Monday, September 17, 2012

Food Aggression and a Famous Trainer


Those of you who have followed my little blog here for any time know a few things about me. First, I deal with aggressive dogs and their behavior problems, with an eye towards treating the problems.  Second, I evaluate dogs that have been labeled aggressive, and often legally declared Dangerous Dogs, to find out what makes them tick and to recommend, if appropriate, treatment and management options.  Third, I too often deal with truly dangerous dogs-dogs that have killed human beings.  I also do detailed evaluations of those dogs, some of which have been posted here, and give a detailed breakdown of the specific behaviors observed and the circumstances under which they happened.  A few of these are also on the blog.  I also look at other evaluations from time to time to give an opinion of the behavior displayed and quantify that behavior.

That is what I am going to do today.  I was sent the clip of a Famous Dog Trainer from their TV season finale show, and after fielding numerous questions I am going to go frame by frame and explain what I see-and then give a little opinion or two.

The Famous Dog Trainer's clip can be found on YouTube here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ihXq_WwiWM&feature=share.  I am going to proceed based on that posted clip and use the time marks given on the clip to illustrate the specific behaviors.  If you would like go ahead and pull up the video, grab a beverage, and watch along with me.

One caveat here: remember that when you are in the midst of an evaluation or training session you may not see absolutely everything the dog is doing, based on your angle and the dog's angle-BUT, if you are face to face I certainly expect the trainer/evaluator to have at least basic situation awareness and a general idea of the signals and posture of the dog.

I also have to point out here that the FDT is not wearing any gloves or other protective gear.  I wear protective gloves lined with Spectra/Kevlar when dealing with a potential bite issue for a reason: if I am bitten, not only do I get hurt but, in some jurisdictions, especially with dogs that have been identified as having issues, me getting bitten may be the death sentence for the dog, even if it is my fault (which it usually is).  There is no room for error because the dog is going to pay the price.

At 00:01 the Famous Dog Trainer (hereafter FDT) places a bowl of food in front of the dog.  The dog approaches the food and the FDT stares directly at the dog through 00:09.  As the dog averts her gaze, turns her head to the side and down, showing a clear appeasement signal ("submission" in some people's terms) the FDT says "that's unsure, that's not submission".  The FDT then tells the dog (at 00:11) "good girl" and she begins to eat, ignoring the FDT.

At 00:17 the FDT moves his body directly over the eating dog and the food bowl in a low crouch.  He is staring directly at the dog, frontally positioned.  Dog gives a warning air snap with no physical contact, showing bite control and basic restraint.

At 00:18 FDT strikes the dog in the left side of her neck with his right hand.  The dog retreats, baring teeth and growling, giving both audible and postural warning of discomfort and desire for the FDT to retreat.  The FDT pursues the dog past the food bowl, still in a frontal posture, low crouch, and staring, directly challenging the dog.  The dog gives another air snap and snarl of warning (00:22).  The dog is backed up, but shows restraint by not pursuing the FDT, but instead gives (2) appeasement (submissive) licks (00:23 and 00:24), closes her mouth, gives seven (7) further appeasement licks, averts her gaze (00:28), gives an audible warning snarl (00:33), gives six (6) more licks and averts her gaze repeatedly while the FDT maintains his frontal threatening position and stare, challenging the dog and failing to respond to the many appeasement gestures.  At 00:41 the dog looks the FDT in the eye, immediately averts her gaze, and looks around for an avenue of flight from this strange, aggressive person.  The FDT maintains his overtly challenging threat posture.

At 00:47, looking confused, the dog voluntarily lies down without command or input, yawns, and tries to disengage.  The FDT turns to the audience and talks.  While talking the FDT leans back, averts his face and gaze to address the audience, withdraws his outstretched leg and frontally-positioned body, and the dog calms more.  The dog remains down, looking around with closed mouth, soft eyes, and appears relaxed through 1:10.

At 1:10 the FDT has risen up to his feet and, leaning over, extends his hand over the top of the dog's muzzle (an overtly dominant gesture).  The dog again warns the FDT with an air snap (1:12) and exposed teeth that she is still uncomfortable being closely approached by the FDT, trying to get the FDT to draw back.  The dog then rapidly bites the FDT's leading, ungloved and unprotected hand-the same hand he struck her with before.  The FDT kicks the dog and the dog retreats toward a corner where a photographer is standing.  The dog never redirects toward the photographer.  As the dog backs up the FDT pursues, frontal and challenging.  The dog growls, bares her teeth, gives "hard eyes" and in general tries to get some space away from the FDT.  The dog is now up against a fence and has no room to retreat.

