Recently a client sent me a few photos of a training school, he claimed that this was the trainer he had engaged previously and did not have good experience with him. I listened and thought that it would be good to share the story (he approved my request to share).
So this trainer used negative reinforcement, he suggested flicking the dog's nose if it barked, and clamp the muzzle if barking continues. He also suggested to kick the dog if it doesn't walk, to have owner's head held high and drag the dog on the floor till it walks, he also encouraged his small dog to be on slip leash, which was compulsory to purchase. The worst part in his opinion was the lack of privacy, in which the trainer had a photographer and kept taking their photos throughout the program. For those that do not know, slip leash is a type of leash that tightens when the dog pull and create choke effect similarly to choke chains, difference is that the material is made of nylon. I am not going to go into detail about the traumatized dog in this post.
Thing is, after 2-3 years of doing business using this method, the trainer suddenly ceased training, the Facebook page which had tens of thousands likes was closed. Out of nowhere, a new page was created highlighting "no force is used in my training".
In another words, this trainer changed his whole concept of dog training from negative to positive..
I kind of doubted the claim initially and he said that he won't forget the uncanny face of the trainer and how much his dog was traumatized after the lessons. I chuckled but continued to see the photos he sent, including pictures and information from time machine. It was true and I was thrown back initially.
I am not going to share which school as this is not the point, my main point would be the problem with trainers that "jump ship" based on popularity. A good example would be this trainer that the client shared - jumping from negative to positive after receiving bad reviews throughout the 3 years. While it is not wrong to learn from mistakes and changing method based on science, it is never a good idea to do that without understanding in detail how it works and practicing for a period of time first! Positive and negative reinforcement are very different, it's not as simple as positive equals giving food and negative equals pain, both method requires lots and lots of practicing! I did see a little bit on the new positive method he used, it was copied directly from Sophia yin's free videos and they are just the very basics, you can't have a reactive dog trained within 15 mins by just throwing treats, omg! So what, after 3 years of positive training and if Cesar starts becoming popular in Singapore again then he'll go back to negative training?
Sigh, one really need to have conscience to train dogs, because passing the wrong information down to owners will just confuse the poor dogs.
ps: this is just a personal opinion and discussion, no need to be offended