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General Discussion > Dog Whisperer? Yes or NO?

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message 1: by Tabatha (new)

Tabatha (goodreadscomtabi) | 10 comments Please read the discussion between Karen and I and give us your opinion on it.

As for me I was quite interested in his tactics. Somethings I thought I wouldnt be able to see my dog go through emotionally though. I think it's like anything, you have to see what works for you and then some good ol' common sense. I am not a professional anything but I have had dogs and people have always commented on how well behaved they are. Always asking for my opinions.

message 2: by Beth (new)

Beth B | 3 comments Regarding CM tactics, I think you get better, quicker results by positive rewards and less stressful for dog and owner. Rapidly running out of ideas with this one though... does anyone have any tips for a dog (6yr old bearded collie that we've had for 2 yrs) that is 90% well behaved but has a big issue with the car? She is clever enough to work out that the car means good things; walks, trips out, even boring trips to the shops. She pants, whinges and yips, has barking fits at junctions. Apart from getting out and telling her to drive, we've tried everything we can think of. She's in a canvas cage in the car which she likes, can see out etc and she's even worse when not in her "tent").
Any advice most welcome.

message 3: by Tabatha (new)

Tabatha (goodreadscomtabi) | 10 comments I would love an answer to that as well Beth! I never thought of letting her drive! She is so alert in the car that she knows when we are getting close to her favorite spots (close in her eyes is 5 mile radius I'm sure).
If you find anything out Beth let me know too!

message 4: by Karen (new)

Karen Davison | 11 comments A case in point:-
CM totally mishandling food aggression and putting the dog in an impossible position, and failing to read the signals. This type of handling could well result in the dog being destroyed for aggression, which he, himself caused. When handling aggression cases professionals will not use these types of confrontational techniques. This is not only very bad news for the dog, but extremely upsetting for the owner.

message 5: by Tabatha (new)

Tabatha (goodreadscomtabi) | 10 comments OH! Wow! That was not the way I would have handled that at all. He is a stranger to that dog. He had no right to do that! Thank you for showing me that video.

message 6: by Karen (new)

Karen Davison | 11 comments If food aggression is dealt with in the correct positive way, you can cure the problem permanently without any aggression taking place at all. He made the problem so much worse by using his confrontational methods! The other major issue I have with Mr CM is the way he handles fears and phobias. Handled correctly this takes months of very careful work. He physically pins the dog down and forces extreme exposure to the object of fear until the dog is so exhausted they cannot react anymore - then he says he has fixed it. What he has actually done is make it 100% worse and caused a lot of major psychological damage. His use of choke chains and kicking dogs just makes me feel ill. Sorry to be the bearing of bad news but here is another example of CM's tactics.

message 7: by Tabatha (new)

Tabatha (goodreadscomtabi) | 10 comments Just watched that video. I now have a way different thought to the show as I once did. I thought some of his tactics could be used to correct some issues. But I know one thing, I love my dog just the way she is. She loves me and shows me everyday how much! All quirks good and bad are who she is. I love her so much!
Thanks for sharing!

message 8: by Karen (last edited Sep 16, 2012 11:20PM) (new)

Karen Davison | 11 comments Mary,
How much force that is being apply is not really relevant. Don't look at what CM is doing, look at the body language of the dogs that he is doing it to. Shock, fear and most certainly in some cases pain. Relationships with our dogs should be based on trust and respect. You only have to look at the amount of dogs that react aggressively to the man. This is not because he is dealing with behavioural issues or difficult dogs, I have been working in the same field for 11 years, and I do not experience these types of reactions, even in dogs that I am working with for aggression. He provokes those responses unnecessarily, which is totally detrimental to the dogs psychological welfare, their future behaviour and the relationship with the owner when they use his methods. The main reason that dogs submit to him is because he is intimidating, unpredictable and dangerous (from the dogs perspective) and the submission is a ritualised behaviour to say 'don't hurt me'.

message 9: by Barry (new)

Barry Knister | 17 comments It's fascinating, and a little depressing to read about food aggression. My wife and I have to fawn, plead with and beseech our thirteen-year-old rescue border collie. We always put her food down between us in the dining room, and we know, like any good wolf-like dog, that she waits for us to finish (although it's laughable for staff members like us to think of ourselves as alphas). Then we wait, make a display of talking, to signal we're really done eating. When she at last does eat--if she eats--she does so lying down, using her tongue to shovel food from the side. It puts us in mind of Romans eating on couches. And this isn't kibble, this is boiled skinless, boneless chicken breast with white rice and a type of prescription dry food for fiber. But eating style is just one of Chelsea's eccentric behaviors. For instance, neither of us has ever gotten a decent picture of her,because something about the camera is unacceptable to her. Either seeing it in front of our faces, or something else. But she has had us under her paw from day one, so none of this matters.

message 10: by Beth (new)

Beth B | 3 comments Ah yes completely under the paw, we know that feeling. Our world is Meg (bearded collie) shaped.

message 11: by Karen (last edited Sep 19, 2012 12:15AM) (new)

