Annie Phenix

There are a myriad of reasons to start an advocacy center for R+ canine professionals. My reasons include:

  • Hearing from canine professionals around the world about how they feel exhausted, stressed, worried and deeply sad about the toxicity and misogyny that is ever present in our industry
  • Many canine professionals feel isolated and report that they lack mental health, well-being and other support from the industry
  • Marginalized groups have traditionally not been as visible on social platforms and elsewhere and/or have not been granted a seat at the table in the industry; we can help change that paradigm
  • Many, if not most, canine professionals have been on the receiving end of cyberbullying which can feel incessant, cruel and frightening
  • It can feel as though the number of force free professionals is shrinking every year as we watch pricey shock collar “boot camps” open all around us. We need a path to encourage R+ canine professionals and give them a supportive place to share their emotions and concerns
  • There isn’t a worldwide advocacy group for us
  • Many of us are living in a state of deep grief and sadness knowing how many dogs are suffering by the hands of others who are willing to use pain, force, threats and domination to get what they demand of the dog
  • Many of us are currently working in rescue or came out of rescue work and animal welfare, which can be exhausting and sad when we see so many discarded and uncared for animals
  • I learned first-hand how healing talking to our colleagues can be for myself as I have talked with more of you in the past two years than I have in the past 20 years.
  • I’ve been having these discussions not only because of Covid and the ensuing Zoom talks but also due to the new canine behavior book (Positive Training for Aggressive and Reactive Dogs) I wrote that has fundamentally changed my perspective about the industry after interviewing so many incredible colleagues.
  • Our industry is not as divided as it appears on social media. There is a depth of kindness and wisdom already in existence that I want to share with you all and with those who join us on the FB support private group.
  • Peer-to-peer support feels seriously lacking in the industry — at least in terms of a more formal kind of support. Read here a study on the importance of peer-to-peer support.


Advocacy means “the public support or recommendation of a particular cause or policy.” We advocate for working with animals with no need to use fear, force, pain or intimidation.

We have created a safe space for R+ canine professionals in our private Facebook group for peer-to-peer support. Our Facebook group and all of our programs are open only to vetted canine professionals who are committed to ethical training that does not require the need of pain, force, fear or intimidation. Punishment-based trainers are not permitted in this space. Cross over trainers who have fully committed to ethical training that does not require the need of pain, force, fear or intimidation are welcome.