Trainer Caught Beating Client's Puppy

A pressing reader question: What would you do if you caught a trainer hitting your dog?

A reader asks: What would you do if you caught a trainer striking your pet?

Hello Life With Dogs,

I have an infuriating issue on my hands and am not sure how to best address it. I’m seeking feedback from those who have been through anything like this. Hopefully, few people have.

My husband and I brought home a lab puppy seven months ago. We both have demanding jobs and while we have plenty of time to spend with Ryder, we can’t come up with enough time to learn how to properly train him. After seeking suggestions a friend recommended a local “puppy boot camp”, a program where you leave the dog for two weeks and bring it home once the training program is completed.

I had reservations about leaving our boy for two weeks, but the testimonials offered by this business (I am considering legal action, and my attorney has advised me not to publicly disparage the business) seemed positive and legit, so we dropped him off and expected to bring home a new, improved, well trained puppy. Our expectations were dashed when we saw Ryder again for the first time.

He was clearly despondent. Normally excited by our presence, this typically cheery dog seemed depressed. We were troubled but thought he just needed to get home. We were wrong. After he got home, Ryder would sulk, preferring to spend time alone in quiet parts of the house. He also started peeing inside again, something we had not encountered since he was four months old.

Concerned by the changes, we called the trainers to ask how things went during his stay. We were assured that he did well, learned the standard commands promised by the program, and that he had “graduated” in top form. They also recommended that we bring him back for a two day, $500 refresher course designed specifically for dogs who slipped up after returning home.

After discussing it, my husband and I agreed that a couple more days might make the difference, so Saturday we dropped him off again. We were told to return for him on Monday.

On Sunday we were discussing Ryder’s recent behavior with friends who we consider dog-savvy, and they were alarmed by the changes we’d noted in our dog since he came home. They didn’t suggest that the training program was flawed, but they did point out that some methods are incompatible with certain dogs. After hearing this, it occurred to us that we might be causing our dog undue harm.

So late that morning I drove out to the trainer’s property. I was rushing to get Ryder back and didn’t think to call ahead. It’s a fairly large, open space, and as I rounded a curve in the driveway I stopped my car when I saw my dog cowering as a man swung a leash over his head and hit him with it full force.

I have no idea how long this was happening before I arrived, but once I saw Ryder recoil when he was hit a second time I stepped on the gas and blew my horn. The man stopped and turned toward me as I sped closer to the kennel. When I got out of my car he met me and seemed unconcerned, despite my obvious rage. I demanded to know why he hit my dog. He denied doing it.

He said he was using leash “snaps” to get Ryder’s attention, and that he was just hitting the ground near the dog – not actually striking him. But Ryder was cowering in the corner of the kennel like he was trying to make himself as small as possible. I know my dog and I know what I saw. When I pressed for answers the trainer was elusive, and said unconventional dogs sometimes require unconventional techniques.

I told him I knew better and put my frightened dog in the car. I drove home in tears, riddled with guilt for putting my pet in such a stressful situation. The changes we saw in him started to make sense. He had been completely traumatized.

Now we have two issues to sort out. I need to know how we help Ryder to rebuild his confidence, and I need advice on how to handle the trainer. I wanted to take them to court for misrepresenting their services, but without photographic proof and no visible injuries on my dog, my attorney says it’s my word against theirs and is probably a long shot. I understand that, but how do I address this?

I never want another person to experience this with their dog, but my lawyer says I could be sued if I tell everyone not to do business with these people. I feel like my hands are tied and I don’t know what to do next. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Shannon Keating




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    July 10, 2012 8:41 amPosted 2 years ago
    Anonymous

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      July 10, 2012 2:22 pmPosted 2 years ago
      John Bell Young

      Why blame the *victim” here? In case you hadn’t heard, a great many people actually work for a living, and don’t have as much time as they would like to spend with their dogs. Most responsible dog owners always find a way to manage their lives and their dogs without resorting to either abuse or neglect. In this case, the villain is not the dog owner, but the trainer, who is clearly nothing more than a law breaking animal abuser given to those archaic, ignorant methods born of Dominance Hierarchy theory. Certainly, the owner here did responsible thing and wasted no time getting training. Unfortunately, the problem is clearly that, like many others, she did not do her homework, and was duped into believing, like so many others, that all training methods are safe and effective, when nothing could be further from the truth. Clearly she was not well informed about training regimes; had she been, she would likely have engaged a certified and experience positive reinforcement trainer. The only reason incidents of this sort continue to flourish is precisely due to the lack of state regulation; thanks to the absence of regulations and any licensing laws whatsoever, any moron can call himself a dog trainer, and even get his own television program. That is all about to change, believe me. Count on it!

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        July 10, 2012 4:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Grace

        This is such a sad story…it just makes me sick. NEVER EVER EVER send your dog to boot camp. They only learn to follow the trainer and not you. People are the ones who need to be “trained” to work with their own dogs. I’ve seen too many of this very same story. I know people work and love dogs and they can often combine the two successfully, but YOU are the one who has to train your dog. While it’s sad to see dogs crated all day while people are at work, perhaps choose a breed that doesn’t require a lot of exercise and take your vacation at the time you adopt your new pet so you will have the time to bond and get started with training. Better yet, adopt an older dog.

