Basset Hounds Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,249 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
There's an interesting op ed in today's New York Times on Cesar Millan --- the title is Pack of Lies and the URL is here. You have to register to read it but it's free --- and the NYT is always interesting, so ... why not? :p

In addition to the usual uproar over Millan, I found this snippet to be really good, particularly given how the author juxtaposes it with Millan's preferred approach to aggression (which isn't very effective):

More important, aggression often has underlying medical causes that might not be readily apparent: hip dysplasia or some other hidden physical ailment that causes the dog to bite out of pain; hereditary forms of sudden rage that require a medical history and genealogy to diagnose; inadequate blood flow to the brain or a congenital brain malformation that produces aggression and can only be uncovered through a medical examination. Veterinary behaviorists, having found that many aggressive dogs suffer from low levels of serotonin, have had success in treating such dogs with fluoxetine (the drug better known as Prozac). [/b]
It's a short article but worth a read, I think. The author, Mark Derr, has also written a book called A Dog's History of America: How Our Best Friend Explored, Conquered and Settled a Continent --- I think it will be my next read! B)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,960 Posts
Thanks Biscuit for the article. Maybe his methods work but I don't think most people are capable of practicing what he preaches. Ever see how a lot of people use a choke collar? Never mind that they can't even put it on correctly. I wonder if the number of dog bites is going to increase as more people attempt to use his methods?

Linda you reminded me of a book I read that I wanted to recommend-it was suggesteed to me by one of my vets-the basset owning one. If you get a chance read:
For more info check out the authors website: Marley & Me
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,902 Posts
My considered opinion B) is that a combination of positive reinforcement and judiciously applied correction is the most effective means of communication. You have to let dogs know what you want and what you don't want, in an active manner. Merely ignoring what you don't want is not an efficient means of communicating that information to them.

Barb, in response to your comment about dog bites...my take is that if more people are inspired to by the show to actually train their dogs, we'll all benefit from it. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,960 Posts
Betsy I agree with you wholeheartedly regarding postive reinforcemnt and "judicously applied correction"! I had a dog where a change in the tone of my voice was enough of a correction-just pointing out that training methods aren't "one size fits all." I don't think the average person can take what they learn on Cesar Millan's show and train an aggressive dog to not bite. Yes it would be great if the show encourages people to train their dogs but I hope they attend classes or seek the help of a professional for behavior problems instead of attempting do it yourself methods. I just envision all these people trying to train their dogs with remote trainers. And again these devises can be used effectively but a novice needs to be trained to train the dog.

PS: I haven't even see the show and since I only watch TV about once a year or if I stay in a hotel, I most likely won't watch it. So in other words I really don't know what I'm talking about. :unsure:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,249 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
the op ed doesn't exactly speak highly of his methods :blink: and i can understand why. i mean, i think about Yogi who was put into rescue because he was supposedly aggressive.

um, fearful, yes. aggressive, though? had he landed in a situation where someone used choke collars, "i'm bigger and more aggressive than you buster!" and similar techniques, oh yea, he'd likely have become a monster.

so it really is a matter of the individual dog. there might be general similarities, but it isn't a black and white thing.

the quote above is what really caught my eye. there are posts here pretty frequently about aggression in dogs, and usually someone advises the dog be checked for medical problems.

so i found myself thinking if an op ed in the NYT notes medical problems as a cause for doggie aggression, then maybe we're starting to get to a point where this is more common knowledge and more people will get their dogs to the vet at the first sign of aggression.

but maybe not.

but maybe~!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,378 Posts
I'm on another (obedience) board where this article has started quite a furor, mostly supporting his methods in principle, and lambasting clicker training and, occasionally, equating clicker trainers with PETA. I've never seen this guy, but he does stir people up. I've never seen the show, but I did read his book. The two things I recall l from it (which are probably not the messages he's trying to send)
1. a tired dog is a good dog (agreed)
2. if a dog sees you as a leader, they'll walk behind you and not pull on their lead. (My Utility dog must think I'm quite the alpha dog, since she insists on walking way behind me in the ring) <_< . It's sort of interesting--I'm not much of a fan of clicker training, but clicker trainers appear to be on the way to becoming the the Koehler trainers of the 21st century--lots of negative comments directed at them, some earned, some not.
As a total aside, what's with this new software? I liked the last version a lot better. The tiny print is sort of hard on the old eyes.
Sharon Hall



.
the op ed doesn't exactly speak highly of his methods :blink: and i can understand why. i mean, i think about Yogi who was put into rescue because he was supposedly aggressive.

um, fearful, yes. aggressive, though? had he landed in a situation where someone used choke collars, "i'm bigger and more aggressive than you buster!" and similar techniques, oh yea, he'd likely have become a monster.

so it really is a matter of the individual dog. there might be general similarities, but it isn't a black and white thing.

the quote above is what really caught my eye. there are posts here pretty frequently about aggression in dogs, and usually someone advises the dog be checked for medical problems.

so i found myself thinking if an op ed in the NYT notes medical problems as a cause for doggie aggression, then maybe we're starting to get to a point where this is more common knowledge and more people will get their dogs to the vet at the first sign of aggression.

but maybe not.

but maybe~!
[/b]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,902 Posts
Barb and Linda, have you seen his show? I've seen several episodes, and I think the NYT piece was a bit over the top. But that's the point of an Op Ed piece, I suppose. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
775 Posts
My husband got me "Marley and Me" for Mothers Day and I love it. My daughter read it and loved it too.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,042 Posts
I originally started as a Koehler trainer. I beleived in him wholeheartedly. I followed his instructions to the letter. I could send a dog flying with the best of them. I had no compunctions about giving a good correction, believing that it was in the dog's best interests. I gave lots of praise where appropriate.

