Owners of locked dogs have been warned about the latest ‘scam’ allowing dodgy trainers to ‘print money’
Steve Moran, a veteran dog trainer from Cheshire, has warned dog owners are being ‘ripped off’ by trainers taking advantage of the pet ownership lockdown boom
A dog trainer has warned of the state of the industry, saying owners are being ripped off in the wake of the pet boom.
Steve Moran has worked with dogs for over 30 years and currently runs Stublach Training and Boarding Kennels in Byley.
His clients over the years have included footballers, TV personalities and other high profile personalities, Cheshire Live reported.
Although Steve, who started training hunting dogs, may know a naughty pup, he fears others in the industry may not.
He believes clients are being ‘ripped off’ by trainers taking advantage of the pet ownership lockdown boom, with some claiming to be accredited despite the lack of an official governing body in the UK.
Steve said trainers are using methods that do little to stem the rise in dog attacks.
Steve Moran/Cheshire Live)
“The way I train a German Shepherd may not be the same as the way I train a Labrador,” he said of “one size fits all” training.
“The way I train a Labrador might not be the same as the way I train a Chihuahua. But now they all do things like ‘tricks for treats’ – that’s not dog training.
“What it is is a license to print money. It’s a scam and this scam is getting bigger and bigger.”
He explained how dogs, especially working puppies like German Shepherds and Border Collies, have prey – the natural instinct to chase other animals.
Steve said activities like tossing a ball activates this prey and encourages the dog to chase, which is why some dogs get out of control when chasing things like sheep or other dogs while letting go.
He said: “Anything that moves activates its prey and it has already been trained to hunt. That’s where the epidemic of dog trainers comes from – they’re not dog trainers, they’re not trained .
“What they are doing is cashing in on a post-lockdown cash cow.
“A lot of that is ‘no-strength training’. Basically, you can’t leash a dog or yell at a dog, but these people have no knowledge of working dogs.
“And if you threw a ball to get the dog’s attention – when you let that dog out into a field and there’s a flock of sheep, bingo, you’ve got two dead sheep.”
He also explained why he thinks the “treat tricks” method also doesn’t work for all dogs.
“If you hold out a treat for the dog and he starts barking, people in training think ‘oh, they’re enjoying that’ when in fact the dog is frustrated and actually says ‘give me the treat. , I don’t want to sit down.’,” he continued.
“So what’s going on? The dog, especially something like a German Shepherd or a Border Collie, chews on the hand of the person feeding him to get to the treat because he doesn’t want to go around.
“They train with these techniques which aren’t good when you let them go. They have no call backs so the dog won’t come back when you call them unless you have a treat.”
Although he criticized the coaches for only using non-strength training, he said that didn’t mean he was using strength.
“It’s subjective – there are no ‘experts’ and I’ve been doing this for over 30 years. It’s about being able to read the dog, but instead there are trainers who say this way is the right one,” he added.
“People are looking for a dog trainer and if you go online you will find more dog trainers than pebbles on a beach. Many say they are a ‘accredited’ dog behaviorist.
“It doesn’t exist, but people will see this and think ‘they must know what they’re doing’.
When asked what advice he had for clients, he said to make sure they research trainers carefully.
Steve’s concerns come after dog ownership figures skyrocketed during the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.
The percentage of households owning dogs rose to 33% in 2020/21, after remaining constant at around 22% for the previous 10 years.