Thursday, 28 October 2021
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Dog training school under investigation after Facebook video sparks outrage

A Bothell dog training school is under investigation after a video sparked outrage on Facebook. (Photo: Still image from Facebook video)

BOTHELL, Wash. – A Bothell dog training school is under investigation after a video sparked outrage on Facebook.

Officials with Snohomish County Animal Services said the video may look bad, but officials said it’s not animal cruelty, and they closed the case.

But now, because of the video going viral, officials said they’re getting new complaints and have started investigating again.

The video that has been circulating on Facebook showing a trainer hitting a dog with a plastic bat over and over, is sparking outrage.

Snohomish County Animal Services said in June, an anonymous person sent them the video recorded at the Academy of Canine Behavior, so an animal control officer went to investigate unannounced.

“There was some behavior we were concerned about,” said Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel.

Officials said the officer interviewed the trainer, staff and a manager, who said the dog in the video was getting, “alpha training” for being really aggressive.

Animal services decided the trainer’s behavior in the video didn’t rise to the level of animal cruelty and the case was closed.

“This particular dog was strong minded. He was aggressive,” said Weikel. “It may not look appropriate, but it is not harmful to the animal and it is used in very rare occasions for training dogs that are very aggressive.”

WATCH: Dog training Facebook video sparks outrage

Weikel added, “The tool they were using was a Wiffle bat that had been modified to cause a snap, you would say, but no harm to the animal. It’s more loud that anything.”

Now officials said they’re investigating new complaints about the dog school from former workers.

Officials aren’t sure if the new allegations are tied to the video.

“We have received one or two other calls from other individuals saying they had witnessed other events at that location and we will be investigating those as well in the future,” said Weikel.

The dog school has not been cited.

The Academy of Canine behavior sent us a statement that read:

“The Academy of Canine Behavior’s owners do not condone the treatment of animals in our care as shown in a two-year old video recently released by a disgruntled former employee.

The employees shown and heard in this video are no longer in our employ or have been reassigned.

Snohomish County Animal Control has investigated the situation. No citations or warnings were issued.

Our policy is that all trainers in our facility be supervised at all times and are approved through the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen evaluator program.

The Academy has been in business since 1981. We have had 23,000 clients in our training courses and more than 80,000 dogs have been lovingly cared for in our facility. Many of our clients are on third and fourth generation four-legged family members with us. It is our goal to always maintain that level of trust from our clients and the entire community.

For 37 years, our focus has been training owners and their dogs to develop safe, confident family companions. We have a long history of working with local animal shelters to correct severe behavioral issues, thereby saving the dogs’ lives.

We encourage anyone with questions to contact our facility and ask for Jack or Colleen at 425-486-9567 to answer any questions you may have.”

Officials said they will start the complaint process with the people who’ve now come forward with more allegations.

We asked dog trainers who’ve seen the video what they think of the, “alpha training” technique and some said it’s not a good way for a dog to learn because it’s not balanced.

“Correction should never frighten the dog,” said Heather Rush with Flying Ace Puppy School. “They should never hurt the dog, they should never put a dog in a situation where they can’t win or they’re cowering away from you and they don’t know how to get back to the right answer.”

Rush has been a dog trainer for 16 years.

She said typically there are two types of dog training: correction based training and positive training.

Rush said nowadays trainers use a hybrid of both and training is more effective when you show the dog what’s it’s done is wrong, and then you show it the right way.


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