Dear "No-Dogs-Should-Be-Put-Down" trainers,
I have noticed you often use this line to appeal to your target clients and also as a means to indirectly pat yourself on the back, but that's neither here nor there, you do you, I do me.
I would like to address a couple of things with the tag-line you so proudly preach however.
First of all, I want to stress that, to a degree, I agree with you. Many dogs do needlessly get put down. There are in fact many dogs that get put down for simple issues. I'm not a fan of that at all, I'm sure you agree.
We are plagued with incompetent trainers in this field, there are so many "certifications" and not enough quality control. This is how many "experts" are quick to jump to the euthanasia option. This is wrong, irresponsible, and just arrogant to assume that if they can't fix it, no one can. So yes, so far, you and I are on the same page!
Here's where I see the problem with the "No-Dogs-Should-Be-Put-Down" message: You really don't seem to consider the fact that the average pet owner is NOT a dog trainer or even has any aspirations to become one, so when you and your 5-minute Youtube training sessions manage to "relax the dog" (You and I know damn well what it is you're actually doing), you were able to do so because of the several dogs, and years you've racked under your belt. Your client doesn't have those years of experience, and some dogs take more than just a couple of techniques here and there to keep them from hurting something or someone.
These types of clients with this type of dog may in fact have to at least consider re-homing or worse.
Let me give you a hypothetical example:
Let's say Mrs. Jones and her husband, both inexperienced, decide to get a dog. They don't want to contribute to puppy mills, so they do the decent thing and go to a dog rescue organization. Let's assume the people running the shelter are mostly concerned with outgoing numbers than they are with proper matchmaking. Hell! let's assume they do want to properly match the dogs to the right owners but lack the experience to do so (both scenarios actually way too common in the rescue organizations).
Now you have the Jones' struggling, trying to figure out how to control this dog. So what do they do? they go to a dog trainer.
Ok, let's assume this first dog trainer was not very experienced and from their perspective, this dog needs to be re-homed or be put down.
The Jones' wont settle for that though, so they seek out a second opinion, maybe even a third opinion and now they start to see a pattern.
***Puffs chest, gives a shit eating grin*** "They just haven't found the RIGHT trainer." ***Raises eyebrows a couple of times***
Ok, great! you pop out of nowhere like a super hero standing with your cape and your 1000+ Youtube subscriber channel filled with quick fixes. You talk to the Jones and convince them that every trainer they have talked to aren't worthy of breathing the same air as you and give them the No-Dogs-Should-Be-Put-Down speech. Now you have the dog for 2 or 4 weeks. ["Psh...I only need 1 week!"]
I have NO doubt that you can control the dog. I'm actually giving you credit and admitting that with enough determination, you can actually work hard enough to protect your ego and thus get the dog to even get handled by your child. Now you can upload an edited video where you skip all the ass-kicking and blasting because you're mainly interested in the before and after. Now you can boast to your subscribers that 3 other trainers couldn't even accomplish a fraction of what you did in one or two days. Wonderful, right?
WRONG!!! you see, now the Jones will get the dog back, you'll be very detailed about how they should follow through, how things need to be from now on, etc. Plus, the dog is still...hmmm, what word do you use to mask "shut down", "inhibited" or "in a state of learned helplessness"? oh yeah! RELAXED.
Well, hang on! to your credit, the dog will probably be "relaxed" with the family for a day or two. Then, as the days or even weeks go by, the dog starts to revert back to its ways. Why wouldn't it? The Jones aren't dog trainers. Now they contact you and ask you for help but they have spent sooo much money in training that they are unable to afford another few weeks of training. Because YOU were successful with the dog, it can't possibly be your fault! Because NO-DOG-SHOULD-BE-PUT-DOWN, it can't possibly be the dog's fault, so guess who feels like shit now? That's right, the Jones!
There are dogs that are in the wrong home. The dog above, is Jaxx, my personal dog. I have no doubt that if this dog were with another family, it would keep going back to the shelter, or worse be put down. He's an amazing dog and I love him. He has issues but ultimately, he just needs the right home. With me, he's a happy dog, but I'm a dog trainer and I love this dog.
There are also dogs that are extremely difficult, dogs that, yes, a trainer could control. But what trainer wants a dog that you can't relax with? How many dog trainers are in that market? not many! Not many trainers are out there looking for these extremely difficult or aggressive dogs that require constant supervision just so that they don't make a terrible mistake. Again, I'm not talking about your average dog that's inappropriate or pulls a bit. I'm talking about the severe cases, which are actually out there, being paired up with inexperienced families. These dogs are a liability and a huge stress for their owners. No one is happy.
So why not be transparent and suggest re-homing? In the more severe cases, even worse.
Again, I'm no pro-euthanasia. Most dogs out there are just not properly matched. There are however some dogs that fall through the cracks that are quite dangerous. These dogs have no business being in an average pet person's home.
I make no apologies about suggesting euthanasia if the dog is dangerous, has proven to be dangerous and has an extreme history, specially if it's matched with the wrong family.