By Andre Yeu, KPACTP
From reading the heartbreaking stories of the owners who may have had their dogs lost, hurt, or killed while in the care of FACW K-9 Training in Oshawa, I wanted to take time to share suggestions to our community on how you can prevent this from happening to you and your family, both human and canine. In this article, I'll talk about the inherent risks to dog owners because of the nature of the industry, suggestions on how to shortlist dog trainers, and once you've made your selection, how to keep the experience safe and positive for you and your dog.
Surprise! The Dog Training Industry is Totally Unregulated
Unfortunately, unlike many professions, there is no government regulation, licensing, certification, or standard by which an individual becomes a dog trainer. Anyone can create a web site, print some business cards, and advertise as a dog trainer and start a dog training business. Imagine for a moment if the same were to apply to dentistry. How much due diligence would you do before allowing someone to fill a cavity for you, if the qualifications of that practitioner could vary from expert to faking it? This is the reality for dog owners selecting dog trainers. It is easy for anyone to fake it.
Some of you may find the comparison between dentistry and dog training to be a stretch - but I assure you, it's not. Incorrect advice from dog trainers that are faking it could produce consequences as mild as a poorly trained dog, to one that is unwanted, and therefore surrendered or rehomed, all the way to the creation of an aggressive dog, which can lead to the harm (and potentially, death) of people and dogs.
Not Isolated - This Happens All The Time
The case in Oshawa is not an isolated incident. Here are a few examples of other cases of people "faking it" and causing harm to dogs, just in the last twelve months.
Mississauga Dog Trainer Convicted of Animal Cruelty - March, 2010 - Heat stroke and all four paws injured by being dragged by force by trainer.
Dog Trainer from Chester Township (NJ) pleads guilty to animal cruelty - July, 2010 - Shih-tzu beaten with an 18 inch PVC pipe.
Dog Trainer Suspected of Animal Abuse - January, 2011 - 12 week old puppy returned covered in
Look for a trainer who uses primarily or only reward-based training with treats, toys, and play. Avoid any trainer who advocates methods of physical force that can harm your pet such as hanging dogs by their collars or hitting them with their hands, feet, or leashes."