I have worked with animals for longer than I care to admit in public. Yet, during all those years I have discovered only one universal truth about animal training: that there is only one thing two animal trainers are likely to agree on, and that’s the fact that a third animal trainer is dead wrong.
No two animal training experts agree on all subjects. There are countless schools of thoughts about how animals should best be trained, that’s true, and the most commonly accepted methods have changed over the years. Generally speaking, the tendency in the Western world has been to shift towards “gentler” methods. Just as our society in general has become less accepting of violence in the home, oppression in the work place and so on, we demand a kinder treatment for animals. This is also possibly a reflection of the fact that for most of us, animals are a luxury, an addition to our life, rather than a necessity. Not so long ago, when we relied on animals to perform tasks for us, people tended to have a less lenient view of their misbehaviour, and take sterner steps to control it. Times move on, life changes and so do our ethics. Our legislation, as legislation does, has followed suit, and the Animal Welfare Act of 2006 places serious responsibilities on all people who care for animals.