The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) was founded based on a commitment to provide educational resources to pet care providers and the public coupled with an emphasis on building collaboration among force-free pet trainers and professional pet care providers and advocates for mutually agreed guiding principles for the pet care industry. PPG partners, members and affiliates focus on each pet’s physical, mental, environmental and nutritional well-being adhering to a holistic approach to the care and training of family pets
Established at the beginning of 2012, The PPG began with the very simple goal of serving the Pet Industry and as an educational antidote to the scientifically unfounded and dangerous methods and practices popularized by entertainment TV. Niki Tudge, the founder of The Pet Professional Guild and a Dog Training and Pet Care Professional, was frustrated by the lack of comprehensive resources committed to force-free training and pet care based on current scientific learning theory.
Tudge believed the pet industry needed a source of information where pet owners and pet professionals who are committed to using force-free training and pet care methods could share ideas, exchange best practices, continue their education, collaborate on efforts and find resources that were truly force-free based. In addition, she felt that the pet-owning public needed an educational resource that would clarify the differences in training and pet care methodologies available and where a pet owner could be confident that the information, services and products offered were on the forefront of force-free training and pet care.
Finally, Tudge wanted to establish a vehicle to help further the cause and help educate local governments, pet professionals and the pet-owning community of the fundamental advantages of force-free training and pet care.With information proliferating at an astounding rate in a world where no one can seem to even agree on what ‘organic’ or ‘all natural’ means, The PPG provides a platform for promoting information, resources, equipment, ideas, methods and techniques that owners and pet professionals could trust would reflect the force-free philosophy.
Section One PPG Non-Negotiables.
To be in any way affiliated with the Pet Professional Guild all members must adhere to a strict code of conduct. Pet Professional Guild Members Understand Force-Free to mean:
No shock, No pain, No choke, No fear, No physical force, No compulsion based methods are employed to train or care for a pet.
Definition of Force
Any definition can never be so expansive and explicit that every possible situation is addressed. This is seen everywhere in life and most obviously in the US legal system where very often courts cannot agree on a single interpretation of what terms and definitions mean, including physical force.
Recognizing this we understand, in the context of our guiding principles and as a general framework, physical force to mean “any intentional physical act against a pet that causes psychological or physical pain, harm or damage to the pet.”
Certain equipment is covered above in our Non-Negotiables. Clearly the use of many (most?) harnesses, head halters, collars (non-choking) and leashes would not be considered physical force under this guiding definition if 1) they are used consistent with our guiding principles, 2) they are used as intended and designed and 3) they are not used in a way that is contrary to their design and intent, i.e. not used in a manner which would cause psychological or physical pain, harm or damage.
Section Two PPG Member’ Professional Ethics
The Pet Professional Guild Vision
A world where people and pets can live together to their mutual benefit and where pets can live and function free from physical and mental pain, stress and fear as valued family members.
The Pet Professional Guild Mission
Our mission is to help make every pet a valued member of its family and improve the relationship and the quality of life people share with their pets by:
The Guild’s Key Values
The Guild Key Charter States That:
a) By combining and coordinating our knowledge, efforts, skills, talents and passions to pursue a common purpose, we can accomplish far more together than any one of us could possibly accomplish alone. The Pet Professional Guild was founded on a commitment to provide educational resources to pet industry professionals and the pet-owning public while emphasizing our collaboration of force-free pet trainers and pet care providers.
b) We aim to publicize “our voice for the profession” advocating for mutually agreed guiding principles for the pet care industry. The Pet Professional Guild members and affiliates focus on a pet’s physical, mental, environmental and nutritional well-being, a holistic approach to the care and training of family pets.”
To ensure we can fully implement our charter and work within the guidelines of our Guiding Principles I am challenging each of us to help shape and mold our culture.
As Members We Must All Focus On:1. Building a personal organization like an extended family, a place where we all share a lot of ourselves and our knowledge skills and talents.
2. Encouraging a dynamic organization full of entrepreneurial ideas that can be shared among members as best practices.
3. Building an organization that is held together by the glue of loyalty, respect for each other and mutual trust.
4. Shaping a collaborative model that exemplifies open, honest, non-aggressive communication both within our organization and to those who have not yet joined us.
Meeting The Challenge
If we are to meet the challenge of our charter “emphasizing the collaboration of force-free pet trainers and pet care providers” and “advocate for mutually agreed guiding principles for the pet care industry” then we all need to lead by example in each and every one of our interactions whether it be with our clients, our fellow members or our industry at large. Through our actions and high standards of conduct and performance we can influence how our industry evolves. We can engage and educate others to join us in our force free movement.
Each of us wants to bring about change in our industry. We yearn for a day when pain will no longer be used in the training and care of pets. We have a big job ahead of us and this is not going to be a sprint, it’s going to be a marathon.
If we are to be highly effective as individuals and as a group then we must manage and shape this change carefully.
Through PPG we have formed a force-free coalition and we have developed our future vision and we are constantly building our strategy, a strategy that must be consistently and professionally communicated. We must remove emotional barriers and welcome individuals who are aligned with us philosophically but not yet armed with the tools and skills to be effective force-free professionals. This is how we can educate and engage others. We need to reach out to other organizations, groups and associations that seek the same change as we do and work together building on early successes. We need to maintain our pace of change and put systems in place to reinforce others who seek to help us in our change efforts.
Our Success Relies On Our Ability to Be Influential and Credible
Our key charter relies on our ability to be influential and the process of guiding people toward the adoption of our beliefs. Reardon’s ACE Theory suggests, and I concur, that people use three criteria to determine whether to respond to a persuader’s message;
a) The appropriateness of the message, how is the message delivered and in what context,
b) The consistency of the message and how much sense the message makes and
c) The effectiveness of the message, does it impact a desirable outcome. Persuasion is not simple and it requires many steps (Janasz et al 2002).
We Can And Will Bring About Change In Our Industry
If we all believe in ourselves and our organization and its underpinning principles and values then we can and will bring about change. When engaging and educating industry professionals you must know and recognize your audience. When you understand your audience you are better able to communicate with them in an impactful manner. Balance emotional appeals with facts and solid reasoning. Use facts, data and logic. Question your propositions before presenting them or you can damage your credibility and negatively impact your message. Use appropriate, respectful and courteous communication and in this era of social media be particularly sensitive to how your written word may be perceived. Use lots of reinforcement and maintain positive dialogue so we can continue to spread our message to audiences that are receptive to listening. Be what we all aspire to bring about. And always be ‘force-free’ in your own behavior and communication.