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Talking to Animals by Jon Katz


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^^^this.

There are none so ignorant as those who will not learn.

 

And I will add to that:

In order to learn something, you first have to be willing to admit that you don't know everything already.

Some people cannot or will not ever admit that.

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So, back to Katz ~ as long as there are people who buy his books, show up to his public readings, and write nice things about him online, he'll keep on being himself.

 

My personal experience over the years is that people don't change in any basic way unless there's a huge penalty (loss of health, relationship, income, etc) to NOT changing. Change is difficult. Most of us really have to be hurting to say, 'I give up, I gotta do something different'. Katz is not nearly there. If he is indeed a narcissist, then he likely will never be there.

 

Ruth & Gibbs

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Complicated story which may not be true - I believe it. Mr Katz's first teacher was a wOman who had begun as the girlfriend/student of a notorious brute.After their breakup, she abjured all corrections. To my knowledge she competed once at Foster Fields. Beverly Lambert had the mic, Host Gene Shenniger advised the stranger there were novice classes but, no, no: she'd run open. She sent her dog who ran out 100 feet and returned to her feet while Bev explained best she could. Second time: ditto. Bev was lost for words.

 

Poor woman. Poor Mr Katz.

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All these derogatory comments about at Katz...if his name was never mentioned I would guess they were all aimed at Caesar Milan :D

 

About 12 yrs ago when I adopted a dog my Mom thought "Caeser's Way" would make a good gift for me. She also gifted me "Dr." James Dobson's Dare to Discipline years ago when my son was a defiant toddler. I'm not into book burning but they both went into the garabage.

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All these derogatory comments about at Katz...if his name was never mentioned I would guess they were all aimed at Caesar Milan :D

What a strange comment. You can think what you like of Ceasar´s methods, you can´t say that he and Katz have a lot in common, apart from the fact that they both write books about dogs.

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What a strange comment. You can think what you like of Ceasar´s methods, you can´t say that he and Katz have a lot in common, apart from the fact that they both write books about dogs.

 

And that they both are self involved egotists who perpetuate didactic myths about dogs so yeah...there's that :P

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Er ...how about: Cesar Milan is a brilliant dog trainer and Mr Katz is not.

 

Donald

 

Because that bad behavior from dogs the brilliant one works with was caused by a lack of the owner's alpha status and not fear and anxiety? lol!

 

Seriously, any self respecting dog owner who turns their dog over to Caeser should have their head examined.

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Brilliant dog trainers don't back frightened dogs into corners while posturing threateningly and ignoring all their appeasement gestures and warning signals until the dog believes it has no recourse but to bite them . . . and then say they didn't see it coming. :rolleyes:

 

ETA: I do agree that Milan has some good advice for dog owners. But it's far outweighed by some of the truly ignorant and dangerous things he does.

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(Though I think that CM was likely decent for a couple aspects of training before the TV show fed his ego)

 

Because that bad behavior from dogs the brilliant one works with was caused by a lack of the owner's alpha status and not fear and anxiety? lol!

Much as WE may react negatively to "ego" and to talk about "alpha status," it's my observation that dogs do not have this negative reaction. Dogs react well to the clarity of a self-confident trainer, and badly to the confusion of an unsure, self-doubting, conflicted trainer, no matter what the training method being employed. Haven't we all seen this? I'd guess that hesitant, mixed-message dog training is responsible for most of the problems dog owners experience. It's evident in real life as well as on CM's shows. (Which, BTW, do not always contrive to portray him at his best, e.g., the biting episode.) It's even one of the many differences between CM and Katz, who is awash in ego but projects incoherence rather than strength to his dogs.

 

Shucks. I can't believe I let myself get sucked into a discussion of CM, about whom no minds have ever been changed.

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...it's my observation that dogs do not have this negative reaction. Dogs react well to the clarity of a self-confident trainer, and badly to the confusion of an unsure, self-doubting, conflicted trainer...

 

And that's one of the important and too often overlooked positives in what CM advocates.

