my dog needs a dog Whisperer!

Everybody has heard of Cesar Millan, famously called the “Dog Whisperer”. He has revived what is called “the Dominance Theory”.This is an ancient dog training practice which was used in the 1960.

Friday night use to be the night that Cesar Millan would demonstrate how disturbed dogs could undergo amazing and astonishing changes. Millan calmly tugs on the leash and yanks away at the unfortunate antisocial dog. This persists over 60 seconds, with Millan unperturbed and dog’s owners breathless on the opposite end of the living room. Finally, the dog displays a second of weakness. Millan swiftly pins him to the ground and rolls him over. Millan’s composure seems to be reflected in frozen submissive posture of the dog.

To comprehend how to have power over a dog’s behaviour, according to Millan, one must look at the chain of command of wolf packs. Domestic dog breeders must assertively assume authority over their pets.

A vast majority of dog trainers and behaviour experts condemned the show, supporting a gentler method to schooling such as corrections with food rewards and other means of affirmative support. They buttress new studies that have almost unanimously shown affirmative training to be more thriving than penal methods in minimizing hostility and defiance.

Positive Dog Training

Millan may garner the accolades, they dispute, but purely constructive trainers possess the knowledge.

No more crying wolf

Millan’s idea of control is based on an old insight of wolves’ behaviour. In the 1960s, researchers discovered that wolves created packs in which certain individuals struck out opponents to earn “top dog” rank. These were tagged “alphas.” Millan disputes that a dog showing aggression is trying to ascertain authority and achieve alpha status, similar to its ancestors. He instructs humans to take on this pose themselves to keep the dog in a subservient role.

Some dog trainers like the deceased Bill Koehler and likewise Captain Haggerty Arthur whose methods are built on these methods, have conquered the industry for majority of the last half century. But as Dave Mech, a professional on wolf behaviour at the University of Minnesota, highlights, the early wolf studies which were mostly his work was performed on animals held in confinement.

For 50 years now Mech has been studying wolves, yet only within the past decade has he achieved a comprehensible depiction of these animals in their natural habitat. His discoveries are far from the dominant behaviour preached by Millan. “In the natural habitat it factors just the same as in the human family,” Mech adds. “They don’t have to battle to achieve dominance. When they become adults and find a companion they are at the top.”  Simply put, wolves don’t have to play the “alpha” game to triumph.

The director of the Animal Behaviour Clinic at Tufts University, Nicholas Dodman, is one of the foremost proponents of affirmative training procedures. He agrees the foundation of most bad behaviour, particularly owner-directed violence, is distrust and recommends rejuvenation a dog’s trust by “assuring the dog that all good stuff in life come only and apparently from you.” To get those things either food or vital attention, the dog must learn to satisfy you first. Others though ascribe these techniques as slightly more than pampering borne out of negligent and improper attitudes to pets that have of late come into style.

Millan’s doggy psych 101 tagged “The Dog Whisperer”, launched in year 2004 on National Geographic Channel, and the drive in the positive route was hindered. “In America, we have started utilizing human psychology on dogs,” Millan states in an email. “What was required was for people to learn dog psychology.”

Perils of chastisement

Most veterinary specialist deems punishment-based methods, similar to those aired on the show, could backfire on dog owners. The National Geographic Channel even displays a notice on the screen at some stage in each episode: “Do not try these methods yourself without expert consultation.”

According to an excerpt in the May 2009 print of the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour: Clinical Applications and Research, tries to affirm control over a dog can augment a dog’s hostility. University of Bristol in the United Kingdom had researchers study dogs in a refuge for six months, while reanalysing data from prior studies of untamed dogs. Their result sustains the fact that canines don’t fight to attain the pinnacle of a “pack.” Rather, hostility appears to be impressionist behaviour — something borne of foster, not personality.

Dogs respond physiologically to strain and fear in the similar way people do, with hormones. Two 2008 reports out of Hungary and Japan explained, correspondingly, that concentrations of the strain hormone cortisol amplified in dogs that were sternly disciplined and that levels were connected to increase of violent behaviour.

