correctly”.

All behavior has a pathology you just need to take a history and you’ll see it. This goes for dogs as well as humans.

None of Matthew’s “credentials” or assertions about shock has any relevance in how well he can train pet dogs or how well he can educate pet dog owners to imprint safe sound dogs with reasonably reliable training. In fact his opinion on shock is the tell tale sign he is a hack. 

In fact without ever meeting the guy, I will go out a limb and say he most likely has zero to very little understanding of legitimate dog behavior based in behavioral science. If he did; why would he slam a muzzled dog into a wall unless his life was in danger? Even then with legit knowledge and a detailed behavior history form, and a leash or fence he would be safe.

There are numerous dog trainer abuses perpetuated daily. People drop off their dog to a trainer and “think” based on what a friend said, or what the website said, that all is ok. Based on the dog coming back to them seemingly ok, as long as the dog is eating and drinking and not barking “too much”, most dog owners are pretty much unaware of any behavioral subtleties that may indicate a problem, until it’s really bad.

In Canada recently a so - called dog “trainer” was convicted of animal cruelty because she dragged a Pug behind her while roller blading, injuring the dog physically and emotionally. Hmmm… roller blading with a “pack of dogs”, I wonder where she got that stupid idea?

People stand by and watch dog “trainers” shock, choke, jab & pin dogs into submission and then comment how it turned out “ok” or “the dog seemed fine to me”. Then they try it the next day and the next day ad homonym.

Not a fun way to live for dogs or humans. 

The Shocking Truth

Recently there was a 2009 study on the effects of electronic shock in a training context. It detailed that nearly 80% of the dogs exposed to shock in a training context had adverse effects on their behavior outside of the training context. There is that generalization of fear that dogs are equipped with rearing its risky head.

When I posted the article to Facebook it was interesting to see all the people in defense of shocking their dog. The defenses included “it saved my dog’s life, now they do not run into traffic” – that is what fences and leashes are for. 

Or the fabulously fictional assessment of “It does not hurt them” – if the aversive is not fearful or painful or well, at least aversive in some way how then does it work? Its like saying smoking does not cause harm. It’s has to have a negative effect other wise it does not work.

Or the ever popular clueless notion; “I only use the beep/buzz/vibration setting” its just a “tickle”.

Some dogs will find this very aversive, others will at first stop the behavior only to habituate to the sound/vibration, thus leading the human to the next setting; which is electricity. Where does it stop?

Also as this blog was being constructed a story cam across the wire about a police officer that let his police dog off leash and the dog attacked a woman in overalls.

The assessment was that the dog mistook the overalls for a bite suit, again the generalization of fear clearly at play. 

Never mind why the dog was off leash, the dog is clearly not able to discriminate subjects or equipped with impulse control. We can attribute this is shoddy training. I would bet that the dog was shocked at some point as many police dogs are.

Part of the trouble is that dog owners need more education and professional pet dog trainers need more education. But where do they go to get it? Who do they turn to?

The other trouble spot here is firmly and squarely with organizations that tout how much they are educating the public, or how they are “ helping dog trainers become better at their chosen profession”. Yet fail to get real about what fear and pain based methods are going to do. 

The third troublesome aspect is that there has been a very lazy effort on the part of the collective brain trust of vets (who get zero to little behavior training in vet school) and the board certified veterinary behaviorists to dissuade the pet dog owning public from hiring trainers that use violence.

This violence in dog training must be stopped with a full - scale educational assault on the profession of pet dog training, better education of vets and the dog owning public need no nonsense information about what can happen when dogs are shocked, choked and dealt with abusively.

With a spirited and no nonsense informational deluge focused at educating dog owners on what is and what is not accepted forms of legitimate pet dog training we’ll see an increase in educated dog owners and thus a rise in reliable training and more sound dogs.

Hopefully a decrease in the dog training abuses will follow suit.

Any organization that claims to be an educational out post that is not truthfully and plainly detailing the fallouts of fear and pain based methods is not only culpable for “looking the other way” they are responsible for failing dogs and owners.

