She calls herself the Dog Whisperer of Chicago.
Ami Moore, a dog trainer, was charged with animal cruelty earlier this year for her training methods and use of shock collars. Several pet owners claimed that they witnessed dogs yelping in pain from shock collars and even two of the pet owners testified at the trial.
Moore, the owner of Doggie Do Right dog training, denied using a shock collar on one dog, and admitted having two collars on another dog, but she said that it was at a level that simply tickled the dog.
Last week, all animal cruelty charges were dropped against Moore when a judge said the state attorney’s office failed to call an expert witness about shock collars and their effects on animals.
Moore stated, “As I have always maintained, I am totally innocent. Every charge was false.”
The controversy over Moore and her methods started earlier this year. Pet owners around the Chicago area saw Moore use shock collars on dogs including a Bichon Frise. Witnesses saw the dogs yelping in pain from the shock collars.
Complaints from pet owners alleged that Moore â€œtormented a Newfoundland dog by repeatedly administering â€˜shocksâ€™ via an electronic collar causing the dog to cry out in pain, pant in distress and scratch at the collar in an attempt to stop the shocking sensation,â€ and that she â€œtormented a Bichon/Poodle mix dog by fastening multiple electronic collars . . . and repeatedly administering â€˜shocksâ€™ to the dog.â€ There was even a complaint that Moore had put a shock collar around a puppy’s groin area.
Last year, Moore told a local newspaper that she had been training dogs professionally for 12 years and that before her own business, she was a trained at PetSmart. She said that she left PetSmart because she had an issue with their policy of using only positive-reinforcement techniques.
She stated, “Itâ€™s like the same problem with badly behaved children in restaurants. Everybodyâ€™s afraid to say, â€˜No, you canâ€™t do thatâ€™ because no one wants to be mean. So now weâ€™ve got all these badly behaved kids and badly behaved dogs running around, and everyone wonders, How did this happen?”
Moore described one of her concepts, Alphatude, â€œIt is the job of the human to lead, and thus put the dog in touch with his â€˜inner wolf.â€™ Wolves in the wild are in harmony with themselves, their family members and their environment, and thus they are not neurotic, arenâ€™t needlessly aggressive, donâ€™t have separation anxiety, arenâ€™t obese, arenâ€™t hyperactive, and arenâ€™t obsessive-compulsive. With the application of Alphatude, our own beloved dogs donâ€™t need to be burdened with these afflictions anymore, either.â€
Various dog trainers that focus on positive-reinforcement training said electronic collars are just a quick fix and don’t really teach or train a dog.
The spotlight on Moore has also brought a focus on the fact that no state in the US requires any kind of official certification for dog trainers. One trainer said, â€œYou could hang up the phone right now, call yourself a trainer, and be in business tomorrow.â€