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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There is a wonderful article on page 17 about dog behaviour. It is bang up to date and based on scientific evidence :lol:

If you haven't read it then the gist of it is that all these TV dog trainers, telling dog owners that their dogs are trying to "dominate" them when they are misbehaving, have been talking a load of old squit. It goes on to say that scientific evidence shows that "rank reducing" a dog does nothing to improve the dog's behaviour and may cause the dog to become aggressive 8O . Reward based training, it tells us, is the most effective way to train a dog :lol: .

In this country we have people like Prof Peter Neville, Sarah Whitehead, David Appleby and Robert Falconer-Taylor all experts in the field of dog behaviour. They all refuse to make TV programmes until they are given editorial control. This is because all the hard work that goes into turning a problem dog around ends up on the cutting room floor :evil: . All the viewer sees is a naughty dog turned into a paragon of virtue in the space of a half hour programme. The small print telling them how long it actually took is lost in the excitement of the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well Ca I have only seen one or two of his and I have to say that it looks as though he has jumped on a very lucrative band wagon.

I watched one about a Bernese Mountain Dog that was being aggressive around its food bowl. The Dog Whisperer's answer was to teach the dog to pull a cart! The correct treatment for this problem involves teaching the dog that we are no threat to his food. There was a very evident cut in the film where one minute the dog was looking extremely uncomfortable at being held by the choke chain (!) it was wearing and the next it was completely relaxed. We were led to believe that Cesar had worked his magic in a short space of time when it probably took a long long time. I am not saying he is not talented, he obviously is, but he has been seduced by all the hype that surrounds the media.

This theory of "dominance" was actually invented by John Fisher after some studies of captive wolves seemed to show them fighting for pack leadership. He wrote a book about the theory but later wrote another correcting himself (very brave). He and his colleagues had followed up on all the dogs that they had put on a programme of "rank reduction" and found that they had all become depressed and confused.

More "scientific" studies involving free living wolves have shown that they actually do not fight for dominance. There seems to be almost a democratic move to elect the biggest, fastest and most virile dog as pack leader as this gives them the best chance of survival.

If you think about your pet dog for a minute. All he or she actually wants is a life where he is fed and kept warm. Why would he want to rule the house when he gets all his needs met? Dogs just want to live in harmony with us. Sometimes things go wrong and they develop a behaviour problem but it shoud be treated as just that and we should not label a dog.

In the case of the Bernese Mountain Dog the clue to the problem was at the beginning of the programme when the owner described the dog as the "runt" of the litter. It is almost certain that he learned to guard his food during his time with his littermates. If he didn't guard it they would get it and he would die. Pretty powerful emotions driving his behaviour.
 

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It is very interesting to read that P, and I have no doubt that a lot of that is true.
On two separate occasions I visited homes where there was an out of control dog. These dogs literally 'ruled the roost' and their owners seemed to spend silly amounts of time trying to get the dogs to behave and weren't very effective, the dogs then jumped all over visitors and were downright unpleasant.

I used Caeser's technique of making the dog lie in a submissive way and correcting that until within just a minute or two the dog was relaxed and polite, something the owner had never seen before. During my visit, all it took was a quick touch to the neck and the hissing sound and the dog quietened down and relaxed again. There was no reward involved, just letting the dog know what was expected of him.

I have lived with two dogs who knew their places in our home, they were happy, peaceful and pleasant to have no matter who came into the house. I could remove their food bowls, ask them to move somewhere else in the house or stay out of certain rooms. They knew their boundaries and were happy and energetic, certainly not depressed.

I am a firm believer that dogs have a pack order, our smaller dog was more submissive to the bigger one from the day she arrived. Unfortunately they are both gone now in the past two years, sadly missed too.

Ca
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As I said Ca, I haven't seen Cesar's techniques in any quantity. I don't think from what I did see that the Telegraph article is really aimed at him. He seems like a gentle man. It is much more likely to be aimed at programmes like Dog Borstal.

