Interacting Professionally Online and In-Person With A Variety Of Dog Trainers
Traditional trainers (those who introduce physical corrections into their training of some sort) are as passionate about their training methods as force-free trainers are about their methods. Unfortunately, this can often cause confrontations when the two types of trainers come together, either in person or via the internet. Arguing is stressful and non-productive, so what are some options for gracefully handling these interactions?
(As an aside, the vast majority of traditional trainers are not interested in arguing and being rude to force-free trainers – this article is to help when dealing with the small minority that revel in being hostile.)
Turn The Other Cheek
Often traditional trainers start slinging around names and insults to rile up force-free trainers. Though it can be frustrating, you should try to ignore this. On the other hand, take the higher ground and do not reciprocate by throwing derogatory terms and names back at them.
Don’t Get Pulled In
Sometimes the easiest option is to walk away. If you know that you are not going to be able to retain your composure whilst discussing your side, give yourself the power to remove yourself. Getting riled up is not going to affect the other person. It will simply make you miserable and possibly reflect badly on your reputation.
Agree To Disagree
Often you just reach a point in conversations where the discussion is going in circles. Your mind is not going to change and neither is their’s. At this point, agree to disagree. Continuing the conversation is going to accomplish nothing other than to annoy you and waste your time. Ending the conversation this way will preserve your sanity and reputation.
Know Your Facts
Before getting involved in discussions, make sure you know your facts. Be prepared to cite books, articles, and other reputable resources that show the power of positive reinforcement. If you are confident about your training methods and why you use them, having the resources to back up your arguments will be helpful.
Above all, remember that positive reinforcement works for people, too. So often, force-free trainers are so passionate about their techniques that they get riled up and lash out when challenged. Arguing will not change minds. Use your personal dogs and the dogs you train as good examples of the power of force-free training. Always keep in mind that everyone is working towards the same goals, you are just pursuing different pathways to get there.
What do you recommend for interactions with traditional trainers who want to argue?
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