Why I Don't Agree With The Dog Whisperer

This article pretty much sums it up for me in a nutshell.

I am very much against force training and it seems like it is becoming popular lately what with the popularity of Cesar and other shows showing similar techniques. People would rather use force, fear, or aversive techniques rather than understand how the dog behaves, thinks and communicates. Everyone wants a quick fix, not a technique that takes weeks of consistant work to see improvement.

I do agree with some of the things he says I just don't agree with most of the techniques he uses to fix issues.

I like that he calls owners out on their own BS. People get dogs they have no business caring for and they think they are doing them good when they are not. They are lazy and don't want to physically or mentally exercise their dog but then get a breed like a border collie that requires a very high amount of exercise in both ways.

Many of the dogs on his show need significant amounts of behavioral therapy and training. It saddens me that these dogs are forced into a training program that can make them worse but the owners think they see an improvement in behavior because the dog is too tired to do anything else.

If people want to watch a show that shows positive reinforcement techniques that work they should watch It's Me or the Dog. Victoria Stillwell understands dog behavior and can read body language. Her show gives me hope that more owners will see what positive reinforcement can do for your pet and use that technique rather than force.

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Comment by Mariana on November 6, 2008 at 9:34pm
I could not agree more, Alla. :-)
Comment by Alla on November 6, 2008 at 8:07pm
I just want to add that this is a very interesting discussion about canine behavior, and I'd love to read more of those at this forum in the near future. Have not formed any strong opinion yet, just "everything in moderation". However, I think that the major indicator - is the result. If dog is happy and owner is happy, it means methods are ok. If not...
Comment by Mariana on November 6, 2008 at 6:04pm
Thanks for the good luck. You too.
Comment by Mariana on November 6, 2008 at 1:56pm
Kelly, I agree with you 100 percent. That's what I meant when I initially said there's a happy middle - is that mixing different methods often works for many dog owners. And that's what works for me as well.
Comment by Kelly on November 6, 2008 at 1:54pm
I think obedience training is a learning experience for both dog and owner. You have to experiment w/different methods to see which is right for you. Some owners may find that positive reinforcement is the best way to get through to their dog and some might find the 'alpha dog' way of thinking works best for them or maybe they find something inbetween. Dog owners are all different, just like all dogs, and therefore I don't think one way of training is right for everyone. My husband and I have experimented w/different methods and have found mixing them to fit our personalities worked best and seeing what Gibson responds to. Not sure if that made a point or not, but that's what I think :)
Comment by Mariana on November 6, 2008 at 1:50pm
Oh and I agree that one should also study dog behavior, which I have. And that studying helps me to make interpretations. But my instinct as a communicative and social being communicating and socializing with another communicative and social being also help me make interpretations.
Comment by Mariana on November 6, 2008 at 1:48pm
Aha! I see now where the problem is. We have different definitions of rank. When I say rank I do mean that the mother is stronger physically and emotionally, just as you said. That's rank to me. I'm using a more loose and intangible definition of rank I suppose. A more unconscious kind of rank. As in the mother and puppy can reason the size and maturity difference between each other. I definitely don't think the mother and the puppy are consciously thinking "I outrank you" and "you outrank me" respectively.
Comment by Mariana on November 6, 2008 at 1:38pm
MagnoliaFly: Thanks, and not a problem. It was a pretty heated discussion after all. It's interesting to see the difference of opinions out there.
Comment by Mariana on November 6, 2008 at 1:27pm
I understand what you're saying entirely. And I agree that I don't have the academic background, and that saying so isn't a slight, but I don't believe one needs the academic background to understand many things, including dogs, and including art. I couldn't speak from an expert's point of view on dog behavior as a species. But I can certainly speak from a dog owner and dog lover's point of view on dog behavior. You and I are completely different minded in this. We hold weight at two entirely different poles. You: one can't understand dog behavior without being academically studied in it. Me: One understands dog behavior in many ways including by living with and around dogs, and by instinct.

And I know this is going to annoy the hell out of you, but I still insist there is rank even in teaching.
Comment by MagnoliaFly on November 6, 2008 at 1:24pm
I should have worded that differently but I think you figured out what I meant, I wouldn't enjoy a book about a man that used blatant force training like that on any animal. I didn't mean to offend you with anything I said. The internet translates over weird sometimes.

I wish you luck in your continued studies of dog behavior. If you ever need any suggestions on material let me know! We have a whole slew of stuff at the dog school I can reference for you.

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