Q: I am being trained in Canada to become a clicker trainer. I have three great Danes and an American pit bull terrier. All four of my dogs have had their ears cropped. My trainer has told me that I can no longer crop dogs because once I become a clicker trainer, cropping is unethical and promotes unethical practices for clicker trainers. In Canada it's legal to crop ears and dock tails. I show and breed great Danes, which is why I choose to crop. I also chose to crop my pit bull to represent the breed as she is my service dog and is registered with assistant animals of Saskatchewan. I know it is a strong subject and I do understand that you can show uncropped dogs, but do you know of any literature that agrees with what this trainer is telling me? I would like to have something on paper to back up her statements so I can make a better judgment on whether or not to stop cropping my dogs. My dad thought she was just trying to push her strong beliefs about her disgust of the whole crop issue on me to try to sway me by using clicker training as a method of stopping it. Please help!!!
A: I think your dad is probably right. Clicker training is one thing, and the cropping issue is another. They don't have anything to do with each other. Conformation Danes are normally cropped in this country. You have to do what you think is right for your situation, vis-Ã -vis cropping.
Sounds to me as if your friend might not be a clicker trainer, either. We clicker trainers do not go around laying down the law to other people. Become a clicker trainer. Your Danes will LOVE it. And so will the pit bull.
Follow-up: Thank you, Karen for answering my question. I feel very relieved as a trainee in clicker training and just recently having my new Dane puppy cropped that I can still become a clicker trainer and not feel awful about it. I was concerned about doing the right thing ethically if I was indeed going to go this route with clicker training and I certainly was not going to stop clicking and treating my dogs just because I crop Danes! I also was not going to turn down clients either just because of the fact that I do crop and they are opposed to it. I will not be promoting it to anyone as it is a personal choice and will not be brought up at all in clicker training. Only if a client asks me about it will I tell them. I thank you again, as I trust your judgment being one of the founders of clicker training! Happy clicker training!!!