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Yes! Exactly! Do you mind if I use the example next time I am in the same tyep of argument?

 

Sorry folks, I didn't mean to start another Cesar thread. It was easier to explain the argument by using his name.

 

Oh, go ahead! It's only once in a blue moon that I can properly convey what I mean when I'm in an argument myself, so we might as well take advantage of these times, lol

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Technically what Cesar is doing is flooding NOT desensitization.

 

As my applied small animal behavior text says: Systemic desensitization is defined by rewarding the animal for quiet behavior when the fearful stimulus is introduced at a low intensity. "Once the animal has habituated to the stimulus at a low intensity, the intensity is gradually increased and the procedure repeated."

 

Flooding, according to my text, is when "the animal is contiuously exposed to a fear evoking stimulus from which it can't escape until it is relatively or completely relaxed, and only then is the stimulus withdrawn...Flooding works best for mild fear reactions. With a strong fear reaction, the animal may be damaged physically or psychologically. Because of these risks, flooding should not be used."

 

My dog is not "bribed" btw - she is contitioned to know that I am the source of all things good and her leader and if she listens to me, good things happen. I do NOT want a dog that is a robot and "listens" because he or she is afraid of me. If I trained basics with this, none of the "extracurriculars" we do would flow easily from that state as they all require trust and thinking, not fear and shutdown.

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I concur. I want a dog who will stand by my side no matter what fears they may feel at the time. Shoot, my dog Shadow (RIP) was scared of loud noises, however I would never rescue her from her fears. She had to face them and deal with them with me by her side. Her job was to protect me, not to consistenly be the child I was rescuing from the evils of the world.

 

The thing is that there are dogs that are not capable of dealing with serious fear. Just as with any temperament or condition, there are different degrees of fearfulness in dogs and there are different ways to deal with different degrees of fear.

 

My foster, Mickey, for instance, is very shy around strangers, but within a little while of getting used to someone, he warms right up. He's a dog that is able to face his fears and deal with them. His overall temperament is solid - he just needs some socialization and good experiences.

 

Speedy, on the other hand, does not have the ability to just "get over it" by me leaving him to face what he is afraid of. In fact, if I'm not there for him letting him know that I will "rescue him from the evils of the world" if need be, I end up with a dog that is completely shut down. At one time he was on the verge of fear aggression because I didn't know how to be there for him. I am so grateful that I didn't take a "he needs to get over it" approach with him because he can't just get over it. His brain chemistry won't allow it. Think of a person who has an anxiety disorder - it's very similar. His job is not to protect me - my job is to keep him safe and help him to know he is safe.

 

Just from your short description it sounds like Shadow was a dog with a stable temperament who had a particular fear, and was able to deal with it on her own because the overall temperament was there, and so you dealt with her fear of noises in a manner that was appropriate for her. There are dogs that actually don't have that ability and that method would make things worse, not better, for them.

 

Someone used an example of a child who was afraid of roller coasters, but got over it after her first ride. There are some children who would actually have come out of that experience even more terrified than they were to begin with after the same experience due to a difference in temperament/coping skills, etc. It's the same with dogs. Some might be able to deal with flooding because their fear is based on unfamiliarity or the unknown. There are other dogs that would be made even more fearful with flooding because their fear runs deeper.

 

I think that with fear in dogs, there is no "one size fits all" approach. It has been my experience that getting down on my knees beside one of my dogs when they are experiencing a fear has resulted in building the dog's confidence, and trust in me. It has also been my experience that letting my dogs get out of something that they were afriad of has given them the ability to go back to it later and be OK with it. I have had good success with very slow desensitization and counter conditioning. I have never had success with trying to make my dog "just deal with it" when fearful and yet, Speedy can do things now that are amazing to me because he has learned to cope in his own way, with my full support.

 

I hate it for Speedy, but I am very glad that I have had the experience of raising and training a severely fearful dog because it made me learn to think outside the box where fear in dogs is concerned.

