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  • Sally Gutteridge

How To Deal With A Professional Bully


Let’s talk about professional bullying. Running a dog business you hear, see and deal with all sorts, you probably have some horror stories of your own.

Yesterday I received an email that said this:

“Some of my friends have been asking about your course - not sure your bio quite reflects what you have done in the Military Sally - so before you get called out I suggest you update it - you have 7 days then I will be contacting CPD standards”

Literally out of nowhere!

I recognised the name – someone I was in the army with and haven’t seen for over 20 years. I was shocked, of course I was. Who on earth would consider sending something so confrontational to anyone but even more flabbergasting that they were so obviously wrong!

I replied asking exactly what the person wanted from me. I was to provide all my dates of all my courses to this person, and they would retract their statements.

He believed I was false advertising on my lovely, ethical and kind business, about what I had done in the past and my rights to write courses about dogs. Twenty years ago – I mean if I were working from the grim bit of dog ‘skill’ I got from the army 20 years ago I would expect to be called out, I would want all of you to do it. I would report myself, ha!

(There were some detection courses I did back then – namely drugs and explosives that he for some reason didn’t believe I had done?! I think he’s currently still trying to tell me I didn’t do them – like I made it up or have forgotten I didn’t do them – which is hilarious really)

I was upset I was angry and now I’m determined.

I was upset because I was attacked out of nowhere about something that doesn’t actually exist.

I was angry because who on earth thinks they have the right to do that to another professional in their field? Or even another person at all. Who thinks it’s OK that someone they don’t know and know nothing about should get a threat based on nothing in their business email inbox?

Then I realised something.

A bully does.

A bully will threaten behind closed doors and they hide from the light. They will threaten some more if their nasty deeds are brought into the light by the person they are trying to oppress. A bully doesn’t have the courage to stand by their convictions, they will hide behind a keyboard. They jump in, try to belittle and they threaten.

Guys here’s the lesson I learned from this.

There are bullies, there are bullies in the dog professional world and everywhere else. The internet has let them into our homes, into our everyday lives. They can contact us anytime, if it takes their fancy. But they all have something in common:

They have covered their fears and insecurities by attacking. A little bit like a reactive dog but nowhere near as endearing. Their fear and insecurity might be well hidden, but it’s there. It might be hidden beneath many, many years of being able to “legally” bully in some institution or other. Or they might have copied it from someone else.

And here’s where the determination comes in.

Bullies hurt us, of this there is no doubt, but we have to keep being our authentic selves because otherwise they win. And even though they hurt us, they are only really hurting themselves because what we invest into the world always comes back. My determination wanted those dark words that were sent sneakily into my life - to be brought into the light and now that job is done.


Be big, be brave, be proud of what you have achieved in your life. Don't allow anyone's flawed thoughts to hurt your delicate heart or any fragile self-belief you may have accumulated through this thing called life. Authenticity is a wonderful trait, be authentic. Be you because you have something no-one else does, you're a unique kind of magic.


And don't turn the other cheek, that won't help you in the long run - face bullies head on my lovelies because if you don’t they will walk all over you, and you can be sure that if you do stand up to them they will back down, because fear is the nature of the beast.

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