Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to this :-(
Also sorry I should have used another example than Gus, on re-reading it sounded like I just wanted people to feel sorry for me, I just grabbed the first example of people not always being completely in control of their own circumstances as far as a dog (and almost anything else) is concerned . Thanks for your understanding both Holly (I can't think of you as all those numbers LOL) and Madeline.
Font is a bit weird because I copied and pasted in after noting passing thoughts on my desktop "stickies" that's probably also why it has ended up long and a bit philosophical :-)
I'm the first to agree that human beings are different to animals and that we have a moral responsibility that animals don't have. That is why I am in principle 100% positive - because if an animal does not have any moral awareness then it never deserves punishment. However the fact is that the human ability to think rationally does not mean that we always do think rationally and there are factors that affect our ability to think rationally. This means that although the morality of a particular action (such as ramming a dog into the ground) is not changed by circumstances the action does become more understandable.
To go back to my original example of the red light, the first bad decision was to drive when I was too tired. It is part of my usual checklist before driving to evaluate whether I am too tired to drive or whether I can still safely drive as long as I drink something with caffeine in and be more consciously aware because my instinctive awareness is impaired. On that particular morning I was so tired and in a hurry that I simply never thought of my checklist at all, in effect I decided to drive by default, without considering any impact of my tiredness on my driving. What then happened was a cascade of bad decisions/errors, each worse than the previous and finishing with me driving through a red light.
Bringing this back to the decision to train or not to train when having a bad day, the very fact we are having a bad day impairs our decision making (sometimes to the point where we don't realise there is a decision to make) so that sometimes it is possible to make the wrong decision at that point. After that first wrong decision (which is not in itself morally wrong) we are increasingly vulnerable to all the frustration and lack of self control (which is morally wrong) that comes with an abortive training session. You say don't train when we are tired or whatever (just like we shouldn't drive when we are very tired) so you are admitting that things do go wrong and that very bad things can happen if we do train at these times.
Not understanding something because of the scale of the evil is a great start for a public prosecutor or witness for the prosecution however it isn't such a good start if you actually want to help resolve a situation.
The woman must have heard of positive training therefore she should be training positively:
But the fact is that she isn't.
As has already been stated several times in this thread, telling her she is in the wrong isn't going to change that. The best that approach will achieve is to drive the cruelty underground, eg/ I see my neighbours walking their dog very nicely every day but every night I hear them screaming at it which they definitely don't do in public!
So if you want to change her behaviour (rather than prosecute her) you need to figure out WHY she is "closed minded from the start" and not open to positive training and change that factor. In advertising terms you want to overcome consumer resistance... I don't think I've ever seen an advertising slogan starting with "You're Wrong - "
The best advert is as Jean says, to lead by example but often that only works when we see people regularly.
The second best advert is probably "You're not alone, we know how you feel, we/other people have been there, we have a solution" That is where the sympathy comes in. Both Dlilly and Southerngirl have come up with excellent phraseology. Whether because "it sounds more friendly" or because it is what they have really experienced. I think Southerngirl's wording is slightly better because it disarms them with her own former problem before implying that they might have a problem :-)
Why bother with real rather than fake sympathy? Imagine being given two gifts of money by two different people. Maybe they even use the same words as they give you the gift. But somehow you feel really grateful to one, but a little embarrassed and annoyed about the other. What is different? Most likely you picked up that one of them was giving you a real gift while the other was either trying to buy you off or was thinking of you as a charity case. We pick up those sort of cues subconciously from human body language and intonation. In just the same way we can listen to two people saying the same thing but reject the one whose body language says "I think you are scum but I'm talking to you because I'm sorry for your dog" and accept the one who is thinking, "I really want to help you as a person". I'm absolutely NOT saying this is what happened with Remi, I do think that Remi chose a good approach and I know the woman was abrasive. I'm responding to the wider issue of "sympathy won't help" and "I can't understand".
I do believe that you have to look at the person in order to understand how to improve the situation for the dog. Once I tried to persuade a person to let me walk her dog, I thought she was afraid I could not handle the dog, actually she was possessive and could not bear anyone else to be able to handle the dog. Because I did not try to understand the woman until it was too late and the door was slammed in my face. If I had understood the woman I would have used a very different approach than I did. I've never been so possessive of my dog as to keep him shut in a yard all the time. But I have felt possessive about him in the past so I should have understood this woman - and if I had I would talked to the woman in a different way and maybe this anecdote would have had a happier ending than that now that dog hasn't been walked in well over a year.