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      July 10, 2012 3:13 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Christina

      Wow – that was completely uncalled for – no wonder you remain ‘anonymous’. They thought they were doing the right thing – no one expects their dog to be beaten when it goes for training…you’re an ass!

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        July 10, 2012 6:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anonymous

        you did read his entire comment, yes?? He is staunchly against this but he or she also stated that these people shouldn’t have a PUPPY in the 1st place as they even admit to having no time. That is why I have a rescued DOG. The place was allegedly cruel, I agree.

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      July 10, 2012 4:23 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Kristy

      Really? they pay apparently a bucketload of money to get the dog trained, he gets abused and you attack them? Asshat.

      She said quite clearly they have plenty of time for the dog but not to learn how to properly train..meaning they didn’t want to do what this “trainer” ended up doing.

      You’re an idiot. Find a rock. Climb under it.

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      July 11, 2012 12:23 amPosted 2 years ago
      Judie

      I think I would contact the nearest PETA office, and inform then of what you saw. It is unfair of the dogs that agency is so called “training” to have to be handed from one owner to another, because they think their dogs are incoragable and can’t be trained!! That is alarming to me!!
      It isn’t the dogs….it’s the trainer and the methods they use! That is CRUELTY no matter what label they try to put on it.

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      July 11, 2012 2:55 amPosted 2 years ago
      Bev

      @ anonymous. If everyone who had demanding jobs stopped adopting pets, what do you think would happen to all those homeless pets? Think about how stupid you sound before you come up with such an idiotic comment. The working person who wrote about this ordeal stated that they had enough time to spend with their dog but not enough time to train it. I guess you haven’t noticed but most responsible pet owners have jobs also. It helps to pay for things like shelter, heat, food, etc. and even medical for their families including their pets.

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    July 10, 2012 10:08 amPosted 2 years ago
    Bouncer's Buddy

    I think Anonymous is a little harsh. I understand not having all the time you would like to spend with pets but the thing about dogs, they appreciate every moment you do spend with them.

    A lawyer is the best place to go regarding what you can do to the idiots that would beat a puppy (since beating the trainer with a leash, although it might teach him a lesson, would constitute assault). Maybe small claims?

    I have found over the years that having more than one dog helps their behavior more than anything I could do with a single dog. They socialize and entertain each other when “the peeps” aren’t there. If you can’t have another dog then maybe a doggy day care (after considerable research so you don’t have a repeat abuse. Socialization with both people and other dogs reduces much stress and anxiety. This is my opinion, I have no professional creds with dogs other than living with them my entire half century. Good luck.

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    July 10, 2012 11:06 amPosted 2 years ago
    Anonymous

    Wow, that is a sad such a sad story! I am a fellow dog owner, as a matter of fact I have a yellow lab. Labs are some of the easiest dogs to train; their high energy coupled with their quick wits allow them to learn basic commands and tricks rather quickly. With that being said, I think first you need to settle the matter legally: figure out you’re rights, see if a lawsuit is necessary, and at the very least see that justice is paid for Ryder. Secondly, and this is where it starts getting harsh, if you can’t find the time to train your dog then maybe you shouldn’t have it. I know this sounds rude or uncaring but the fact of the matter is that Ryder needs to be trained by his master. Dogs are pack animals and they learn to listen to their Alpha Male, sending Ryder to another trainer only leaves him confused as to who the master is. The best trained dogs are the home trained dogs. My Lab doesn’t need a leash when we walk because when we walk he knows that my wife and I are the Alphas in the pack, he knows that when we go out or leave for church that he needs to go into his dog house/kennel and wait for us to return…this kind of training only happens when you have the time. We made time…I hope you can too!!

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      July 10, 2012 5:42 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anonymous

      Honestly, don’t you see (new dog owner) that if you have plenty of time to spend with Ryder you DO have plenty of time to train. Short frequent training sessions work best for a pup anyway.

      I think you need to reconsider why you got the dog in the first place.

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      July 13, 2012 1:43 amPosted 2 years ago
      Anonymous

      I accidentally clicked on the “thumbs up” but I couldn’t disagree more with this “Alpha” mentality! Such outdated, myth-busted dominance hierarchy BS–so frustrating to see so many ignorant & ill-informed people believing in that junk. People, if you’re going to preach, be sure you’ve read up on the science of animal behavior/learning theory of the 21st century before you do it! Especially talking to the “dog trainers with 30+ years of experience,” who apparently haven’t updated their libraries in a while.

      PS, You CANNOT REINFORCE FEAR by comforting your dog when s/he’s scared! How many parents refuse to comfort their child after going through a traumatic event, for fear that they might reinforce more fear/trauma into them? This is not true for dogs, just as it isn’t for people. Google “Dr. Patricia McConnell” if you don’t believe me.

