Conflicting Training Advice Driving You Crazy? (download PDF here)
New pet owners face challenges. All the free internet, book and self help advice doesn't make things any easier. One expert gives a solution while the next says the opposite. Other trainers claim to solve problems while warnings say, "Don't try this at home."
Some trainers argue training techniques are a matter of opinion.
Voltaire is quoted as saying, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." I happen to agree with Voltaire. But that's not the entire story or this discussion would be rather short lived.
Merriam-Webster defines an opinion as, "a belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge." In other words, an opinion is a belief that is not based on facts. Everyone has a right to opinions about religion, politics and other subjects that have some flexibility.
But facts - that's another ballgame.
Here's an example to clarify the difference. People thought the world was flat. There was a time when people debated this idea. They had their own opinions. With time, science has shown this to be false. As research mounted, facts took over. You may have the right to say the earth is flat - but let's face it - science says it's just plain wrong.
The last decade has brought plenty of dog research. We have facts. In many cases, advice can be right or it can be wrong as a flat earth.
How can owners protect themselves from outdated and potentially harmful advice?
Ask for research studies: Look past marketing claims and sales pitches. Look instead for statements of fact and then ask the trainer for proof. If you fail to get current, reliable research go shopping elsewhere.
Ask the competition for research: Science changes over time. Don't limit yourself to one source. Contact competitors who have a different opinion. New research may discredit older works. You want to know if that's the case. Make a point of hearing both sides and demanding the same standards from both parties.
Ask for the downsides: Studies have shown a correlation between certain training methods and aggression. If a professional minimizes or dismisses risks - then run - don't walk in the opposite direction.