The point I was trying to make is that there is no "one size fits all" in dog behaviour. Each and every dog is different and needs to be treated differently. Yes certainly some techniques will work on lots of dogs but it is dangerous to believe that one techniqe will suit every dog.

I once went to a lecture attended by a huge amount of people invited because of their work with dogs. The lecturer was an American woman who maintained she could tame wild animals with a simple technique similar to Cesar's "hiss". She used XXXXX (yes, said like the letter of alphabet very quickly). We were all very impressed as "difficult" animals were brought forward and "tamed". That is until the people at the sanctuary (Wood Green) brought out an intractable goat. This woman claimed to tame tigers and elephants with her technique but this goat was having none of it! She asked for him to be put away for her to work on later.

Actually, now I think of it, Cesar's technique sounds remarkably similar to the one that she was using. Very interesting because it does seem to be successful to a certain degree but until someone does a scientific study on it we will never know if it is all an illusion. The behaviour world here certainly did not embrace that particular visitor from over the pond.

The Telegraph article is reporting on research done by experts from the University of Bristol's Department of Clinical Veterinary Science. They claimed that "each series puts back animal behaviour by 10 years". They describe outdated techniques like pinning dogs to the floor, grabbing jowls, blasting hooters or using an electric shock collar made them anxious about their owner and potentially more aggressive.

I am much more inclined to listen the Researchers from Bristol University though.
 

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Cesars technique is actually about the humans having a calm assertiveness which the dog senses and responds to by being calm. Lots of scientific evidence emerging that other animals (and humans) can 'sense' changes in our electromagnetic fields (linked to the state of your autonomic nervous system) and it links to what happens in all social animals, if one member of the group is anxious it tends to unsettle all the others. All the hissing noises etc. are just to interupt a thought train in the dog when it is getting in to a difficult mindset.
Try his 'calm assertiveness' techniques on the boss (but probably not the choke chain and hissing!) they work - hope my boss doesn't read this.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What about the dogs who detect when their owner is about to have a seizure? They know before the owner does. How amazing is that?

Then there are the ones who detect cancer 8O

People find it hard to understand that their dog will pick up the slightest bit of stress.

I personally find it difficult to deal with the responsibility of having so profound an effect on a dog's emotions. If I am having a bad day then my dog picks up on it and that makes me sad.

When we were packing up the house to go full timing Gypsy started vomitting and was diagnosed with a stomach ulcer - yes you have guessed it - the stress that we were experiencing was being picked up by her. She internalises all her stress and that is how it manifested itself. Other dogs may have displayed different symptoms or behaviour.

We hold the key to our dog's happiness in the palm of our hands and we should take care to be gentle with it.
 

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patp said:
What about the dogs who detect when their owner is about to have a seizure? They know before the owner does. How amazing is that?

Then there are the ones who detect cancer 8O

People find it hard to understand that their dog will pick up the slightest bit of stress.

I personally find it difficult to deal with the responsibility of having so profound an effect on a dog's emotions. If I am having a bad day then my dog picks up on it and that makes me sad.

When we were packing up the house to go full timing Gypsy started vomitting and was diagnosed with a stomach ulcer - yes you have guessed it - the stress that we were experiencing was being picked up by her. She internalises all her stress and that is how it manifested itself. Other dogs may have displayed different symptoms or behaviour.

We hold the key to our dog's happiness in the palm of our hands and we should take care to be gentle with it.
Isn't it really amazing? I remember an incident that blew me away.
Our big dog had been mistakenly diagnosed with arthritis, which later turned out to be a large tumour. Our small dog always slept and lay at the other side of the room from her, they were never physically close, never cuddled up together, not once in nearly ten years together.

Just a few weeks before Sox died, I went into the kitchen one night and found Hanna (small dog) lying against her with her head on her back. It was so unusual that I took a photograph of it.