At 1:20 the FDT stops advancing just in front of the dog, who is backed up against the fence.  The dog relaxes her face, closes her mouth, gives repeated appeasement licks and averts her gaze from the FDT, who is still staring the dog down.  The dog still shows tension, but does not pursue or otherwise engage the FDT. She holds her ground as there is no where else to go.  At 1:25 you can see clearly that the dog is backed up against the fence.  

The dog holds her position and calms, showing softened eyes, slack mouth, repeatedly averted gaze (1:43) and does not engage or show any aggressive display towards the FDT, even at close range as the FDT stands facing directly and standing over her, even as he gets a drink of water and washes off his bitten hand.  The dog still (1:53) has no place to retreat.

At 1:58 we can clearly see another appeasement lick, ears down, eyes softened, mouth closed.  At 2:00 a note appears on the screen "Elapsed time 3 min 6 sec" apparently illustrating the time the FDT has had the dog cornered against the fence.  At 2:03 you can clearly see that the dog is holding a body position that is angled away from the FDT and curved (submissive/appeasement signals) to try and defuse the encounter.  The dog is blinking, averting her gaze, ears down, with the angled body, all indicative of appeasement (submission) when the camera man says at 2:06 "She's still not submissive".  The FDT states "No" as the dog again turns her head away and down.  At 2:33 the dog is still standing quietly, body angled and in a crescent, gaze averted, ears down, backed up against the fence.  The dog has a relaxed mouth continuing a non-confrontational posture through the on-screen marker that says "5 min 4 sec" (2:42 video time).  FDT turns away and walks off, back turned to the dog.  The dog makes no effort to pursue or attack-she simply stays up against the fence.

Is this dog "safe", especially around small children?  Not at this juncture.  This dog needs work. Progressive, positive and instructive work to desensitize the problem behavior and replace that behavior with acceptable, calm behavior.  Can that be done?  Most likely, given enough time and safe management of the dog until the problem is mitigated.  That depends on the dog-they are living beings with their own personalities and are influenced by genetics, experience, training, environment-and even just how they feel a certain day.

Now again, I realize that things happen fast in a dog evaluation, especially when something goes awry.  That is the biggest value of video-the ability to dissect the actual situation second by second.  This dissection tells a lot about both the dog in question, and the evaluator.  I have seen in video signals that I have missed.  That is why, when I can, I get another experienced person to watch in real time to warn me of signals that I may have not seen as I looked away or was focusing on other details-like not stepping in a hole.  But the overall purpose of evaluation and treatment is not to ignore clear signals and push a dog into biting you: in my world the purpose of an evaluation is to guide your treatment and diagnose problems, and triggers, without harming anyone.  That includes setting a dog up for future failure because you had to prove you were the baddest on the block.

ADDENDUM TO THE ORIGINAL POST:


I think it is time to wade in here with a couple points that the emotions of this sort of issue drags up.  First off, I am NOT bashing any particular trainer.  The trainer involved here put this out as a publicly accessible part of an entertainment show, not an educational seminar.  What I did was provide a point by point analysis of the dog's behavior.  I point out signals and signs that a professional should be looking for and address, during evaluation and during training. I agree that the owners likely bear responsibility for setting this dog up to fail by whatever behavior they tolerated and didn't address much sooner.  I also agree that, in its current state, this dog is not safe around small children.  The trainer publicizing this clip raised questions that parties asked me, and I responded in a fair, balanced manner leaving value judgments aside.

That said there a few other issues.  First, there is no such thing as a Certified "Rehabilitator".  There are trainers, from the person who sticks out a shingle saying "Dog Trainer" with no education or certification to those who possess supported credentials such as through the APDT/CCPDT (which I had) and the IACP to several other oversight organizations such as the Karen Prior Trainers, the Victoria Stilwell Positive Trainers, the Animal Behavior College, and others.  These folks are trainers-of varying skills.  Then there are Behavior Consultants with credentials such as CBCC-KA (me and others), certification from the IAABC, and other behavior based certifying organizations.  Then there are Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists and Veterinary Behaviorists, the top of the pile.  Any or all of these folks, from the guy with a self-declared title of "Dog Trainer" to the Veterinary Behaviorist can function as a rehabilitator of dogs.  That is what trainers and behaviorists do. I have trained a ton of dogs-and have rehabilitated a large number of problem dogs.  That doesn't mean I crown myself "Dog Rehabilitator".  That means I am a trainer, a behavior consultant, and evaluator (through the AKC and others but certification).  Rehabilitator is a meaningless title-to be competent rehabilitation must be based on training, behavior analysis, behavior modification, and perhaps medical intervention by a Veterinary Behaviorist.  

