Is This Dog Training or Animal Abuse?


Teaching through fear and intimidation can be effective to get a dog to comply, to do something the trainer wants the dog to do. However, the risk of collateral damage to a dog’s temperament is significant. And, this is hardly a humane means to train. At a very simple level, is this any way to treat our companions and best friends?

Where there is positive reinforcement training, the dogs want to learn rather than be intimidated and forced into following instructions (which doesn’t translate to true long term learning).

People sometimes choose board and train type offerings, someone else will training your dog, and do so as you might with love and kindness, often promised in marketing.  You’re not there, so how do you know for certain how your dog is treated?

Others actually believe that dogs must “submit” to people and we need to express dominance in order to teach dogs (a theory supported by the likes of TV’s Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan). Countless studies and now demonstrate that the most effective means to teach dogs is positive reinforcement. It is, of course, the most humane way to teach.

Also, it’s about equipment used. Shock collars are outlawed in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Wales, several states in Australia, and the province of Quebec in Canada for a reason. There’s a movement to ban shock collars throughout Canada, such as this website. In 2020, Petco announced that they will no longer sell e-collars in the U.S.

Is there EVER an excuse for being physical with a dog, beyond self-defense, the answer is a resounding NO.

In fact, I suggest what some (such as in the video above from just outside Chicago, IL) describe as dog training, is conceivably animal abuse and could be prosecuted as such.

Instead of the term “train” dogs instead I prefer “teach.” No matter, forcing dogs to comply isn’t particularly effective, and absolutely not humane, and the result may be damage to the dog’s ability to trust others; fearful dogs are the dogs who are mostly likely to be reactive and ultimately bite. Many dogs react the way they do for a reason.