I’ve been soliciting comments from the blog and from my email subscribers for a while and have assembled some interesting answers and questions.
On the blog, most of the answers to my subscriber’s questions appear in the order they were received and I still have a large number in the queue.
At the moment, my Pepsi Refresh Everything Voters are getting answers to their questions and special offers and contributions from others who support the project I hope to fund.
Now this post is going to stretch out into a few different ones because I am going to be a bit long winded.
So bear with me.
Recently I noticed several pet professionals reading the blog and so decided to venture where few dare to tread–because the only thing two trainers seem to agree on is what the third is doing wrong.
The questions I posed were ‘Who or what is your favorite animal training source?‘ and ‘Who or what animal training source makes you cringe?‘.
Those answers were not posted publicly until new ones stopped arriving because I didn’t want any rude or desparaging remarks.
This blog is like my living room, you are invited in but politeness and respect is expected and also outlined in the Comment Policies.
Although the comments left to the questions recently posed are only a small sampling, they tend to reflect trends that I’ve noticed in my 35+ years in the field.
- The answers trend according to what training philosophy or background the person had/has and also tend to be regional or species specific.
What I mean by that is that dog people know dog training sources.
Horse people know horse training sources. Etc.
- People are also influenced by region so east coast people know those in their area and the same goes for those on the other side of America.
- Another trend is among membership groups, as members tend to network with other members and tend to meet in person at conferences or workshops.
- People are also influenced by the visibility and notoriety or offensiveness of the training source.
Now, over the years I’ve had some interesting experiences because I cross animal training cultures.
What do I mean by that?
When I trained wild animal actors, I knew all the animal trainers in the movie and television world on the West Coast.
When I began training in zoos, I was a heretic for a long while because it was in the late 1970s when it was not popular like it is now–but I certainly knew the other wild animal trainers in the region at private facilities.
During the time I worked with marine mammals, I knew marine mammal trainers.
Then there were the primatologists–same story.
Eventually I began to network with and met the domestic animal crowd.
Then when I went back to training elephants, I knew the elephant trainers.
And so on and so on.
Now I obtained my degree in animal training and management along with a whole lot of special certifications but I am a practical gal—meaning I grew up in the trenches and so am not just a theoretical or academic practitioner.
So, I respect others for what they do but not necessarily for their notoriety or popularity.
You have to prove you worthy of respect.
And so the guy who stands over another trainer taken down by an adolescent lion and uses his training rapport to protect the guy from further assault has my respect.+
Anything else is bullsh**.
Now before I get into some of my thoughts about the answers and what my take is about them, I have to share a story.
So come back later in the week when I continue…
+See the comments for more details.
Photo Credit: GGunter