Finally, this post is not about who is right and who is wrong.  There are as many techniques as there are trainers and behaviorists.  I am concerned that this particular dog gave clear signals, repeatedly, that could have guided a trainer to a less invasive, less aggressive method of determining the same conclusion-and without risking the dog or the trainer by causing a potentially legally reportable bite.  

How would I address this issue?  That is a longer post, but it would start with not pushing the dog beyond the first warning signals, but using those to establish the parameters of the problem behavior and then proceeding, gaining the dog's confidence and slowly desensitizing the dog to the particular behavioral issue and pressing those parameters slowly back to help the dog make the right choices-and then reinforce those choices.

Jim Crosby

58 comments:

  1. Another poor dog he has completly and utterly ruined.
    When I got 1 of my rescues dogs, they said she had food guarding issues, and it was only just now, I realised, about 1 hour ago I took a lamb bone from her mouth, so I could move her away from 1 of the other dogs, and she let me do it, without any questions, just looked at me and trusted me. I am so sad he feels he has to behave like this, these are trusting creatures, and why do the owners believe in him, when will someone stop him.

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  2. My daughter linked to your blog on Facebook. I am an eternal optimist, and am still hopefull that the FDT will one day just go away for ever.
    Caroline

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  3. Point taken. Any chance you could point us to a video where this kind of aggression is evaluated in a safer manner? Also, any tips for helping a dog overcome this kind of behavior?

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  4. I will shamefully admit to cheering when FDT got bitten. I have a dog with guarding behavior, and have successfully reconditioned her with methods outlined by Jean Donaldson in her book "Mine!" and her other book "The Culture Clash."

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  5. Beautifully written and very educational and informative...thank you!

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  6. I am not a dog trainer - just a dog owner who has had to deal with an aggressive dog and had to learn quickly because of it. Watching this video, it seemed to me that the aggression was less about the food and more about the trainer's overwhelming persona. Dog never looked "relaxed" to me, given the amount of panting. Watching this video made me sick, knowing that we trusted someone with our dog who used similar "dominating" techniques, which I still believe is why our dog became a biter.

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  7. Wonderful description & dissection of the video! Thank you. Any idea what happened to the dog?

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    1. Yes, Holly, the dog in question, was sent to his Dog Psychology Center to be "rehabilitated". There is video of him working with her and the body language of those dogs is also clear. Buddha, one of the dogs, places himself away from the FDT and he approaches him anyway and gives him a big thump on the chest, even when the dog turns his head away from the FDT and Junior, actually physically removed himself during the video after giving huge appeasement signals. I believe that video is also on YouTube.

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  8. This was a great breakdown. Thanks!

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  9. Awesome evaluation of this video! I could see the appeasement signals the dog was giving the first time I watched this, and I'm not an FDT! This guy plays for the camera, deserved to be bitten, however, as you stated, it's the dog who ultimately suffers from this sort of thing! Someone should stop this FDT from further torturing dogs!

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  10. I would be interested to hear specifics on how you would evaluate and treat a similar dog. I would love to see more videos with trainers who use non-dominance based methods for dog aggression. I have seen some good videos by Sophia Yin, if you have any videos available to watch online I would be happy to watch and share them. Unfortunately most of North America does believe dominance based methods are the "way to go" because they have not been exposed to anything else. :(

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  11. Even my non-doggy (shes a cat person) sister could see FDT's aggressive, threatening body language and the dogs attempts to get him to stop, to signal that she wanted no part of what he was offering etc etc.

    If anyone wants to see some footage of me working with a jack russel terrier who has bitten to date about 8 people, and he has no overt warning signs, (no growl, his lip curl lasts milliseconds if that) and he needs to learn that its ok if people touch him (his trigger is people bending over and people trying to pick him up) just ask, but its very boring, we work with an anxiety wrap up on a table where he feels comfortable.

