On a recent video Zak George posted on his Facebook page, asking about what we look for in a dog trainer, I was struck by the irony of the first response being a young lady who responded with “Cesar all the way!”. I figured that either she’s someone holding some amount of cognitive dissonance about dog training – which must be uncomfortable – or she maybe just doesn’t yet know about faster, safer, easier, and more friendly training methods and/or the issues with the use of aversives.
Either way, I (now) know better than to start some sort of attack/flame war/personal vendetta against someone who is yet to learn such things (as doing so often alienates them further from your standpoint, and frankly isn’t a very good show of +R). I commented that I would only ever use a science-based positive reinforcement trainer, added a couple of the organisations I’d turn to, and left it at that. I’d said nothing at all inflammatory, but had given some information and a few little ‘breadcrumbs’ that anyone with any interest could follow for themselves.
Sadly, not everyone feels the same, as when I went back to look at the thread a little while later the young lady obviously felt as though she was being attacked. I continued to monitor the thread for a while, and didn’t see much change.
I wouldn’t blame the person who made this comment for never wanting to look at progressive reinforcement training again, but sadly I still see this all too often, people being rude, nasty, and/or horrible to people who don’t train in the same way as them – whatever that way is. And that’s silly – there are loads of things that we all – as adults – disagree on, but very little else results in such immature responses from a large number of people.
Trolling is neither big nor clever, and does no favours for anyone – least of all the dogs that so many people claim to want to help. I understand that it is frustrating, annoying, and often hurts when we hear of a dog who is regularly experiencing aversives, but the way to “fix” that is not through applying aversives to the dog’s owner for what they are doing.