Today’s Dog Training Industry

Disrupted by Dogpro and the Canine Community as a Collective

This is no longer news: Petco will no longer be stocking “shock collars” or “e-collars” on their shelves in their stores. 

However, what is news, not only the dog training community but also everyday pet parents, is that Petco has sponsored several campaigns to promote their upcoming initiatives. 

Look, we need to start off by saying this is not going to be a “PetNo” type of article, bashing the corporation’s choices. Instead, it is a call to action for the canine community as a collective group. 

As dog trainers and enthusiasts, we want to ensure the best, healthiest, and wonderful lives for our dogs. We want pet parents to enjoy their dogs, and for their dogs to thrive with them. That is why we’d like to offer you other perspectives on the recent decisions of the corporation Petco Animal Supplies, Inc. 

Petco is owned by a major corporation who has intentions to bring the company public in the near future. They were last purchased for $4.6 Billion dollars worth of commercial power and are hoping to achieve a valuation of $6 Billion dollars in 2021. To take that down another level, they have the financial power to fund major campaigns and initiatives like #StopTheShock, and others. The trainer you met while you were out walking your dog who offered you free advice, then suggested you meet up for walks once a week may not use an e-collar, or any tools at all… but you can bet they don’t have virtually limitless financial backing to push their initiatives on others. 

Their advocacy of Positive Training works for them, and they recognize other methods and tools work for other trainers - we think that’s fantastic. We respect one another’s training philosophy.

What is less respectable is the petition Petco formed to increase policy and legislation on the sale of what they refer to as “human- and bark-activated electronic "shock" collars. Petco is not an authority in the dog training space, however, with their financial power they have the ability to influence and market to an under-educated population of dog owners who may not fully understand what they are signing. It’s just that Petco wins in this situation because of their infrastructure which smaller dog training companies or individual trainers cannot compete with. 

Everyone is an individual. Every dog is an individual. And some dogs are extremely powerful. Some dogs have behavioral issues which cannot be solved with purely positive training. That’s okay, but it isn’t what we’re here to talk about

We’re here to talk about solutions and alternative perspectives. 

More food for thought: why support a major corporation when small businesses have been struggling due to COVID-19, economic struggles, and other side effects of the pandemic? 

Which leads us to talking about the Petco Foundation. As a non profit organization, they regularly donate to the ASPCA, various rescue organizations, and shelters all over the country. Those shelters are aligned with Petco Animal Supply Inc. training philosophy, which is purely positive. 

Do you know of any balanced training shelters or rescues? We can’t think of any off the top of our heads. We can’t find any after research. 

And when you say it like that … doesn’t positive training sound better than the utilization of tools? It’s marketing, it’s a campaign, and it isn’t about the dog you love so much who you’ve had for 4, 5 years and they’re your best friend. It’s about money. 

Dogpro Co-Founder, Matt Hubble, suggests a solution-based response. There needs to be a better union of dog trainers and the canine community as a collective. We need funding for open minded shelters and rescues who can responsibly implement tools such as the e-collar, prong-collar, and other methods of reinforcement from professional trainers to help at-risk dogs. We need better manufacturing of tools and quality education around them. 

So, it’s okay if Petco wants to take e-collars off the shelves. It may be unlikely a customer purchases an e-collar and associated training classes from the store itself. Could be unlikely the dog the tool was bought for benefits from the tool instead of regressing. 

We can, and should be acting as a community or union in order to take a piece of cake away from a corporation that could dominate a space desperate for quality education, dedicated professionals, and up to date knowledge. 

Join us at Dogpro and Canine Performance Coach to unite as a collective canine community. 

Want to see how we implement e-collar here at Canine Performance? Check out the video below!