Changes will not happen as long as we limit our discussion to training materials or techniques.
Changes will occur when we look at the other species as a living being and, with the help of scientific and empirical knowledge, question ourselves about the real consequences of our actions towards them.
The model of knowledge, education, critical thinking and respect for all individuals (humans and non-humans), allied with the practice, will make the former one obsolete.
I am nobody to tell you what is right or wrong about animal training. My role as a professional is to share with you my scientific and empirical knowledge and give you the privilege to think and decide by yourself.
In my online and in-person seminars or advising to professionals in various countries, I show some of my statistics, research, and daily study/work on the multiple topics of companion animals in human societies.
There are fallacies that the professionals should avoid, in order of passing real information and not reinforce the trends or disinformation, misunderstandings, and incoherence.
I will not criticize or condemn those who make these statements, because that is how they learned. It results from the politically correct tendencies, romantic discourses, statements, slogans, quotes, and other tricks appealing to human emotions for economic and political goals.
I prefer never label the individuals as “positive,” “negative,” “force free,” “aversive,” “balanced,” etc.
There are trends that, as a professional, I refuse to follow for the sake of the non-human animals. I’d rather prefer to hear their arguments, show mine in case I do not agree, and each one makes their own choice of what they want to follow as long as we are consistent with what they say and do.
The way to change the current paradigm is to have a scientific education and individual critical thinking, to be productive and to question everything without fear of being criticized. It is not with offenses or trying to minimize the others and saying that “I’m the best,” the other is “aversive” or “negative” that we will get some changing in animal training. Acting like that, we have just an ego recharge, and a bad example for the other professionals, that’s all.
If we know the definitions, and how to apply them, we should use and educate the people without fear. If we want to make the difference is with knowledge and critical thinking, respecting and understanding each without “culinary recipes” training.
Imagine that the professionals realize that we are all together with the same goal (give a good life to the other species).
After, they are more cooperative with the colleagues, sharing information, experiences, having discussions like the ones we have, to improve the knowledge.
Then, they educate the families and show them the real nature of the species, their natural needs and try as much as possible to provide the species with an individual and adapted life to their natural characteristics, without the need to follow human tendencies. Maybe, we will have a pleasant surprise at the end.
It is essential we study hard during all our career, we know definitions, we use and explain the correct scientific terms, and try to avoid some “tricks” I wrote above.
It is essential to share information and experience among professionals so that, together, we can improve the lives of non-human animals with human families.
In this constantly developing world, nature itself shows and aware us in several ways that there must be a balance to everything work.
The balance for all professionals should be the endless searching for knowledge.
After all these years, there is just one thing I’m sure: It is much more than training.
Think about it.
Update: April 2019