You hear trainers on TV talking about pack leadership. You see local rescues sending dogs off to board & train centers using shock collars & prong collars and then these dogs get adopted. You do a search for trainers and find well over half use & promote training with shock & prong collars, often in combination. You can run down to your local pet store or hardware chain & pick up a training collar for a DIY approach. You may even hear your veterinarian tell you that your dog was trying to be dominant when they growled during an exam. Surely, you think, all these people care about dogs. They are experts, they must know what they're talking about. If it was really that dangerous, it wouldn't be so common.
You might start to accept these tools & methods as a normal part of dog training. You may have even used some with success with your own dog. You may start to believe that that "force-free training company" is the exception, an idealist view. Or perhaps you think they must not take on the serious cases, the really tough ones, because surely those dogs require a different approach.
Misinformation is a huge problem in dog training. Dogs are common to us. Heck, everybody's got one or knows someone who does. Outdated, inaccurate & twisted rhetoric is shared widely as fact. Who needs science, it's only dog training?!
Trainers who commit to positive reinforcement & force-free training practices aren't just doing it because we want to be nice or idealistic. We are committed to eliminating the use of aversives because we study the science. We've learned how the consequences you provide form important associations that can be hard to undo. We are the ones evolving with the times, soaking in the newest information with a commitment to doing better because we now know better. We understand we're fighting against the familiarity of dogs, the availability of aversives and the myths & lies that sound so convincing.
We know how easy it is to believe that you're doing the right thing when you choose a training tool or support a local rescue or training company that still relies on these methods. We see how deeply ingrained punishment is in our society & in our relationship with dogs. That's why a good, qualified, science-based trainer is going to welcome you with open arms if you'd like to give our approach a try. We aren't here to judge you; we're here to educate you in the wild, wild west world of dog training. We're here to share there's a different way - an effective way - that's kinder, safer & better for our dogs.