Hack trainers leaving the dog in a state of fear, aggression or learned helplessness for legit pet dog trainers or board certified vet behaviorists to deal with is not only inhumane it smacks of the worst sort of negligence as there are sentient beings in the equation, a dog and the humans that love the dog. It also underscores the fact they failed and do not really care as much as they say they do.

Why would anyone want to risk ruining a dog or eroding the bond between dog and human?

If a plumber messes up the pipes and the next plumber comes to fix the pipes and explains why plumber number one is liable and can be sued or at the very least the person can get their money back, complain to the better business associations etc…they have recourse.

With dog’s that are abused in a training context people are left with in some cases years of troubling issues, heartbreak and perhaps euthanasia.

You can call the humane police and hire a lawyer but the really sick individuals are also really slick and wormy, and they’ll slink out of their responsibility as much as they can. It usually boils down to them blaming the dog, and the owners.

Though if it happens or has happened contact the humane police in your area. If the dog is worse after the abuse and or has new issues, you have a case. When you also have a time line of what and when it happened it helps. Videotape is also a great silencer of nonsense so if you are concerned tape the session. 

This “cleaning up the crap of other trainers” hits close to home for me. 

I have recently been involved in a number cases where people have sought the services of pain trainers only to have their dogs abused in the name of training, left worse off than before and to top it off they wasted money and valuable time.

In one case the dog is potentially on the road to euthanasia. So for all the pedestrian claims the “shock saved my dogs life” I can personally tell you it is not “saving” the lives of dogs, it is at best shutting the dog down, giving the dog owner and hack trainers a false sense of security and ultimately no matter what anyone “thinks”, fear and pain have fallouts and those are shut down dogs, aggressive dogs, fearful dogs and or anxious dogs.

Take your pick. Sure you may get lucky and have one of the dogs in the 20% that came through “ok” from shock, but how do you know and what if you don’t?

This dog I am speaking of had in 2009 when I first worked with her, a mild apprehension of unknown people. Very under threshold fear orientations to people on leash, able to be kept under threshold and counter conditioned with passing people at a range of as little as 3 – 5 feet.

Considering the dog was found left for dead this was a great sign.

We issued a desensitization and counter conditioning protocol for the owner and the dog was making really good progress.

The owner decided to hire a pain trainer based on “recommendations from friends”. Because they said he was “great with aggressive dogs”.

The ex cop dog trainer proceeded to do his “work”. The dog was first choked and then shocked, three sessions total. Then the owners took over the advice.

Now the dog will lunge at passing people within a distance of 10 feet or less, and now the dog has a bite history. Now the dog is fearful of anyone that comes in the home. This “trainer” is an ex police officer that trained dogs for the military and for police duties. That is all he has as a credentials for training pet dogs. He has from what I can tell very little if any understanding of legitimate science as it relates to training pet dogs or dogs in general.

Yet the website touts “expert abilities”. There is not one mention of shock or choke. No explanation of exactly what and how this “trainer” does the training. It’s all evasive gossamer to lure in dog owners.

I have extensive video of the before and the after of the dog, my assessments are not based on my opinion or my “feelings”. I also have a detailed behavior history form filled out by the dog’s owner both pre and post shock. There is also a copy of the original training plan that was given.

So again this is not a whole lot of my opinion, it is fact. It is based on the dog’s behavior before shock and after shock. This is also just one dog. I know of more.

BTW the two other ”trainers” that worked with the dog after me took no behavior history at all! They gave no written instructions or written evaluation for the dog owners. Just came by and bla bla bla shock the dog.

One of the other “trainers” was a cookie toss trainer, so at least the dog was only subjected to one abusing “trainer”. Having actually mentored this cookie toss trainer I know the skill set they have and it is limited in all areas despite the months this person was supposedly learning from me.

Now with a small circle of people the dog knows; she is wonderful. She is also very well trained in a sequence sense sit – down – stay etc.... However emotionally she is not good for unknown people. Unknown people predict fear due to being choked and shocked. This makes her a risk and her social life very limited. The stress level of her owners has reached a boiling point. Now they want to re home the dog. Not an easy task in general, add in a dog with issues and the re homing is even more challenging.

