Mark's Dog Blog

The 'furbaby syndrome', the humanising of dogs

furbaby
familypet
It doesn't surprise me the emotive backlash I received from a 'few' dog owners in regards to my Facebook post , that a major part of the problem in regards to people humanising dogs and therefore the continuing rise in dog bites, dog attacks and aggression, is what is now termed by many in the industry, the ' furbaby syndrome ', the humanising of dogs. I am sure this article will also receive a strong backlash... I understand that many feel that it's their right to call their dog whatever they like. And I agree, it is your right. However, it cannot be denied that most (not ALL) dog owners that have a furbaby/furkid relationship with their dog, or view their dog from that position, choose to do so because they have, what I consider, an unhealthy overly emotional attachment to their dog, and unless we start to address this...
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No censorship, and that anthropomorphic 'love' word again

web-censorship
I don't mind people visiting to my Facebook page and disagreeing with my professional views, as everyone has a right to an opinion. What surprises me is how many become emotionally unhinged, just because a 'professional' has rocked their core beliefs, beliefs that they have become so overly emotionally attached too. The only counter many of them have is to throw insults and attack me and those that agree with me, or that may have closely related views, in comments to my posts. They try to shut people down by bullying. I used to remove these insulting and attacking comments and then ban those emotionally unstable people from commenting further on my page (I have a long list of banned people), however, I now believe its probably best to let others see the level these people will go too to push their agenda, and how mentally unstable some of them...
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Is your dog suffering in silence at the hands of your Vet Behaviourist?

dog-drugged
Psychotropic medication should ALWAYS be a last resort.. Not the first go-to option that is now becoming so popular with Vet Behaviourists. The medical quick fix for behavioural issues at the expense of our dogs overall well being is at epidemic levels. The administering of drugs to do nothing more than mask issues such as for unwanted behaviours has become big business in the pet industry. Dog owners in my opinion are being conned into believing that dogs with behavioural issues have a mental illness or a chemical imbalance that only drugs can fix. It is my professional opinion that in the majority of cases, all a dog needs is some behavioural intervention that can be worked through without drugging a dog. On the very rare occasion that a dog does need these medications, a behaviour modification programme should also be incorporated, to help get the dog off these drugs...
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Prozac and the dog that shouldn't be.

jett
I am angry..Yes angry, for 2 reasons. A beautiful GSD, forced onto psychotropic medication, and mainly due to a training methodology that wasn't offering him any guidance, discipline or structure around the home. Please note, I am in no way blaming my client. And neither should you! He loves his dog, and was doing everything he thought was right for his dog, by following what he was told was the right thing to do. He wanted nothing but the best for his dog. He did what he believed was right, took his young pup to puppy school. He took his dog to obedience training. Unfortunately, he was like so many others that are falling for this new age ideology, led down a path that I consider in many cases, is detrimental to a dogs overall well being and the human and dog relationship. The dogs name is Jett. An almost...
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The lie about science-based training methods, and pushing half the science

dogs

When a dog trainer advertises them self as a rewards based trainer, what they are indicating is that they use positive reinforcement to mark appropriate behaviours. There is not one training method that is not rewards based, whether you are a positive-only trainer, a force-free trainer, or have a more balanced philosophy about training. It doesn't matter if you use food, toy, play or praise as your reinforcer, they are all used in training to reinforce a behaviour in that moment. Reinforcers' have different value level to a dog. Some dogs love to work for their owner's approval and attention. Other dogs work better for a stronger motivator such as food.The fact is, that no matter what your preferred method, you cannot successfully train a dog without using positive reinforcement.   Many positive-only and force-free trainers will falsely advertise that balanced trainers are punishment-based trainers and that they are reward-based...
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Emotive ideology, and its possible link to inappropriate punishment

Emotive ideology, and its possible link to inappropriate punishment
It shouldn't, but it still astounds me how many homes I go into whereby the family were brainwashed in to an emotive based ideology at their puppy preschool, that has led them to becoming totally frustrated dog owners, and therefore in many cases influencing their actions.   Don't get me wrong, I am not talking about teaching a puppy basic commands like sit, drop come, stay. I am talking about behaviours that if not dealt with (and not just managed) would be detrimental for the overall well being for the growing dog, and also for the well being, sanity and above all, the safety of family members. The escalation in hospitalisations for dog bites, the numbers of dogs now handed over to shelters, the increased numbers of dogs put to sleep, and the increased numbers of dogs pushed on to psychotropic medication, over the past 15 years must be a...
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What does the future hold for dog ownership?

What does the future hold for dog ownership?