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    July 10, 2012 11:13 amPosted 2 years ago
    WisePati

    Ask around at vet’s offices and contact local rescue groups. They may know others who have experienced the same thing. See if he is ‘accredited’ with any organization and contact them.
    Get another trainer to evaluate your dog. Did you get the dog from a breeder (not my first choice but…) and get them to testify how the dog was as to how it is now.
    You can at least sue to get your money back and later leave poor ratings at various websites. Do not sign anything saying you will be quiet!
    This poor dog. He was just trying to please. Though I think the person was a tad harsh to say you should not have a dog at all…perhaps more research (testimonials can be fake) would have saved your dog such torture and better planning on your part would have prevented this. So yes, ultimately it is your responsibility. Did you ever ask to observe him training the dogs? Talk to a reference?
    I would suggest a good doggy day care so this poor dog has some fun and not be locked up alone all day. And get personal references this time! Go and observe. Do your research as you would if you were placing a child.
    Even if he didn’t actually hit the dog, that method of training is barbaric. If you had researched you would have found positive methods and trainers. I hope you are now more educated and will become an advocate of change rather than going back to ignorance. You can save another dog the same agony….do it!

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    July 10, 2012 11:14 amPosted 2 years ago
    Jane A

    Since you are being advised by the attorney that an abuse charge cant be filed due to lack of evidence, go with what Bouncer’s Buddy said and approach it from a financial point. Your dog was not trained as promised and was actually traumatized (you do have proof of that). If you win based on this point, then you CAN make it known that this trainer is not the place to get your moneys worth. Sadly, most states recognized dogs as property so approaching it from a purely financial point of view may be the only way to proceed.

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      July 11, 2012 11:11 amPosted 2 years ago
      Bouncer's Buddy

      Most (if not all) states consider animals “chattel property” and as such, you can show that the dog was “damaged” and as Jane said, you did not get the training promised. Civil/Small claims has a different burden of proof than Criminal so you it would be easier to prove your case.

      In short, though it would feel good, violence would be a bad idea. If you want to get an idiot’s attention, smack him in the wallet with full force.

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    July 10, 2012 11:16 amPosted 2 years ago
    holly

    there is a facility like this near me. they use shock collars and the dogs are very depressed-I would seek legal action. you need to find a trainer that uses positive reinforment-treats! and probably a behaviorist because he is definatly damaged. If legal action is not an option focus on getting your dog better. I have told people about many places around me that I would never go again or have not gone because of reviews. have you looked the facility up to see if there are any bad reviews you could try that if someone else has an experience you might be able to do something but first and foremost help Ryder. I have 5 dogs and we work fulltime. we do things at nite and on the weekends. there are plenty of good trainers and facilities out there but if anything is called a BOOT CAMP run in the other direction. you want a Positive trainer. http://www.apdt.com this site lists trainers and methods. good luck and just be kind to him he will come around.

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    July 10, 2012 11:21 amPosted 2 years ago
    Anonymous

    Write reviews about the trainer using his name and business name. If he has accounts on Yelp, Yahoo, Manta… etc, make sute you write reviews. You can also start a blog….the more you put his business name out there, the more people will be aware of this person.
    As for your puppy, you can try another trainer, but make sure he/she allows you to be part of the training (a good trainer will never say no). Bring your dog to parks and expose him to new people and other dogs.

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    July 10, 2012 11:31 amPosted 2 years ago
    Cheryl F

    If you have any pictures/videos of your dog before and after I suggest making a web page, showing the pictures, describing his behavior after going through the torture he’s been through. No lab I’ve ever known needed more than the very basics – they are easy-going, loving pets. I’d go to every web site I could find, including the Attorney General of your state, sites for consumer complaints, gossip sites, pet sites, training sites and you’re damn right I would mention their name. The idea is to destroy their reputation and put them out of business. How many other dogs would you like to have this done to, how many other dogs have already suffered like this?

    As for his PTSD, make no sudden moves around him, including petting him from above his head – approach his face slowly, let him sniff your hand and caress his muzzle, stroke his chest and throat, rub his ears. If he is shying away from you when you approach, sit on the ground with some snacks and WAIT for him to come to you, speak in soft tones always.

    If I had witnessed what you did, it would have taken every effort not to blow the guys brains out. This outfit is clearly out to make money and has NO idea how to train, or even treat dogs.

    If you have no time to spend with your dog, why do you have a dog?

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  • July 10, 2012 11:38 amPosted 2 years ago
    Shannon, Certified Dog Trainer

    I feel your pain, Shannon.

    First of all, to the first Anonymous poster who said that these people shouldn’t have a dog: what’s wrong with you? This woman is telling you she did 100% the right thing – sought out training help when she realized she wouldn’t be able to do it on her own. What should she have done, rehomed the dog? Seeking out a professional is EXACTLY what she should have done, and I commend her for it.

    That said, I went thru a frighteningly similar experience myself. One of my dogs was aggressive with another dog, so I brought her to a boot camp here in So Cal which is super well known among celebrities so I figured it had to be great. The first thing that happened was the owner suddenly clapped his hands loudly against a folder he was carrying right in front of my dog’s face which sent her cowering behind me, shaking & submissive peeing all over herself. The man took her away from me, told me I had made her a fearful dog & that she needed intense rehabilitation. I bought her the blanket they told me I’d need for her kennel & left her there (along with my other dog, her sister, who I figured would also get good training there although she was already well-adjusted – I wanted to keep the two of them together).