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I don't want to get into the ol' Cesar Milan discussion again, because I think if you're a doctrinaire believer in "all-positive" training you're going to see harshness and terror and "shutting down" occurring whether they're there or not. (In fact, you don't even have to watch a single episode to see them, if you're so inclined.)

 

There are many training methods that work, and every one of them works best in the hands of someone who's good at reading dogs. But I firmly believe that no training method works if the person employing it doesn't believe in it, and is only doing it because a trainer told him/her to. If you've been told to do something to a dog that in your heart you recoil from doing, the dog is going to pick up on your conflicted feelings, and the clarity and coherence that's necessary for effective dog training will be lost. At the least the dog will be confused, and confusion itself can lead to worry and fear. So I would say if you have doubts and misgivings about a certain method, that alone is a good reason for not using it.

 

DITTO!!!! I believe in Ceasars methods, but I think Eileen is right on with this! If you arent behind it, it wont work. Positive training did NOT work for Riven, she is a good dog but positive training made her take advantage, I dont know why. A couple months into having her I saw Ceasars shows and began to do somethings similar and they worked. Of course not rolling or whatever, Riven was a good dog anyway.

 

ETA: Riven was TERRIFIED of the vacuum, she'd pace and freak when I would vacuum. Now she sits calmly on a chair. I got her used to it with Ceasars methods.

 

ETA again: I also agree with criosdaidh

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First off let me say that I have not seeing one of his episodes. So with that said I cannot comment on him too extensively. However from what I saw it seems he has a basic love for the animals in question. Has he killed any dogs? Has he maimed any dogs? Someone show me some cruelty on his part to justify the overall abhorrance for this individual.

 

Ditto. He takes dogs that people would put to sleep. Most of the dogs in his "pack" were to be PTS, and he rehabilitated them. Say what you want about his methods, but he is saving dogs.

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Guest LJS1993
Ditto. He takes dogs that people would put to sleep. Most of the dogs in his "pack" were to be PTS, and he rehabilitated them. Say what you want about his methods, but he is saving dogs.

 

I need to watch one of his episodes. Seems like alot of people around here are demonizing the guy.

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I've found this whole discussion really interesting. I'm no expert on training dogs. I'm just training my 3rd at the moment, but I am a primary teacher and the disagreements over methods remind me so much of of discussions about teaching methods. Over the years I've concluded there is no one right way. Children and dogs are individuals as are teachers and handlers. Almost any method will work for someone in some situation, but a good teacher will be aware of a whole range of different methods and try to select the most appropriate for any individual. For some rewards are sufficient while others need sanctions as well. My previous collie was a quiet submissive pup. His whole attitude seemed to be 'tell me what you want and I'll do my best to please you' He needed lots of confidence boosting and reassurance while my present bundle of fun is full of confidence and seems to say ' OK I see what you want and I'll think about it'. He needs much firmer handling. What worries me is the apparant attitude that there is 'one right way.' There have been great human/dog partnerships over the centuries and it would be a pity to lose all that experience just because some ideas don't fit the latest theories. Of course, I don't mean cruel methods which I don't believe work in any case. Some people are gifted with the ability to teach and train naturally but most of us have to learn the skills. Watching trainers at work is helpful but I don't think you can adopt any one person's methods without questions and without adapting them to your own situation.

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The one thing that always cracks me up in spite of all of this, is CM still doesn't bother telling us how many dogs he's killed!

 

Or whether he's stopped beating his wife.

 

*****

 

ETA: I did not mean this to be taken literally. I have no reason whatsoever to think CM has ever beaten his wife. I firmly believe that he has never beaten his wife. Please see my next post below.

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My definition of desensitization is to SLOWLY desensitize a dog to something scary. You don't chuck him in a pool over and over again until he\'s okay with it, you start off with the shallowest parts of the pool and stay there until the dog is feeling confident. Then wade in just a little deeper and stay there until the dog is confident. Keep doing that until he's fine with the deeper water.

 

I agree.

And watching him I see him clearly misreading body language and assuming that dogs are dominant no matter what they do. He thinks a dog that runs out the door in front of you is dominant, a dog that rests his front end on you while you're sitting down is dominant, a dog that jumps up on someone is dominant, while in reality they\'re energetic and haven't had those things reinforced.

