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Discussion Starter #1
This is somewhat petty. There is a small business in town that has great pet nutrition info and high quality food that the other pet stores in town (big box stores) don't sell. Staff is friendly, they offer discounts to folks in animal welfare, owner (who is physically absent and running a branch a couple thousand miles away) is a certified pet nutritionist, etc. I like them a lot and I have a professional/friendly relationship with all the senior staff. There is one woman who works there and is nice, but very opinionated about many things (breeds, training, adoption policies, standards of care, etc).

Anyways, she REALLY likes this one trainer in town whom I really dislike. The trainer is a 'balanced' trainer. I'm sure he's done some good. But I've also heard the horror stories direct from clients who get in touch with me after his training does not help them. Think people spending 4 digit sums with NO tangible results, "hard to watch", puppy screaming... I don't bad mouth other trainers to clients. But I would never recommend this person either.

But this employee puts up newspaper clippings about this trainer, and recently has hung a huge banner (provided by the trainer) in a prominent location in the store. To me, it implies that the business is supporting this trainer. In reality, I think it's just this one employee. I wanted to talk to the employee about it... Not demand she take it down, but point out it makes it seems like an endorsement, and ask if the company is taking stances on animal welfare or training ethics. But I only go in once a month or less so I don't often see her.

The bottom line is, this makes me want to just order from Chewy, where I'd only pay $1 more and have it delivered to my door rather than needing to place a special order and pick it up. I'm really sensitive (internally) about some trainers in town. I don't have bad relationships (or any relationships) with any of them, but it does something to me when I have to work with a client and their dog AFTER another trainer has shocked/beaten/yanked the daylights of of them by the time they get to me. The dog is worse, the aggression is more severe, the methods made the dog bleed or cower or whatever. So if you can put yourself in my shoes... it's hard not to take it personally. And I just flat out don't want to support a store that not only supports, but promotes, trainers who have done horrible things to dogs. On the other hand, this would mean I'm supporting a national shipping company rather than a local, grassroots feed store.

Hardly the biggest problem in my life, but still something I'm pondering...
 

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I'd contact the owner- dont even say who you are- ask what the store's policy is and explain the situation. If the employee is that opinionated talking to her directly might just put her on the defensive- and then she'll possibly start bad mouthing YOU to people.
 

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I agree. Contact the owner of the store. At the very least, you've given them some useful feedback about why you're taking your business elsewhere.
 

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Crap doesn't stink until you step in it. Point being, simply don't step in it.

For the $1 extra, AND delivery to my door? I'd silently take a stance of my own. Done.
 

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sit down and write an old fashioned letter to the owner and ask their policy on endorsing other dog related businesses. Tell them you noted they have banners and so forth for a business in town and you would like to know their policy so you could also have your business promoted.

Then step back and see what they say.

If it is one employee and they do not allow business endorsements that may "fix it." OTOH if a business must pay to be endorsed and that business is not paying, this may put an end to it as well. OR you may be invited to also "advertise" and if so, then do it.

As a former retail business person I think it can be business suicide to endorse one business over another or endorse anyone politically. If you do, it can kill part of your business. Here you are talking of "walking" and even if you are a small part of the operation, you are a customer and you train dogs and YOU have power because you can make recommendations. A LOT of business traffic is generated through word of mouth. YOU have power. Use it.

I had a bulletin board in the store in a somewhat out of the way location. Any legal business could hang business cards and that was all.
 

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Family owned and local is not enough to get my business. If a business openly goes against my personal ethics I am usually out. it just is not something I can support. She may be the only one vocally supporting him but typically one employee can't plaster their own opinions all over a company, so I would assume the company is for this trainer. As others have said, you could always contact the owner directly and go from there. But I would not feel bad about taking my business elsewhere, even if that business is a big one, if it turns out the little one is supporting something I can't get behind.
 

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I'd try to contact the owner directly, be it by phone call, email, or letter, and just have a conversation about what is going on in the store (since it seems they are absent) and how you feel about it. In the mean time I would use Chewy, and only if/when the funny business with that other trainer/employee ended would I return to shopping there. I'm 100% for supporting small businesses and shopping locally, but for me, not supporting dog-ethics I don't believe in trumps supporting a small business, if that makes sense. Vote with your dollars, as they say.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for your input guys! I really appreciate it.
I'll talk with my supervisor and suggest writing the store owner, since she cares too and I don't want to make the same mistake (making it seem I'm speaking on behalf of my whole organization).
 

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I would probably inform the owner of what the employee is doing. Perhaps the owner doesn't know since he/she is thousands of miles away. They're basically giving the trainer free advertising....Point out that other dog owners in the community have had very bad experiences with that trainer.

And if nothing happens after you've informed the owner, then order from Chewy, or find someplace else to invest your money in local businesses.
 

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I would e-mail the store owner about it. I think, at the very least, they deserve to know why they're losing your business if you decide to switch to Chewy.
 