It made me suspect (correctly) that there was more going on than we had realised. After that, Hanna followed Sox around the house a lot more, and was quite attentive to her. She knew before we did. Sox died about three weeks later.

Ca
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Chris
To take up you point. I am currently working in a school for pupils with Special Needs. It is amazing how many pick up on any "vibes". One of the teaching assistants is going through a divorce and the little girl she assists is behaving particularly badly.
Another little girl who is quite mentally impaired seeks out sunny patches to lie in - just like a cat. She also will bite you if you interfere with her pursuit of pleasure!
Many of the children suffer from epilepsy and when a child is fitting the other children are all agitated until it is over.

Having seen how music affects my young nephew (has an almost immediate calming effect) I long to explore this with the children.

I know that farmers report that cows milk better when music is played but has anyone noticed our domestic pets responding to music?
 

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Did anyone's dog get up and bark at 3.30am on Thursday morning? Ours did much to my annoyance, and he would not settle for ages.....turns out there was a minor earth quake in Uk somewhere around about that time....

It has happened before so he must be very sensitive to things like that
 

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patp said:
Having seen how music affects my young nephew (has an almost immediate calming effect) I long to explore this with the children.
Hi Pat :D

Some of the schools I used to work in had "sensory rooms", with music and slowly-moving coloured lights, which would be a calming environment for autistic children (and others). Here's an interesting YouTube video showing a sensory room >> LINK <<

Gerald
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi Gerald
There is a sensory room yes but I thought that using music (and light?) as a background to everyday living would be worth exploring.

My young nephew lost his mum when he was a year old. He had a few behavioural issues and we discovered that if we put on some soothing music we could calm him almost instantly.
 

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I used to work with sheep dogs when I spent a year with a dairy herd (yes, dairy sheep) in the Alps . I went to classes with the world champion trainer and had great success with a Spanish mixed breed herding dog.
None of this prepared me for training a problem pet though! My terrier has been great, but when I started taking care of Jack The Savage, I needed help. The local behaviorist said he'd need a year of therapy and there were no guarantees of success. I started reading dog behavior books, including Ceasar Milan's and watched endless programs (with a pinch of salt).
After consistently applying the techniques I felt in my gut made sense, I have a reformed dog. I believe I owe most of that to the idea of 'calm assertive leader', coupled with plenty of restraint and patience. I am using positive reward techniques now for obedience training, but the behavioral problems needed a different approach. I think Cesar's stuff is wonderful, but misunderstood. I'm so inspired by the results, I'm thinking of taking up training to be a trainer! Of course science is there to debunk every folk-theory, but a comination of the two is what worked for me.

Jacquie
 

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"I think Cesar's stuff is wonderful, but misunderstood."

Jacquie,

I've learned to appreciate that, too. Chatting with many doggy neighbours over the last year or so the attitude seems to be "and I'm a keen viewer of the Dog Whisperer but he/ she STILL does this (unwanted behaviour)", when it is very clear to me (biting my tongue) that they simply haven't grasped the fundamental points that permeate every episode.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It depends on the dog. it depends on the problem, but most of all it depends on the committment from the owner :lol:

Ingrained behaviour problems that have been practised by the dog for a period of time are not going to be given up over night.

Jaquie the people you need to train you are the people at COAPE (Centre of Applied Pet Ethology) they run courses once or twice a year. You can do a basic "Think Dog" course aimed at pet owners wanting to understand how dogs think, right up to a course to qualify you as a fully fledged Pet Behaviour Therapist. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Experienced dog owners will learn an amazing amount of new stuff but will also realise how much they already knew but were not sure that it was right! Beware it is not cheap but then the best rarely is :roll:

I believe the website is www.coape.co.uk.

It was a difficult dog like Jack that drove me into their arms and I have never regretted it. Well that is not strictly true as I used to enjoy my dog but now I worry about their state of mind all the time :roll:
 
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