Let me preface that this has nothing to do with being right or wrong about a given subject. This has to do with how you can be RIGHT and still be changing things for the WORSE... And how all those people who are WRONG get so many people to believe them! It's amazing that so many people with such good intentions can (and do) go about helping in such a counter productive way! For everyone here who's ever said "positive reinforcement is the only proper way to train" and also managed to call someone (in of course not so many words) a worthless human being in the same post: SHAME ON YOU. For everyone here who has in the same breath expected to change another persons opinion while completely humiliating them in the process: SHAME ON YOU TOO! For everyone who demands that theirs is the one true way, expecting everyone else to not only agree but completely denounce everything they've believed for so long all in the same instant... But isn't willing to give another persons views the time of day... SHAME! People like you run off the people who are trying to gain the understandings that you take for granted. People like you run off potential friends without giving them a chance. People like you actually HURT the pets of the people who are trying to do their best... The person who you run off because they have mistreated their puppy (because they didn't know better or how to handle the situation) will probably NEVER COME BACK, AND PROBABLY NEVER IMPROVE THEIR PRACTICES... That pet will likely NEVER have a safe and sane home that your PATIENT advice could have provided! Want to know the secret behind truly making a difference in peoples lives? Want to know the secret to educating the uneducated? Want to know how you can become a respectable pillar from which attention is not only demanded but to which it is freely given? The answer is surprisingly simple: Do not alienate people. (The more valuable a person feels because of how you treat them the more weight they will give your words!) If you're trying to convince me that your way is correct and that my way is incorrect... telling me outright that my way is wrong does only one thing: It causes me to be defensive! And while I am defensive I WILL NOT CONSIDER YOUR IDEAS (however valid those ideas might be). If you will not consider my opinion at least as long as you expect me to consider yours. Why should I consider your opinion at all? You seem to be incapable of learning or evolving... If I come to you asking for help, and you make me feel like an idiot for not knowing (not knowing something that I'm already admitting to not knowing by having ASKED the question in the first place) I will never come back to ask another question. I will continue in my ignorance because it is SAFER FOR ME TO BE WRONG THAN TO ASK AND BECOME RIGHT. And before you write this off as not being directed at you, take some time to review your replies to those people who riled your feathers, or asked the dumb question, or did the things you didn't like because they were ignorant... If you are blameless, then that is a wonderful thing. But everyone should keep these things in mind especially when an "outsider" comes around asking for help... You don't kick a dog who's already down, do you? And yes, I do understand that this post is a prime example of what it is speaking against. but if you've made it this far... how did it make you feel? Good bad or indifferent? How would the person already at the breaking point because they cant handle their new puppy have reacted if I had chastised them in the same way? Since you are still reading I'll assume that you have a thick skin, and want to know how I think you can make a difference in whichever cause you're fighting for? Well... since you're still reading I'll tell you: Train your audience. If you make the practice of engaging in a *two way* conversation with you a rewarding and (more importantly) enjoyable experience your audience will almost certainly take the time to consider your points on some level. Positive reinforcement works well here, and negative reinforcement will undo the good work of 10 people... Patience. Just as it takes a while for your dog to learn to deal with its new bladder and where to relieve it (once its figured out what that nagging sensation actually MEANS) it may take a while for your audience to come around. If you reinforce the interim time period negatively your audience is guaranteed never to come around. Explain yourself. Why should someone take your word as gospel? Why should you expect them to? If you don't feel that you should have to have a reason for being right, your audience wont feel as if you should be even considered to be right. Expect to have to listen to and at least understand your audience! If you cannot empathize with them, they will never empathize with you. This is the hardest part of being a truly convincing speaker. Why should you have to even consider their obviously wrong rationale?! Three reasons. First it makes them feel valuable which is a reward, and that will keep them engaged with you. Second... If you're truly right then taking the time to pay attention to what they have to say shouldn't be able to change your mind: what's true is true after one two or five hundred attacks. And third: if you spend all your time being perfect you might miss something worth learning. Yea... someone other than you might have something to say which is worth hearing... If you work to correct without condemning and alienating people then you will truly have a shot at making this world a better place by righting one wrong idea at a time. If you, however, can only be abrasive... well... how many people do *you* spend time with that constantly get on *your* nerves?