Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In The Dog House - A new show with outdated info

It’s always interesting to see what a dog trainer says, and then what they do when training a dog. When they do not match up as in the case in the case of Brad Pattison, I guess the reward is a TV show. This was also the case with the now familiar Cesar Milan. The difference here is Pattison does claim to be a dog trainer, Milan does not.

Saying one thing and doing another seems to be the modus operandi of these two idiots. I know that people will get all miffed and ruffled about me getting a bit mean, oh well too bad. I absolutely abhor people who hurt dogs, period; and if anyone has a problem with my attitude too bad. After all is this not the same attitude these guys use with dogs and owners, so why not toss it back at them? The polite approach has gotten us nowhere. It is time to call these types of methods out and hold the people who use and promote them accountable.

One of the problems with legit dog trainers and legit dog behavior people is they are not tough enough on abuse trainers. Get with it people, these guys get away with it because enough people who know better look the other way and say “oh it is not that bad” or “ Oh wll what can I do”. It’s bad and here is why.

People are attempting these “methods” and they are creating more problems such as aggression, fear and anxiety in dogs. These types of shows create junior versions of the TV trainers, and it’s not a good thing. This force based methodology then gets used by owners as a way of interacting with the dog on a daily basis. This leads to quite a bit of squelching behaviors with harsh verbal’s, varying degrees of physical abuse from both hands and equipment. Not much teaching or training as it were, and well a rather adversarial relationship. Building bonds not binds should be a guiding principal, especially on these shows. They play like it is, but in reality there’s a whole lots of negative associations and fears getting instilled in dogs.

Learned helplessness is not being calm and submissive. Smacking a dog in the face until it submits is not being alpha; it’s being abusive. This has been proven time and again by many scientific findings with verifiable data. But like in the court of law where credible science in relation to dog behavior gets ignored so it seems it gets left out in TV network board rooms and among some people who are self proclaimed “experts”.

So along comes Brad Pattison. A guy with what seems to be zero legit education in dog behavior or training. A guy who it appears is making it up as he goes along by cherry picking ideas and approaches. It makes his views on dogs and training quite contradictory. His beliefs and actions seem miles apart.

Watch this video http://www.mefeedia.com/entry/brad-pattison-gets-annoyed/14534450, or watch his show on Animal Planet Sat at 8pm, In The dog House.
* It seems the video has been taken down since this blog was first published*

Read Pattison’s interview here with Slice dot com

I always find it amazing that people who say they are helping dogs by hitting, hanging, choking and abusing them are allot like the people who say they love children and abuse them. These are deeply confused and disturbed individuals indeed. Actions do speak louder than words, so those of you who get all mazed out and delirious in the face of a TV or video screen, wake up and pay attention. I say this because I meet people and read blogs where people say “ we don’t like what he does but he’s so fun to watch”. Are these people serious?

It’s great to have people like Pattison & Milan do interviews; I say get these guys talking more! That is the sure fire way to reveal the sheer ignorance of what they do with dogs and how they view dogs. It is obviously not enough to show what they do, TV execs at Animal Planet and Nat Geo obviously could care less about dogs, science is ignored and people much smarter than I have spoken up and so far it’s not helped. It backs the case for people who train dogs with non abusive methods each day when we speak to people about dogs. Past that the real change is yet to come.

I met with an Animal Planet exec; she was dead in the eyes! She is a corporate hack of the highest magnitude. She said “we use operant training on our shows”, that was her big buzz word she used to connect with me, operant. It’s also a loop hole. I know the quadrants lady, don’t play around with me.

I suspect that is also the common denominator with Nat Geo’s execs. The entertainment execs I get, it’s the people who claim they “love dogs” and “work with them” and claim to be an “educator”, but are causing dogs pain and spewing false and unsafe advice to millions of dog owners. Those are the people that don’t make sense to me. All I can think is they are frauds and have a deep disconnect.

It seems Animal Planet wants some of that demographic that Nat Geo has to tune in when the dog owners are not salivating over Milan’s nonsense. I wonder how Ms. Stillwell feels about sharing the AP brand with a guy like Pattison. It must really suck for a very outspoken R+ dog trainer such as herself to work for the same company as this guy Pattison.

