There are always people in this world who seem to live their lives looking for the negative in everything and stirring up trouble. How they live like this, and feel good about it, I will never know. I usually try to avoid these types of people and not get caught up in their world. I like to think of myself a positive, easygoing person and I try not to let little things bother me. But sometimes when my world encounters someone who I think has gone a bit overboard on stirring up trouble and negativity, I get a bit ticked off.
Last weekend, my friend Jo and I went to an obedience fun match in Calgary. The invitation for the Fun Match said "no choke collars or prong collars allowed". No problem - I never use either in my training and even if I did, I would respect the rules that other clubs have in place. So, we go to the Fun Match, visit with a few of the people there that I know from trialling, do a run through with Bosley (which I was very pleased with) and went home. I thought it was a good day.
Fast forward a few days and I hear that someone complained about me and how I treated my dog. They said I was using a choke chain and giving Bosley corrections. Now, first of all, NO ONE from the Calgary clubs know me or know how I treat my dogs in or out of training. They have maybe seen me in a couple trials or at the very few fun matches I have gone to. None of these people really know me personally. This makes me angry - that someone would jump conclusions about me and my training. Second, I was NOT using a choke chain. Bosley's obedience show and training collar is a martingale. If someone thought I was using something different, come and ask me - face to face - don't just assume. Third, the person hosting the Fun Match has got into trouble because of something that I didn't even do. I can ignore someone that I don't know who said something negative about me - I really don't care what people who I don't know (or who don't know me) think about me. But I do care that my perceived actions got someone else in trouble. That is NOT fair.
Jo took a video of my run through so that I could watch it to see how Bosley was doing in the ring (it is easier to see things through video then trying to remember what happened). The person who complained, who I am quite sure doesn't know either Jo or I, somehow found the video on Jo's YouTube page and forwarded it to the owner of the facility. The owner of the facility has threatened to ban the host of the Fun Match from using her facility again. So, I went back and watched the video again - maybe I missed something. The only thing in the video that I could see was that when we were waiting for our turn to go in the ring, I gave Bolsey a tug on his collar. It was a light, sideways tug that wouldn't have been strong enough to tighten the chain on the martingale. It was not a pop or a correction - just a "pay attention" tug. I kept his lead on during the heeling so that I could prevent any lagging, but I didn't need to use the lead/collar once during our heeling. His collar could be mistaken for a choke in the video - but how about someone ask me about it, not just conclude that I must be jerking and yanking my dog.
I am all for positive training. I am a positive trainer myself. But there are a group of people who need to get off their high horse and realize that just because you don't use a clicker 100% of the time, or use anything but a flat collar, or maybe add a correction (gasp) occasionally, that does not mean that those dogs are being abused in their training. There are certainly bigger issues in the dog world than someone using a martingale at a fun match.