Updated: Apr 5
Should dog behaviourists and trainers learn signs of pain? Yes, of course, they should, and they have a professional ethic to consider pain when working with any dog.
Dogs have been artificially selected to look a certain way and fed poor quality, well-packaged food long enough to affect their generational health, including their joint health. Yet we still see people trying to change their behaviour without considering they might be in pain, most recently on TV, and I’m saddened to say.
Legislation must fill the gap between many active professional dog trainers and dog welfare once and for all.
I live with older dogs with joint problems. This house has slipping knees, spine issues, and joint dysplasia.
We have walk reluctance, growling, sound sensitivity and excessive barking. All of those could be considered dogs are behaving very badly if we were uneducated.
We educate ourselves, though, and because of that, we have regular vet visits, managed walks, physiotherapy, exercises, supplements and painkillers. We are always all on a diet for our health.
Our home is bursting with rugs and stairs onto the sofa and beds.
Just the thought of our dogs being called names, pushed, punished, and their beneficial life changes removed, well, there is no word for how sad and angry that makes me.
Yet this happens all too often when people have no genuine empathy or education and place themselves as dog experts. Directly at odds with the Animal Welfare Act of 2006, which states a dog needs to be protected from pain, suffering, injury, and disease.
Rioja-Lang, Bacon, Connor, and Dwyer (2020) established that the key when it comes to animal welfare concerns is lack of knowledge about the care of the species especially portrayed through the inability of animal owners, carers, or breeders to notice and manage pain, or recognise poor health in animals.
It can be hard when you live with a dog every day to see straight; emotions make it harder. Sometimes we can be too close.
Dog guardians ask for help when they are worried about their dogs.
They think they can trust the experts.
Anyone going on TV as an expert needs to realise the importance of their role. Anyone offering expert help is responsible for placing welfare above anything else for the dog and their guardian. Not only are they letting that dog and their people down, but bad TV dog training is also creating a vast array of people who will take an equally damaging approach to dogs they should be helping.
Living with older dogs is a joy. They seem to just fit. Yet we do need to keep an eye on their health and watch them for signs of pain.
If your dog is getting older please do consider my book The Senior dog Wellness Guide. Just click the picture on the left to see it.