Train With Your HEART
Animal Welfare Initiative
A number of notorious “trainers”, locally and in the media, are promoting the use of unethical devices (such as electric shock collars aka "ecollars", pinching/prong collars, anti-bark devices etc) and outdated brutal methods based on dominance, alpha theory and the infamous "packleadership" approach.
Let's be absolutely clear and as blunt as it gets : if a professional uses such tools or methods, he/she has no skills or ethics, and should be banned from working with dogs.
This is a threat to animal welfare we will no longer passively accept.
As our followers base grows steadily and our opinion begins to count in the industry, it is time to make a stand and put our money where our mouth is. This is why as of today, we are launching the “Train With Your HEART
- We invite all dog owners
willing to support the initiative to either contact us or simply share this page to spread awareness of the initiative.
- We invite all professionals
willing to take part or join the initiative to contact us. Anyone working with dogs, trainers, groomers, walkers and so forth, is able to participate and make a real, concrete difference.
HEART stands for
Help End Aversive & Repressive Training.
This is NOT just a declaration of intent, we will now systematically take action on 2 fronts.
FIRST FRONT: DEPLETING THE EXISTING SUPPLY.
We are well aware that there is a great number of aversive tools in British homes : shock collars, prong collars, martingales, half-check collar, anti-bark devices, air horns and so on. In most cases people have been advised by ill-informed or downright incompetent professionals. We want to have them neutralized. Consequently:
We will buy any aversive tool from anyone who
1) surrenders such tools
2) commits fully to force-free dog training.
No questions will be asked - and no judgement made.
If the tool is not yours but you obtained it from a relative, a neighbour, a stranger that you convinced to surrender it, we will buy it all the same. The practical details can be found at the end of this page.
SECOND FRONT: CAMPAIGNING AND EDUCATING
1) We will fight attempts to block the legal ban of cruel tools such as e-collars
2) We will lobby for shops and chains of shops to pull these devices from their shelves.
3) Commitment to force-free training will be integrated in our T&Cs; we will no longer contract with dog owners who do not fully commit to force-free training.
What is the objective exactly?
Our aim is pretty obvious: even though we understand that the ban of electric shock collars is inevitable, and that the ban of other aversive tools such as prongs is bound to follow, we see two main issues. First, the cogs of law are too slow, and second, it will take a while for the law to be efficiently applied even after it has passed. By giving proper incentive to dog owners to ditch outdated tools, we want to put pressure on unethical professionals, so that they eventually need to change their methods in order to stay in business. You can't really make money promoting ecollars against prey drive, for instance, if your clients sell away their device and try force-free methods instead.
We are not delusional, some dog owners will not switch - however, if every Force-Free trainer could collect half a dozen tools, that would be huge numbers pulled from circulation, the beginings of a REAL change. More importantly, that will put a huge economical pressure on unskilled trainers still promoting brutal methods coming from the alpha theory.
But even if noone was to follow us in this initiative, we would still go on with it because each cruel tool taken away is a victory for a dog somewhere.
To our fellows Dog Professionals :
If you are willing to make a stand and like us, put your money where your mouth is, just share this page, tell your clients/followers that you agree and enroll, download the visual below, display it on your pages / banners etc and let us know. We will promote you on our FB page even if you are direct competition.
This is not about marketing
, this is about doing the right thing for dog welfare, this is about putting pressure on unethical professionals out there.
Will it cost you money? YES.
There is no way around it, no sugar coating it. You can go on just ranting about dangerous professionals or do something about it.
On the other hand, there is quite a solid argument to be made that it is also a valid marketing move that will help you attract clients who are already aware of the issue and will be receptive to your commitment to a more ethical industry. Plus, a good part of the dog owners who will surrender devices will see your force-free results and will become ambassadors for you. So, one could argue that it is a triple win, your business will win, your dogs will win, and at least part of your clients will sort out their dog issues while making substantial savings. (And no, we have no issues having this part on public display, we know that our clients are not stupid and realize we also need to make a living.)
YES, a few well-known regrettable aversive lobbyists will come at you
with everything they have (we won't gratify them by naming them, but if you are in the industry you know exactly who we are looking at.)
On the other hand, the saying "if you don't disturb you don't count" is more true than ever here. If they come at you, it means you are threatening them - and that is the whole point. We are ready to deal with this.
Download visual / choose size
(square png file with transparent background)
128px 512px 2048px
A few things need to be made clear.
If you are a professional, we do not
ask for any money, contribution, fee or whatever from you. Enrolling in the scheme is on a voluntary basis. It is free.
What it will cost you is purely down to what you will pay your clients/followers to get them to surrender their tools.
Each participating professional will deal with his/her own seized tools and his/her own clients. We will not deal with other trainers' clients or tools or exchanged values.
We ask that you use the HEART visual and link to this page only because what counts is to build a collective effort. If the visual begins to pop up everywhere and if locally, more and more trainers openly call for the end of aversive training and put their own money and effort in, then things will change.
This is only the guidelines that WE will follow - each professional should adapt them to their own means/aims/market (and clearly state it to clients & followers)
It means that some professionals will only be able to offer you vouchers or credit or free bookings or bookings at discounted prices; some others will only offer cash; every professional will judge what is relevant and make it clear to you.
In our specific case (and we insist, it is only a guideline to others, not a demand), we will do either value OR cash depending on circumstances.
We will buy any and all aversive tools, with a specific focus on electric collars and prong collars, but also anti-bark devices, air-horns etc.
We will buy them based on estimated replacement value, which, as a guideline, is currently :
£50 / ecollar
£25 / anti-bark
£15 / prong collar or other similar tool
We will pay £1.50 for every £1 of item value in credit towards any services we offer.
If no service is required or possible, we will pay £0.50 for every £1 of item value in cash.
A client surrenders to us a prong collar and a martingale; we will value them at £30.
The client can choose between a credit towards services for £45 or £15 in cash.
We will not
accept promises of destruction, we will only
consider items that we physically collect when surrendered.
Surrendering items implies taking engagement NOT to buy, borrow or use any sort of replacement in the future and commit to ethical, force-free training methods to the best of your abilities.