If you're on FACEBOOK, you know there's a group for just about ANY topic under the sun. Dog Training of course is a very popular topic. There is a Facebook dog group for everyone: Purely Positive Trainers, Protection Trainers, Sport Specific Trainers and Handlers, Breeders, Trainers with a Sense of Humor, E-collar Trainers, etc.
Personally, I don't have an issue with Facebook dog groups as I follow a few myself. Some of the content can actually be very engaging. Unfortunately, there's A LOT of content that should be ignored from these groups. There's so much content that can actually be quite misleading and those are the ones you have to be careful with.
CONTENT TO STAY AWAY FROM
PEOPLE WHO WANT FREE ADVICE:
"Hi, I have a dog that [Fill in behavior problem], [Fill in unfortunate circumstances]. Is there anything I can do? What do you recommend?"
Posts like these are are presented by inexperienced dog trainers and your average dog owner looking to get their problem fixed.
Because you don't know the dog or the person posting, you really need to refrain from giving this person a suggestion. You have to take into account that most pet owners misinterpret their dog's actions, symptoms and communication signals. There's a lot there that you don't know, you don't have the advantage of seeing the dog in person, so giving this trainer or owner a suggestion is a huge disservice to them.
Giving a maintenance or coping tip UNTIL they find a dog trainer to work with, is OK, but that's about it. Remember, their sense of timing is probably not as good as yours, neither is their ability to read dogs. Otherwise, they wouldn't be on Facebook asking for help.
PEOPLE WHO WANT TO PROVE A POINT:
Some dog groups love discussion posts and thus you get some groups that have discussion after discussion. I'll admit that there are times that I briefly get sucked in some of those posts. I don't know your level of experience or preferred method of training, but I'm just going to tell you that you will not be educating or changing anyone's mind in dog groups.
If you want to get involved in posts like this, do so at your own risk, if you do, it's likely you'll find a dismissive prick who thinks your opinion is invalid and that you don't know enough to comment, which may actually be true!
Sometimes those discussion groups are actually valuable and you can see other people's experience but there's almost always that one person who will find a way to ruin the thread. Again, participate at your own risk.
CONTENT THAT YOU FIND OFFENSIVE:
Please don't be one of those people. If posts offend you, move the hell on. If you find yourself getting offended easily, close your Facebook account because the internet is not a safe place.
Unless you see a dog get killed, tortured or be subjected to an extreme amount unfair treatment, don't get involved. Not every post is for you.
If you find too many offensive posts, you may be suffering from a serious condition and this guy may be able to help you.
HOW TO USE FACEBOOK DOG GROUPS
FIND LIKE MINDED DOG TRAINERS:
One thing Facebook dog groups are good at, is identifying like-minded dog trainers/people. Just following posts on dog groups I follow, help me identify dog people I feel aligned with. You can identify them by their posts, if they're active, and/or by their comments and contributions. I've struck a friendship with a complete stranger online whose training methodologies are very similar to mine, making it possible to feel comfortable bouncing ideas off of each other more than once. Have we wanted to strangle each other on different topics, sure! but the value of having a like-minded trainer you can bounce ideas off of can be an invaluable resource.
TO STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE NEWS:
I have on more than one occasion heard something new happening in the dog training world through a Facebook dog group. News articles that involve legislature that affects the dog training community or an unfortunate event involving a dog and a person/another dog that I can use improve how I communicate with clients.
In general, Facebook dog groups can a be of great value, you just have to make sure you're using them to your advantage and not wasting your day away on useless posts that will resolve nothing and make you more upset than anything else.