I've seen him look at a cowering dog and one that is submissive as possible and terrified and then flip it on its back.

I just don't think he's any kind of expert and I constantly hear of everyone telling me they "alpha roll" their dogs just in case their dog is trying to "one up" them. I think someday someone's going to get a serious bite trying to mimic Cesar, if they haven't already.

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I wonder if he actually understands dogs more than he seems to. I mean they have to cut this show down to fit in an alotted time, and there is no way they actually show everything that happened. I have a feeling that a lot happens before cameras even start rolling. To me he seems to have a pretty good read on dogs. He does not have time to tell the cameras why he thinks it is aggression and not just exuberance. Or why he uses one approach one this dog, but not another.

 

But I do think that many people may imitate him without knowing how to read the dog or why he does it. And it could backfire big time.

 

And of course all of that being said, I have seen very little of his show. So I could be making up half of what I said:)

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I take tihngs from him and use thing, i watcfh his show alot and some tihng have helped me out alot, like growling when Zipper eats, the tihng i did from watching his show worked.

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Guest LJS1993
Or whether he's stopped beating his wife.

 

 

Cesar is a wife beater!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :rolleyes: :D

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Oh, yikes! NO, HE'S NOT A WIFE BEATER!!!

 

I'm sorry, I was being a smartass. The question "When did you stop beating your wife?" is a classic example of a question that assumes facts not in evidence -- namely, that the person being questioned did at some time beat his wife. For that reason it's an unfair question -- actually a smear masquerading as a question.

 

The comment I was responding to, that "CM still doesn't bother telling us how many dogs he's killed!", struck me as unfair in a similar way. It assumes as a fact that he has killed dogs, and rushes right past that to blame him for not having told us HOW MANY he's killed. I should have realized that lots of people wouldn't be familiar with the "When did you stop beating your wife?" question, and therefore wouldn't see that I was being flippant.

 

Y'all are certainly free to assume/assert that your dog would be dead if CM had tried to train it, or if his methods had been used to train it -- that's a claim that can't be proved or disproved. But please, let's not assume that he's actually killed dogs in the absence of evidence.

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Where did you find out he beats his wife...? Didn't know that!

 

~Tucker

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NO, NO, NO, HE DOESN'T BEAT HER! I withdraw without reservation my earlier remark, and I reject and deprecate any suggestion that he beats his wife, and I sincerely apologize for any implication that might have been given, or any inference that might have been taken, that he now beats, or ever has beaten, his wife.

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NO, NO, NO, HE DOESN'T BEAT HER! I withdraw without reservation my earlier remark, and I reject and deprecate any suggestion that he beats his wife, and I sincerely apologize for any implication that might have been given, or any inference that might have been taken, that he now beats, or ever has beaten, his wife.

 

Soooo, the guy beats his wife? Who would think??!!?

 

Ha ha kidding!

 

Actually, I think the guy's pretty cool--even if he is a wife beater. :rolleyes:

 

A <giggle>

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First off let me say that I have not seeing one of his episodes. So with that said I cannot comment on him too extensively. However from what I saw it seems he has a basic love for the animals in question. Has he killed any dogs? Has he maimed any dogs? Someone show me some cruelty on his part to justify the overall abhorrance for this individual.

Cruelty is a matter of opinion, personally I don't find him cruel. I do consider him a bit of a brute, but that's my own personal bias as I do train dogs using gentler methods. It would take a hell of an offense for me to grab the dog and shove him to the ground; so far none of the dogs I own or train have done something so drastic.

 

My "abhorrance" for the man is brought on by the fact that he claims to be an educated psychologist, but in reality he is only trying to mimic what dogs do to one another based on a very minimal understanding of pack theory. My problem is not so much with Cesar himself, but with the fact that people loosely imitate his poor imitation of dog behavior. I don't think humans can accurately replicate dog behavior, and it gets even worse when they try to imitate a person trying to imitate a dog.