Great job there ah dog “trainers”.

Before the abusive methods the dog was making great strides. After being choked and shocked the dog is worse. The proof is in the dog.

Sure the dog owners get their share of the responsibility for making bad choices. I will take my responsibility in so far as I should have done a better job selling training in a positive humane way, I do my best all the time, and dissuading the fear and pain approaches is something I am not shy about.

In the end people will make decisions about their dogs that I will have no influence on. I can only do what I can do; it is up the dog’s owners to use empathetic common sense and make smart safe choices.

I have started working with the dog again free of charge. Because the dog is a friend of mine and I owe the dog the benefit of my abilities to help make her feel more safe.

Another of these so called dog “trainers” that met with one of my other recent clients; choked the dog so bad that the owner said “it sounded as though he was murdering my dog”. She also said this “trainer” just “wanted to get the prong collar on”, he said he “cannot train the dog on a harness”.

I bet he can’t.

The dog now has an aversion to any equipment being put over her head. Reaches are apprehensive for the dog and if you lean over her the dog will lunge and snap.

None of this was present until after the dog was choked to the point of submission.

Again, great job there dog “trainer”. You have created a dog that has fear and aggression issues surrounding reaches and putting on collars. Was that the point of the session? Did you consider the fallouts, nope just yank & crank em right?

Fortunately this particular dog’s owner has seen the light and realizes where she failed and is on the right road to soundness. The dog is making progress but there is the added stress that could have been avoided.

A few years ago in `08 this same “murderous choker” advised a young couple to shock their dog each time the dog barked at the doorbell. They did this for two weeks until the dog became so aggressive it started biting anyone that entered the home. It generalized the fear so bad that it was fearful in any context inside or outside the house and around anyone but the two young owners.

The dog was eventually euthanized. That dog’s death is on that trainer’s conscious, if he has one.

This shock `em choke `em dog “trainer’s” website is slick with the right buzz words, like “positive” & “academy” lots of shock collar ad’s and a logo from The Association of Pet dog Trainers. (APDT).

So how many more dog owners will be duped and dogs abused by the APDT logo being seen as some sort of assurance?

Now I am not blaming APDT for what others do, however APDT has been warned before about these types, they have been made aware of the abuses that take place in pet dog training and the brain trust of APDT has long been educated in proper, humane, legitimate dog training.

They can claim they are not a “policing organization” well what are they then? What does the membership fee go to? If they educate owners and dog trainers where is their influence? I do not need the glossy magazine that they send out each month, I need them to step up their stance on abuses in pet dog training.

Failure to demand sound safe practices from their members is the problem. There is no consequence and consequence drives behavior.

Instead they recommend and suggest a “positive reward approach”. They have no real enforcement or real consequence for abusers in their ranks. It all just get’s filed under “we feel bad about it”. Feeling bad is not good enough folks. Bob Bailey has been known to say the difference between good and great trainers is “good enough”.

Organizations that portend to be a bastion of educational excellence need to hold their members, especially paying members to the highest standards. Period. If not then it’s just a joke. Why even suggest it unless you back it up somehow?

I am sure the board feels terrible when they hear about these abuse cases. I am sure there are many good, honest, hard working, educated and talented dog trainers in the APDT ranks.

Why would these legitimate folks want to be associated with the hacks, the abusers and the sociopaths? I certainly do not.

Someone that has a bad experience with an APDT trainer that results in their dog being abused, or euthanized reflects poorly on all trainers in the ranks of APDT!

It is one thing to be in the same industry with the hacks and abusers, that is dreadful enough, but to be aligned in the same organization with these horrible people is disgusting.

APDT needs to fix this loophole in it’s your organization at once please!

DEMAND a written explanation and video examples of the pet dog trainer’s methods and protocols for ALL pet dog-training contexts. Such as general manners, house soiling, recall, leash walking, separation anxiety, reducing fear, reducing aggression, resource guarding, disengagement cues, shaping dog play, puppy development and at least a 10 question test on the knowledge of learning theory and the associated fall outs for the use of fear and pain based methods. In today’s computer camera phone driven world how hard would this be? If the board of APDT get’s paid, let them earn their money by vetting pet dog training videos and written explanations of the dog trainers knowledge.