    This really is the problem, watching people fix serious problems IS pretty boring, because smart people won't ever trigger the full scale extreme versions of the behaviour. If B gives me a whale eye and a lip lick, I am backing off - I need him to RE-learn that telling people he is uncomfortable IS ok, so I am never going to intentionally push him to react with his full scale bite behaviour.

    I have witnessed it twice, both times due to human error (partially mine, partially people who do NOT listen!) but we do not trigger his behaviour on purpose because we do not set out to teach him that his behaviour is 'bad' or 'wrong' - it isn't! It is just 'behaviour' that is in our world, dangerous and unacceptable for him to perform.

    We teach dogs that human intentions are NOT bad if thats their preconception, we teach them how to warn if thats been taken away, and we hopefully aim to remove the fear that causes the behaviour in the first place, so it never happens again. And then theres no need to attempt to teach that it is 'wrong' or 'bad'.

    This is at the heart of the major differences between humane, science based training that relies heavily upon positive reinforcement, and punishment based training. Punishment based training relies on the human catching the 'bad' behaviour and some how teaching the dog that it is 'bad' - but a dog can no more learn that reacting in fear and defending him or herself is 'bad' than a human can!

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    1. Ems, I'd love to see your JRT footage. On Youtube?

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    2. Yep, I'll be uploading todays videos of Bert shortly, the first one is here and its just Bert figuring out a puzzle toy (this is to get him thinking, rather than just reacting, and learning to concentrate).

      http://youtu.be/m9SiVD86OQ4

      And this is Berts third session wearing an anxiety wrap - we are teaching here that physical contact and restraint IS actually ok and even enjoyable. This dog has been taught somehow that growling or making visible, useful warning gestures results in punishment, so he doesn't do that any more - he just bites!

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  12. Great evaluation, I think there is one small point I would add. That the air snap wasn't even her first warning! At 0:16 you can see the dog give her first warning at the FDT's approach, she tenses visibly. Going very stiff. In typical FDT style he ignores/doesn't see this and moves in closer.

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  13. Excellent breakdown, based on actual observation & knowledge, not theatrics & drama.

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  14. I would think that the actions performed by the FDT in this video would serve to increase the dog's aggression; she's signalled her discomfort, submission and then gets further provoked, and kicked when she reacts with a bite that she gave the FDT every chance not to provoke. And I have to question a trainer who engages in such a physical confrontation over the food bowl with this dog; the approach seems almost guaranteed to bring out the worst in the dog.

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  15. Great catch Jen...shows how even with a close read any of us can miss the subtle signals that are the life and breath of a dog, and dog communication. They operate so fast some times, giving full warning in THEIR terms. That is why people claim "He/she just snapped!" when the dog wonders why we weren't listening.

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  16. Really grim - and particularly given that I'm among those who have supported elements of Milan in the past. Had hoped he was on the road to reform after the book with Ian Dunbar. But this is very, very depressing to see. Totally inappropriate.

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  17. Cesar did not ruin this dog, the OWNERS did, and now you are bashing the guy they called to help them. While hard to watch, it cements the very foundation of training - this is what can happen without proper leadership and continuing utilization of relationship skills, including trust, with your dogs.

    This couple watched this happen over a long period of time since they brought her home as a puppy. They nurtured this behavior until they finally made a monster that many trainers and vets, not rehabilitators, would suggest putting down due to severe aggression.

    I do not hear Mr. Crosby offering anything other than the bashing of Cesar - no ideas, help, or suggestions. It's easy to do this by only showing the worst snippet of the entire episode.

    First, Cesar is NOT a "Famous Dog Trainer," he is now a famous dog rehabilitator, and when the lot of you finally understand the vast difference between the two, you'll "get it."

    Next, he is not attempting to "fix" or overcome the problem in this snippet, he is evaluating the severity of the problem which he finds out is quite severe. You cannot properly assess a problem without seeing it - just ask any auto mechanic, or the cardiologist the next time he schedules you for a treadmill stress test AFTER you've had heart issues or a heart attack. Do you question THAT madness?

    Watch the ENTIRE episode to find out what happens to Holly. I don't know of many trainers, including Victoria Stilwell (whom I respect and appreciate very much as a trainer), that would make this offer to save a dog's life. Holly is now a balanced dog and will most likely be placed with dog savvy people who can keep her that way.

    Lots of judgement from folks who wouldn't have the first clue what to do with this dog. Keep your Kevlar gloves, I'll entrust any dogs with that severe an issue to Cesar and Cheri Lucas any day of the week.

