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The debate raging here on ohmidog! - and in the rest of the world, too - just had a little more fuel thrown on it: A new British study says dominance-based dog training techniques such as those espoused by Cesar Millan are a waste of time and may make dogs more aggressive.

Researchers from the University of Bristol's Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences, after studying dogs for six months, conclude that, contrary to popular belief, dogs are not trying to assert their dominance over their canine or human "pack" and aren't motivated by maintaining their place in the pecking order.

One of the scientists behind the study, Dr. Rachel Casey, in an interview with ABC News, said the blanket assumption that every dog is motivated by some innate desire to control people or other dogs is "frankly ridiculous."

Casey said that methods such as instructing owners to eat before their dogs or go through doors first will not influence a dog's perception of the relationship; it only teaches them what to expect in certain situations.

They recommend against dominance techniques such as pinning a dog to the floor, grabbing its jowls or using loud noises to correct behavior. Instead, they recommend using rewards for good behavior.

"We very often see dogs which have learned to show aggression to avoid anticipated punishment," said Casey. "Owners are often horrified when we explain that their dog is terrified of them, and is showing aggression because of the techniques they have used, but it's not their fault when they have been advised to do so, or watched unqualified 'behaviorists' recommending such techniques on TV."

If that sounds like a slight to "The Dog Whisperer" Cesar Millan, that's probably because it was.

Casey told ABC News that "pack leader" techniques' like Millan's are counterproductive. "We feel techniques like these compromises the dogs welfare and could make a dogs behavior worse by increasing fear and anxiety. We really wanted to get the message out there please don't use these sorts of techniques on your dog."

Not everyone would agree with the study's findings, as a look at the comments on our earlier piece will show you.

Dog behaviorist Rawlinson told ABC News that while he agrees in part with the study he disagrees that dogs do not show dominate behavior. Rawlinson said that academics are slow to suggest alternatives usually because they don't know any. And many dog trainers, he added, are "one-trick ponies" who haven't kept up with changes in the field.

"The problem with the people who advocate the Alpha and rank reduction route, is either they do not understand or they choose to ignore the fact that behavioral problems in dogs often have wide and differing backgrounds," he said. "Pack dynamics only involves approximately 15 percent of the cases that I have to treat."

ohmidog! Study blasts training methods like Millan's
 

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Casey told ABC News that "pack leader" techniques' like Millan's are counterproductive. "We feel techniques like these compromises the dogs welfare and could make a dogs behavior worse by increasing fear and anxiety. We really wanted to get the message out there please don't use these sorts of techniques on your dog."
While I do not agree with everything that Millan does being the alpha or pack leader what ever you want to call it is a must. So are they saying just only Millan's techniques are bad or being an alpha is bad?
 

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While I do not agree with everything that Millan does being the alpha or pack leader what ever you want to call it is a must. So are they saying just only Millan's techniques are bad or being an alpha is bad?
yeah....what she said!! LOL

Also, did these researchers just observe human/dog interactions or did they actually interact with the dogs? What breeds were used in the study? Health issues of any of the animals, etc.....my enquiring mind wants to know!!!!
 

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I have no idea just a cross post ;)
OMG!! I think my world just crashed! I thought you knew everything!! What am I going to do???????

Seriously, thanks for the post! I love finding those research articles!
 

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Im sorry i dont care what anybody says i dont see anything wrong wit what ceasar does. I have raised all my dogs the same way im boss and ur not. its cool to give ur dog a treat for the things they do good. But they should do what you say because u said it not because they will get a treat for it. My mom didnt give me a treat or anything for doing what she told me i did it because she said so and she was the boss thats it there is nothing else to it. I bet those scientist didnt test pitbulls cause we should all know if u dont let ur pit know ur boss you will never have control over him.
 

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^x2 i want to see someone own a dog and not be alpha over them. that dog would be unruly and prob not listen just my .02
 

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im going to have to disagree with this thread. maintaining a pack leader motive is the only way to be with a pitbull or any other breed IMO.
 

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There are many different training methods out there, and many of them work. I personally as a trainer use some of Cesar's techniques, and I also employ some of my own. I have found that each dog has a different mindset, and different methods work better for different dogs. One point I have to make is that if Cesar's techniques are counterproductive, how would he be able to have so many different breeds of dogs in his pack all living together in harmony, and how would he have been able to take extremely aggressive dogs and turn them into loving family pets?
 

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Here's a rebuttal to that article and point of view, Marty. I didn't write it but wish I had. The preface was written by Sian Min The, a dressage instructor who owns a pit bull.
Julie K


Animal training is complicated. There's no 'one-size-fits-all' training approach. Did I say complicated? Add to this a good dose of moral confusion (thanks to the media and some special interest groups). In the context of animal training, few terms are as emotionally charged as 'punishment' and 'abuse'; and few terms are as misapplied (intentionally or otherwise) as 'humane' and 'cruel'.

