January 23, 2011
Joyce Kesling, CDBC, Professional Dog Trainer
I had to share this with many of you, knowing you will more than appreciate what he says. I feel exactly the same way, but he says it so elegantly. I have referred to these types of individuals as “predators” taking advantage of others, who either lack understanding or as he suggests the needs of the individual, not the pet.
The client who wants instant, off-leash control of a potentially dangerous dog doesn’t only want to have his cake and eat it, too. He is violating the laws of most communities and adding fuel to the forces who want to outlaw dog ownership in many cities. His viewpoint is not only dangerous to himself and others, (including the dog), but is awash in irresponsibility.
The ‘solution’ to this type of client’s situation lies in counseling that motivates the owner to change his attitude about his responsibilities. In other words, we need to differentiate in our minds between clients-wants and client-needs, and apply our skills to bring new insights to this kind of client.
There are those in this field who use and sell devices ranging from choke and prong collars to electrical shock-collars as a means of off-leash training or containing dogs in the yard. However, the reality of the average dog-owner’s dilemma of ‘wants versus needs’ begs for a counselor who will help that client recognize that dilemma, deal with it, and then become a responsible dog owner in a society that is becoming alarmingly more anti-dog due to irresponsible pet owners and distorted media coverage regarding dangerous breeds.
I regard people who prey on human weakness as hucksters because these devices are not 100% effective, and because they feed on human selfishness. Further, they utilize a mechanistic ‘ends-justifies-the-means’ mentality in man’s relationships with one of his oldest mammalian partners, the dog.
I have explained the essence of this viewpoint to many clients during preliminary discussions of problems, and the vast majority agree; when an owner must rely on painful, artificial control of a pet dog, something is terribly lacking. Very few really want a dog who comes when called simply because they, the owners, represent a means of escaping 250 volts of electric shock to the throat.
Dog Behavior Problems: The Counselor’s Handbook by William E. Campbell, 1999