Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Perception 2013

It's interesting to watch how people respond to things they like, things they don't like, things they don't understand, things they are willing to understand and things that may or may not get them in trouble.

For instance, two weeks ago, I posted a picture I found on another trainer's Facebook page that illustrated a method of working with dogs that, frankly, turns my stomach.  I shared that picture with a group on Facebook that I infrequently post in, but thought they would like to know about this new method and the tools used with it.

Eventually, the trainer who's picture I linked to, discovered that I had linked to it and had posted about a report given to me about one of the dogs who had been the recipient of this new method of socialization.

You would think that there would be a polite request to delete the link and delete the post.  One would think that humans are gentle enough and caring enough that they would try a soft approach first.  But it's been my experience that those who practice harsh methods of training dogs, also treat their fellow humans in a similar manner - especially when confronted with the effects of their methods.

Excuses and justifications that I've heard for working with dogs in a harsh, aversive, forceful and often times painful for the dog, manner are:
1. my clients are happy with the results
2. my dog loves his e-collar, he is always excited to go for a walk when I grab his collar
3. I tried everything and nothing else worked
4. It takes too long with any other method
5. It's just a tap/tickle, it's not any worse then a static shock (I don't know about you, but I hate static shocks and will go out of my way to prevent them!!!)
6. I don't talk about your methods, don't talk about mine.

and many more, all of which is a total lack of taking responsibility.

In this case, what descended on my head was a storm of vitriol from not only the trainer, but several people that she talked to about what "I did to her".  One of which was someone that I work with closely who only got that I was being unprofessional and didn't want the shit to hit her group.

I think the worst part of all the hatred that came my way was when the trainer started spouting lies about what people had told her about me and my methods and a justification for what she does (i.e. everyone gets bad reports so just ignore them).  She even went so far as to say she had gotten reports from people who had "shadowed" me. 

I have had 5 apprentices and several who came to one or two group classes to see if they wanted to be an apprentice since moving here to Tucson.  Out of those five apprentices, one went home and started her own business in Washington, one comes here at least once a week to socialize her dogs and ask advice, two are still apprentices and the last one is now my assistant trainer.  Basically, any "reports" she got about me came from people who barely knew the back of my head in regards to my training methods.

One of the people this trainer "talked" to, was apparently (and I say that with little knowledge of whether it's true) one of the people in the picture I shared.  This picture showed some legs and an arm that didn't appear to be coming from the same body as the legs, and several dogs.  The hand at the end of the arm was attached to a whip like object and that object was blurred in the picture suggesting movement.  Next to the legs, and held by a hand was another whip like object which appeared to be still.

The reason this person had for IMing me on Facebook was to get me to retract what I said about the picture and to delete the picture from the group I shared it with.  The reason she wanted this done?  I had to reread her vitriolic ramblings several times to find out the exact reason.  The dog in question is a foster.  She was afraid that the rescue organization would think she was using abusive methods to train the foster dog. Makes me wonder if she - deep down inside - knows that putting the dog in that situation has the potential for abuse. It also makes me wonder what other abusive methods she might be using on the dog.

So who really is at fault here?  Was I wrong in pointing out the potential for abuse because of whips  being part of the training process? or was she at fault for putting a dog she didn't own into a situation where abuse was possible?

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