Am I the Only One???

I have been actively seeking a training class I could attend with Rious and it is proving to be a seemingly impossible task! I don’t think I am asking anything too extraordinary; a safe, positive place where I will not have to watch dogs be hurt or scared on a night I can make it. The one place that had all of that cancelled the class I enrolled in due to a lack of enrollment! I spoke with one facility this morning and explained what I was looking for, that I was a positive reinforcement trainer and upon being told they used positive reinforcement, I made arrangements to go tonight. And within the first 30 seconds of the instructor handling the first dog I packed my things and walked out!

I had a warning flag go up when during the first ten minutes of class the instructor literally did not speak to anyone, she just went through paperwork and yelled at her dogs for barking when they were clearly uncomfortable and inappropriate to be hanging out in class. Then she called the first person over with an adorable, goofy, happy 6 month old lab mix. He did pull his owner over to the instructor. I would have taught him his name and some loose leash walking. I was horrified to see the instructor fit him to a choke collar and proceed to collar correct him until he yelped and dropped to her feet in the most submissive appeasing body language you could see. It was heart breaking. She then looked at the next dog and said “Oh good, you already have a training collar”. My heart dropped, my stomach turned and I packed up my stuff and quickly walked out the door.

I VERY briefly debated staying and leading by example, but I knew that there was absolutely no way I would be able to withstand watching that and there was also no way I was going to support them with my dollars! I felt so deceived and absolutely frustrated that people are calling THAT positive reinforcement. Additionally it pains me that all of these people were seeing this and accepting it. I saw two dogs enter the building already shaking and I will think of them tonight worrying how much more shaking they will do.

I can only hope that someone, anyone, even just one person saw how fabulously my 11 week old puppy was sitting on his mat, watching me on request and never once being collar corrected and then saw me walk out. I hope I was able to get just one person wondering why or noticing a difference in the dogs body language. Just one. That is all I can hope.

So once again I will be making calls tomorrow to more facilities to try to find a safe, supportive class where I can work my puppy. Ultimately, I want to take my own classes!!! I find it shocking that something remotely similar to what I do is seeming to be so hard to find. I like my classes but until tonight I did not realize how special they were. Going forward I will take an even greater sense of pride in what I do and how I do it. I love dogs. There is no need to hurt them to train them. I will never falter from that belief and I refuse to support any business who does not follow that simple mind set.

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10 Responses to Am I the Only One???

  1. Where are you located? There are plenty of positive reinforcement training instructors who will be happy to find you a colleague near you!

    • I’m just outside of Manchester NH and believe me, I’m calling everyone I can think of and polling everyone I know! It is a startling reminder of why I started my classes nine years ago!!!

      • Nancy Lamarche says:

        If you’re near Manchester, NH, there is a wonderful place near you. Gail Fisher’s All Dogs Gym and Inn. Gail advocates positive training and is the best there is. She has trainer classes and has taught college programs.

      • I am near ADG and that is one of the facilities I would take a class at, but the schedule is proving to be challenging. I also teach classes and have two set nights that I can not change. Unfortunately their puppy class is on one of them. Their other one runs at 6 pm and my husband does not get home to take the kids until 6. I might have to get creative and have him meet me there to get them.

      • I totally understand your predicament – not being able to make it to other good classes because you’re teaching your own! But maybe, if you’re already familiar with dog training, a puppy kindergarten class is unnecessary. It’s nice to teach your dog to focus and respond even in the presence of other, inviting puppies, but really what else do you gain? You can teach that focus in lots of other places.

      • The bigger reason for wanting the class was to have dedicated assured time carved out to focus on him. With two small kids I squeeze in training throughout the day as well as when I teach others, but I want to give him the benefit of “us time”! Plus a fresh set of eyes and perspective never hurts!!!

  2. Kelly Smith says:

    I would have waited in the parking lot and handed my business card out as everyone left. What a horrible, horrible experience. People like that just should not be allowed to do that.

    • Lol Kelly, I admit I considered tucking one into each windshield! But ultimately I would not want someone doing that at my classes so I opted to behave the way I would want someone to do so for me. Taking the high road is hard!!!

  3. Karen says:

    Thank you for writing this blog. A client sent it to me and I have shared it on my fb page Secret Lake Dog Training

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