Pet dog trainers should have knowledge of how to do a behavioral in take form, construct a training plain that people can follow and is adaptable to their clients dynamic. People do not need cookie cutter nonsense and BS wrapped in buzz - words like “Pack Leader”. 

Why should someone pay a fee and get a logo and presto change – o they have perceived credibility? That is ridiculous. But that is the world of pet dog training.

It is time for not only APDT but all the humane organizations and cruelty officers to realize and recognize that pet dog training has for too long been unregulated and filled with abuses.

It is a breeding ground for sociopaths and abusers who protect themselves under the guise of “training” and it must be stopped.

When you look the other way, or make weak suggestions about what is accepted and what is not accepted in the pet dog training industry you are part of the problem not part of the solution.

The tide is turning slowly.

The new book by John Bradshaw Dog Sense The new science of understanding dog behavior just might be the catalyst for some of this change. 

Bradshaw is not a dog trainer he is a scientist. So there will be no dog training posturing, as is often the case. He is not concerned about ego and dog training. Finally a person who just tells it like it is.

Of course what Bradshaw discovered or found out is not all that “new” it is just accurate, humane and science based and for some of us the book could not have come at a better time.

“There is nothing worse than yesterdays science” says Bob Bailey. Of course if yesterdays science is right on target for reliable behavior and it is humane and safe then it is valid and useful science. If not, get rid of it. 

What dog owners need for success is to understand legitimately what and why dogs are doing what they do in the environment that the behavior occurs, they do not need reasons and justifications for abusing their dog.

Dog owners also need to know exactly what and why their behavior has a massive effect on the dogs training and behavior. Humans are the biggest variable in the equation.

That excuse for abuse is what many dog owners have been given for the past 8 years mainly by the exalted king of hack “trainers”, the “dog psychologist” we all know as being a “whisperer”.  Finally he is on the way out and his “energy” is becoming passé. 

Dog owners do not need fictional antidotes based on human insecurities of dominance.

What dog owners need to understand is not too blame the dog at all but instead take responsibility for learning about dogs in a factual, scientific, humane way that does not include fear and pain.

Dog owners need to know that the decisions they make about their dog holds their dog’s life in the balance. Even something as seemingly innocuous as how to train a sit can ruin a dog when approached with fear and force.

The goal of pet dog training is not “perfect dogs” it is sound dogs and responsible owners imprinting safe and sound associations for the dog.

Don’t worry your dog will not take over the house if they do not sit and wait on cue the first time. Relax, take a breath and just learn how dog’s learn and you’ll be fine. If you have a dog with issues in the fear – aggression – anxiousness category, trust that causing them fear and pain will only make the dog worse. Think about it.

If you want a rock star trained dog that wow’s friends and family, here is the secret, the HUMAN better get their act together and become a rock star dog trainer, then the dog’s behavior will follow suit. That is how it works, not the other way around.

Focus on human behavior and the dog’s behavior will change.

It will not be easy for the old school pain trainers that have their cemented dominance views stacked up like brick walls impeding their growth.

But once the law catches up with the science and protects dogs in a training context from abuse in the cruelty laws they will have no choice. Trust me those days are coming.

Once the dog educating organizations step up and demand that pet dog trainers will be tossed out of their ranks and the human police will be alerted to their “methods” if caught using fear – pain – force – shock – startle & choke, then these abusing so called “trainers” will be forced to change. 

Forcing these abusers to change or get out of the game is the perfect poetic justice. Perhaps a taste of they’re own medicine is what is required here?

Learning and changing and growth for humans is many times painful to some extent. Oh well, no growth without discontent, right? But we humans get to choose many times just how much we want to endure. Dogs are subjugated.

A dog’s growth in their intelligence should not and cannot be so fearful and painful as to impede their learning and damage their trust. Dogs are not human’s dogs are animals. Animals are looking for safety by and large. 

The pain of human intellectual and spiritual growth in one’s brain and soul is quite different from the pain in a dog’s soul from being abused. What the dog learns from pain and fear is to not trust and to shut down or aggress to stop the fear. 

