Tuesday 01 March 2016 | 35

Kennel club dogs in distress

While there may be exceptions, footage filmed during a One Voice investigation reflects a sadly all too prevalent reality. Kennel clubs employ violent practices that might not be obvious to an untrained eye, but are glaring to veterinary specialists.

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Why investigate?

According to One Voices' partner veterinarians, the amount of behavioral disorders, bite marks, euthanasia, and abandonment cases recently recorded has been on the rise among expensive purebred dogs. These are dogs that have attended training schools and kennel clubs aimed at transforming them into perfect creatures. But perfect according to what criteria? The human constructed ideal for pets entails turning them into robots or remote controls that can obey their commands. These animal-machines preferably lack any self-determination or distinctive qualities, despite the fact that each breed possesses their own specific skillset, and even more so, each dog his or her own individual characteristics. Many people use training and kennel clubs as an attempt to create the "dream dog." But would they still do it if they knew the severity of the trauma inflicted? In order to alert the public to this issue, One Voice investigators used a hidden camera to film training sessions in several clubs. Afterwards veterinary behaviorist, Dr. Nathalie Simon analyzed the evidence.

What we denounce

Nothing is more difficult than questioning these practices. Scientists have recently rejected the prevailing school of thought that places dogs in the same category as wolves, animals that function within a hierarchical social order. However, dog trainers still employ methods that necessitate exerting dominance over the animals, in order to suppress their supposed instinct to dominate. It is clear that after a millennium of co-evolution alongside humans, canine behavioral patterns are far more complex and subtle than this. Yet in training clubs, techniques that teach submission cause much undue harm. Practices that entail loud scary noises such as ringing bells or shaking boxes of nails are widespread, as are others like shaking a puppy by the scruff of the neck. These methods often lead to quick results, because out of fear, even the most rebellious dogs submit. But in doing so, they are traumatized, resulting in tragic consequences that range from anxiety to aggression. When animal-human relationships are not based in trust, there are real costs.

What we do

One Voice both denounces these practices and calls for action to change them. Not only do we need to close down some kennel clubs, but we also must seriously revaluate our relationship with the canine species. Alternating extreme negligence with harsh methods is not a solution. Living together involves learning how to treat each dog as an individual, as well as understand their needs. Living with a dog requires respect, consistency, and trust. Violence simply cannot exist in healthy, lasting, and fulfilling relationships between humans and animals, according to the veterinarians trained by Caring for Dogs- Code of Conduct. Information and assistance regarding healthy relationships with companion animals will be available in One Voice's Dog Partner Spaces, which will be set up in partner shelters.

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In the subject

Dog training: The solidarity of hundreds of dog trainers
Abuse of seven horses: One Voice demands justice

Comments 35

I accept that publication of my comments is subject to the code of conduct.

Khelda | Wednesday 20 September 2017

C'est une honte jamais je n'accepterais ça pour mon chien,

Evelyne | Wednesday 20 September 2017

Je n'ai jamais fréquenté ce genre d'endroit car j'estime que partager l'amour et la complicité avec son ou ses compagnons se partagent mais ne s'imposent pas. Partager son toit et son couvert ne doit pas imposer une soumission quelconque mais le respect, la protection et la liberté de chacun.

Sev72 | Tuesday 19 September 2017

Heureusement que tous les clubs canins ne leur ressemblent pas. Ma chienne n'a aucune soumission et l'éducation canine a un effet positif sur elle. Elle est toujours contente d'y aller.

StepHades | Wednesday 23 November 2016

Ces méthodes coercitives, que je déplore, sont malheureusement les bases d'éducation offertes par mon club affilié à la SCC. Aucun échange, aucun partage, juste de la soumission... de l'esclavage. J'espérais mieux de gens qui soi-disant "aiment les chiens"...