Shelters and Trainers Would Rather Kill Than Train With a Balanced Trainer

Rescues & Shelters:  Plan to Train with  a Prong Collar?  — Application Denied and Dogs Die.


“Positive Trainers”:  Use a Prong Collar?  Have an Aggressive Dog? — Don’t Train the Dog.  Just Rehome.  Or Better Yet Kill the Dog.


You would be outraged if that were common practice.   But the truth is, they are putting down dogs that have potential to be perfectly trained dogs.    And doing it in the name of all positive training.

Dogs in shelters often do not display their normal disposition.  They are terrified and behaviors can be dramatically affected by the environment — and by inexperienced volunteers or workers.

Daily practice around this country in many towns, including ours, denies adoption of dogs to potential adopters who are willing to get them trained.   Dogs with common, fixable issues die every day because to fix them would require using a training method (such as a prong collar or ecollar) that is not a treat or clicker.   Dog’s that show any sign of aggression, even if it’s rooted in fear, lack of socialization, or shelter stress are killed because the all positive trainer can’t fix it with a treat and affection.   So it’s better to die than to let a trainer like me correct them with a prong collar or ecollar. .  We’re not talking full on aggression – but common issues like jumping, excitability, growling with fear, demonstrated resource guarding with a fake hand, etc.

Keep Reading……

Last year, I went to a trainer’s conference and was completely distraught at the message of many trainers there.    Upon posting my blog, someone I know personally, began a campaign to beat me up through social media.   Floods of all positive trainers rallied to condemn my point of view.

Truth be told, I was rattled to the core.  Despite how totally hateful my “all positive peers” actually were,   I explored many resources in an effort become a convert to all positive methods.  But I failed.  I have looked for videos and information demonstrating PP success with the kinds of dogs I see every day.  I can’t find it.  At least not with long-term success and efficient results.

Gosh, what the heck is wrong with me that I can’t figure out how to be successful without correcting a dog or without using a prong collar or ecollar for some of the dogs?  Surely, I ought to be able to do it too.

Wrong.  I truly was spending time on a losing effort.     And still there are frequent recommendations to kill dogs who need training that corrects behavior.

Thankfully, though I have found several other like-minded, experts in their field who believe using a balanced approach to training saves lives.


I meet dogs and handlers every single day struggling to coexist together.   Dogs that are miserable to walk, stressful to live with because they are simply out of control.   Owners struggle with common, fixable issues.   Some  dogs may have signs of biting, separation anxiety, dogs that are scared of their own shadows, dog fighting, peeing in the house and so on  — but in most cases it can be fixed.

And at least a few times a week, someone contacts me about a dog that someone else has told them needs to be rehomed or put down.    This is not an occasional problem anymore.   It’s becoming much more frequent.

If our goal is a no-kill nation, and a home for every dog –  we have to make some changes to attitudes and opinions.  Take a very close look at those you support and follow and when you find yourself appalled or outraged, take action.

Owners just want to fix the dog they love.  In most cases, they don’t really care about agility, championships, or other high performance sports – they just want a family dog that is calm and happy in their home.

Owners are stressed.   Financially impacted.  And sometimes at risk of someone getting hurt or of losing the dog.  Literally, ending the dog’s life – because who the hell else is going to take your dog with issues?

So yes, too many shelters and too many rescues are killing dogs because they refuse to allow the dog to be given a correction (aversive:  verbal no, touch, leash correction, bark collar, pet corrector, use a prong collar or ecollar) or with a trainer who can actually fix the problem using these tools.  Without pain, without stress to the dog, without unnecessary financial costs and without significant time.

Dogs are being denied adoption to great families who are willing to train a dog – because the owner has said they will work with a trainer who may use a prong collar or ecollarl to end bad behavior.     I see it more often than I can stand, and I am finding a very large number of balanced trainers who are seeing the same thing all over the country.

Owners struggling.  Dogs are dying.  Some problems are just not being fixed with affection and food.   If you can make it happen with a marker and a treat – do it and rock on with absolute accolades from the balanced trainer community.   But, in many cases some trainers either refusing to take the dog on at all or suggesting the dog be put down.

Some owners kill their dogs without hope because a vet or trainer gave them none.  Some owners refuse to give up and continue to seek help – thank goodness.

My findings are that there are a number of excellent trainers with many years of experience and 1000s of successful rehabs that believe what I believe.  They are seeing the same problems

When did it become better to kill a dog than to use a training collar?

Help is available.   Great Help that does NOT harm the dog!

Sometimes, to fix bad behaviors in a dog, you have to communicate with them in a new way.  You must give a correction that they understand.   A way that creates a new response.    Treats and love alone are not going to fix aggression.   Treats are not going to fix a reactive dog dragging their owner down the street to attack another dog.  Treats are not going to fix Separation Anxiety.    These issues can be corrected without stress or pain to the dog.   It’s done daily by really good trainers and committed owners.

What’s worse?

  • A correction to a dog using prong or ecollar that is quick, uncomfortable but not painful (yes, I’ll prove it to you and give you a list of referrals) and effective almost immediately    – OR – Your kids being at risk?
  • Financial burden because they are eating the couch?  Or the risk of surgical removal of the material he ingested?
  • Injuring people (someone else’s pain) because you don’t want to correct the dog?
  • Vet bills because they are hurting themselves (pain) or emotional stress (also pain).
  • What about your stress?  Lack of sleep?  Fear of what if?  Liabilities?  Giving the dog away? A dead dog?

I invite you to listen/read and do your own research.   If you are struggling with a dog with bad behavior or want reliable off leash training for your dog – consider proven methods that work.
In most cases, your problem can be fixed.
I BEG you – before you consider the death of a dog or rehoming a dog you already own or another day of struggling with problems  – go talk to a balanced trainer face to face.   Get a demonstration of a prong collar or ecollar.   Get a demonstration of a dog they have trained.   Get a referral or three.   Get help.  You have everything to gain.  You have nothing to lose with a consult.

More from experts in the field of aggressive dog rehab:

Tyler Muto:

Jeff Gellman:


Just keep digging if you need more info.  It’s out there!    True, there are two camps.   I will always land in the camp that saves dogs.  I’m still open to having my mind changed if you have the results and shared knowledge to back it up….

This madness has to stop.