Landmark Retrievers in Ennis, Texas is under fire for a video released by a former employee. The video shows the trainer, Jeffrey Schultz, picking the dog up by his ears, yelling at him, and then hitting him. During the investigation of this incident the trainer said that the video isn’t long enough for his actions to be justified…wait… I am not sure if those actions could ever be justified. Oh, but the dog did try to bite him. Well, wouldn’t you think as a trainer he should know signs of a dog becoming irritated and correcting his behavior before he gets bit? This video has outraged many pet parents, as it should.
More and more families are making dogs a part of their family. To be a good pet parent and for the dog to know what is expected of him/her, training is essential. This makes you wonder who you can trust to train your dog properly with the correct training techniques that will enhance the dogs communication with it’s owners, not hinder it.
I spoke with Becky Paxson, our dog trainer about this video and her take on it. She also suggests when hiring a dog trainer to always do your homework even if they were a referral. Not only check references, but how transparent is the company/individual, what makes them qualified; experience, license, schooling, etc. You can see our interview with her below…
Q: As a trainer do you think the Ennis trainer should have reacted that way?
A: NO, as a trainer you should recognize stress signals. He was trying to force the dog to do a retrieve. You should always set the dog up for success and if you start noticing signs of stress (ears back, not focused, half moon eyes) give them a break and come back to it later.Take it step by step and teach the dog what they are supposed to do.
Q: Should you leave your dog with a trainer or should you be present during training?
A: It’s best if you can be there during training. Training is a great bonding experience and if you aren’t there you run the risk of the dog not listening to you. Training sets up trust and communication between the owner and the dog. However, there are a couple people I would trust with my dog with out me. It’s all about doing your research, ask for references, and what type of follow up training do they do to ensure the owners have success.
Q: When you hit a dog, what kind of message does that send them?
A: They will fear you and they will become submissive and cower when someone tries to touch them. Repercussions of animal abuse can be devastating. Let’s say a child holds his arm up next to the dog that was hit in the past, the dog associates that movement with being hit and may attack. Whenever a dog is doing something wrong, show him what’s right.
“Whenever a dog is doing something wrong, show him what’s right“
Q: What else should we learn from this incident and how can we prevent it from happening to our own?
A: You can’t force anyone or anything to do something they don’t know. Know body signs and give your dog a break if they seem frustrated. Be careful in the ways you or a trainer trains them, because you can easily lose trust by forcing them that will take twice the time to regain if ever completely. Know what kind of training the trainer practices and what kind of tools they use. Do they use pinch collars and force or do they use clickers and treats? A trainer should use their hands for good not bad and if someone says they can “FIX” your dog RUN!!!
“If someone says they can “FIX” your dog, RUN!!!“
We hope this was helpful in your search for finding the perfect trainer. If you would like to speak with Becky Paxson about enhancing you and your dog’s communication give her a call @ (817) 542-9002
Tell us what you think about this video and story below! Do you think that was the proper way to show a dog how to act or do you think it was the trainer’s fault the dog bit him in the first place?