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    1. This was as Jim says, an evaluation of what we could see, not an exercise in explaining what we would do instead.
      There are many people responding on this blog who COULD and DO work with dogs who have the potential to be aggressive and therefore dangerous.
      So yes, they can judge because they can fix these problems without ever needing to push a dog as far as Cesar has.
      Feel free to watch the videos I have linked of a terrier who bites with out any real warning. It won't be exciting, he doesn't bite me in the video, because I take serious care not to allow that to happen.
      I am working with dogs in a rescue centre who need to go out to new homes - I am not making exciting tv to have people on the edge of their seats, there is NO benefit whatsoever in pushing a dog until it reacts!

      Before you suggest that the dog in the video I am working with is not dangerous - this dog has bitten 5 people that I know of, 2 incidents that I witnessed and they were all sustained, repeated attacks. His warning signals are so so minute and barely perceptible that no human has a chance of reacting in time to save themselves getting bitten - you have to NOT trigger the bite in the first place!

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    2. Originally this was in response to your comment on Kathryns post- but as I wrote I found myself using her for only a brief example- so I moved it to your OP- as to not get her caught in the lengthy letter.

      I would like to respectfully point out that- while Kathryn took the right first step at asking her children to leave the dog alone while eating (good first step Kathryn!)
      I disagree with this being an form of treatment or common sense. It seems to me that you are assuming all dogs should be left alone while eating. Which- as a advanced trainer (Basic, Soft Agility, CGC, Basic Service work) and a W/D Hybrid rescue/rehabilitator - I disagree with. If your dog was to have say- some form of poison or poisoned item in their mouth (Wood that had been exposed to bleach or weed killer) or you had to induce vomiting for whatever reason- I don't believe you would think teaching a dog that it is OK to be mouth possessive (IE- giving him space and letting him be) would be the first thing on your mind.
      Also- a dog who is housed with young children (really- any dog in general imho) should never be mouth aggressive.
      All of my dogs have been more than happy to let me get into their mouths to brush their teeth, take things from them, give them treats, and even full on take food that they where eating from them. The proper reactions should always be calm positive acceptance- if not a mild curiosity as to why you are taking things. Anything else, especial with children is the beginnings of an accident waiting to happen.

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    3. p.2
      as I said before- Kathryn made an awesome start by giving her kids rules and boundary when it came to their pet. BUT The dog should have had some too- and in my work the best way to get a dog to trust you is to- well- give them a reason to trust you. The idea sounds simple- and it really really is. Early proper motivation, calm settings, fun- positive- rule based rewards are great ways to not only "train" new dogs to give you the correct behaviors before guarding becomes and issue (In my case- politely, calmly sitting back and waiting until I put the food down/remove my hand/ stop messing with their mouth)But to also "rehabilitate" dogs who HAVE a per-existing issue. The only difference is per-existing dogs need to go a bit slower, and be re-introduced to the idea that someone taking their food/toy is no reason to get defensive. All this can be accomplished WITHOUT pushing all of the Dogs buttons, striking the dog, having an over-the-top posture or "dominating" them at all. I HAVE seen more of FD"R" work- have I have to say that while I don't agree with his method, body lang, or handling fo the pet/parent relationship at all- I especially cannot stand behind a person who will so readily strike an animal that is obviously defending itself. FD"R"'s use of tap, slaps, punches, thumps, put downs, asphyxiation,harsh startling noises, and even full frontal and soft spot kicks would be enough to send any parent caught in public straight to jail- if not receiving a nasty visit from the local Shelter Operator on abuse counts. The scary and- honestly frightening thing is this "rehabilitator" gets away with these physical things on Televised programs- geared twords family education- and not one of FD"R" fans seems to know how to justify them besides claiming it as "While hard to watch, it cements the very foundation of training" and "FD"R" is NOT a "Famous Dog Trainer," FD"R" is now a famous dog rehabilitator, and when the lot of you finally understand the vast difference between the two, you'll "get it."

      Pardon my bluntness to end this responce, but I would like to say that I DO see that FD"R" is trying to pass himself off as a "Rehabilitator" and I myself- along with many other licanced, non-tv-show-holding, Family trusted, Dog tested, seasoned Trainers AND Rehabiliators- still do not "get" why anyone who clamies to only want to help animals in need would not only condone physical, emotional, and physiological violence- but who would also actively use such actions for public "education" and prophet.