    3 weeks later when I came back, my dogs had choke chains on & were being sprayed in the face with vinegar. It was obvious they’d never had the blankets because they had bloody scar rubs on their elbows from sleeping on a cement kennel floor. They were both sullen, subdued, personality-bereft, shut down – & quite obviously really depressed. different dogs, one later bit someone – the one who was well-adjusted, socialized & outgoing to begin with (thankfully not hard & it was a friend who was kind enough not to press charges).

    As a result of my dogs’ behavior upon return, I vowed to my dogters that I would do my damndest to prevent this from happening to anyone else’s dog. I enrolled in a positive reinforcement dog training program so that I could become CPDT certified as a trainer myself. I ended up quitting a high-paying corporate job to start all over again at middle age as a professional dog trainer working towards my CPDT-KSA. Every day I apologize to my angel for not knowing any better. All the liability paperwork I had signed prevented me from suing.

    My recommendation is to find a positive reinforcement trainer in your area to help your dog first & foremost. I suggest looking at organizations like the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (ccpdt.org) or The Pet Professional Guild (they promote only force-free, gentle methods to help your dog return to a confident, comfortable place mentally & emotionally).

    I am so blessed to be able to help other people with their dogs. These compulsion-heavy boot camps are so horrible. Just because a celebrity trainer promotes a method or has celebrity clients does NOT mean they are a good trainer or understand dog body language. A trainer who needs to use punishment or force is NOT a good trainer, and is using the lazy man’s method to make up for their lack of skills. Hopefully, your dog will not bite someone after like mine did, but be aware that this experience had a bad effect on him. The saddest thing is when I see puppies under 5 months getting trained that way – it is absolutely critical that dogs be treated kindly as puppies – it will affect them for their entire lives.

    Finally, again to Anonymous above – my “demanding job” and time constraints got me into a similar bind, and now I have left my corporate job to work full-time as a professional R+ dog trainer preventing the exact thing from happening to other dogs & their well-meaning people. Do you still feel like what you said has any relevance to Shannon’s situation?

    By the way Shannon – compliments on your name. ;)

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      July 10, 2012 12:54 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anonymous

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • July 10, 2012 1:46 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Shannon, Certified Dog Trainer

        How rude! Obviously YOU know nothing about positive reinforcement yourself.

        First of all, as I CLEARLY stated, I wasn’t a certified trainer then. Did you not read my post? At the time I didn’t know better, and I – like too many people – believed what I saw on TV. I thought I had to be alpha, pack leader, all that crap. I viewed my dog as something that needed to be subservient to me, that should listen. Now I know better, and I have the utmost respect for my companion. I have adopted the philosophy of Suzanne Clothier by constantly asking my dog “how is that for YOU?”

        You need to read more thoroughly if you’re going to throw out insults.

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        July 10, 2012 3:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Christina

        Anonymous…you need to go far away – very very far away….people like you are part of the problem negative know it alls…and your half brained – when Shannon left her dogs there, she was not yet a trainer….another STUPID human…take your insults and snide remarks and go cruise Craigslist or something.

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      • July 10, 2012 5:26 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Hedley

        It’s normally the ignoramus anonymous that will leave a message like this.. No balls, no facts or information to back up a spineless comment. Don’t let them bother you. They normally are not worth the trouble and wouldn’t have a clue how to fix the situation they are babbling about. Even less do something real about it..

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      July 10, 2012 2:28 pmPosted 2 years ago
      John Bell Young

      Hey Shannon (CDT), please get in touch with me. Thanks. John

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      • July 10, 2012 3:42 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Shannon, Certified Dog Trainer

        Hey John! Sure thing. What’s your email? You can send it to me at http://www.k-949.com if you don’t wanna post here, or refer me to a way to contact you & I gladly will…

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      • July 10, 2012 4:24 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Shannon, Certified Dog Trainer

        Hey John, sent you a pm on FB…

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      July 10, 2012 6:48 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anonymous

      Ok, I really don’t get why people would drop their dog off somewhere to be trained. This is a concept we do not know over here. If you need training you and your dog do it together. I would never ever send my puppy off somewhere to be trained. That is like sending your children off to boarding school. Most of them don’t like it but at least they can understand it your dog doesn’t. All they experience ist their pack being gone not knowing why. I feel sorry for the dog. And now why didn’t she have time to train. I do it all the time when we go for a walk when we’re at home basically all the time. It is not so hard to call your dog and teach it to sit or ly down or paw or high five or whatever you can think about. I take my three dogs for very long walks every day and we practice while we do it. It’s fun for them and for me and guess what no trainer needed and I have very socialised and well behaved dogs. All it takes is the will to do it!

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      • July 10, 2012 8:23 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Shannon, Certified Dog Trainer

        I think that a lot of times owners just don’t realize their options.

        In my case, I lived in a community with my dogs, one of whom lunged at a neighbor’s dog. The community gave me 3 days to remove both of my dogs from the community. I had a lease that would not have expired for several months & it would have cost me $5,000 to buy out of my lease. Because my dog was deemed aggressive, and I needed to remove her from the property, I figured a training facility was the best place for her for 3 weeks while I worked with a lawyer to get me out of my lease so I could fund a better place to move into with my dogs. That boot camp was the biggest mistake I ever made for my girls. Unfortunately, I honestly didn’t know better at the time. People aren’t born inherently knowing what to do in situations like these. I learned my lesson.

