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  • Writer's pictureRain Jordan

A Species Saved by Training: It starts with . . .

Dog Places Paw in Woman's Palm
We Are Responsible Forever For What We Tame

Imagine a world in which all dogs go to heavens known as Home. Home is where the humans have evolved beyond viewing dogs as property, or as subordinate members of the household. Home is where the humans honor life-long learning, and understand the difference between reinforcers and bribes. Home is where one dog is gathered round by all the other dogs at nail trimming time--because now nail trims predict every dog’s favorite form of reinforcement.

Imagine the days of pinning down a dog are gone. Imagine the days of shock and prong and choke collars are gone. Imagine the days of kicks and flicks and spinning bound are gone. Imagine all the horrors unmentioned are gone. Imagine Home is where the phrase “entitled to the dog” has been replaced with the phrase “devoted to the dog.”

Every little bit helps. Every little bit more insistent we all are that a person entrusted with a dog must be--or be ready to become--this kind of person, this kind of home, this kind, the more likely we are to see a truly safe future for dogs. We may not realize this vision for 100% of dogs, not in the immediate future, but we’ll see more of it the more devoted we are to creating, via teaching and modeling, guardians like those envisioned. Eventually they will become the new norm.

It starts with us.

It starts with you.

The vignette about the nail trim gathering is a moment from my own home.

It wasn’t always that way.

Heartbreaking to remember back to the days when my first greyhound’s vet tech instructed me to get my greyhound on the floor and pin her down, legs and body, to stop her struggling so that he could trim her nails. She was intensely afraid of having her nails trimmed. I had no idea back then that her suffering was unnecessary. I would have been so grateful had the rescue from which she came required that I learn how to trim her nails the force-free way that I require now. But no one mentioned this kinder, much less stressful option. It is possible that they did not know. It is possible that the vet tech, a seemingly nice person otherwise, did not know.

It is a fact that many people still do not know there are other ways to achieve needed goals than harming or scaring the animals they love. That is why it is my goal to provide as many people as possible the knowledge and skills to help them ensure that their beloved companions are never needlessly traumatized again.

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