Not All Certified Dog Trainers are Fair

I have recently found out about CCPDT wanting to review their policy for the use of aversive training tools and I am shocked.

I found a fellow VSA graduate talking about CCPDT (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers), sending a survey discussing the use of aversive tools for professional trainers to voice their opinion.

Diving deeper into the discussion across different sources, many positive reinforcement trainers are voicing their concerns about the road CCPDT are going down.

I am NOT a CCPDT trainer, I am certified by Victoria Stilwell's Academy, my only resources are other trainer's anecdotal evidence. Looking through various posts about CCPDT and some of their positive reinforcement members, their opinions shout loud and clear that CCPDT are not doing enough to protect their members or the general public from aversive trainers.

Aversive trainers can and will use;

  • Prong Collars (a chain collar with spikes poking into your dog's neck).
  • Electric Shock Collars
  • Sound Aversive Tools (stones in a bottle, high frequency devices).
  • Slip Leads (I understand most owners use slip leads, these were listed in the CCPDT survey as an aversive tool, I am completely against the use of these leads).

The history of these tools were (and still are) to cause pain and hurt your dog into 'submission'.

The one and only purpose for these tools are to hurt.

The consequences of using these tools on your vulnerable dog are not only numerous but heartbreaking. From increased aggressive behaviours towards the trainer or the family, to learned helplessness; the dog simply giving up, taking whatever punishment is thrown to them and avoiding any natural behaviours they want to exhibit.

This simply cannot continue.

Organisations such as CCPDT should be in the driver's seat to review and prevent trainers from using these tools and methodology. In turn, this would protect owners, their dogs and families from the fallout of these training practices.

I understand there will always be a debate in the industry; 'What is the best method to train dogs?', 'How do you teach your dog not to -?', 'How do you tell your dog they've done something wrong?'.

I also understand that people will defend their methodology and their experiences. Like I am doing right now.

So I am not trying to stir up conflict with other trainers, I am not attacking any trainers using aversive practices.

The aim of this post is to bring attention to the fact that not all certified trainers are fair. Letters after their name, numerous certificates, years of experience - may not guarantee they are suitable for you or your dog.

The best way to understand a trainer is to view their social media accounts (if they have one!)

Look out for the aversive tools, the trainer confronting the dog (shouting, leash yanks, cornering the dog, rolling them), forcing the dog into situations they are fearful of, preventing any natural behaviour to occur. Also be aware of how little detail are on their accounts, do they even show their methods?

Whereas trainers giving plenty of positive feedback to the dog, "What a good girl! You are so clever!", the dog wearing a harness, lots of treats and toys and both the dog and the trainer are smiling! Smiles seem to fly under the radar. A happy dog and happy trainer, shows they are working together and achieving their goals in fun and positive practices.

To make myself clear, I am not attacking any specific trainer. This post is to simply highlight that the dog training industry is muddled and confusing, owner's need to look closely at the trainer they are thinking of hiring and ask themselves, 'Does this feel right? Am I comfortable with what this trainer is doing?'. If the answer is 'No', it's best to stick with your gut feeling and continue looking for a trainer you are happy with.

Thank you for reading! Happy training!