        As far as my dog, she is amazing today. She is actually a registered service dog who has learned to detect my seizures prior to onset & alert. She knows a whole slew of tricks (my favorite of which is when I ask her how the dogs talk in San Francisco, she lifts her leg & makes her wrist all floppy & flamboyant-like. Pretty politically incorrect but everyone loves that one).

        Anyway, that’s my reasoning for having put her into a training facility – no other option with the 3-day time constraint. I had no clue that training facilities didn’t know how to train; in my mind, they were the experts & I was the lowly owner who screwed up & created a fearful dog as the guy said. Unfortunately for my dogs, I was ignorant but now I know better. I’d love for other people to learn by osmosis, but like myself, people need to learn these things somehow. Sigh.

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      July 10, 2012 9:22 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Gretchen

      I am the “anonymous” that you all seem to be having a good time insulting. Really? Whether Shannon was or wasn’t a dog trainer at the time of this horrible experience for her dog is immaterial. She was a dog owner and as such had a responsibility to her dog to not allow it to get into a situation that was harmful to it, EVER!!! Think about a parent taking a child to daycare and the child showing signs of trama, like peeing themselves or thowing-up. Would you leave your child in that situation? I wouldn’t! My dogs are my kids and I am responsible for their well-being. I am not a dog trainer and never have been, but I certainly have the sense that would have had me walking out of that place with both of my dogs!

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      • July 10, 2012 9:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Shannon, Certified Dog Trainer

        Again, I suggest you reread my post. I did not walk out of that place with both of my dogs because I had not known that the methods they used would be cruel. I thought the folder slap was a way for this man to determine my dog’s aggression level. Nobody sent me the memo on how that’s supposed to be done. Cesar does crap like that all the time, and since I had seen that kind of stuff on national TV, who was I to argue with a “pro?”

        Anyway, you must feel so cool to know more than I did back then. It’s a good thing you’re not a dog trainer because with your inability to understand how others come to learn new things, you wouldn’t be very good at it.

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      July 26, 2012 9:35 amPosted 1 year ago
      Anonymous

      Beautifully said! :)

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  • July 10, 2012 11:42 amPosted 2 years ago
    Shannon, Certified Dog Trainer

    Oh and by the way – it’s been 5 years, and my dog is STILL frightened of any towering man carrying a folder near her after that ONE experience of having it slapped near her face. We’ve worked on desensitizing her but her fear was tremendous – it’s a long, arduous process, but well worth it for my (now) much happier, relaxed dog.

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      July 10, 2012 10:22 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Gretchen

      So, as I read it you have been a “Certified Dog Trainer” for less than 5 Years? What group? Association? Or whatever? Are you certified with? How long have you had dogs, not just the ones in your story, before that? Not trying to be rude, nor is there any “motive” behind my questions. Just curious.

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      • July 11, 2012 7:10 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Shannon, Certified Dog Trainer

        Alright Gretchen, I’m not sure what you want out of this dialogue. You win, you’re smarter than me. You know more than me, congratulations. You’re a better dog owner, a more successful human, greater in the eyes of God than me. I admitted that I made a mistake back then. I’m wondering why you are challenging me, but if you MUST know my qualifications:

        I am an Animal Behavior College graduate. I am ABCDT certified. I am a full member of the APDT (Assoc od Pet Dog Trainers), a proud member of the Professional Pet Guild, a member of SCDTF (Southern California Dog Trainers Forum), I am PetTech certified in first aid, safety & CPR.

        I have been training horses since the 80s and used compulsion training on dogs prior to the R+ boom within the past decade. I trained since the mid 90s but not professionally and certainly not positively, which is why sending my dog to a boot camp didn’t phase me. As far as I was concerned, the way the man diagnosed my dog with the folder was standard practice in training camps.

        I have had multiple dogs all my life as well as horses (who I taught tricks to, as well as competed in both Western – barrel racing, gymkhana, pleasure – and English – 3-day eventing, dressage, jumpers, a little foxhunting and even some polo). I trained dogs at my stables as well as pretty much every friend’s dog I ever met.

        In college in the 90s I trained dogs in Miami (again, compulsion as I didn’t know about positive nor was I certified or training full time back then) as well as worked as the manager of a high-end, holistic canine nutrition store in the heart of Miami Beach. At the time I had a dog named Ginger who knew I taught an unbelievable amount of tricks & was featured in the newspaper several times with her. I earned her CGC with her as well as came in runner up in a Purina Dog of the Year contest in Miami. After college at U of Miami – where I graduated with a double major – I worked in the corporate field and trained dogs on the side more as a hobby than anything else, and it wasn’t until I enrolled in ABC that I began to choose to do it learn how to do it full time and positively which, yes, was within the last five years.

        With that said, you ARE being rude, and you must have some motive because you are now going to read into my qualifications & try to dissect my expertise, otherwise you wouldn’t have challenged me. I, however, believe in positive reinforcement & treating people with respect. I admitted I made a mistake with my dog & I learned from it. I became a MUCH greater person with an appreciation for my dog that knows no bounds. I spend every waking minute helping others have the same bond with their dogs as I am now blessed to have. I am not sure if you’re ready to apologize to me for your rudeness and call a truce, or if you feel the need to continue debating with me. It’s up to you.