 

When someone is in the public eye like that, they need to think about the way people will react to their show. Despite the warnings on the show to not attempt the techniques yourself, people *do* attempt the techniques themselves. And delivering an improper leash correction, carelessly alpha-rolling and poking an agitated dog is much more dangerous than imitating someone's clicker training. My concern here is not for the owners who might be bitten for trying this on their temperamental dog. It's for the good-natured dogs that put up with all this crap say after day, and finally snap and get euthanized. People think watching TDW is an alternative to actually seeing a behaviorist for their dog's issues. Sometimes these methods are all they try, and if they fail then the dog is surely a lost cause and needs to be PTS.

 

Since this topic is in reference to sensitive dogs, I will say that by making a dog confront its fears by way of flooding, and correcting it when it tries to get away, all you're doing is confirming the dog's fears. If someone has a dog that is afraid of a hairbrush and they pin the dog down and force it to be brushed, the dog may give up and hold still, allowing itself to be brushed. When the dog is let up, do you think he views the hairbrush any differently? Now not only will the dog be *brushed* when the hairbrush comes out, but he'll be pinned down too. If a dog is afraid of thunder, would you take the dog out in the middle of a thunderstorm and give it a leash correction each time he reacted to the thunder? What is that teaching the dog? That thunder is painful. It certainly isn't alleviating any fear. Coddling a dog for being afraid will exacerbate the fear, but so will punishing it for being afraid.

 

Flooding has its place, but when using flooding techniques the handler should not apply any other negative stimulus. It just won't work, and the dog WILL eventually switch tactics and shut down to avoid the correction in addition to the fear. This isn't success, it just makes the experience so bad and overwhelming that the dog gives up. Granted, some dogs might not care and it might solve their problem, but is this the kind of technique you want to see everyone try? Why not start with gradual desensitization instead of heaping stress onto an already anxious animal?

 

/rant. *g*

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Ok I realize I am chiming in on this very lengthy post, and I also admit after reading all of page 1 and several posts on every other page, I must say... that I totally concur with Eileens first page post >totally<...and I would like to add my own thoughts.

There are sooo many training methods, there are soooo many "dog personalities", NO ONE method is right for all dogs. My father used to say:

You can please all of the people some of the time, Some of the people all of the time, BUT, you can NEVER please all of the people ALL of the time! :rolleyes: That being said... the same would hold true with training methods! Right? Well I have been training dogs for over 20 years, some through dog training clubs with my dogs, some methods I've learned through reading, some through training classes/seminars/workshops/videos etc. and finally professional certification as a Pet Trainer. As of now, I own and manage my own Dog Training and Behavior Consulting business. Over the last couple of years, I have used exclusively Positive Feedback/Reward Based Training. However and a really big HOWEVER!... along came Phoenix. My very precious Border Collie boy (not my first BC). As far as obedience training..he excelled, no suprise there. He went to work with me, met all sorts of strangers (and some actually and literally strange LOL!), kids, other dogs, cats etc.) He was maturing into a very nice social doggy. Then one very cold winter day, ice covered my windshield, and I decided to let the heater melt the ice off. So Phoenix and I were sitting there side by side, when after I started my vehicle, I accidently hit the wiper blades. B A M!!! :D there went Phoenix, after expressing his anal glands! Peeeee-UUUU! over the seats to as far back into my Nissan XTerra, that he could get, and NOTHING, was gonna get him back up front.

Well that was the end of him getting in the car by himself, he would run out the doggy door and hide behind a bush in the back yard, if he even thought I might want to take him somewhere. To make a loooonger story short, on advice of a Behaviorist, I use my positive training to get him over his fear. 3 months later... finally he jumped into the car. Ok, sounds good up til now. During that 3 months of not going anywhere in the car (also behaviorist advice), he now developed a serious aggression toward people, other dogs and kids!!!! Now what! I was sooo upset, we cured one problem only to create another even worse. I tried again for many, many months to work with this aggression, all the positive stuff I knew. Not working... period, and it was getting to a point that it was only a matter of time before he bit someone. I decided to weigh all the good advice I got on these boards, and eventually decided on starting herding training with him. I was told that the discipline methods used with seriously whacky dogs may be against my current training methods, so I had best be prepared. Well anyone here who was at that first Herding Clinic I went to with Phoenix last June knows exactly what I mean! The first 5 minutes we were there he showed his attitude, got whacked on the butt twice with a stock stick and told in no uncertain terms, you will not do that...! We have been doing our herding training for a year now, and let me tell you up until this past March's clinic, Phoenix got in trouble every time, but it was less and less everytime we went. The aggression and whacky attitude toward people was the first to go, and now he can actually pass a dog nose to nose, and nothing!