She is at least an outspoken critic of Milan and pain based training. Yea her show has flaws; however she has really come around and taken a stance, especially on electronic collars and pain training. I wonder if she will have anything to say about Pattison.

Ok back to Pattison. The guy has/had a show in Canada, now a show on Animal Planet, so it’s no great stretch to see how having TV connections in one country can lead to TV connections in the US.

Let’s dissect Mr. Pattison’s “theories”. These are excerpts from an interview Pattison did with http://www.slice.ca/

“My main objective when training dogs is to empower the owner and help place him/her, and the rest of their family, in a superior position to the dog”…

The problem here is that humans are already the dominant superior species. You can pretty much kill a dog and get away with it. Unless the dog has grabbed you by the throat and has you down on the ground and the dog is killing you; the dog is not dominating a human by displaying behaviors humans do not like. Fear or anxiety based issues and issues of aggression, especially where bites have occurred, need to be addressed with humane, legitimate and carefully calculated behavior modification. If the dog is simply frustrated, and you punish it you’ll be creating aggression.

The use of pain/force based training in the case of fear, aggression and anxiety is detrimental, in the case of obedience and manners’ training it is idiotic. One would think the common agenda would be to explain dog training & leash mechanics, timing of rewards both food and life rewards, and how to implement humane consequences to decrease unwanted behaviors. Along with providing a basic understanding of learning theory most people will do ok.

“One way dogs will try to determine their owner’s status is based on the quickness of their movements. Once a dog has calculated our weaknesses, it begins to assume the alpha position.”

The problem again here is the complete lack of understanding about how dogs learn and what is important to them. Dogs are not concerned with “status” among humans; that is the human thinking the dog is a human, when it is not. That line of thinking is called anthropomorphism. In fact this “theory” is so wacked out that it is hard to believe this guy has ever worked with dogs. Dogs do not “calculate weakness”, they calculate what pays off, food wise, social wise with dogs and human contact, fun things. Dogs view the world as safe or unsafe. Also if being fast with dogs is so great why is it the suggestion of ALL humane organizations that kids and dogs be supervised? Because kids are fast and erratic, and it is a known fact that can make some dogs upset, excited and possibly fearful. IE: Fast erratic movements equal potential danger for dogs.

He goes on to say…
“A critical tool dogs employ when interacting and disciplining other dogs is speed. Remember that a dog can move its mouth seven times faster than the human hand…”

It is true that a dogs mouth is faster than a human hand, so why then would you want to try and out maneuver a dog with your hands or body, wouldn’t it be safer and more effective if you found out what motivated the dog and determine what humane consequence one could place as a deterrent to unwanted behavior? I mean expecting people to be faster than a dog is ridiculous. In the case of fear and aggression, knowing you cannot out maneuver a dog I guess Pattison would be at a loss. Or ramp up the violence? He’s lucky most dogs come with pretty decent bite inhibition, but not all.

“Let me reassure you that I would never put my dogs, or any other dog, in a situation that it couldn’t manage. Usually I find that most dog owners who have issues with their dogs tend to have a low opinion of their animal…”

Watch the video I have attached to the blog – you decide if the dog is in a dangerous position. I guess we’ll see in the weeks to come just how not dangerous the situations he places dogs in really are. http://www.mefeedia.com/entry/brad-pattison-gets-annoyed/14534450
* This video has been taken down since this blog was first published*

Usually I find that most dog owners who have issues with their dogs tend to have a low opinion of their animal, and low expectations of what it can do and handle.

Wow, most owners who have issues with their dogs have a “low opinion of their animal”!?! Geeze, I thought it was just the opposite. It has always been my understanding that most owners have a very high opinion of their dog. This seems to be a direct contradiction to the dominance model, as most “trainers” who use pain/force etc.. Claim people coddle and praise too much. Hmm, quite odd.

The best recommendation I have for dog owners is that they take the time to study and observe their dogs and learn from them.

Ok, I thought that he wanted owners to move fast so the dog does not find the human weakness? Taking time and studying dog behavior usually is not coupled with speedy movements, assessing dogs fast and force based training.

