Animal welfare community Chained Dog Awareness in Singapore ushered in the new year with a cautionary tale regarding golden retriever, Cody who was severely injured from the use of electric and prong collars.
The group got reflective in a Facebook post saying, “As we usher in the new year with new resolutions, let’s not forget to reflect on humanity, compassion and kindness – how we can do better in the new year, especially if you have a pet at home.”
A very good and boisterous boy
The post continued to tell the story of Cody – not the real name of the dog – who joined his family as a three-month old puppy.
The group also emphasized the importance of puppy training, especially for families and owners who have never taken care of a dog. Cody, like all puppies, was highly active and playful. To add on, he was also not trained from the get-go and the experience of keeping him became too overwhelming for his caretaker, only known as E.
By the time he was sent for training, he had become “out of control” and was rejected by places for being too boisterous.
However, that was just the beginning of the problems.
Doggy boot camp
Owner E finally found C who recommended B&T, short for Board & Training, which is a sort of dog boot camp. C also introduced using tools to help with disciplining the dog.
E then sent Cody for a three-week B&T programme with C where C would provide regular updates. The initial results were positive and E saw an improvement in Cody’s behavior.
Feeling that she could trust C, E sent Cody for boarding while she was away travelling. E had caught Covid while she was away but during this time she had also noticed that there were lesser updates from C about her pet.
The worst was confirmed when it was time for Cody to come home.
“When E’s friend went to help fetch Cody home, she was horrified to find him dirty, his fur matted, and he smelled really bad. She noticed the wounds on his neck which were infected, foul-smelling and filled with pus. Alarmed, she rushed Cody to an emergency hospital. The severity of the condition was not highlighted by C and was being brushed off like a small matter so E was not expecting Cody to be in such a bad state,” the post read.
Happens one too many times
Unfortunately according to Chained Dog Awareness in Singapore, E’s story is “very common”.
There are apparently many cases where overwhelmed owners get desperate and fail to research training styles and methods of B&T programmes where their dogs are sent to.
The group recommends the use of the LIMA approach (Least Intrusive Minimally Aversive) when training dogs and believes that “any training method and tool must not cause harm”.
“From Dec 2022, the AVS-Accredited Certified Dog Trainer (ACDT) Scheme requires dog trainers to obtain certification specifically from one of the four independent animal behavior and training organizations. This ensures that accredited trainers possess a basic understanding of science-based training methods, dog welfare and behavior, are committed to ethical training approaches, and meet international standards of competencies.”
The scheme was launched by the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS), a cluster of the National Parks Board (NParks).
According to the post, the case has been reported to NParks and is undergoing investigation.
The post also called to refrain from speculating and passing judgment on any of the persons involved.
However, users alleged the involvement of training firm The Royal Tail.
In a TikTok video by @sgviralvids, screenshots from The Royal Tail’s Instagram stories were shared on its training process.
@sgviralvids this is from an uncertified dog "trainer"… hope they are investigates by AVS.. Read more at wakeup.sg #Singapore #dogs #theroyaltail ♬ original sound – SG Viral Videos
The video shows a couple of dogs with anxiety and behavioral issues that have been sent to them for training.
The Royal Tail have not made an official statement but its most recent Instagram story is a screenshot of the Protection from Harassment Act suggesting that they’ve been dealing with some backlash targetted at them.
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