The Jordan Shelley story takes an unexpected turn

Over the last few weeks I have spoken increasingly regularly to Jordan Shelley (he of the One Show training debacle).
I know, it's a very odd twist in the story.
I was after all his most vocal critic.
But I have to say you've got to admire this young guy's spirit even if we didn't like what he did on TV.
I've found out all about his dogs and his past and I find increasingly I have wanted to help him.
He obviously loves dogs. 
Jordan has three dogs, a Yorkie with brain damage he rescued from Spain, an ex bait dog called Jaffa Cake and a Staffie who previously lived with two agoraphobics.
He fosters lots of dogs, too.
He didn't finish school, has been largely instinctual in how he's trained so far and yes, he has watched Cesar Millan's TV shows. But that makes him a reflection of millions of other people who have watched without question.
Jordan wants to be around dogs all his life, he's not just a media creation.
We have all been young and blissfully unaware of what we didn't know at the time.
Most of us get to learn our life lessons in private.
But Jordan's had his moment in front of millions.
I'm amazed he didn't just want to curl up and hide.
But he's a tough cookie.
Against all advice he phoned me up.
He confronted one of his critics and asked for their help.
I'd stopped writing about his journey as initially it seemed the best way, for him to quietly learn without the media following his every step. He'd tee'd up a week shadowing a really great positive trainer who had renounced dominance methods after learning betters ones, had signed up for what has been called the Harvard of dog training courses.
Then I emailed my own personal training guru's Ian and Kelly Dunbar in California to ask would they mentor Jordan as I'm no dog training expert.
What would they do if they were 21 again and just starting out?
And that's where it went a bit crazy, good crazy.
They had followed the One Show story with interest as had many American dog behaviour folk.
That's the fantastic thing about people who really believe in positive training - they don't just teach it, they live it.
They encouraged Jordan to go to the APBT conference in San Diego and went further and welcomed young Jordan into their own home.
He bought his own ticket, paid his way before you all say that it's just so unfair.
Anyone can go to these conferences. I went to one in the 1990s in Florida and I have to say it was mind-blowingly brilliant.
Ian and Kelly are quite simply the most fantastic influences any young trainer could hope for - not just technique and science-wise, but the altruism side of life, too.
I am sure Jordan will come back realising how much he still has to learn, I am sure.
But it's a great step in the right direction and quite an unexpected result.
The Fix the Dog segment was dreadful and it is fantastic how everyone pulled together to sort it out. But we should also celebrate a further victory of potentially having a high profile defector to the positive side!
Let's click and treat him for getting on that plane with a moment's notice and mixing with people who had only weeks before called him a 'clown' and much worse.
A Dalmatian can't change its spots, but I for one hope that a young impressionable dog trainer can change their gurus!
Good luck to Jordan and well done to anyone who now gives him the benefit of the doubt.


Simon John-Gibbons said…
That's Fantastic News, I Never expected that, But I'm so pleased. I wish him all the luck in the World.
Queenie said…
Even when I was regaling the One Show about Jordan's methods, I hoped he'd train properly because he has the potential to be a good trainer, given the right methods to use.
I admire him for coming back and showing us what he's made of, and I wish all the luck in the world.
Good man !
Teddy McDoodle said…
That is such good news - well done to Jordan..... and to you for helping him to go in the right direction.
Sue Saunders said…
I'm proud of him for his turnaround. Young people do make mistakes, as so we all, but as you say just a shame it was so public. On the plus side it has brought to the attention of the media and the public just why dominance methods don't work and why there is a need for a presence of good trainers with positive methods on TV, with less of an emphasis on the Quick Fix!
Julie Dickson said…
I'm really chuffed this young man has grasped the offers he's received with both hands. That takes courage after the fiasco and resulting media onslaught he's had to face as such a young age. Best of luck to him!
Anonymous said…
What a lovely happy ending to a horrid story.
Anonymous said…
Fantastic to read a happy ending to a terrible start we at Xtra Dog wish Jordan a successful career in positive re-inforcement training.
Gladys said…
I am looking forward to seeing this young man relaunched as a positive trainer in due time! I have total admiration for his bravery and common sense and feel that with the right mentoring, he will become an asset to the dog training and rehabilitation world! Way to go Jordan!
Dawn said…
A very brave young man to face his critics, I wish him well.. With the right guidence I'm sure he will make a wonderful trainer... I did feel sorry for the way he was slammed, I was guilty of voicing my opinions very loudly about him... He sounds like he has a genuine love of dogs... Glad he has realised you can learn something new everyday... Good luck Jordon Shelley, it's a shame you were thrust into the limelight, but I'm sure it will make you a better person... Life is a steep learning curve...
Anonymous said…
Is there a reason the UK dog training industry isn't able to offer a decent level of training?
Jane said…
I think Jordan is showing admirable strength of character to take this on the chin. He does have a brilliant connection with dogs, and with a little more training I have no doubt he will make an excellent dog trainer. He's a lovely young man, and I wish him all the very best for his future. Can we rename the group now- it seems rather mean to keep such a negative group when Jordan has shown himself to be such a nice guy.
Jane said…
ps- I mean the Facebook group where I get the cold wet nose updates- sorry, that wasn't clear!
Pat said…
I thought from one of your earlier posts Jordan was going to pay his own way, whatever he decided to do. I still think good for him and I do hope he does follow a positive path, because that is still the best news ever, for the dogs.
Samw said…
Great news! Welcome to the 'light side'!!
I googled to see what the "Harvard of Dog Training" was. The first one that comes up is the Miami Dog Whisperer! I am sure that it is not that one you are refering to???
Bananav18 said…
That's good news. He's just a young lad with lots to learn. Keep learning from the best and who knows where it'll lead. Good on him and the people willing to share their knowledge.
Anonymous said…
He didn't have much choice for future work other than to do this -so it's his only hope to move forward. It is about time people realise the flaws and misunderstandings of Pack Theory, rank and dominance derived from studies in the mid half of the last century of Wolves in captivity studies. We need to mainstream to dog owners; how dogs learn, dog language/signals and why they do the things they do rather than generalise any unwanted behaviour by saying things like 'they must be dominant or 'they are trying to be the boss!'...times must change.

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