Most educated pet owners have noticed someone failing to properly care for an animal. There are many different ways to deal with such a situation, but these six simple steps are both a polite and effective way to confront others and [hopefully] get them to change their ways:
This is an important step because it helps ensure that the person whose animals you are trying to help stays receptive to criticism. Skip this step and you're just some person on the internet yelling at them. Get personal here—tell them your name and maybe a little bit about your fishkeeping experience.
Tell the other person about what you think they're doing incorrectly. Are they keeping a goldfish in a bowl? Not using dechlorinator? Tell them now, but remember to do it nicely! Being aggressive can cause someone to become defensive and unresponsive to well-intentioned help.
What's the point in saying that there's something wrong if you don't offer a way to fix it? Give them a way to fix what you think they've done wrong.
Now that they already know what's wrong and what they can do to fix it, here's your chance to impress upon them the importance of changing their ways. Will this change help their fish live longer? Will it keep them safer?
After finishing your advice, offer extra help. Direct the person to a place where they can find more information and/or offer to be of further assistance.
Congratulate them! Thank them! Find a way to end things on a positive note. This helps ensure that they don't see you as an enemy—only as someone trying to help them and someone who cares about them and their animals.
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Thanks for reading about how to confront someone over improper fish care (published 7/8/16)! For more information, please browse around AquariumKids.com! Feel free to contact me at evanb [at] aquariumkids [dot] com with any questions.
What's your experience in correcting others? Let's start a discussion in the comments section below: