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Truth about the dog industry - Personal Opinion

Some of you might have seen this video circulating around the internet these few days, it's a video of what seemed like a dog trainer 'abusing' her dog. This was what one of the passerby said while sharing the video he/she recorded during an encounter at Expo recently, whereby there was an obedience competition for dogs.

"Witnessed this at Expo this afternoon. I kept hearing a dog crying repeatedly. And i found that dog. Saw the dog trainer in the video repeatedly torturing her dog for quite a long while. This is just a small video of what she did.
FYI, the dog is screaming because there is 2 metal pointed thing attached to the collar of the dog, so when the trainer pulls the lease, the 2pointed thing will poke into the dog's throat, forcing the dog to follow the trainer's commands, in a bid to win more awards.

The trainer confronted me, and below are our conversion:

She: I want you to delete that video. You will get us all into trouble!

Me: Then why are you doing that? Your poor dog is crying in pain!

She: That is how we train the dogs. And "that" dog did not cry. So pls delete the video.

Me: You are hurting your dog. And that is inhumane.

She: That is what my teacher taught me and this is how we train dogs.

Me: Do you think that it is right to treat your dog like that?

She: Yes, it is right. And i don't care. Pls delete the video."

We will now explain to you in details from our personal experience in the dog industry, this incident had given me the opportunity share something that I had always wanted dog owners to know about. Do note that it might sound offending to some people, please refrain from reading if you are unable to accept harsh opinions.

First of all, the dog was wearing what seemed to be a shock collar, some may argue that it could also be a Vibration Collar - the difference is that Shock Collar releases a static shock to surprise the dog, Vibration Collar is a modified version of Shock Collar whereby static is replaced with vibration, to surprise the dog in a more humane way. Though we would never recommend owners to use shock collars on their dogs, there are some serious cases where shock collars are proven to be helpful, for example on dogs that are extremely dominant/aggressive, however one should also note that shock collars should never be used as a permanent solution. In this case, a shock collar was used on a small dog, if you watch the video closely, the trainer was not even using the collar itself, she was pulling her dog's ear when it didn't perform as expected. Pulling a dog's ear is just the same as abusing it with physical attacks, the ear of a dog is very sensitive as there are about 18 muscles on each side, just a jerk and you might have already damaged more nerves than any part of a dog's body.

Sure enough, most would simply avoid this trainer or even ask others not to engage in her, but things are actually not that simple, what you see here is just a minor case of bad training method. These so called abusive trainers do not appear just like that, most of their training methods come from someone, and this someone is usually a "certified" trainer that has the authority to nurture people that wants to work in this industry, they are also allowed to distribute training certificates to those that passes the official test. These inexperienced people that take up the lesson thinks that they are fully equipped just because they have the piece of paper, thus abusing their power and do everything they can to make their dogs look well behaved in front of others.

Below we will share with you what is happening and why this industry is getting from bad to worst, the number one culprit is usually greed:

1) Training
Nobody would engage a trainer that do not own a dog, or even worst, having a misbehaved dog. To speed up training process, many have resorted to using abusive methods to train their dogs, this includes hitting and overusing of tools like choke chain, prong collars and shock collars, I'm not implying all of these methods are wrong, but not knowing when and who to use it on can actually cause unnecessary stress and injuries to dogs. Though these dog may look very obedient on the outside, they are actually very stressed behind these cute faces, how these methods work are the same as how most circus animals are trained (bears, tigers, lions, whales), you are the clapping spectators but the one suffering behind closed doors are the animals.

2) Competitions
The dog industry may look small to you, but the truth is there are a lot more trainers and competitive dog owners than you can imagine. To stand out from the crowd, one has to win competitions, and to do that, their dog has to be one of the best in the country/state. Most trainers would pick dogs with exceptionally good bloodline, the breed would also be important, eg. Retrievers for obedience, Border/Sheltie for agility etc., rarely would there be competitors that competes just for hobby, thus they want a dog that gives them the best chance to win. I personally feel that dog competitions actually causes more owners to stress their dogs than making them happy, dogs do not know that a competition is coming, winning does not benefit the dog either, it's just for the sake of owner's target to earn a title for themselves, to make them feel accomplished, or even to show it off to other people.

3) Breeding
Most owners who purchase dogs coming from champion bloodline would not bear to sterilize their dogs till they have bred at least 1-2 times, reason is because they want to cover their cost or to earn more money from their offspring. With dogs that are proven to be well disciplined, good genes and look beautiful, people would approach and offer a good price for it, true enough practicing good breeding benefits the dog industry as a whole but many breeders throw away offspring that doesn't match the industry standard either to pet shops or they would simply just dispose the puppy because nurturing these dogs do not benefit them in any ways, Amber is a good example of a dog that was 'disposed' because she wasn't good enough for the "official standard" of a good show dog, she was nearly sold to pet farms.

Of all these years, I've met different trainers, seen how different people train their dogs and had the chance to experience for myself what works and what do not work when it comes to training a dog, I've had a German Shepard mix, 6 Pomeranians and 1 toy poodle (Amber), the one thing for sure is that dog training needs physical interaction to work, one that says that no physical correction is needed to train all dog are those that either do not know what they are doing, or they are simply lying. One reason people would say such thing is because they want to attract other's attention, to let them rest assure that no abuse will be used in their training, but behind closed doors they are still doing physical training to their own dog, I've seen a lot that portray good guy image just for shows. Be it pushing (to get the dog's attention), grabbing (to stop a dog from lunging), or a pat on the head (to show the dog that you like the behavior), physical interactions are unavoidable, even a press on the butt to guide a dog to sit is already a physical correction, the problem is not with the actions you do, but with what you are feeling - when one is angry, even a simple action can scare a dog, for example, screaming at the top of one's voice. All training methods no matter how "up to date" they sound still comes from what our ancestors did, we learn from mistakes and replace them with methods that work, there are no such things as an outdated training method.

Frankly speaking, I do love watching competitions even knowing how stressful it is for the dogs, we can't change human nature to like what we see, but what we can do is not to follow in the foot steps on these people. Dog shows and obedience is not something that dogs enjoy, they get pushed to win and their offspring have to follow what they do, all because of selfish humans.

What we have shared here is not to hate nor support the lady in the video, we want people to learn from our experience and understand, be it physics abuse or mental stress, your dog is not there to be tortured just because you want to be the best. We truly hope young dog owners and soon to be trainers can learn from this, to understand that enjoying what you do is important, don't let money blind you from everything, love and train your dog well and this will already be more than enough.


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