 

It's when he falls off that cliff of confidence and plummets into the realm of debunked Alpha mythology and at times actual abuse of the dogs he's supposed to be helping that he completely loses my respect.

 

I think when we talk about CM's successes with dogs (actual transformations, not the false ones that suppress behaviors and make it look like the dog has changed) is that it's more the confidence and consistency lacking in the owners' that achieves the results rather than the methods themselves. So I'll give him that. But when he fails so spectacularly it's when he gets all Alpha in the dogs' faces and really throws any behavioral science or even common sense out the window.

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And that's one of the important and too often overlooked positives in what CM advocates.

 

It's when he falls off that cliff of confidence and plummets into the realm of debunked Alpha mythology and at times actual abuse of the dogs he's supposed to be helping that he completely loses my respect.

I think you're over-reacting to the term "alpha." Of course you don't like it because outdated, debunked, wolves, etc. It's out of favor in the dog training community. But it's language that ordinary people can relate to and understand as meaning "Be a leader, act like a leader, project confidence." He may not use language you like, but what's terminology to a dog?

 

I think when we talk about CM's successes with dogs (actual transformations, not the false ones that suppress behaviors and make it look like the dog has changed) is that it's more the confidence and consistency lacking in the owners' that achieves the results rather than the methods themselves. So I'll give him that. But when he fails so spectacularly it's when he gets all Alpha in the dogs' faces and really throws any behavioral science or even common sense out the window.

Well, we probably just disagree here. I'd say that the confidence and consistency you credit in long-run successes Is the owners becoming alpha in the good sense (because I do believe there's a good sense to the concept despite the baggage attached to the word, it's not just rolling dogs). It's been a long time since I watched the show, but when I did I was impressed with how direct and eloquent his physical movements are, how they uncomplicatedly and undilutedly communicate his message to the dogs. I've never known a trainer, even the great ones, that haven't on occasion misread a dog, and CM is no exception, but from what I've seen it happens rarely. I'm guessing the clarity and simplicity of his message TO THE DOGS is probably what Donald meant when calling him a brilliant dog trainer. I'm as bewitched with words and theories as any human being, but I think the baggage they carry can sometimes get in the way of seeing things actually going on between a dog and a trainer.
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Pet dog training books tend to be anecdotal. The single exception providing "do this first" information is the Koehler method. Many trainers, positive and not, have adopted and adapted his lunge line. I admire Koehler's insights but don't train pet dogs.

 

Donald

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...I'm guessing the clarity and simplicity of his message TO THE DOGS is probably what Donald meant when calling him a brilliant dog trainer...

 

I've seen enough of the Dog Whisterer to know you could associate punching dogs in the throat as clear and simple. Caeser looks particularly brillant when he backs a fearful dog in the corner using a tennis racket for protection :P

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Any dog trainer who abuses dogs is not in my opinion a good dog trainer, let alone a brilliant one.

Punching a dog in the throat is abusive and violent.

Backing a fearful dog into a corner is abusive.

Holding a terrified and struggling dog down flat on the floor is abusive.

 

These things are not evidence of a good dog trainer, any more than hitting a child or pushing a frightened child relentlessly while ignoring the child's pleading to stop until the kid has a meltdown is evidence of good parenting.

 

Why anyone thinks these things are acceptable when more humane methods which have been proven over the years to be equally effective truly baffles me. I can only assume it is a desire to hold power over another who has no recourse. And that is very sad.

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As I said when I misguidedly entered this CM abuse fest, no one has ever had their minds changed about Cesar Millan through discussion. That is especially true when the discussion participants don't have mutual direct access to the videos and other evidence in question. Given that, I respectfully withdraw from the discussion.

 

But you've sure got Katz's number, D'Elle.

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That is especially true when the discussion participants don't have mutual direct access to the videos and other evidence in question.

 

Fair enough and I sincerely don't mean to antagonize but can the same be said about Katz? That was my reason for bringing CM into it but it's only because I see the parallels. So I guess that's why I'm a bit perplexed why the CM abuse fest = bad but the Katz abuse fest = good.