And I was successful. I put a number of obedience titles on dogs of various breeds. I had well-behaved dogs.

But I guess I've mellowed over the years. I can no longer train that way. I've had to deal with a dog who became more fearful and aggressive due to alpha-rolling. I've had to deal with a dog who was terrified to do the down exercise, because to him it meant I was going to correct him (and he was right - he tried to leave the situation and I corrected him). I've had a dog returned to me who was trained by the Koehler/Ceasar model and was so afraid of being punished that he would growl and snap if he thought you might be upset with him. And of course, his owners would punish him for growling and snapping, proving him right. (We get along fine now, he has learned that I will not hurt him, even though I insist on having my way, but in the early days I was very close to having him euthanized.) And I've had dogs simply shut down, not understanding how to make the corrections stop.

I use the clicker for certain exercises, I like the precision with which I can mark behaviors. I don't use it all the time. I don't believe in "only good and more good". I believe in consequences, and that a correction can be given appropriately. But I also believe that far too many trainers do not take the time to get into the dog's head, and rely overly on correction rather than teaching and observing and understanding the particular dog they are working with. Many assume that if the dog is not obeying that it is being willfully disobedient. They don't consider that the dog may not understand what they want ("He should know this, he's done it before), or that the dog may be afraid. Correcting a dog that's confused or afraid will not make him less so. Better to take the time to figure out how to better explain to the dog what is expected or why he doesn't want to work.

So maybe I've gone soft. But my dogs still work for me, we still earn titles. I'm still the undisputed boss and centre of the universe. But I think we have a better relationship now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,378 Posts
Sorry, Biscuit--I didn't mean to imply I was replying just to your post. I'm having a bit of trouble transitioning to this new software . I hope I've figured out how not to put a quote in....
Sharon Hall
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,249 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
an op ed over the top? say it ain't so, Betsy!! :D :D

i've seen the show a couple of times, but in distracted circumstances (ie, not at my house). much of my opinion of him is based on rumor and innuendo :blink: --- which, as we all know, is the best way to form opinions. however, given i'm not a trainer and my approach to doggie discipline is pretty lax, it's somewhat doubtful i'd be able to separate the wheat from the chaff even if i were to look over more studious discussion of what he does. iow, it's very doubtful i ever produce an obedience champion :blink: and therefore, my own take on what he does lacks --- well, whatever. can't think of the word.

i do know this: much of the little i've seen conflicts with my own instincts about dogs. but i also think dogs are smarter than many people give them credit for being. whether that's a correct assumption, i don't know, but it is my way of approaching the pups.

and Sharon, don't worry --- i knew you weren't posting in response to me. my bigger interest in this is what the article says about some of the underlying medical causes for aggression. hopefully, this marks the beginning of greater public awareness.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,968 Posts
This op came across the AGBEH list. It is very interesting the different ideas people have. At this point I have to believe my dog is more of a parasite then wolf. I don't even know what to think about the comments Cesar made about women! I'm all for exercising a dog but you don't need a degree to come up with that one.

Years ago there was an older lady dog trainer, she was all over T.V. , her thing was Walkies! She would say walkies in a high pitched voice and have even the worst dog walking nicely. I guess she was the dog guru of the 70's.
Joan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,937 Posts
Years ago there was an older lady dog trainer, she was all over T.V. , her thing was Walkies! She would say walkies in a high pitched voice and have even the worst dog walking nicely. I guess she was the dog guru of the 70's.[/b]
Barbra Woodhouse. only acceptable praise/reward 2 fingers rubbed on the chest


I think the NYT piece was a bit over the top[/b]
Not for what it precented but for what it did not.

Ceasar first manra exercise,discipline, praise in that order is not bad and in general a good policy to follow. A majority and probably a vast majority of of dog behavioral problems fall under the catagory of dogs being dogs. Under exercised dogs are reaching epidemic proportions in this country an acount for a whole host of of problems like distruction of items to excesive barking. adequite exercise alone could solve many of the problems in and of itself and greatly reduce the problem in the other instances. Exercise is a Marth Stewart would say is a good thing.

A second major area of problem behavior are behaviors the dog is inadvertently rewarded for jumping up, over excitedness and such. waiting for the dog to be "calm submissive" before rewarding it is not a bad thing. It basic the mantra of TEACHING SELF CONTROL. It is often the lack of impulse control that differentiates the "good dog" from the "Dad Dog" . Rewarding only the "calm submissive" state goes a long way in teaching impulse control.

Discipline. = rules, boundaries, limitations which is nothing more than leadership How an individual exerts leadership is individual.


Again much of what Ceasar does is not bad, much of his explaination of why it works however is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
782 Posts
I'm like Biscuit in that I'm rather lax in the discipline department and have been fortunate to have a laid back, mellow dog, but I listened to Cesar Millan on NPR one morning and he came across as rather simplistic and a little harsh. I just can't see his method creating a calm, happy dog, especially a basset hound!
The cure-all for any of Francis's behaviour problems has been lots of exercise and calm correction. I pretty much had to retrain him when he lost his eyesight and the good old-fashioned repetition and treats method worked well for us. We were lucky in that Francis trusted me so much that he was never afraid to do what was asked but that trust came from the knowledge that I was never going to be harsh or angry.
I LOVED Barbara Wodehouse. I didn't like that other guy, the one with the sharp yank on the collar. I don't own a TV anymore so I guess I'll never see Cesar in action.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top