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Your concern is not petty...

However, I'm concerned with this statement "...Anyways, she REALLY likes this one trainer in town whom I really dislike. The trainer is a 'balanced' trainer. I'm sure he's done some good. But I've also heard the horror stories direct from clients who get in touch with me after his training does not help them. Think people spending 4 digit sums with NO tangible results, "hard to watch", puppy screaming... I don't bad mouth other trainers to clients. But I would never recommend this person either..."

If this person is such a bad trainer, is it possible they are abusing the animals? And if this is a suspicion, not based on hard fact, I'd anonymously contact the nearest SPCA chapter & police to have them checked out.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well, without getting into training ethics... I think there are many so-called trainers in town who have abused animals. I am not saying they regularly do. I am not saying they do as a principle. But some of the stories I've heard directly from former clients are just unacceptable (in my opinion). There are also hundreds of clients who are very happy with the results they get from these trainers. But I will also say I have not seen their behind-the-scenes operations, especially since they ALL do board and train.
 

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I apologize if I sounded a bit on the stringent side, but I've witnessed two acts of animal abuse and I'd rather be safe, than sorry.

Anyway, I've gotten my food delivered for years and love it as it is just one less thing I have to worry about. Unless, they deliver it to the office, instead of my door (which the delivery company did last night). ;D
 

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Venting, looking for feedback, just a different perspective? This is a judgement free zone (I get it). So none is intended. Just my thought process. Next to what goes on in hair salons (IMO) pet supply stores are really guilty of way too much "drama!" The owners of one in my neighborhood get personally offended (as in, don't bother to ask us ANY questions) if you're not prepared to feed RAW food! Yet they also sell Evangers. So it's important to understand the store owner's mentality. You say they are offsite. Are they only interested in the bottom line? Can they not afford to lose an employee? Are they actually interested in pet welfare? (Don't be disappointed if they only care about sales!). However, in order to follow your conscience, I think the only thing you can do, is send an email to the store owner informing of the situation. After all, if pets are in harm's way, at the hands of this trainer, that's a bigger issue than competition between trainers and training philosophy. And it could be the employee's endorsement of a controversial trainer is discouraging business. Or it could be seen as one trainer trying to take business away from another (should the employee turn defensive). So it would be important to phrase your observations objectively and backed by personal experiences. Otherwise, in terms of patronizing the store (if they have valuable services) it shouldn't have anything to do with one employee's errant endorsement.
As you well know, there are a wide range of training methods, depending on a dog's personality (meaning hard and soft dogs). Some are reward based and some are avoidance based. So it could be that one aspect of training is being abused due to a lack of understanding, experience and skill-set. But it is the nature of the business after all, isn't it?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
There are a wide range of training methods but they all make use of very defined principles of training and behavior. ALL dogs (and all animals) work to earn reinforcement and avoid discomfort (or something that may threaten survival).

And I am not on a personal crusade to end all balanced trainers businesses or anything like that. But let's say a trainer satisfied the goals for 99 clients but the 1 client said "well, my dog is bleeding from the neck after I did what you suggested. Also, the aggression is getting worse." I will NOT refer to that trainer, because I will not be the one who risks a person's or dog's safety no matter how small the chance. As a trainer, I can definitely say there are folks who don't agree with every thing I do, or didn't mesh with my approach. But if I could livestream every second of my training I would gladly do it. I have never done or recommended anything that would cause harm to a client or dog. And I just can't say the same for the business in question.
 

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I agree with your concerns and the suggestion to discuss with the owner. Sometimes, there is an onsite store manager that you might discuss the issues with. If you have a specific number of owners who have come to you because of poor experiences with the other trainer, that will add weight to your concerns.

One issue that may not be transparent is cross-advertising: The other trainer may be sending clients to this store in trade for the store banner. That elevates your decision to switch.

However, based on our discussions over the years, I think you would be much happier ... to simply switch. Even under the best circumstances, I think you will get bruised by the possible drama. Although the store 'endorsement' was the trigger for this concern, I think things might be better if the other trainer didn't hurt dogs. That won't be affected by an interaction with the store, AND you'll feel bad or worse, when you hear of other dogs abused by this trainer. [I don't think that any laws cover 'abuses' by a 'qualified' trainer. ... as you suggested. I personally don't like the idea of board and train, although I'm sure that some of them are not abusive.]

So I suggest that you just switch, like pet peeve recommended, for your own sanity. There will be other battles to fight, where you can make a difference and win ... without losing.
 

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I do consider it may not be a personal support for the trainer from the store stance,, it may be a business thing, because this guy purchases quantity, and or sends new customers to that business.. The store has to do what is in their best interest with out it being personal to it's customers as well. Think it is a kindness if you are going else where to have a discussion if you know them at that level and that they know if it is more then one customer feeling that way.
 
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