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Very interesting discussion. A lot of methods in training are not only about making the dog comfortable but they are a lot about making the handler feel good about themselves. It is in In those cases that the discussion is not possible, just an exchange of monologues.

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Fair enough and I sincerely don't mean to antagonize but can the same be said about Katz? That was my reason for bringing CM into it but it's only because I see the parallels. So I guess that's why I'm a bit perplexed why the CM abuse fest = bad but the Katz abuse fest = good.

Good question. I WAS surprised when you brought CM into the Katz discussion, since the only relevance/parallel I can see is that the majority of posters here dislike both of them (and that seemed to be your point too).

 

I didn't mean to characterize a CM criticism as "bad" and the Katz criticism as "good," but I do think there are some major differences when it comes to the worth of any discussion of the two of them. First off, Katz professes to be an expert on BORDER COLLIES, and to explain them to the world at large. Even their thoughts from beyond the grave! :-) I feel a responsibility to challenge that, in a way that I wouldn't feel about a general dog trainer whose methods were different from mine.

 

Second, and more important, is the matter of access to evidence. In this thread there was unanimity about Katz, so no dispute arose, but in previous threads over time there have often been people who stuck up for him, and in those cases I and others have quoted fairly extensively from his books to explain our points. But what access do we have to similar evidence about CM? Someone says he punches dogs in the throat. I've never seen that, and no particular episode is referenced. So did the person actually see him punch a dog in the throat, or has she just heard from others that he punched a dog in the throat? It seems like a very odd thing to do. Was it really a punch, or more like a poke? If I had seen it, would I have perceived it as a punch? Would I have thought it was abusive or not? I don't know because I didn't see it and have no practical way of seeing it. Are the dogs someone says were terrified and shut down actually terrified and shut down? If I had seen it I could draw my own conclusions and point specifically to the reasons for my conclusions, but because I haven't seen it, I can't. The episodes I have seen, I didn't witness anything I thought was abusive. But I have no way of knowing whether the other poster saw those, and if so, whether she considered them abusive or not abusive. So we have no common frame of reference and are, as Maja says, just exchanging monologues. In the dark. To no purpose.

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Good point, Eileen. So, since I made statements about those things I will state what I have and have not seen.

I did not see the punch in the throat. A friend of mine said they saw it, and I heard it from others. I shouldn't have mentioned it, since I didn't see it myself.

 

I did see an episode in which he backed a dog into a corner and one of him pinning a dog to the floor. In both cases, the dog was panting heavily, salivating, rolling eyes to show a lot of white while wrinkling the forehead, pinning the ears back, tucking the tail and trying hard to get away from him. In my experience with dogs, these are all signs of a dog being very frightened.

 

In the case of the dog he pinned to the floor, once the dog stopped struggling CM stated that he had gotten the fear out of the dog, and the dog would be calm now. What I saw was a dog who had been pushed so far beyond his limits that he had simply given up. That is not calm, it's despair.

 

I am not an expert, and wouldn't claim to be, but I don't think that CM is either, and he does claim to be.

 

I cannot direct anyone to the episodes I describe above, as I have never actually watched the show (don't even have TV), and was shown those by someone who had them. Not having seen more of the shows myself may undermine the strength of my opinion for some, and that's valid if so.

 

There may be other things he does I would approve of. But I don't want to have anything to do with someone who would even once do what I describe above. That's just me. Others may be able to leave the bad and take the good if they see any, and that is a reasonable approach as well.

 

I have worked with a lot of very frightened dogs in rescue, and I have never had one come to me terrified who did not leave my house a more confident dog. I wouldn't and didn't ever treat any of them the way CM does.

 

To me, dominating a dog like that fails to respect the dog's life, feelings, intelligence and sensibilities. My approach takes a long time and a lot of patience, and wouldn't make for entertaining television but it seems to work out very well in the long term.

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