Professional dog trainer Lori Drouin was recently asked to explain her beliefs and values in this arena. The result is a superbly insightful article that applies equally well in the training of dogs, horses and, indeed, any animal:

" ... First of all, I value dogs for their humor, for their reflections of the social interactions that we seek and don't always find among other humans, for their many talents, humor, and their very real view of the world. However, I KNOW that they are animals, as are we all, but they as animals don't get quite the philosophical or religious or social welfare information given to them on a global level that we do as humans. They are models for us to prove that xenophobia is not a prejudicial choice, but a survival mechanism in the wild, and one that we as humans can speak about overcoming, but obviously don't succeed too well at it in all cases. But that's another list. They show us that aggression is sometimes just a conversation about fear or uncertainty; but if you're the one on the receiving end of it, you're not going to be happy about the message. So while I get all of that, and understand that in an ideal world kindness is the best way to engender reciprocal kindness from others, I find it necessary to sometimes accept that physical communication is also part and parcel of being a dog.

" My belief as a trainer is that I should be as gentle as any particular dog will allow me to be. But in order for that to succeed, I have to be very clear in my own mind about what I want to teach, or what sort of behavior is socially acceptable in every context I am going to put my dog in. And frankly, I think that a complete communication system involves a means of saying, "That is wrong, and you will stop it right now!" That is different from, "That is incorrect, try again." If you have a dog that requires that message, the message must be timely and obvious enough for the dog to perceive it, and it must be delivered with committment (sic) and no apology. Sometimes the means is physical.

" However, I am not in favor of abuse. What is the difference between punishment and abuse? Abuse is when the intensity of the message exceeds what is needed to stop a behavior. Abuse is when the efforts involve physical pain NOT for the purpose of stopping the designated "bad" behavior, but for the purpose of making the trainer feel better, or for the purpose of making the dog feel extreme fear for the trainer's personal empowerment. Sometimes punishment is needed for bad behaviors; but it stops as soon as the bad behavior stops, too, and then the dog should be taught how to behave instead right away when possible.

" I am concerned that some aspects of dog training are getting too remote. People know how to click and feed, but forget how to pet and play. People forget that dogs will mirror behavior and emotion, but you have to give them some emotion to mirror. If you don't, then your dog may sit to get a treat, but not because he's pleasing you, because he actually doesn't know that it pleases you. Reward withdrawal is an effective training tool, but sometimes the "bad" behavior has its own rewards, and your dog will not even know that you withdrew a reward. It would be helpful if he knew that certain words, voice tones, and postures were indicative of a need to change his current behavioral tack.

" Finally, I believe that if you're going to own a dog, or be its guardian if you prefer, you have to be willing to be decisive about what you want as a trainer, clear about it on the dog's level, consistent in your expectations, and open-minded about the means of communication you have available to use because not all dogs (or people) will interpret a particular medium and it message the same way.

" I think in the world of dog training, there are very few roads that haven't been walked by others before us in terms of methods and tools. But always the road is a new one with each dog, and even further changed by the being on the other end of the leash. There are certain training techiques (sic) that are widely used in competition obedience training that I have used, and hope never to use again because I've found another way that works for me on a lot of dogs; but I understand the techniques, I understand why they work on a host of dogs, and I do not criticize other trainers who use the tools or techniques when they achieve clarity and consistency and have very happy dogs who are confident in their interactions. Frankly, I've met some clicker trained dogs who were basket cases in a constant state of anxiety about what they should do next. But I do feel critical of trainers using ANY method who stubbornly adhere to an approach that patently isn't working on the particular dog at the particular moment, especially if it's an issue that is imminently dangerous, and if not stopped with alacrity would result in an unsafe outcome for either dog or human. There are no moral or ethical excuses for continuing a process that is frustrating and ineffective for the subjects at hand.

" I believe that professional trainers NEED to listen to the needs of the owners and embrace them first; then we need to assess the importance in each case of expediency. Some things can be shaped out given enough time, and are only mildly annoying to live with in the meantime, while other issues need resolution or extreme management right away. Then we look at what we can do that will make this all happen in a way that will improve life for both the client and the dog long term. Just because you know a slick and esoteric progression for teaching something doesn't mean it's the best approach for a real person who is NOT a professional trainer.

