Slick TV shows,
engaging slogans, adorable ad campaigns… all of these things
have become a mainstay in the pet industry these days.
Every year the
pet industry sees growth. with estimated sales in 2006 at $36.4
billion, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers
Association. This is up $2.1 billion from last year, and $17.4
billion from a decade ago.
So, from a
business perspective, slick marketing campaigns makes sense. But
how is the average American dog lover supposed to make heads or
tails of it all?
Now more than
ever, it is important to research where you get your dog, what
you feed your dog and who to call when you need help training
Academy, LLC would like to give you the tools you need to learn
where to look and what questions to ask to insure you are
investing in the right training services, for your sake, and
your dog’s too.
is no other service that it is vital to do your research than
dog training. The wrong training can create more issues, and can
actually cost your dog’s life.
This is also
not an area where you want to attempt to replicate training
methods you see on TV. First of all, keep in mind that hours of
training is condensed to a 10 -15 minute segment. In addition,
anyone can look like a brilliant trainer when you can edit out
This has never
been more the case than with trainers that use “alpha” or
dominance” techniques. Any dog care professional who trains
with these outdated methods has not studied any recent research
on wolves or dogs.
We get many calls at Trainers
Academy, LLC from owners who have been instructed to “dominate”,
or have tried things they have seen on TV and now new,
fear-based behavior developed. Unfortunately, these owners
unknowingly created a lot more work for themselves. But at least
we can get them on the right path. Not all dogs are so lucky.
This article describes one owner’s heartbreak when she trusted a
At the end of
this article, we have attached a press release regarding a
recent lawsuit filed against Cesar Milan, another advocate of
the pack theory. Our president, Lisa Patrona, Dip. CBST,
CPDT-KA, ACDBC, AABP-CDT, has been in contact with the lawyer representing the family
of Gator, a dog that was severely injured at Milan’s
Psychology Center in Los Angeles, California. She,
along with several other well-known dog experts, have weighed in
on how some of his training methods have proven to be dangerous.
Academy, LLC provides resources that will help you find the
right trainer for you. Here are several articles that you should
read before investing in any trainer.
committed to help you find the right program for you. In
addition, Lisa’s involvement with Companion Animal Sciences Institute and the
International Institute for Applied
Companion Animal Behavior brings her in contact with trainers
across the country. So if you are not in the Metro-Detroit area
and need a referral, e-mail us at
The “Gator” Press Release Follows:
EXPERTS WEIGH IN ON “DOG WHISPERER”
Experts from around the country have come forward to comment on
the lawsuit filed May 4th by television producer
Flody Suarez (8 Simple Rules) against Cesar Millan (“The Dog
Whisperer”) and his facility for severe injuries to his dog,
Gator. Gator continues to require medical treatment and still
cannot eat normally.
World-renowned dog trainers,
behaviorists and veterinarians had all warned National
Geographic that Millan’s methods had the potential for disaster.
Below are quotes from noted experts:
“Cesar Millan's methods are based on
flooding and punishment. The results, though immediate, will be
only transitory. His methods are misguided, outmoded, in some
cases dangerous, and often inhumane. You would not want to be a
dog under his sphere of influence. The sad thing is that the
public does not recognize the error of his ways.”
Dr. Nicholas Dodman - Professor and
Head, Section of Animal Behavior, Director of Behavior Clinic,
Tufts University -Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
“Practices such as physically
confronting aggressive dogs and using of choke collars for
fearful dogs are outrageous by even the most diluted dog
training standards. A profession that has been making steady
gains in its professionalism, technical sophistication and
humane standards has been greatly set back. I have long been
deeply troubled by the popularity of Mr. Millan as so many will
emulate him. To co-opt a word like ‘whispering’ for arcane,
violent and technically unsound practice is unconscionable.”
Jean Donaldson, The San Francisco SPCA-Director of The Academy
for Dog Trainers.
"A number of qualified professionals
have voiced concern for the welfare of pet dogs that experience
the strong corrections administered by Mr. Millan. My concerns
are based on his inappropriateness, inaccurate statements, and
complete fabrications of explanations for dog behavior. His
ideas, especially those about ‘dominance’, are completely
disconnected from the sciences of ethology and animal learning,
which are our best hope for understanding and training our dogs
and meeting their behavioral needs.
Many of the
techniques he encourages the public to try are dangerous, and
not good for dogs or our relationships with them."
Dr. Suzanne Hetts, Certified Applied
Co-owner of Animal Behavior
Associates, Inc., Littleton, CO.
"Cesar Millan employs outdated
methods that are dangerous and inhumane.
Using a choke chain and treadmill to
treat fear of strangers and dogs is completely inappropriate.
Hopefully the National Geographic Channel will listen to the
scientific community and discontinue production of The Dog
Vyolet Michaels, CTC (Certified Dog
Trainer and Behavior Counselor)
Excerpt of letter from Lisa
Dip. CBST, CPDT-KA, ACDBC, AABP-CDT to National Geographic before airing “The
“The intended program depicts
aversive and abusive training methods - treatment for some
serious anxiety and fear based issues - being administered by an
individual with no formal education whatsoever in canine
behavioral sciences. The ‘results’ that are shown are more than
likely not long lasting changes, but the result of learned
helplessness, or fatigue, neither of which impact behavior to
any significant long term degree - at least not in a good way.
For those of us who are pioneering the effort to end the
ignorance that drives the cruel treatment administered upon our
canine companions, it is disappointing to see that this
programming will reach the masses - especially on the NG
The ignorance that this program perpetuates will give equally
ignorant people the green light to subject their dogs to abuse.
In turn these dogs will react even more defensively, will bite
more people - and end up dead.”