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  18. Excellent analysis! There have been other blogs from other humane trainers that come to the same conclusions. Too bad there wasn't some way that these blogs could be shown to the people who have taken their poor, unsuspecting dogs to the FDT. I think this particular video clip of the FDT is the trailer for the upcoming (and final) season of the FDT TV show. Just trying to rake in the $$ and the poor dogs are being exploited for the FDT's benefit. How sad :(

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  19. thanks Jim. Common sense as always.

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  20. I was also struck by the comment made to FDT that "she didn't do that earlier," to which FDT says, "no, not like that." That suggests this was not the first time FDT "worked" with this dog that day.

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  21. This is an excellent analysis, even though it was an evaluation, Caesar ought to have worn gloves and other protective gear. I personally could not approach a dog in such a manner, I'm all for love and respect. www.gr8caninedogs.com

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  22. Just struck by Esoterica's comment "You cannot properly assess a problem without seeing it - just ask any auto mechanic"...

    Any automechanic can see that the brakes are worn and dangerous without needing to cause a multi-car pile up in the fast lane.

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    1. Following that logic since everything is cut and dried to you like brakes, why can't your cardiologist see the heart issue or damage without putting you on a treadmill where the likelihood of that first event happening again is great, and perhaps even more dangerous? Because they have to see some technical things first hand in order to assess and create an effective Plan of Action or Care. Thanks for sharing!

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    2. Esoterica, you're correct that to diagnose a canine behavior problem the trainer needs to observe the dog's behavior. That's precisely what Jim and others are doing when they comment on body language and behaviors such as stiffening, yawning, backing away, snapping in the air and so on. There is enough behavior to observe--starting when the FDT first approaches and continuing up until the bite--to predict how the dog will react next (the bite). It is not necessary to provoke a bite at the food bowl to diagnose possessive aggression.

      As for your cardiologist analogy, when I went for a cardiac stress test I was hooked up to an EKG and the cardiologist was watching the read-out every second that I was on the treadmill. When he observed some palpitations during the final stage of the test, he stopped the test. He had enough data at that point to diagnose my problem. He didn't continue to have me run until I had a heart attack.

      Finally, a dog's behavior does not occur in a vacuum, it's a reaction to the behavior of the human who is testing or interacting with the dog. One principle of behavioral evaluation and training is to start with the least provocative stimulus and work your way up. For example, I would want to note how a dog guarding its bowl reacts when I'm 10 feet away, then 5 feet away, then standing a couple feet from the bowl before I would test to see how it reacts to my hand grabbing the bowl. I would want to see how it reacts to slow, friendly, non-provocative gestures before I evaluated its reaction to hard eye contact or quick movements. If you begin by directly confronting the dog and he bites you, you've lost the chance to evaluate his reactions to less provocative stimuli and you've lost a lot of valuable data.

      We know enough about dogs to realize that certain ways of approaching them and interacting with them such as direct stares, pokes to the body and cornering them will most probably cause fear, anxiety or natural defensive (aggressive) behavior. What frustrates many critics of the FDT is the fact that he apparently does not know this. Because his method is based on the idea of dominance/submission, he provokes behaviors that are then blamed in one way or another on the owner or the dog. My advice is to go through the video again frame by frame concentrating not on the dog's behavior, but on that of the FDT.


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    3. Barry ~ Hear, hear! Thank you SO much for your in-depth and insightful response to Esoterica. I think your cardiologist analogy was spot on...the signals are there and should be heeded, not ignored. That bite was entirely preventable.

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  23. Here are some other options for working with food guarding dogs... without getting bitten.
    http://www.aspcapro.org/behavior-modification-in-action.php

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  24. I watched a lot of FDT's show when my first German shepherd started becoming leash reactive. Following his suggestions only made her worse. It wasn't until two years later, after she bit someone, that I discovered the power of positive reinforcement and clicker training. As sorry as I am that I ever used FTD's methods, watching this video makes me wonder why I did.

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  25. Terrific post, and detailed enough that I didn't have to watch FDT - Gosh! I wonder who it was? - doing his abusive shtick. Seen enough of him, thank you.
    Whether we are training, working through guarding or other aggressive issues, or just saying hello to an unfamiliar dog we have to be very attuned to what the dog's body language is saying, and proceed according to his abilities step-by-step. This often requires many adjustments/reductions in the level of direct interaction from us as we proceed to gain trust and reduce the dog's anxiety. As my teacher, Jean Donaldson, says "If you don't know what the dog is telling you, how can you make an assessment?"