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        • July 11, 2012 8:15 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Shannon, Certified Dog Trainer

          Oops, meant to write Pet Professional Guild. Gonna correct myself before you nitpick about that. I may as well mention that although the professional training side of things didn’t materialize until my experience with my dog, I have been been a been a proponent for holistic nutrition & homeopathy in dogs for almost 2 decades. I have given talks on canine health as related to diet since the 90′s, so my experience with dogs extended way back – although the decision to understand dog behavior as a certified trainer was more recent.

          I do hope you will consider throwing an olive branch my way – I don’t enjoy confrontation, and I respect that you’d never leave your dog with someone who causes her to submissively pee. Think back to the greatest mistake you’ve ever made in your life (we’ve all made them). Well, mine was leaving my dogs there. I am openly vocal about this despite people like you who judge me for it because if my ignorance can help make someone else reconsider their own actions, sacrificing a little of my own humility for the sake & safety of someone else’s dog is worth that to me.

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            July 12, 2012 11:55 amPosted 2 years ago
            Gretchen

            I am not going to “nitpick” about your qualifications. I was honestly just asking what they were. I too grew up with horses and since the 70s I have been invloved with caring for and training them. My dogs have taken the place of horses but horses are, and will always be, my first love. They are just very expensive and don’t fit on the bed very well. (That was a joke. Please do not read anything into it.)

            I think my biggest outrage about your answer was the reference to that facility being well know among celebrities and so must be good. I understand that you were in a difficult situation and needed to do something immediate. I appreciate that you were willing to do something to help your dogs and not just “dump” them at a shelter because they had become an inconvenience. But, I think celebrities are the biggest cause of puppy mills as they have their “designer dogs” that they tote around with them and the general public thinks it is cool and want one too. So spawns a puppy mill that breeds the “designer dog” and markets them at an outrageous price with the celebrities name attached. I was trying to point out that just because something is “celebrity endorsed” does not make it right or good. And breeding mutts (lets be honest and admit that a dog that is a mix of 2 breeds is a mutt not some wonderful new discovery) just adds more unwanted dogs to an already over abundant population. When breeding 2 different breeds together for what might be a good reason (like being hypo-allergenic) you may get one puppy in the litter that qualifies and has the traits you were looking for. The rest won’t and so what happens to them? They are tossed aside as unwanted. And you cannot breed 2 mixed breed dogs and get that mixed breed dog. You cannot breed 2 mules together and get a mule. They are sterile for a reason…nature’s reason.

            Before anyone take offense I am for proper breeding when correct health checks are done and the purpose for breeding is to better the breed not as a way to make money. Responsible breeders DO NOT make money! I am not a breeder. I have 4 dogs. And yes, they are purebreds but I am not a purebred snob either. I have had mixed breed dogs as well and they are every bit as wonderful as purebreds. I just happen to really like the traits of the breed I have and will continue to have them. One of mine is a rescue that was turned into a shelter last year and labeled as dog aggressive and bites children. He was scheduled to be PTS and if not for the efforts of many people this sweet, sweet dog would have been destroyed because he had become an inconvenience to the family he was with at that time. Of my 4 he is the least aggressive and is great with children as long as the children as respectful of him. (And here is where I am going to tick off a bunch of people…my dogs are much better behaved than most children I see these days!) I train and compete with my dogs in many performance activites and they have numerous titles in agility, obedience and herding. I would love to find the time to do tracking with them as well. They also know may tricks and I have been part of a 4 dog team where we “danced” with our dogs. We took our “act” to nursing homes and both the patients and the dogs loved it! My dogs are fed a RAW diet and I am ever so grateful for this every time I see another dog food recall. They are in fantastic shape, not overweight and thrive on the attention they get from me every day. I frankly would rather spend all of my time with my dogs but one of us has to work so they can have everything they need or want. My dream is to hit the lottery so I can rescue every single dog that has been abondoned or abused by the very people they have put their trust in. It breaks my heart to look into the blank eyes of a dog who’s trust has been broken. I help at every chance I get and want only the best for every dog!

            So Shannon I do apologize if you felt I attacked you. I was actually attacking the outrageous behavior that is inflicted on dogs on a daily basis. As for making mistakes, I have made many and perhaps I have made another here.

            Respectfully,
            Gretchen

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      July 11, 2012 9:46 amPosted 2 years ago
      Anonymous

      Yup, certified alright, but not sure of what. or where. or how. Yup, acme school of heavy truck mechanics and dog trainers.

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      • July 11, 2012 7:23 pmPosted 2 years ago
        GretchAnonymous is a Loser

        You are ovbiously replying over and over agin as yourself under several different anonymous & Gretchen names. You’re ignorant and disresepctful, …..Shannon said she wasn’t a certified trainer then and didn’t know that there was anything wrong with how she handled dogs back then or with what the guy did to bring out the fear aggressive reaction in her dog…..you see the Dog Whisperer doing way worse than that on tv, kicking, poking and strangling dogs, so why would she think it was wrong? You are clearly stupid and young and it’s showing by your ignorant comments. Stop being so insulting, the girl learned a lesson and is commenting here & sharing her story so that she could help others as she said. Go take your shit to Facebook.

