It's Not Me, It's You

It's over. We had some great times. You gave me an endless selection of items, great customer service and an unwavering option to auto-ship. But I've moved on, and you should too.

I'm talking to you, Chewy. And trust me, I'm not the only one. Since moving to a more populated area, I've seen a staggering amount of dogs wearing "training collars." In a recent post I wrote that, "I am tired of companies who profit off the sale of choke chains and prong collars. Not to mention shock collars." It's time to do something about it.

I'm so tired, in fact, that I will happily forego that endless selection and customer service that I so loved. How many friends and family members have I referred to you? Now that it's over, will they all be forced to choose sides, going my way or yours? Of course not, but I do hope this blog will help guide them down the path I'm taking. Or at the very least help them to make more conscious choices about where they shop.

Cute collars, not prong collars

I've been dragged around a vet clinic by dogs wearing prong collars and thought to myself, "Isn't this supposed to alleviate pulling? Since it clearly isn't, aren't we just hurting the dog for no reason at all?" I've seen dogs wearing choke collars, straining at the end of their leashes, coughing and gasping for air. Again, I think to myself, "Isn't this supposed to alleviate pulling? Since it clearly isn't, aren't we just damaging their tracheas for no reason at all?"

I don't expect the general dog owning public to know better. I don't expect it because a large number of "experts" spout misinformation and harmful nonsense on a daily basis. But despite all of that, the trend is going our way. By our way, I mean the way of real trainers that advocate for positive reinforcement and science-based techniques. Trainers who are NOT interested in forcing animals to do anything.

In a 2008 issue of "International Wolf," world renowned wolf biologist David Mech wrote, "It has been said that it generally takes about 20 years for new science to fully seep down to general acceptance, including even new medical breakthroughs." While Mech was specifically referring to the "alpha [wolf] concept and terminology," there's no denying these two issues are inexplicably interwoven. "Trainers" who use force are often proponents of pain inflicting devices such as prong collars and justify their use in the name of "establishing dominance."

"Science has come to understand that most wolf packs are merely family groups." - David Mech

Luckily it seems the tides are turning. In the name of speeding things along, let's try our best to be conscious consumers. Let's stop supporting companies whose very first search result is a metal, pronged device designed to dig into your dog's neck when you all you want is a regular old collar.

Instead, let's all try to put our hard earned money where our mouth is. That's why today I'm deleting my Chewy account. It may just be a drop in the bucket, but it's true when I say I spent a good portion of my "pet supplies" money there.

It's time to start a new romance. This time I'm going with Petflow. They may not be perfect, but they're making an effort. Which is more than I can say about you know who. This morning I visited Petflow's website to find this declaration: "We've partnered with Zak [George] to promise that we won't sell any products meant to inflict pain on animals, like shock collars or choke chains. Some stores are proud to say they have everything; PetFlow is proud to say we don't."

Play > Punishment

Let's make our own promise and stop supporting companies that sell such products. Animals can't advocate for themselves and well, money talks.

If you do decide to deactivate any accounts associated with business practices you do not support, be sure to let them know why. It just might help change things!

Addendum: When I said that Petflow isn't perfect, I meant it. They still sell things like scat mats, bark collars and ultrasonic bark deterrents. Unfortunately, we are now at a point in the pet care industry where progress must be emphasized over perfection. Based on their stance of not selling choke, prong or shock collars, I believe we can infer they would be open to suggestions of removing other aversive products. If you would like to join me in sending them this recommendation, visit this link to make your voice heard.

I'm sure we are all looking forward to the day these products are made illegal. Here's hoping that one day soon the U.S. will follow the lead of England and Scotland!

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