Karen Davison | 11 comments Anyone who is interested to find out about the myths of 'pack rules' (there is no such thing as alpha, beta, omega) - not even applicable to wolves let alone dogs, you can find information here~
Quick version - read the 'look inside'~
or a more indepth scientific paper-
This is a subject that I am passionate about. Modern dog trainers do not use this model to base behaviour modification and training, nor should it be the basis of your relationship with your dog, which is one of the reasons I have difficulty with CM. This is very old school approach, and because it is such 'common knowledge' it is quite a challenge to change peoples perspective.

message 12: by Barry (new)

Barry Knister | 17 comments Karen--
I've read your article on pack theory, and find it interesting, especially as it presents research findings on free-ranging dogs. But isn't it possible that some but not all behavior related to pack theory is retained in part in some dogs, less so or not at all in others? Couldn't the same thing be said of primate behavior in our own species?
The problem I've always faced with our adopted dog is never dealt with in the books I've read: it's a kind of sadness that I will never be able to explain because I am never going to know about my dog's career in the world before I met her. Eight years after coming to live with us, she is a different, more contented dog, no question. But from the few details we know (or think we know: aur only source of info is in one email, written by the previous owner who dumped her at a local humane society,covered with mats and dying of heartworm) are these: she was an exceedingly happy dog when first acquired from the first family she lived with. She was acquired by the second family to be a companion for a male Australian cattle dog. When that dog died, ours withdrew and stopped being "interesting." The family got a golden retriever puppy, and our dog rejected it. If grieving over a lost companion explains our dog's behavior, then she has never truly recovered from the loss. She is only mildly interested in other dogs, but not at all interested in actual physical play or contact with them. Except for one incredibly dramatic exception. When she sees this one other dog, on rare occasions, she is utterly transformed. She becomes coquettish, playful,etc. And this other dog bears some physical charactistics of an Australian cattle dog. And he is is still "intact" as a male.
But this is probably not the place for going on at length about Chelsea. Or maybe it is. Anyway, experts are always talking about aggression, assertion and the like. Our "soft dog" Chelsea's makeup is not like that at all, and there have been no episodes that offer exceptions.

message 13: by Barry (new)

Barry Knister | 17 comments Karen wrote: "Anyone who is interested to find out about the myths of 'pack rules' (there is no such thing as alpha, beta, omega) - not even applicable to wolves let alone dogs, you can find information here~

Have you yet seen my comment above? I would be very interested to read your thoughts.

message 14: by Karen (new)

Karen Davison | 11 comments Hi Barry,
It is true to say that dogs have individual personalities, they most certainly can display aggression, assertion, submission etc. These are all normal canine behaviours, and dogs will display different levels of assertiveness depending on what resources they value the most. Where pack rule theory is misleading is to state that dogs have a strict linear hierarchy. ie Alpha dominates all, Beta submits to Alpha but dominates Omega, and omega submits to all. Dogs do not have this type of structured pecking order. The most important point to consider is that dogs are not pack animals but they most certainly are social animals, just as we are. There is a distinct difference between the two. Take as an example the social behaviour of my dogs at the present time:
Storm (Husky) will be very assertive with the other dogs where toys are concerned, this is his favourite resource. If he notices any of the other dogs playing with a toy, he will take it off them, take it to his toy ‘stash’ and defend it in order to prevent the other dogs gaining access, on his terms he will invite the other dogs to share his toys if he decides he wants a game of tug of war with them. However he is always delighted if the humans want to engage with his toys and will give them up on command without any problem.
Buddy (Greyhound x) will assert himself in competition for human attention and physical contact, this is the resource he values the most. He will barge everyone else out of the way to get attention and when he sees the brush coming out for grooming - he insists on being first in the cue.
Charlie (Shih Tzu) is very food orientated and will steal food off other members of the group, and defend his food in a very assertive manner. None of the other dogs will challenge him in this situation. He will however drop food on command for humans without any issues.
Suzie (Shih Tzu) likes everything and doesn’t value any particular resource. She will however tell Storm off in no uncertain terms if he is overly rough during play and he will submit to her.
Bilbo (Shih Tzu terrier x) is 15 years old and he really appreciates a bit of comfort. If Suzie is taking up the only available space on the couch, he will sit on top of her until she gives up and gets off. Bilbo will however get off the couch when asked without any problem.
They will all take it in turns to instigate play and social interactions, and they will all at one time or another show either assertive or submissive behaviour to each other depending on the specific circumstance. The humans of the household do not have any problems not because our dogs consider us to be Alpha's, but rather because they have been taught acceptable behaviour using positive reinforcement training. Sorry for long post, as I said, I am quite passionate about this subject!

message 15: by Barry (new)

Barry Knister | 17 comments I very much appreciate your response. I regret not having you as my own "resource" long ago. You might have offered real help to us in our wish to relieve Chelsea of what seems the burden of melancholy. You might take a look at my last two blog entries (they're published at Goodreads). They concern our dog's sudden transformation on encountering a certain dog, one that may remind her of her companion, a dog that died and that we were told explained our dog's ceasing to be interesting to the family that gave her up.

message 16: by Karen (last edited Sep 20, 2012 11:46PM) (new)

Karen Davison | 11 comments Barry, I will private message you later when I have some time. Its never too late to achieve some improvements.

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