I don’t believe in being either rough or cruel. I am firm and determined to demonstrate to the dog that it is not allowed to attack or bite me. Many people forget that dogs are animals and don’t communicate or show respect and love the same ways that humans do. The dog pack is always defined by who is the Alpha. Discipline is prevalent in the animal kingdom and our ignorance of this fact has cost many dogs their lives.

Ah, ok…this is where the man clearly has no idea what he’s speaking about and he’s just spouting some stuff he read or heard. First off, the point of aggression in dogs is to create distance from the thing it is afraid of as all aggression is rooted in fear. Secondly, he is right dogs are different from humans, but earlier on he does equate dogs and humans in the dominance model he proposes so which one is it? Lastly dominance is not a behavior it is a relationship paramiter.

Protracted warning signs are not an invitation to confront the dogs, rather the dog is saying “hey back off”. The other thing that Pattison has clearly ignored or has not looked into is that dominance among dogs is contextual and can be ever changing, also had he ever read Ray Coppinger or David Meech past 1970; he’d have discovered that dogs are NOT pack animals, they are scavengers and group up for power in numbers and procreation of the species. When dogs are subjected to stupid people doing stupid things it costs many dogs their lives, not a “lack of discipline” as Pattison suggests.

“Dogs do not reward each other with food. This is a behavior humans have created to express their love for the dog, but it is the opposite of what would happen in the real dog world.”

Wow, this is astonishing. Check it out, a puppy that bites too hard on a mother dogs teat will be kicked away off the food, operant conditioning in full effect, a consequence; and the puppy will be rewarded with continuing the milk delivery for a soft mouth, positive reinforcement, so dogs do reward each other for food, right from the start actually. Like I said has this guy ever really even worked with dogs?

In addition anyone who has even taken a basic science class in high school has been taught about rats being rewarded for following a maze by getting food. Food is not the problem, teaching people how to fade and use the food is the challenge. Understanding criteria shifts is something Pattison should be concerned with as well as conditioned emotional responses.

What this interview proves is that this guy is clueless. Now we’ve got two TV “trainers” that are spreading the gospel of dog ignorance.

As far as I can tell Pattison is not backed by Hollywood money like Milan, so he can probably be off the air sooner rather than later. He’ll either have his place as the number two after Milan, or maybe he’ll even ramp it up to do more heroics of harm than Milan, after all he’s just as stupid as Milan when it comes to dog behavior but he seems to have a better ability to speak. That is bad combo. Dumb and talkative is what has gotten many dogs killed. Breeding ignorance is killing dogs, not a “lack of discipline”.

Just watch what he does and read or listen to what he says see if they match up, or watch with the sound off….that is really all you need to do. Now that we’ve got another person practicing cruel and unusual punishment on dogs in the name of “training” on TV, Milan’s people can no longer say we are “picking on him” anymore, nope now it is really about methodology and humane dog training and what side of culture do you side with. This is why Pattison is good for the cause. He is another example that legit dog people can point to as an example of what not to do and how not to counsel the general public or paying clients.

I’ll be keeping an eye on how many clients call me with fear and aggression that are influenced by Pattison’s new show. The really sad part is now there are two shows on the air that promote the hurting of dogs so it’s twice as likely people will be influenced by this abusive approach.

Save the hate posts, save the hate mail. If you like these guys and what they do fine, that’s on your head and you’re conscious of what is happening to these dogs or maybe you’re not aware of it. Either way it is happening; it has a bad ripple effect in dog culture, especially with owners who attempt to copy them and junior hack trainer versions of the TV trainers claiming they are "gifted". If you attempt to copy them, and people do copy these guys, when it goes wrong and your dog bites or has deep fear/anxiety/aggression issues, you’ll only have the humane approach left. Sad thing is it might be too late and your dog could be euthanized or traumatized. Do you really want to take that risk?

Brad Pattison

Dr. Sphia Yin

AVSAB Position Statement

UPenn Study

Jo Jacques CPDT, CPCT & Sandy Myers CDBC

Dr. Karen Overall

AVSAB Position Statement

UPenn Study

Jo Jacques CPDT, CPCT & Sandy Myers CDBC

Dr. Karen Overall

Australia SPCA Links about humane training for dogs

Links to information about what is really happening with Milan

Dog Trainer abuse cases