Don’t Feed the Troll(s)

Image from Victor Habbick/www.
freedigitalphotos.net

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.

Image from Victor Habbick/www.
freedigitalphotos.net

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.

Image from Victor Habbick/www.freedigitalphotos.net

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7 thoughts on “Don’t Feed the Troll(s)

  1. Before I got my dog, I watched Caesar all the time. In fact, I picked up his book on the way to pick up my dog. It was only once I had my dog that Caesar’s methods started to not feel right to me. I started to do some more research and discovered the positive reinforcement camp. I’ve never owned a dog before, and I had no idea what options were out there. Perhaps this lady that you’re mentioning just doesn’t know that alternatives are available. It would be nice if people could give her the benefit of the doubt and approach the conversation from an educational rather than a punitive point of view… after all, that’s how they approach their dogs.

  2. I agree! I love changing minds by being open to respectful and non-confrontational conversation about my own confident, happy and well-behaved dog. Showing is better than just telling. 🙂

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