by Niki Tudge
Each of us wants to bring about change in our industry. We yearn for a day when pain and fear are no longer used in the training and care of pets. We have a mammoth job ahead of us, and it most certainly is not a sprint but a marathon.
It is possible to hold professional autonomy and support your choice of humane hierarchy while also taking a stand and position against the use and application of tools designed with one purpose: to inflict pain or fear. As such, I call on each of you to take a more deliberate stance on harmful equipment and approaches.
Let’s embrace the vast body of scientific research that details the many advantages of positive training methods and publicly say “no” to any technique that causes pain or fear—including those administered via equipment that delivers electric shocks. Surely, we can agree that there is never a scenario, morally or ethically, where the implementation of a method or tool that uses pain, force or fear can ever be justified or deemed necessary.
Some of us have the privilege and responsibility to engage pet professionals and, consequently, reach the wider audience comprised of pet owners and caretakers. We are in the optimal position to make significant changes across our industry, for the benefit of the pets we help, the owners we support and the professionals we represent. The time to achieve this is now, and we must consider it our duty to help shape the future of our industry.
To meet this challenge, we must advocate and uphold a mutually agreed upon set of guiding principles. Each of us needs to lead by example in every one of our interactions. Through our actions and high standards of conduct and performance, we can influence how our industry evolves. We can take a stand using scientific facts and reasonableness.
We must also temper our message with the recognition that not every professional is motivated to learn about alternative training methods, nor are they interested in adopting different approaches. To this I say, focus your energy, action and bandwidth where your investment will yield satisfying results, and avoid giving a wider platform or megaphone to those who simply shy away from the facts.
Let’s take a huge step together and commit to advocating for methods that are Informed by Science, Guided by Empathy, and Governed by Ethics™.
Advocate for those who have no voice; help support and educate those who do not know any better in a respectful way; and reach out and encourage those who are learning, transitioning and asking for support.
What Is Advocacy?
Advocacy is about taking action, speaking out in favor of humane, ethical approaches to pet care and training. It incorporates making recommendations for our cause on behalf of pets and their caretakers. To be effective advocates, we must have a deliberate focus on our long-term goals. We need to support and value each other, be open to different ways of sharing our message and be committed to looking at and responding to positions on important issues.
Advocacy is not bullying; it is not designed to intimidate or harass, and it does not intend harm, either physical or emotional. Advocacy is simply putting forth your position in a professional, respectful and factual manner.
Come and join us next week for our Facebook Live with the PPG Advocacy Panel. It’s free and open to all. The topic is:
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE THE ONLY FORCE-FREE PROFESSIONAL IN TOWN?
Click HERE for details.
Niki Tudge – MBA, PCBC-A, CABC, CDBC SSA-CFT, Six Sigma Black Belt, HCITB TS1, TS2 & TS3
Niki is a certified dog behavior consultant and holds reputable health and fitness certifications.
As the founder and president of the Pet Professional Guild, DogNostics Education, and The DogSmith, Niki has substantial leadership experience in the pet industry. Niki has published numerous articles on dog training and behavior, and her pet dog training businesses have been featured in many publications, including The New York Times.
Niki’s professional credentials include AABP-Professional Dog Trainer, AABP-Professional Dog Behavior Consultant, PCBC-A and PCT-A through the Pet Professional Accreditation Board. Niki also earned diplomas in animal behavior technology and canine behavior science and technology through the Companion Animal Sciences Institute.
Along with Niki’s business degree and MBA from Oxford Brookes University, she is also a certified Six Sigma Black Belt, an HCITB TS1, TS2 and TS3 certified people trainer, and a certified team facilitator and project manager.
To complement Niki’s dog behavior skills and experience, she is also a certified fitness instructor and walking and running coach, and she carries several certifications in the health and fitness industry. Additionally, Niki offers coaching and fitness programs through her Run With Your Bestie business.
Her professional credentials include International Sports Science Association (ISSA) Certified Fitness Trainer, ISSA Certified Transformation Specialist, ISSA Nutrition Coach and ISSA Elite Trainer. Niki is also a certified ChiWalking and ChiRunning coach. In addition, she has completed the well-known M.A.F. Foundations certificate course developed by Dr. Phil Maffatone and is a supporter of the M.A.F. system.