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          July 12, 2012 11:13 amPosted 2 years ago
          Gretchen

          I only relied once as Anonymous and the identified myself. Unlike you who did not identify yourself??? Wonder why.

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    July 10, 2012 12:03 pmPosted 2 years ago
    sharon

    There was a dog training program in Colorado Springs, CO a few years ago that it was discovered that everything was FAKE..the website reviews, certificates on his walls, training, everything was FAKE. Was also discovered by an owner who someone found her dog who was supposedly boarded there for training running around and called her..he left town quickly..I am so glad when the “alarms” starting ringing you listened and went to rescue your dog…lawyers will always steer you in the safest legal pathway. Notify your local Humane Society, other trainers/shelters/vets, I think you can speak about what you personally witnessed, you may find others with the same opinion.

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    • July 10, 2012 5:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Hedley

      Lawyers, thieves, rapists, car salesman, real estate agents. All belonging the same boat.. The boat to hell..

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    • July 25, 2012 8:58 amPosted 1 year ago
      Michelle

      There’s one in Sacramento, CA that has been running illegal kennels with no certification. The person who runs it threatens anyone who writes bad reviews and writes good reviews himself under different names. He changes the same of the business constantly to keep ahead of the authorities. It’s insane how some of these places operate.

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    July 10, 2012 12:07 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Anonymous

    Just post the address. We’ll do the rest.

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    • July 10, 2012 5:18 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Hedley

      This is the best..(“,)

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    July 10, 2012 12:57 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Debbie

    My heart hurts reading your story and the insensitive remarks. I have no credentials other than having dogs the past 18 years. Mine aren’t as trained as they could be, and I’ve had jobs that have taken me and my late husband away from home more hours than we wanted. At the most, we had four dogs together. They played and scampered and fought like siblings. It did help the loneliness of having just one.
    My only girl had been beat with a hairbrush and who knows what else. It took me years to get her to trust me.
    At the very least, report this business to the Better Business Bureau. I had to do that with my lawyer that was settling my late husband’s estate. She dragged her feet and I was weary of not hearing back as promised and the case not being settled. I filed online and the lawyer called me the following week. (Imagine that.) She fought against me, but the complaint stayed against her for three years. And I told her if things weren’t settled quickly, I would report her to the local and state bar association. It didn’t cost me anything, but the case was settled and she had to live with this stain on her record.
    Best wishes to you and Ryder.

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    • July 10, 2012 5:17 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Hedley

      Good advice…

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    July 10, 2012 1:27 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Darla Mihalic

    I am so sorry to hear what
    You and Ryder went through, I am sure with re-assurance he will bounce back. We are lab lovers so this hit us hard no animal should be treated like that. We would never leave our labs with anyone because we were afraid of mistreatment, but there are very good people out there. Please keep us updated on his progress.

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  • July 10, 2012 2:27 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Niki Tudge

    This is a very unfortunate and sad story. I hope you are able to find a professional who can now help you to rehabilitate your pet dog who has suffered such unnecessary and cruel trauma in the name of training. Here at The Pet Professional Guild we would be happy to help you locate a suitable professional to support you in this.

    Pet owners, when seeking dog training and dog behavior advice please do your research. Visit the Pet Professional Guild website and find a trainer who uses dog training methods and philosophies that are founded in science and are force free. These are the most effective methods both from a skill perspective and for the welfare of your pet. We offer lots of FREE resources to help educate pet owners and keep our pet dogs safe. http://www.PetProfessionalGuild.com

    The Charter – The Pet Professional Guild was founded on a commitment to provide educational resources to pet care providers and the public coupled with an emphasis on building collaboration among force-free pet trainers and professional pet care providers.
    We aim to publicize “our voice for the profession” that advocates for mutually agreed guiding principles for the pet care industry. The Pet Professional Guild partners, members and affiliates focus on the pet’s physical, mental, environmental and nutritional well-being, a holistic approach to the care and training of family pets.

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kimberley

    I would beat them.

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Lauren

    beat them right back!!!

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  • July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Cindy

    WTF!

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Mark

    The deed would be reciprocated.

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kat

    hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMGGGGGGGGGHH!!!!!!!! X

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  • July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Whitney

    Beat said trainer.

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Eddie

    Shoot to kill

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Debby

    I would beat the hired trainer.

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Robin

    I would beat them so hard, that they would start barking for help!

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Christina

    I’d lose my $#!@ for sure!

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Eileen

    beat him

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Robert

    Eye for an eye is my philosophy.

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  • July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Alina

    ti kanei o kolhtos moy?poy xathikes esy?

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Hope

    I’d make headlines! No doubt about it!!!

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  • July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Pam

    I would beat them! Let them suffer the same as they give out!

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  • July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Nathan

    beat the living hell out of them

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    'Nikki

    i wud beat the traine and reported him

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Debbie

    you don’t want to know what i would do to them

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Chelsea

    I would beat HIM with a bat!!!