Soooooo, my point is all the positive training in the world was not going to stop Phoenix...BEFORE... he bit someone. I never would have used physical discipline on him, but that is what it took for him. He is really maturing into a very nice dog now. We still have very minor incidents now and then, but I have people coming up to me now who saw him last June, and they are amazed at his changed attitude.

I now train with a mixture of methods, and personalize my training depending on the dog and the people involved (the people being the biggest problems by far!).

Excercise, discipline, then affection (Ceasar) Rules, Boundaries and Limitations (Ceasar) what's not positive about that?!

I think it's unfair for anyone to say he has been deliberately cruel or killed dogs? Please he is only 1 trainer, and I know he has made a positive difference in many dogs and peoples lives. No one is perfect, no one. No one method is perfect!

Like has been already said here, if you don't like it don't do it... seems simple enough to me. :D I happen to be one that likes Ceaser. I don't agree with everything he says or does, but I do agree and use many of his methods...depends on the circumstances and the people involved.

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Jan, thanks, I'm glad somebody did.

 

I think he's pretty cool too, Andrea (you devil!). I haven't seen that many of his shows, and they *are* a little hokey, but there's good stuff there to be seen if someone's open to it.

 

There are a couple of strands in this thread which bother me a little. The first is the implication ("terribly misinformed," "I don't think he has the BASIC CONCEPT of classical condition, operant condition") that the only reason one might choose a different mode of training than positive-based operant conditioning is ignorance. It's entirely possible to reject training based largely or exclusively on a positive reinforcement model for reasons other than being misinformed or not understanding the theory. Vicki Hearne's Adam's Task: Calling Animals by Name -- like her or not -- should leave no one in doubt about that.

 

The second is the assumption the all-positive folks seem to share ("a corrections-based default of no behavior," "his so-called remedies involve very frequent leash corrections or "bites" from his hands, and teach the dog to shut down and not offer any behavior at all") that positive-reinforcement training produces dogs who offer behaviors and correction-based training produces dogs who "shut down" and won't try anything. Sheepdog training refutes this utterly. I can't think of any good sheepdog trainers who use all-positive methods; they all use corrections. Yet there is no canine endeavor where it's more important that the dog show initiative, confidence and a willingness to "try, try again," and the dogs these trainers produce DO show these qualities (along with the utmost in trust toward their trainer). I forget which of our members uses the Yogi Berra tagline "In theory there's no difference between theory and practice; in practice there is," but it seems appropriate here.

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Actually, Eileen, I'm afraid you mis-interpreted what I was trying to say (my fault, I've never been good at expressing myself in writing). I do not think everyone who chooses a different type of training does so out of ignorance. I certainly think corrections have their place. And to be a bit easier on the guy, I think Cesar has seen a lot of dogs and is fairly good at reading them. However, I do think he's misinformed when it comes to dealing with fear-based behavior, and he seems unable to recognize the difference between a dog that stops interacting with the environment due to fear, and one that has overcome his fear and is confidently interacting with the environment. I'm not saying that everything he does makes dogs shut down, I was referring mainly to the use of his methods on sensitive dogs in intimidating situations.

