Wasn't sure what section to put this in but it's related to training so I'll try it here.
I'm the head trainer at the shelter I volunteer at so it's up to me to decide training plans for the shelter dogs that are in need of a bit more help. The shelter (and I) teach the volunteers how to train using the clicker and positive reinforcement training. It's great. They use my trainer to do the new volunteer mandatory training, which is great. So on the surface they seem on par with my feelings regarding training.
However, many of the volunteers there use a trainer, Mel, who I took Inara to when she was younger. He was horribly abusive with the prong and is a strong advocate of the e-collar, but not in an ethical way. He touts dominance theory and pack leadership BS for everything. They try to tell me that "he's changed" yet I can see his posts on Facebook (without friending him!) and he hasn't. They tell me that "anybody who doesn't believe in dominance theory obviously only has one dog." Fine, if they want to subject their dogs to that, I don't have to like it but it's their own dogs.
Unfortunately, several of the adoption consultants seem to think it's a good thing when potential adopters use pack leadership techniques on the dogs - bumping into them to make them move (pack leaders don't walk around another dog!), going through doorways first, ignoring the dog (pack leaders don't fawn all over their pack!), blah blah blah. These consultants enjoy seeing our shelter dogs "dominated" because it means that a potential adopter knows what they're doing. Alright, fine. I disagree, but if the person is an otherwise suitable adopter then at least the dog won't be returned to the shelter.
These things have always bothered me but all I can do is try to educate, right? Easier said than done. The shelter has a "backdoor site" that is for volunteers to receive updates on the dogs, read training articles, etc. The articles page says anybody is welcome to post articles. All of the ones on there are dominance-related things, so I submitted several articles about positive training, including position statements on dominance from the AVMA and ASPCA. They weren't posted.
That really annoyed me, but the thing that has really pushed me over the edge is a dog named Holly. She's been with the shelter since December. She was in the shelter for several months but was EXTREMELY fear aggressive to men and some women - lunging, snapping, barking, growling, etc. She was placed into foster care with the previous head trainer and he was using very gentle, reward-based methods with her. She was making great progress. Unfortunately he left the shelter and Holly was placed with another foster home where she seems to have slid backwards a bit. I recommended placing her on Prozac and giving it time to kick in and then reassessing her afterwards. I feel she is a very high-liability dog and is not adoptable, but the shelter doesn't like to hear that. Well, I just found out that they are taking Holly to work with Mel, the e-collar/prong fanatic. I can only imagine the damage he is going to inflict upon her, for being fearful, in the name of training.
This makes me livid. They have no problem accepting my recommendations with the dogs in the shelter, and have no problem using my trainer to train their volunteers, but then they refer adopters to and use Mel for the dogs MOST IN NEED of hands-off, gentle training.
Am I wrong for being so irritated by this? I feel like by continuing to volunteer with the shelter, especially as their head trainer, that I'm condoning their use/referral of Mel. I feel they're being extremely hypocritical by using my trainer to train their volunteers but then turning around and using Mel to actually work with the dogs.
And one of my final points that really pushed me over the edge recently was a family that had adopted one of our HW positive pit bulls, and was just keeping him in the backyard during the day, at which point he would jump out of the yard and run around the neighborhood. A heartworm positive dog, running around. A PIT BULL, running around loose. They were actually debating about whether to take the dog back back from the family or not. I said they absolutely needed to do so as the family had been made aware both of the medical condition and the breed requirements in Ohio and this had happened on more than one occasion. "But the family is a big supporter of the shelter," I was told. Who effing cares? They're going to kill this dog and possible do more harm for pit bulls in Ohio. So they took the dog back but said it was for medical reasons - they didn't even tell the family it was because they were being irresponsible! They didn't want to offend the family. So they learned nothing and they'll be allowed to adopt again.
I guess I'm just wondering what you guys would do - stick with this shelter or move on and find one that meshes more with my training/adopting ethics?