Friday, June 14, 2013

The cost of doing business with the wrong trainer.

Because of Cesar Millan's affinity for Pit Bulls and supposed Pit Bull "expertise" a lot of our fellow Pit Bull fanatics seem to gravitate towards him. Not just gravitate towards him, but emulate him. Indeed, over the past several years, we've seen a lot of new "pit bull trainers" pop up seemingly mimicking Millan and trying to follow his recipe for success. We do occasionally post on this blog reminders that Cesar Millan's methods are highly controversial and nearly universally derided by animal behavior professionals (i.e. those with actual field degrees) and ethologists, and warn people away from Millan as well as anyone using similar aversive and dangerous techniques.

There is a clip floating around the internet showing Cesar Millan strangling a dog named Shadow that he repeatedly provokes into aggression. The clip is difficult to watch and at the end shows an exhausted, nearly asphyxiated animal laying on the ground. It's actually pretty horrific and that anyone could see this and still be a fan of Millan speaks to the problem of what we deem acceptable/normal in dog training due to the complete lack of regulation in the dog training field (no degrees, training, or certification is required to call oneself a "dog trainer").

We just stumbled across a couple of good blog articles that we'd like to share with our readers. The first is talking about the incident in which Millan strangles Shadow, posted on Psychology Today, and you can read that here. The second is not Millan-specific but talks about stress in dog training, how it can hamper learning, and also mentions a case in which a dog was subjected to a technique like the one Shadow experienced and received permanent serious physical damage to the point that the dog had to be euthanized. That second blog can be found here.

It's important for dog parents to take some time to learn about behavior and learning before launching into any training endeavor. Researching the person you are receiving instruction from is important, and please remember just because someone calls themselves an expert on TV or in real life, doesn't mean they know what they are doing. For the sake of the dogs, we cannot stress enough the importance of working with ONLY qualified, dog-friendly trainers, veterinary behaviorists, or Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists. Your dog's physical, emotional and behavioral health is at stake.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Too true! Thank you for being dedicated to positive methods. :)