 

Comparing stockdog training to pet dog training is comparing apples and oranges. For stockdogs, their environment (with moving livestock) is tremendously reinforcing in itself. I can't think of anything stockdogs like more than working, so technically, every second the dog is allowed to work without being fussed at, is reinforcement. Stockdog training is pretty positive if you look at it that way. But I digress. For pet dogs being asked to face something frightening, their environment is not reinforcing and I do strongly believe that reinforcement (whether in the form of praise, food, a toy or relief from the aversive stimulus) is often necessary in order to change the dog's mind about something it doesn't like. Delivering corrections to a dog that is already being exposed to an aversive environment is only going to worsen the fear, in my opinion. This will eventually lead to shutting down, which is usually a last-ditch effort to make something scary go away.

 

On the flip side, I have a dog that will startle and display aggression to normal, everyday things. Sometimes it does take me moving him over to the object and telling him to shut up in order to snap him out of it and realize that he's snarling at a purse. Then he feels stupid. So no, it doesn't apply to every single dog. I was generalizing.

 

I'm not an all-positive trainer . . . I really don't know where people get that. I do think that there are "positive" alternatives to dealing with things like fear and aggression, though, and in my limited experience they have worked just as well as physical corrections & are far less stressful to the dog. And call me a pacifist, but I think pet training should be as kind and enjoyable for the dog as it can be.

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For stockdogs, their environment (with moving livestock) is tremendously reinforcing in itself. I can't think of anything stockdogs like more than working, so technically, every second the dog is allowed to work without being fussed at, is reinforcement. Stockdog training is pretty positive if you look at it that way.

 

Seems to me that's a very good way to express it, and you expressed very well the advantages of positive reinforcement to help a dog overcome inappropriate fear-based behavior. I think your writing skills are quite good!

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Borderlicious, I take "misinformed" to mean that someone is ignorant of certain information which right-thinking people have and which -- if he were informed of it -- would change his opinion. I don't think that's the case with CM, but I could well have misinterpreted you.

 

Interacting with livestock is certainly reinforcing to a dog, but (1) I think there are folks here who would be just as disapproving of hitting a dog (which these trainers do, judiciously) in the course of training on stock as they are of Cesar's methods (which don't include hitting AFAIK) and would say categorically that a dog will lose trust in you and shut down if you ever hit him, and (2) these trainers are training off stock too -- training the same kind of good behavior and dealing with fears as pet trainers have to do -- and they're doing that also mainly with correction and with no reward but mild praise.

 

I too think that dog training should be as kind and enjoyable to the dog as possible, but speed of result is a plus factor. Especially if the training involves getting a dog over his fears, you have done him a favor if you can bring about that result quickly rather than slowly. Which, I would certainly agree, you cannot always do, but which it appears CM often does.

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The second is the assumption the all-positive folks seem to share ("a corrections-based default of no behavior," "his so-called remedies involve very frequent leash corrections or "bites" from his hands, and teach the dog to shut down and not offer any behavior at all") that positive-reinforcement training produces dogs who offer behaviors and correction-based training produces dogs who "shut down" and won't try anything. Sheepdog training refutes this utterly. I can't think of any good sheepdog trainers who use all-positive methods; they all use corrections. Yet there is no canine endeavor where it's more important that the dog show initiative, confidence and a willingness to "try, try again," and the dogs these trainers produce DO show these qualities (along with the utmost in trust toward their trainer). I forget which of our members uses the Yogi Berra tagline "In theory there's no difference between theory and practice; in practice there is," but it seems appropriate here.

 

I too think that dog training should be as kind and enjoyable to the dog as possible, but speed of result is a plus factor. Especially if the training involves getting a dog over his fears, you have done him a favor if you can bring about that result quickly rather than slowly. Which, I would certainly agree, you cannot always do, but which it appears CM often does.

 

I think Eileen said all there is to be said on this subject with the above but I will add my two cents (haha).

 

CM is pretty neat and I believe he has a better understanding of dogs then most people, even some of those on this board. Some people will just never be good enough dog trainers/handlers to use his methods and not screw a dog up.

 

Doesn't it say on his show as a disclaimer that his methods are not to be used at home without a pro. trainer at hand anyway?

 

Katelynn

 

OBTW I do not believe anyones dog on this board would be "dead" if CM had trained the dog using his methods. Maybe if they themselves tried to trian their dogs using his methods without fully understanding them though, maybe.

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