Letters (03/00)


I am an enthused reader of WDJ; it is the only doggy magazine/journal that I subscribe to and read. I also operate an independent home business delivering high quality pet foods such as Natura, Canidae, and Natural Balance foods. Your continual attention to the quality of products has made me a fan of your work.

However, recently you referred to the members of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers as being non-force trainers, and you suggest that readers look to the APDT list for referrals to trainers. As a trainer of pet dogs for 26 years and one that is completely force-free, I can assure you that some members of APDT do use force-based training methods.

-Sue Myles
Companion Dogs by Sue Myles
Orange County, CA


Dear Sue,
Thanks for pointing this out; we absolutely should have been more clear on this point.

While the APDT’s mission statement states that the group strives to “encourage the use of positive reinforcement in dog training and minimize the use of aversive procedures,” not all of its members actually do this in practice.

All dog owners should see a prospective trainer in action a few times before taking a class with him, or, worse, turning a dog over to him. If you see any methods that make you uncomfortable, listen to your intuition and do not engage the services of that trainer.

For more information, see Pat Miller’s excellent article, “Choosing the Right Trainer,” May 1998.