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    1. The difference of opinion on positive reinforcement versus the traditional abuse begins with lack of education in two fields of knowledge, dog behavior and the psychology of learning. Trainers who do not learn to read dog body language and the basic science of all learning must resort to physically dominating their students. They are like humans who resort to fists when they cannot persuade others with words.

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  26. I had a purebred Pembroke Welsh Corgi years ago. She always guarded her food. I figured that it was part of being a dog and taught our children to leave her alone when she was eating. It worked just fine.

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    1. Ah, some common sense enters the picture...thank you, Kathryn, I appreciate giving the dog space - especially when eating or chewing a bone. Kids need rules, boundaries and limitations, too.

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  27. Holly the dog was set up to fail! He pushed and pushed until she snapped! She is an animal after all and it's not the owners fault, they didn't start the behaviour and obviously wanted it fixed so they went to a famous trainer! I felt ill watching the poor dog go through this. If that had been my dog I would have stopped it and took her away. He makes dogs become aggressive when they weren't before after he has pushed them to their limit. Poor things.

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  28. Thanks for taking time for sharing this article, it was excellent and very informative. Its really very useful of all of users. I found a lot of informative stuff in your article. Keep it up.
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  29. Thank you for analyzing this way more eloquently than I could. I just end up going, "F***ing moron!"

    "I didn't see that coming." Really? Because those of us in the living room saw it coming a mile away without even meeting the dog.

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  30. Hi Jim,

    I can't tell you how many clients I have had who use "FDT's way" with their aggressive or reactive dogs and end up creating a larger, more dangerous situation for themselves and their loved ones.
    How many break off signals did that dog give? How many appeasment signals? I purposely didn't watch this clip when it first hit the news because I knew it would knot my stomach. I am glad to see their are trainers like yourself spreading correct information based in science, instead of outdated theories and incorrect methods.

    Melissa Van Londersele
    Complex canine Dog Training

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi, nice post. I have been wondering about this topic, so thanks for sharing. I will certainly be subscribing to your blog.soft toys

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  32. Try to repeat your commands. Not all the dogs receive your commands at an exact step. So do the repetition of your commands and let your dogs understand them. Try to repeat the commands until they understand each of them. Do not bring variations until they sense all of your commands.

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    ReplyDelete
  33. I got my first puppy yesterday. When I was kid, cats only surrounded me. I love dogs but I have to admit I do not really know about dogs’ body language… I am thinking about going to a course to learn few Dog Training Tips. Do you have any to advise?
    Dog Training Tips

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  34. I am not a dog trainer - just a dog owner who has had to deal with an aggressive dog and had to learn quickly because of it. Watching this video, it seemed to me that the aggression was less about the food and more about the trainer's overwhelming persona.This was a great breakdown. Thanks!
    Regard's,
    Ben Linus,
    Click on my link nitrotek.nl

    ReplyDelete
  35. Body Language is a form of communication where a person’s mannerisms and composure communicates emotion and thoughts. The human body and its ability to communicate contain a vast amount of information ranging from a person’s confidence level to their interest in a person sexually. The roots of this tool come from built in instincts and human tribal experience.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I love dogs. However to tell the truth a dog can become a nightmare if it is not trained properly. I like to be able to bring my dog everywhere without worrying about her creativity! I brought mine early on at a obedience training for puppies and it is a pleasure to bring her along with me.

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  37. It is help you the people want to train their dogs that have no ideas. The most important thing is, you can train your dogs at home.

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  38. It's a nice informative blog about Dog Training.This blog can help the people who want to train their dog.You are so great.Thanks for your information.

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  39. That's a great reference of dog training tips. Thanks! It was really helpful. I'm still in the process of training my dogs and hopefully some pet products have helped me on this.
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  40. What a nice blog!It's a great information about dog training.Thanks.

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    Kind regards,

    Elayne Taylor
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  42. Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Veterinarian, Sophia Yin, has an article discussing what rehabilitation is versus behavior modification, The link is below, but bottom line is animal rehabilitation is not related to animal behavior. Animal rehabilitation is physical therapy.
    http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/is-your-dog-a-criminal-or-alcoholic-canine-rehabilitation-vs-behavior-modif

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  43. A trained dog can prove to be very good for you and your safety. The pet not only becomes a lot more obedient than it was earlier but you could also visibly see the changes in his behavior and the nature.
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    ReplyDelete