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  • July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kris

    Beat them right back

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  • July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Michelle

    Id kick their butt

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  • July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kimberly

    Beat the shit out of him/her

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Awesomdrea

    End up arrested for assault

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Saber

    How about death. Does that tell it like it is?

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Laura

    Beat the trainer’s a**!!!!

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Julie

    Call my parents for bail money. I will need it after I’m done beating the crap out of them.

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Carol

    Oh, I’d probably go to prison!!!

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    July 10, 2012 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Fancy

    I’d beat the living crap out of them. Honestly, I would.

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kristy

    I’d beat the trainer. In a heart beat.

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  • July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Natasha

    I’d hurt the son of a bitch!!!

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  • July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Susan

    Raise holy hell.

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Robin

    No reason for a trainer to beat a dog

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  • July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Sebastian

    Jail time for ol’ Sebastian would be my prediction

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Martine

    I better not think about it…

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  • July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kim

    Kill him with my bare hands….

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Donna

    Shoot them!!!

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jan

    I would go to prison.

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  • July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Laurel

    Take a video and post it everywhere, including the agency that certified that trainer. If I had enough money, I’d buy a billboard near their facility and post a photos.

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    David

    Beat him or her!

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  • July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Paul

    saw the guys head off

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  • July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Paige

    hmmm train the dog in defense and then return?

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Mary

    Terrible person. I hope they are not allowed around animals again.

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Lisa

    Theyd be unrecognisable to their own family.

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  • July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jeanette

    That trainer would not want to deal with this Mama! I would make him cry for his!!!

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kelly

    id beat him

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  • July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Gary

    Report him for animal abuse.

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  • July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Michèle

    he’s dead

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Di

    Beat him!!!

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  • July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Glenn

    shoot him/her in the kneecap…

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Margarita

    ok, this is terribly sad. but you people sound crazy. dogs are the best, but can we keep the violence against humans our of it? geeze.

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      July 11, 2012 2:58 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Margie

      Margarita – I hear you. I have often observed that people use dogs to play out the human’s dysfunctions and anger. This thread seems to be a validation of that. You wonder what the dogs must think.

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Angela

    beat him!

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Judy

    beat the trainer!

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Wendy

    The trainer would be a GONER!

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Susan

    Beating a puppy. Oh no that’s punishable by stoning in my world.

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Judith

    He woud be fired and I would be pressing charges.

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Heather

    Don’t even have to read the article. I’d beat them.

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  • July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Donna

    I would probably report them to the Humane Society and the police and get my dog away from them. Ask for your money back. Most dog trainers would not do this, most love dogs just as much as you do.

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    July 10, 2012 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Sharon

    I would report them and make sure they could not longer be a trainer. Contact the news media.

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  • July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Krismas Kris

    Clearly, it MUST be Boxing Day, sooo I would be performing an exhibition bout on that ass!!

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  • July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jacqueline

    Beat the hell out of the trainer. And take them to court for any vet. bills that were a result of the beatting.

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  • July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jodine

    that person would need a trip to the ER after I was done

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    July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Mary

    Fire him, report him, and spread the word that he’s not to be trusted with dogs.

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  • July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kate

    OMG karma is a wonderful thing !!!

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  • July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Melissa

    Beat the crap out of him! That’s for sure!

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    July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Amanda

    W.O.W.

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    July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jim

    id beat the trainer

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    July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Lynn

    Ditto @ eddie..and I have a CC to use…muther wouldn’t get a second strike off…and probably be on the way to dyin’ with the hand still in the air for the first strike..

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  • July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Grant

    Beat them and twice as hard

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  • July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Shawn

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander! Only he would come out far far worse, I promise you that.

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    July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Bethee

    I would fire them on the spot, and then have him/her served with court papers. I’d happily skip to the courthouse to bring him/her to trial for animal abuse. I’d also ask for my money back, no matter how much. I’d be so enraged, I would want justice for my poor dog. This happened to a filly of mine who was stolen from me. I witnessed her being beaten and police would not help me. Made me physically ill.

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    July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Crystal

    knock the living daylights out of them

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  • July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jlr

    End up in jail for assault and/or worse.

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  • July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jill

    Go to jail for beating the trainer…

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    July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jessica

    Shoot the trainer.

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    July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Gail Haller

    I’d have to protect my dog and go after him

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    July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Victoria

    Beat HIM! Same as with our children…we do not need to hurt them to teach them !!

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  • July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Maurice

    I would take the whip off him and use it to scar him permanently

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    July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Miriah

    They would get shot in the throat!!!

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  • July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Laurie

    I’d be in jail within 30 minutes, I guarantee you

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    July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Chris

    Beat the hell out of them ! Nobody hurts my friends!

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  • July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Judy

    I’d take my chances with a jury…..and said trainer better hope I left my gun at home.

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  • July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Andrea

    I don’t think I could be held responsible for my actions were anyone to do such a disgusting thing.I guarantee I would snap and my usually non-violent peaceful nature would disappear in a flash.

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  • July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Cindy

    you don’t even want to know what i would do

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    July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Michelle

    POW POW POW!!

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  • July 10, 2012 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Sharon

    beat him right back!!!

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