ISCP tutor Rachel Hayball speaks out about the wrangling that goes on in social media, and makes the point that behaviourists and trainers should be supporting each other. Positive reinforcement is as important for people as it is for dogs.

As a dog trainer and behaviourist, I strive to be the best I can be for my four legged and two legged clients. I constantly study and learn from others to increase my knowledge, and I use positive training methods.

There are many trainers that I have so much respect for, so many I learn from, and together we form a wonderful supportive community of like-minded people who are doing great things for dogs and their carers.

However, positive dog training isn’t always positive for the people involved!

Unfortunately, there are those in the industry who seek to knock others for no good reason. They will judge others for living in a different way to them, or for doing different things with their dogs. Why? How is that positive? Why does it happen? I have no doubt that sometimes there may be a bit of jealousy, other times these people just think that their way is the only way, but how can you be a good understanding trainer, when you don’t understand that everyone’s life is different?

‘But that person doesn’t compete with their dog’. And? Do people need to compete in events with their dog? Is competing right for every dog? Don’t get me wrong, if people want to compete in events or shows with their dog, then brilliant, all the best for them, that is great! But it isn’t right for every dog.

‘But dog trainers should compete with their dog, or do something other than ‘just’ having the dog as a pet’. Why? As long as the dogs get plenty of mental stimulation and company and lovely walks then where is the harm?

‘I have never seen this person at a workshop/seminar that I have been to’. There are loads of workshops and seminars all over the UK. If they are accredited, their CPD will be recorded and checked. Just because they are not attending ones you are at, doesn’t mean they are not attending any.

I could carry on and on and on….

A friend of mine was recently admitted to hospital for a prolonged period, and had to cancel her work and refund people for their bookings. Some people claimed that she was a fraud!

There is never any need for it. If a trainer has genuine concerns about another trainer, then contact the organisation they are accredited by. Don’t continuously snipe at them, or try to show them up on social media. That is not positive, that is not professional and it is not acceptable.

As dog trainers and behaviourists, we should build each other up. Give people support, give them congratulations. ‘Wow, well done for winning that event’. ‘It’s lovely that your dogs have so much love from you at home’. ‘It is fantastic that you think about your dog’s needs when making plans’.

We should also recognise that we all deserve a break, and there is nothing wrong with a trainer having a break and some down time for them and their family.

So please, let’s be more positive to other professionals and remember that others do not have to do as we do, or live as we live.