But after talking things through with a few friends, colleagues and trusted advisors and mentors, I decided it was time to try to breathe some life into the NSCC and re-enervate our movement. The support of like-minded trainers, behavior consultants and owners/guardians of companion dogs who have been educated enough to know that training without force or pain is the most efficient and durable method will be ardently solicited and gratefully accepted. This is no small feat, and I have no more illusions that I can spin all these plates on my own.
The NSCC will never campaign for bans on equipment. That's not because we believe these devices are appropriate or useful in any way as training tools, but calling for bans will work against us in the long run.
- The companies who manufacture shock collars have huge, deep pockets, and their marketing machines can out run any bumper sticker campaign we might attempt.
- At least one big training franchise has made a fortune convincing users (and probably many of their trainers as well) that shock collars are benign, efficient and humane, and calling for bans will only incite them to conjure up more mass-market misinformation.
- Ultimately, I believe that our industry needs to do a better job of regulating itself, setting standards for effective and humane training, and enforcing those standards. Demanding bans on training gear leaves the door wide open for our business to be regulated by governmental bodies, or even more dangerous, by other industries.
- The vast majority of NSCC members are trainers and behavior people, who are, by trade, educators first. As passionate as we can get about a cause, in the end we all have to admit that getting education about the issues down to the consumer level is the surest way of retiring shock collars for good. Once people truly understand the issues and facts, they can begin to make better decisions about their dog training choices.
We'll also be running a couple of fundraisers throughout the year to help us offset the cost of domain name registration, website maintenance and design, media and collateral production and other stuff we can use to promote our message. These fundraisers will involve sales of t-shirts and other items that sport our identity and allow you to show your support in more ways than one!
Thanks to all who have been so supportive and encouraging, and to everyone who believes in training that is effective and pain-free.
All the best,
Barbara Davis, CPDT-KA, CDBC