Professionally speaking… I’m tired. Tired of method wars, tired of justifying how I train dogs in an attempt to appease the masses, tired of watching other trainers make excuses for their ignorance in the name of science.
I’m just tired…
The propaganda is everywhere.
It truly makes me sad that trainers all over the world pit themselves against each other in the name of their cause when in reality we should all be learning from each other or, at the very least, acknowledging the difference in training approaches and simply choosing not to try and force view on other people. If you do this with anything else in life, you instantly loose credibility but for some reason, many trainers find this acceptable behaviour when it comes to their training approach.
Recently there’s been an article going around where a well known trainer is being called out on her views on a certain subject. I’m impressed how fast does articles like this make the rounds when it gets into the right hands. I’ve had this article pop up no less than a dozen times on my news feed from other trainers. I’m also surprised that anybody thinks an opinion piece, although well written, will change the mind off the masses. Your basically running around and showing that article to everybody who already agrees with you waiting for them so say “oh, that’s so well written!”.
At this point, I feel like a dad holding two battling toddlers are arms length getting ready to tell each of them why their reason for fighting and arguing is bullshit…
To Every Trainer… Regardless of what Camp You Belong To
I’m guessing you guys don’t all know this, but did you know that you can train dogs any way you want, day in and day out and when you hear of someone that does it differently just move on with your day instead of choosing to flap your face about it? Try it! It’s very liberating!
Regarding Cesar Milan The Dog Whisperer
Like him or hate him, understand he’s one of the prime reasons why people actively seek behaviour advice today. Many people used to think basic class at pet smart was end of the line. Because of Cesar’s show, people know better and Google accordingly. There’s been great dogmen and women around for decades, but nobody has effected the dog training world on such a mainstream level as Cesar Milan. Love him or hate him, 30% of your revenue at minimum is due to the impact of televised dog training shows which all started with the dog whisperer.
Do I agree with all of his methods? No. But he’s at least fighting the good fight by helping dogs and dog owners of the world.
Regarding BF Skinner’s quadrants of operant conditioning
Understand this was never tested on dogs and the quadrants themselves are not a complete representation of all learning and how it occurs. It is, at best, a great framework to understand how to influence a dog, but not the be all end all of learning.
Walk The Walk and Shut up
If you think you can do it better than shut up and do it! Stop lipping on online forums, Facebook groups and comment sections and get out and help the over 1 million dogs in shelters across the world with your alleged skills. Those dogs need help from a human they understand much more than the closed-minded keyboard commando needs his opinion on corrections or clickers changed.
Thousands of dogs TODAY have been surrendered to local shelters. Thousands of puppies today were born and will go to homes with owners who don’t have the knowledge level to keep them calm and balanced. Thousands of dogs today will be put down because of overcrowding in shelter systems…
Because someone does or doesn’t do something you believe in doesn’t give YOU the right to judge or condemn them. Just because someone does something different doesn’t make them wrong. I’ve been the recipient in my life of slander and prejudice. I have friends who are black that will tell you their fight for being treated fairly is nowhere near over. I have friends who, because of their sexual orientation, have been the recipient of physical beatings and emotional torment.
There’s so many things in our world that are worth having a voice for…so why do dog trainers waste their time bitching at each other?
Our goals should be the same!
The Line In The Sand
Do I think every dog trainer in the world is being ethical? No. I saw a video a few months back of another television trainer who collar lifted a dog and smacked him in the nose… so of course there is a line in the sand. I can also assure you that if I had witnessed this in person, you’re damn right I would have got in his face about it. But you can also bet money that I wouldn’t have said nothing and then went home to write a blog about it!
And by the way, while we’re on the subject, BOTH SIDES act unethically from time to time. Some balanced trainers utilize more force than is necessary in the name of “dominance” or “status” or even “obedience” when it can be achieved with less force than they use—the excuse of course being “the dog must learn to obey” or something to that effect. Positive trainers are also guilty of suggesting aggressive dogs be put to sleep before even seeking the help of a trainers who applies a balanced approach…
Is this statement a representation of EVERY TRAINER IN THAT CAMP?!?! NO!!!!!!!!
This is becoming like religious extremism! It’s cool to have your beliefs! I think everybody should believe in something. But when you take it to a point where you close your mind to possibilities… how do you EVER expect to grow?
Listen, if you have that much spare time in your training life to hop on your computer and run your mouth about how another trainer is wrong because they don’t agree with you, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with a shelter who needs qualified trainers to make dogs more adoptable in your area.
But until shelters have to close their doors because every dog is trained and none are getting surrendered… Shut up and train and stop caring about how others wish to do it.
We’re on the same damn team