ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Pets and Animals»
  • Animal Care & Safety

"Cutting Edge" vs. "Old School" Pet Professionals

Updated on September 3, 2017
Bob Bamberg profile image

Bob has been in the pet supply business and writing about pets, livestock and wildlife in a career that spans three decades.

Source

Quite Often Philosophies Differ But Results Don't

I didn't get my first pet until I was 45, but I’ve always been interested in animals; more from a scientific angle, though. As a teenager in the 60’s I used to love watching the animal documentaries on television. I thank Marlin Perkins for igniting my interest in animals.

Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, many of them were anthropomorphic. I think that even today some of the wildlife documentaries blur the line between emotion and science.

And I loved reading books by scientists who studied wild animals in the field.

The feed & grain store we owned from 2003 through 2011.
The feed & grain store we owned from 2003 through 2011. | Source

In the early 90s I trained and served as a docent at the local AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) accredited zoo. There I learned more about the wild behavior of our animals, some of which we were able to work with during zoo-mobiles and other educational programs conducted on-site and at schools and other venues.

Simultaneously, I began working at a feed and grain store, which I bought 11 years later. By then farms had virtually disappeared from the local landscape, so the store reinvented itself into more of a pet supply store that also featured wild bird and lawn & garden products.

The first time I saw someone drop $30 for a bag of dog food in 1992, I was hit right between the eyes by the concept of the human-animal bond. I became an avid observer of the phenomenon, and continue to be so nearly thirty years later.

That bond has taken on a new life in the pet supply industry, where it's known as "the humanization of pets." If you'll notice, pretty much all of the packaging and advertising now appeals to the emotional aspect of owning animals, very little appeals to the scientist in us.

In an environment full of inconsistencies, conflicting data, and various means to achieve the same ends, I’ve observed one constant: animal people make up a special group.

I’ve been exposed to the pet mentality, the livestock mentality, and the wildlife mentality and each has its own standards and protocols regarding animal husbandry.

Source

I got a kick out of seeing the livestock people roll their eyes at the pet people because their pets are raised in the lap of luxury ("You're actually paying $9.99 for a one pound jar of doggie peanut butter?") - and the pet people wrinkle their noses and scowl at the livestock people, because their livestock isn't raised in the lap of luxury ("What do you mean the barn doesn't have central air?").

Source

But the common thread is the love and respect that is shown for the animals by all involved.

I find that animal people are easy to talk to, fun to be around, and provide valuable lessons in patience, empathy and other admirable qualities.

There Are Studies, And Then There Are Studies

Much of today’s literature is peppered with references to studies…some directly, others obscurely.

Studies can be valid and studies can be manipulated to accommodate an agenda.

How do we know which is which?

Take dog training, for example. It’s a subject that interests me, although I’ve never entertained the idea of becoming a trainer. I just find the subject very interesting.

Trainers provide a valuable service to dog owners; and in doing so save the lives of countless dogs that may otherwise be euthanized as incorrigible.

By helping owners connect the dots, they enable the owners to maximize the benefits of owning a dog, and to experience to its full potential, the special relationship that dogs offer.

But the industry is full of conflicting methods and philosophies that often produce the same results.

That’s the way it is regarding just about every aspect of animal husbandry.

Source

Veterinarians, for instance, can differ on their treatment plan for a certain condition, yet they achieve the same results.

They all have similar training, but each has different real-world experiences and observations that influence their approach to problem solving.

Today’s dog trainers, I’ll call them “cutting edge trainers,” embrace whole new philosophies and theories when compared with what I’ll call “old school trainers.”

Cutting edge trainers believe that certain behaviors have been misinterpreted over the years.

They say, “Based on new studies, which changes everything, here’s what those behaviors really mean.”

Many of the cutting edge folks regard old school folks as affable knuckle draggers.

Yet, both styles work.

The Bottom Line

There have always been, and probably always will be, disagreement among and between trainers, behaviorists, nutritionists, veterinarians, etc.

The reality check is that success does occur even when using new practices and philosophies that are in conflict with established protocols. Maybe the new ways work, but so do the old ways. The more things change, the more they stay the same, as the saying goes.

As professions become stagnant and overcrowded, they'll continue to reinvent themselves to stimulate economic growth and to appear to be at the cutting edge. There will be new studies, new theories, new papers and new curricula. But there is one constant that's predictable: since there isn’t much in this world that sits still for very long; today’s cutting edge practitioners will be tomorrow’s affable knuckle draggers.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)