" I used to be a member of APDT, but I gave up the membership because the tone of communications about training approach became militantly exclusive in favor of pure positive training, and vehemently vitriolic about the awfulness of punishment. Well, I've seen some dogs that were greatly helped by one well-timed and executed correction after months of shaping and desensitization efforts excecuted (sic) with POOR timing had actually escalated the aggression displays. I decided the organization was no longer encouraging open communication and exchanges of experience, and decided not to support it anymore as a member. I appreciate the strides many of its members have made in developing positive strategies. But in the end, we train dogs. Dogs don't have a non-egocentric view of morals and ethics. They respond to their own desires until taught otherwise. Sometimes we have to react to that reality. ... “

Lori Drouin, February 2009
 

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Hmmm, this is a tough one.

I personally have found both being the "alpha" and positive reinforcement to work for me, but in combination with each other, not apart from each other. My dogs know that I am the boss, and that if they do what pleases me, they get rewarded with praise, treats, etc. They also know that if they do something I do not like they suffer the consequences of the alpha (that is me!).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I haven't read all the post but how many of you trainers use the pet smart type of training in your program, I'm not a trainer but I do know BS when I see it and never had a class a day in my life, you training Mutts or game bred dogs, I'm sure you know the difference if your a trainer, and I 'll supply the dogs to show you the difference, $1 dollar to a donut?

I'm a broke ass but I need to make a point!

Do I hear a bet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
OK here's the deal of a life time, yeah I'm broke but I do have a new craftsman lawnmower worth over $2000,00 and a rear tine tiller I payed over $800.00 for I'll put them both up against any trainer on this site that thinks they can train a real game bred dog not none of the junk they been used to working with but a real dog, hell I done lost it all anyway what do I have to lose, you win you get my shit and you got to buy me a drunken donut, If I lose I'm out close to $3000.00 so who's first up?

Money talks BS walks, I'm calling you out!
 

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I agree marty i do not own a gamebred pit so i do not know how much more work it is yet!!! I do understand though through owning this wonderful breed and several others and im sorry but if they think me petting my dog and giving it treats all the time is going to correct his aggression issues or any other hard issues that dogs have they are crazy. Dogs are like kids. As soon as they know who boss is through reinforcement that is when they can start learning. Its like the military now days. The drill instructor cannot touch a recruit nor can he make him do a certain slew of workouts for to long. I am sory but you are taking a bunch of mostly kids and trainning them for war. I mean the enemy is not going to be nice to you. I say train so they know what to expect when something they do is not good. Now do i believe all the training a dog goes throgh should be punnishment! Nope i believe that lots of positive reinforcement is necessary so that way the dog can get a sene of accomplishment. Do not shower them with treats on the other hand make it special when they do get one. My dogs love it when i give them a treat. They look at me like i have been good and im gonna keep doin it lol.
 

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I haven't read all the post but how many of you trainers use the pet smart type of training in your program, I'm not a trainer but I do know BS when I see it and never had a class a day in my life, you training Mutts or game bred dogs, I'm sure you know the difference if your a trainer, and I 'll supply the dogs to show you the difference, $1 dollar to a donut?

I'm a broke ass but I need to make a point!

Do I hear a bet?
aaaahahahahaha man i love your point of view! :goodpost:
 

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i dont think theres any manual for training dogs just like not for kids.....everyone has techniques that work for them dont necisarily work for others...i agree w alot of millans stuff but disagree with others...alpha role is important but maybe not the pinning down and everything...to each is their own their own
 

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OK here's the deal of a life time, yeah I'm broke but I do have a new craftsman lawnmower worth over $2000,00 and a rear tine tiller I payed over $800.00 for I'll put them both up against any trainer on this site that thinks they can train a real game bred dog not none of the junk they been used to working with but a real dog, hell I done lost it all anyway what do I have to lose, you win you get my shit and you got to buy me a drunken donut, If I lose I'm out close to $3000.00 so who's first up?

Money talks BS walks, I'm calling you out!
what do you mean by "Train" are you talking about a behavorial thing or what?
 

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I agree with the rebuttal. I have adopted aspects of the Cesar method that fit my dogs. For the most part my dogs are soft. The English Bulldog is the most stubborn, will I use a more stern approach with him than with my pug, and even my pit? Yes. He is a marvelous, well-mannered, gentle dog, but I see him testing me when I get too soft with him, and then it's back on his side for being defiant. The pug is so small and sweet, and never questions who's in charge, she is completely happy to be a follower, and do whatever the pack does. Lady the pit is soft and timid, and a full on Cesar type approach is not necessary, 95% of the time she goes out of her way to please us. On occassion, she gets put on her side, but she needs it less and less, so yes I am as soft as my dogs will allow me to be. If you look at temperment test statistics, EBs have a pretty low pass rate, about 70% I believe, these dogs need a stronger leader, and if you aren't a good pack leader, these jolly little pudge balls will walk all over you, and people don't realize that 60lbs is 60lbs, even if they are only 14 inches tall.
 
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