Don’t be a Victim, Take Charge

Today I am choosing to share a story about a couple who abused their dogs for almost two years because a “dog trainer” told them that was how dog training was done. This is one of the most extreme cases I have ever heard of and I thought I needed to share. I know most traditional trainers are not quite this extreme and that punching a dog in it’s face is not in most dog trainers’ curriculum, but I want to bring this up so that other dog owners can take charge of what they choose to do to their dogs. Dog owners need not be helpless, if you feel something you are doing is wrong, then do your research – don’t be a victim!

Most traditional trainers and shock-collar trainers have amazing marketing techniques that are designed to take all the worry out of their client. They can guarantee results many times because their methods intimidate dogs into doing what they want. It isn’t actually teaching the dog to do anything other than contain any reactions they may have. What I have learned in the last few months is that it IS possible to teach a dog to have a different, nicer reaction to stimuli – it is no longer necessary to intimidate any animal to get it to do what you want! Why not choose to have a relationship with your dog?  The story below is one that a fellow trainer (Stacy Greer) experienced and shared with me. I felt like it needed to be put out there. The dogs are two mixes that are about 3 years old, female, and spayed.

“One is attacking the other ‘out of the blue’ (owner’s words, not mine). Anyway … they took them to a B/T in another city (Houston, TX) and just moved to my area (Dallas, TX) 9 months ago. Here are a list of things they were taught/told by this trainer:

  • you cannot have dogs off-leash, it encourages dominance
  • if your dog doesn’t do what you ask, like if you say “sit” and it doesn’t sit you have to punch them, with a closed fist in the middle of their forehead, between the eyes
  • dogs don’t love you, they have no emotions
  • if your dog is in the middle of doing something wrong give them a stern “lie down” command
  • do not ever allow dogs in a bedroom, it will promote dominance

Gosh I can’t remember any others right now. I have had my share of people who have seen/worked with horrible trainers but this one took the cake for me. They have been doing these “methods” on these two dogs for a year and a half. I told the woman that 1) this man has taught her how to abuse her dogs and 2) she’s damn lucky her dogs haven’t bitten her! She’s been drilled to believe they need 4 hours of exercise a day. Even in our 100+ degree weather right now she will make them run (she’s a runner) for half an hour. She does not want to do these things to her dogs. She said when the trainer brought the dogs back from the B/T “they were just different dogs, they seemed really subdued…” She said she was crying when he was showing her how to implement his “techniques” but she thought she had to do this and she was just too submissive and had to learn how to be “an assertive alpha” over her dogs. I told her she’d never be hitting her dogs again. Her husband said, “Well the truth is that we don’t really have to do that all that often anymore…” I said, “But you had to call me so something’s not working and if you have to PUNCH your dog once a year it’s too often….”

The most sad is how terribly brainwashed this woman is. I got some treats out and showed her how to do some things with food and her dogs. Then she did it and says, “Oh can I pet her?” I said, “You will never have to ask me that again, you should always pet your dog and especially after it does something right!” For God’s sake! She said, “Oh my gosh she’s actually acting different now. She seems happy…” I said, “Yes and it should only get better if you abandon all the things you heard before…” Her dogs were zombies, not really sad or happy. Just there. Once I showed her some of my stuff the dogs were happy and eager to do more. I pointed this out to her and she was so excited! … Wow, I left there totally in awe of what I had heard!”

It is so sad that this couple have been hitting their dog for so long. I am not sure why anyone could do this, but I wonder how many more out there think this is okay…