Paybacks of constructive reinforcement

Prior to becoming a professional dog instructor, Jolanta Benal of Brooklyn, New York, learnt the dissimilarity between positive and penalizing methods in person.

Her dog, Mugsy, had a lure to uniform men. Either those putting on UPS brown or the Postal Service blue, the dog would charge at them on the road. So she hired a well recommended dog coach to try to right this behaviour.

“He would position Mugsy up to do aberrant behaviour, and then toss a can of pennies at the dog,” she adds. “A conventional old school practice and it stemmed the problem momentarily.” Mugsy’s unwholesome fascination with the postal workers, nevertheless, didn’t go away. Even if he suppressed jumping at the UPS guy on the street, says Benal, he wasn’t pleased to see him also.

Benal tried a new instructor that brought chicken as an alternative to coins. As the uniformed man drew close, Benal was now asked to engross Mugsy by giving him the delicacy. And it was successful. After some time, the dog would look to her in anticipation, rather than the uniform-clad men in unease. “During the final year he lived, he was an angel,” she adds. “It was wonderful the changes it created.”

Millan disputes that the use of treats to persuade dogs may be unreasonable: “It can cause a craving to treats or a fat dog,” he wrote in an email. After a phase of time, owners should give now and then to reinforce the response. “If you won money whenever you played the lottery, then the thrill wouldn’t be there any longer,” says Dodman. “The excitement for the dog is ‘Will I be rewarded?’

Dodman possess some facts to support his claims. A February 2004 article in Animal Welfare by Elly Hiby and contemporaries at the University of Bristol checked the comparative success of the positive and penal techniques for the first time. The canines were more submissive the further they were taught using treats. When they were rather penalized, the only major change was a matching rise in the level of bad behaviours.

Bridging the differences in belief

It’s hard to dispute that the sluggish, patient methods used in positive support would draw the same remarkable moments as on Cesar Millan’s show. A dog psychology professor from the Harvard Extension School, Bruce Blumberg says “Constructive reinforcement is an unusual state of mind. And it’s a method that hardly works pretty well on TV.”

Dodman remains one of those who have requested the National Geographic Channel cease “The Dog Whisperer,” which is a highly rated network show. The American Humane Association issued a press announcement in 2006 requesting a termination because of what they felt were cruel techniques utilized by Millan. Of late, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviour passed a position declaration in which it states unease “with the recent re-emergence of dominance theory and dogs and other animals been forced into submission as a source of preventing and correcting behaviours.”

Millan defends his techniques, stating they “use the least force necessary to avert or correct a setback.”He references to the “thousands of letters” sent by viewers touting “miracles” of restored interaction and saved dogs. “All I want is the best for the animal,” Millan says.

Regardless of the disagreement, a lot exists that majority agrees on. Both types of training instruct that a lack of order or structure is not encouraging to a well-behaved dog. “Dogs need bearing and limitations, just like human relationships,” says Haggerty, the coach from the Manhattan School for Dogs, another supporter of dominance hypothesis. “If dogs are unaware of restrictions, they will cause destruction.”

How a dog owner sets those limits is also vital. “You have to be composed, you have to be plain, you have to be unswerving, and you have to be sure you attain your pet’s needs for other things: train, recreation and social communication,” says Herron of The Ohio State University.

What stance can an owner take when a calm and controlled environment still breeds a rebel pup? Should it be the restraint and hand that corrects the dog, or poultry and persistence? Recent science favours the chicken flavour. But irrespective of the technique you prefer, everyone agrees that the timing must be accurate. Definitely, if you attend Blumberg’s Harvard lecture, he’ll say, “If you have poor timing using constructive support method, the worst result is you get an obese dog.”

If your dog need help with some behavioural issues. You need to be aware that there are several techniques that can be used. Some of them are quick fixes that are not very kind to the dog like C Millan Dominance Theory or some of the more modern positive reward training that might take a bit longer but work with the dog.

Make that a priority when you speak to a dog trainer you would want to use.