Tonight America’s most famous dog trainer, Cesar Millan, hits the stage at the Auditorium Theater in downtown Rochester. And his appearance has local dog trainers abuzz with discussions about dominance-based dog training and what many of them call his inhumane training methods.
In fact, a group of local trainers will be outside, handing out an informational sheet that explains why shock collars and other force-based training methods are inhumane, along with a list of local positive-based trainers.
In the interests of full disclosure, I have never seen “The Dog Whisperer” on TV, have not read Millan’s books (although I did pick up a copy of one at the used bookstore recently but haven’t read it yet) and I know almost nothing about Cesar Millan or his dog training methods, other than a brief profile on CBS Sunday Morning last year. (I found him to be very interesting as a person and was impressed that he had about a bazillion dogs living together when I have three dogs and a cat at war.)
But I’ve also seen some of his training clips and thought, “Uh, I wouldn’t want anyone to do that to my dog.” I saw dogs clearly in distress, exhibiting extreme anxiety, and being pulled, shoved, and even … let’s call it nudged with the heel of a boot … into obedience.
But since I’m neither an expert on Cesar Millan or on dog training, what I’m about to say is based only on my own reading about dogs, dog behavior, dog evolution, and animal communication. We’re talking several years and dozens and dozens of books. – and some personal experiences with aggressive dog training methods that in hindsight make me sick to my stomach to know that I put my dogs through what must have been terrible experiences.
What I’ve learned: boo on dominance-based training. Continue reading
Posted in Ada Simms, Books, Dog behavior, Dog history, Dog training, Dogs in entertainment, Rochester NY
Tagged Auditorium Theater, books, canine evolution, Cesar Millan, dog training, Dog Whisperer, Ian Dunbar, John Bradshaw, NY, Raymond Coppinger, Rochester
I’ve been reading about Dr. Ian Dunbar for a long time, and have his books on my “to read” list. But I recently stumbled upon this 2007 video of Dr. Dunbar talking about dog training from a dog’s perspective.
It’s a super great video presentation of how to work with a dog in a way that builds trust and a positive relationship with your dog – and why punishment and dominance-based training is the wrong way to train your dog. It’s great advice for all of the relationships in our lives.
by Joanne Brokaw
If Scout could talk, I wonder what he'd say? Maybe he is talking and I'm just not listening.
I’ve often wondered what’s going on inside of my dogs’ minds and what they’d say if they could talk. As it turns out, dogs can communicate with us. We just aren’t listening. But if you pay attention, here are a few things your dog might be saying to you.
1) “I’m bored.” As I sit here writing, I can hear Bandit in the other room, yipping. Yip! Yarp! Yip! Yarp! Those single, high pitched barks that can pierce your eardrums mean only one thing: “Really, Mommy? Are you going to sit in front of that talking box again when we could be playing? Mommy! Mommy!!” He uses a few different techniques to get my attention – raiding the Tupperware cabinet and strewing lids around the house, hauling my shoes into the living room, and nudging me while I type. All of these are his way of saying that he needs some attention. Play time, potty time, or just some face time with Mommy. Either way, for Bandit, “Yip!” means “I’m bored!” Continue reading
Posted in Books, Dog behavior, Dog training, Joanne Brokaw
Tagged books, dog training, dogs, Dogtown, How To Speak Dog, Patricia McConnell, Pets, Stanley Coren, Suzanne Clothier, Turid Rugaas
by Joanne Brokaw
A new Australian law requires all dangerous dog breeds or dogs that share physical characteristics of dangerous breeds, to be registered or risk euthanization.
This story takes place on the other side of the world, but given the “all pit bulls are dangerous” mindset prevelant across America, it’s worth noting here.
Following the death of a 4-year-old Melbourne girl, a new law in Australia could mean the systematic euthanization of dogs that deemed inherently dangerous. According to the VIN News service:
“Beginning Friday, authorities will knock on doors in Victoria [Australia], seizing and euthanizing any American pit bull terrier — or dog that looks like one — that is not registered as a restricted breed with local officials. Owners of lookalikes such as American Staffordshire terriers need a certificate from a veterinarian or pedigree papers from breed registry groups that prove their ancestry. ”
Other dogs required to be registered as dangerous include perro de presa canario, dogo Argentino (Argentinian fighting dog), Japanese tosa and fila Brasileiro (Brazilian fighting dog). Continue reading
Posted in Dog behavior, Dog breeds, Dogs in the news, Dog laws, Joanne Brokaw
Tagged dogs, Pets, American Pit Bull Terrier, Fila Brasileiro, Tosa (dog), American Staffordshire Terrier, Dog attack, Dogo Argentino, Australia, breed specific legislation
Join the folks from Pitty Love Rescue on Wednesday, October 19 at The Little Theater as they host the Rochester, NY screening of the documentary film, “Beyond The Myth”.
The film explores the contributing factors behind the public’s generalized fear of “pit bulls”, and examines the conflict existing between advocates and opponents of breed discriminatory laws, commonly referred to as breed bans. It investigates the myths associated with the breed, challenges the idea that they are inherently vicious, presenting eye-opening research regarding the media’s role in influencing people’s opinion on “pit bulls”.
The screening begins at 7 PM on Wednesday, October 19 at The Little Theater, 240 East Avenue. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance at www.beyondthemythmovie.com.
For more information about Pitty Love Rescue, visit their website.
Posted in Dog behavior, Events, Dogs in the news, Rochester NY, Dogs in entertainment, Dog laws
Tagged dog behavior, dogs, Pets, Pit Bulls, animal rescue, animal adoption, Pitty Love Rescue, Rochester
by Joanne Brokaw
Bandit, Bailey and Scout
It’s been a wild week here at The Funny Farm. Lots of barking, a little biting and even some blood. That’s because yesterday morning, very early, two of our dogs got into a tussle and while trying to separate them, darling husband was bit.
A friend told me this week that I ought to write about what happened and how we’re dealing with the situation because there are probably other people out there dealing with the same problem.
And if we’re being honest here, other people might have given in a long time ago. I know, because I’ve volunteered at an animal shelter and seen dogs come in and never leave because they’re “bad” or “aggressive” or they’ve “bitten” someone and need to be put down.
So starting tonight, I’ll be blogging every week about our “bad dogs” - or rather, our dogs’ bad behavior – and how we’re dealing with the situation so that other dog owners will realize that they’re not alone, that there are resources available, and that really, they don’t have bad dogs. They just have dogs with normal (and OK, sometimes bad) behavior that needs some redirection.
Understand that I’m not a dog trainer or dog professional. I’m a writer with three dogs, an insatiable curiosity about dog behavior, genetics, and communication, and about 20+ years of experience as a dog owner at all ends of the spectrum – from totally clueless to mildly educated and still learning. I can’t give advice, but I can tell my own stories and track down answers to your questions.
We’ll start with what happened this week. Continue reading
Posted in Dog adoption and rescue, Dog behavior, Dog health, Rochester NY, Dog laws
Tagged dog behavior, dog health, dogs, Pets, veterinarian, Tails of Success, dog aggression