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Stop the Hillsborough County, Fl Dog Trainer Ordinance

This petition had 5,037 supporters

Hillsborough County, FL is proposing a licensing requirement for Dog Trainers which heavily favors a reward-only approach, and would restrict the professional trainer's ability to properly train dogs and help their clients.  

This Ordinance began with good intentions, triggered by the loss of a family pet. The goal was to protect families and ensure that professionals could be held accountable for negligence under the law.

However, since it’s introduction, Extreme Animal Rights groups have gotten their lobbyists involved and manipulated a well-meaning ordinance into a mechanism to push their own agenda.

Our hearts break for the family involved who lost their pet, and we want nothing more then to ensure the welfare of all dogs. However, passing this ordinance will lead to many more pets’ lives lost, by restricting dog trainers in such a way that families who are struggling with their dogs will no longer have access to proper training and will be forced to surrender or euthanize.

The proponents of this ordinance use language to lead people to believe that what they are suggesting is the only “humane” and “scientific” way to train dogs. This is nothing more than rhetoric, and has no basis in actual science and ethics. We all agree that positive reinforcement is good, and should be the foundation of all training programs. But, the dose makes the poison, and restricting training to only positive reinforcement methods is wrought with far reaching unintended consequences that will be devastating for dogs and dog owners.

The science is very clear that positive reinforcement methods alone are not sufficiently effective when it comes to managing and resolving problem behaviors. The way this ordinance may be interpreted could make it very difficult for professional trainers to properly educate dog owners about how to use negative reinforcement and positive punishment in fair, humane, and effective ways. Without proper education, dog owners will be left to improvise which will certainly lead the way to greater harm and abuse. Favoring reward over punishment is inconsistent with science and the basic laws of learning.

Industry regulation such as licensing should not be undertaken without careful thought as to the potential unintended consequences of the licensure requirements. As it is currently worded, this ordinance is wrought with ambiguities that can lead to extreme interpretations that would limit professionals’ abilities to properly do their jobs, and potentially lead to far greater harm for dogs in Hillsborough County.

Say "NO" to the Hillsborough County Dog Trainer Ordinance. 

To better understand this important issue, please check out this chapter from Ivan Balabanov's upcoming book The Fundamental Principles of Dog Training.


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