Read legit books, pass a real test, grow, change and learn to understand dogs based on quantifiable science not fictional assessments from TV hack trainers or out dated thinking passed off in shelter parking lots and dog parks as “gospel”.

Learn how to teach people and write easy to understand protocols. People do not need more “pack leader” nonsense. People that is all that is being stressed here. Learning.

Forced education is the way to enact change in the culture of pet dog training. Just like people are forced to learn how to drive a car or wire a building for electricity should they desire to work with electricity. Seems reasonable. 

When the force-based trainers are forced to become legit pet dog trainers and they have to own up and get educated or get out of the game we’ll see change.

Considering how many dogs have been forced to endure cruel and abusive treatment it is only fair that now the human abusers are forced to become educated and change their behavior. Is that not what they preach? 

Learning and growing into a legitimate humane dog trainer is all that is needed here, it’s all us legit pet dog trainers are asking.  Now all you fear & pain trainers consider the alternative – change and get legit or be charged with animal cruelty?

Which one sounds like a better option? Ask Ryan Mathews, ask Jeffery Loy. 

Now to be fair; there are quite a few “cookie tossing” hacks out here giving positive pet dog training a bad name as well.

I know of a large contingency of pet dog trainers in my area that are vastly under qualified to counsel people in dog training and behavior. I know because I have seen their skills up close and I have seen the results of their service.

In fact a “known” trainer that teaches puppy classes in my area does not teach the dogs name recognition, sit, recall, handling, bite inhibition or socialization!

For a person to attend a 6 - week puppy class and leave without name recognition, recall and a sit, as well as a list of socialization protocols is just plain negligence on the part of the “trainer”. It is called the critical development period for a reason.

I have detailed knowledge of a part time wanna be “pet dog trainer” who plays around at being a “pit bull expert” as well and this person is playing the “positive” card.

This “trainer” went on ignoring the fact a dog had trachea damage and continued to use a prong collar! The “trainer” met with the people and did zero to educate them or equip them with something to help with the issues the dog has.

This trainer just wasted the time and money of these people. I know as I have a detailed history form on the dog and exactly what was worked on. Nothing substantial.

The “trainer” knew the dog had serious aggression issues and never referred the people to a board certified vet behaviorist or another more competent pet dog trainer. This person is also responsible for playing fast and loose with dogs lives, just like the pain trainers are.

This is a service - based industry and people and their dogs deserve a competent service. Not some mumbo jumbo.

Far too many “positive” dog trainers are simply not equipped to take on advanced cases yet they do. They take the money and they waste the dog owner’s time and in the process the positive moniker loses respect.

To the hacks, sociopaths and wanna be dog “trainers”, get educated legitimately or get out of the game, stop abusing dogs and wasting dog owners time and money, because the day is coming when your kind will become extinct, all of you.

In any behavior modification protocol there is a point of extinction. Our goal as a humane pet dog training industry should be extinction of abuse in the training context. Then eradicating or educating the pet dog trainer so they are equipped to give the best most humane and complete service to dog owners.

Dog Training is a life - time of events, not a two - session miracle and pet dog trainers should be setting up the dynamic of pet dogs and their humans with enough info so they can have a life time of information to work from. 

Proper education of the pet dog training professionals is where the line is drawn. The "Org's" are either working at this in an efficient manner or you are not.

Dog owners need education in how to pick a dog trainer, where as pet dog trainer’s need education in how to educate humans and train dogs without force. If we as a culture of pet dog trainers are doing anything less it is negligence.

Anything less being exhibited by people claiming to be professionals working for the betterment of dogs is just hackneyed at best and at it’s worse it is plain abuse.

It is high time the pet dog trainers, the pet dog training organizations and the humane organizations changed their training criteria, redefined the parameters of pet dog training and issued a new plan for pet dog training that is based on quantifiable accountability in being humane and effective at educating pet dog owners so they are best equipped to train and maintain their dogs. 

Otherwise dog owners are always going to be at risk of choosing Another Potentially Dangerous Trainer.