Where is society heading, and what does the future hold in regards to our relationship with the domesticated dog? We have an extremist and fanatical element pushing false and misleading information for no other reason than to push an emotive agenda, and this is apparently ok by societies standards now. The truth doesn't matter any more. Using emotion to push false and misleading claims to get a point across is apparently more acceptable and believable than observable and verifiable facts in today's society. The world is going crazy, with all of the bans on dog training equipment being enforced, and trying to suppress and even outlaw training methods, and ALL based on a lie. The pet dog owner is being preyed upon by an extremist element, and many are too blind to see it. Society is being pushed from training dogs, to management principles, and this alone is going to...
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My response to Vet Behaviourist Dr Kersti Seksel

My response to Vet Behaviourist Dr Kersti Seksel

This is an article written by Dr Kersti Seksel on news.com.au . My response to her major points are in blue   AS A vet specialising in behavioural medicine, I see a lot of dogs with complex problems. About 20% of pets have an anxiety disorders (mental health issues), just like people. But sometimes the problems can occur when owners do not understand the dog’s normal social behaviour. Below in her article Dr Seksel states that anxiety is a brain disorder that should be treated medically like Diabetes or thyroid disease. I personally believe that in more than 99.9% of cases, anxiety is triggered by environmental factors, and is NOT a disorder. I am willing to bet, that if Dr Seksel released all of her client consult information, you would find that more than 90% of their dogs would be on some form of psychotropic medication. After all, her speciality...
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Start teaching your dog to say NO!

Start teaching your dog to say NO!
It's not OK for dog owners to say NO to their dog, but now its ok for a dog to say no to its owner! WTF?   The trainer in this article is advocating that we should allow dogs to make their own decisions by teaching the dog to say "No" to its owner   I agree, dogs should be conditioned to make the right choices, however to now say that the dog should be able to make its own choices on what it eats, when it goes outside, when to go for a walk, etc, etc, is taking things to far. Dogs, not unlike children, need to understand rules and boundaries, and many of these must be enforced whether they like it or not. Allowing your dog to dictate to you what it does or does not want to do is nothing more than an excuse for not carrying...
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My views on Victoria Stilwells latest blog

My views on Victoria Stilwells latest blog
I don't follow Victoria Stilwell, as in my opinion she has done a lot of harm to the dog training fraternity, with a lot of lies and publishing misleading information to push her ideology. A follower of mine (thanks, Sue Wright) sent me Victoria Stilwells latest blog, and I read it with interest. Some of what she says is true, in that there is no such thing as purely positive training. However, I'd like to point out a few facts in her article where I believe she is again misleading people, or not offering the full picture. Read her article here Why I
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The most important value any dog trainer should hold on to is integrity.

The most important value any dog trainer should hold on to is integrity.
truth
As professional dog trainers and behaviour specialists, it is always important to be open, upfront, and honest with our clients, and of course the general public at large. Over the past 15 years or so, there has been a number of training methods that have sprung up, believing that the particular ideology or method is the saviour of our dogs, and is the only true humane way to train a dog. Many novice trainers then fall for this emotive based rhetoric by being painted an unrealistic and misleading picture that they don't fully understand and therefore end up focusing their entire profession on this one and only method. A case in point is the purely positive and force free methodology.  For many in these groups, these methods have taken on a religious status, which has become extremely worrying and even considered dangerous by many in the profession. Firstly we need...
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Dog Behaviour Specialist or Vet Behaviourist? You decide.

Dog Behaviour Specialist or Vet Behaviourist? You decide.
Many people ask me what the difference is between a dog behaviour specialist like me, and a Vet Behaviourist. Doesn't a Vet behaviourist have more qualifications than you, and therefore is our best option to help our dog? My reply is usually. A Dog trainer that also refers to herself/himself as a behaviour specialist, does so for very important reasons. They have spent many, many years working with dogs in the real world, have trained in a lot of cases, thousands of dogs, for many different purposes. They have a deep understanding of a dogs behaviour instincts and drives due to working so many dogs in the real world. They understand the natural instincts that motivate dogs and why they do what they do. They understand a dogs avoidance instincts, that have helped them survive over 100's of thousands of years. They have a deep understanding of these instincts because...
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Emotive rhetoric and its influences on the dog owning public

Emotive rhetoric and its influences on the dog owning public
punish1
Over the past 16 years or so, 2 words have had their meanings totally changed within the dog training world, by those that have an agenda to push, based on political correctness and pushed by emotive rhetoric, to enforce a new ideology that has no basis in reality. These 2 words are dominance and punishment. Both are now understood to mean abuse, in that the act of dominating or punishing a dog is now an abusive act. This belief is pushed by the positive-only and force-free extremist element, the fanatics. Abuse has its own meaning, and to now attach it to dominance and punishment is taking its meaning to the ridiculous. Dominance  noun rule; control; authority; ascendancy the condition of being dominant. Psychology. the disposition of an individual to assert control in dealing with others. Animal Behavior. high status in a social group, usually acquired as the result of aggression,...
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Is there a correlation between current training methodology & the increase in dog bites?

Is there a correlation between current training methodology & the increase in dog bites?
graph
operant quadrants1
I have been working with dogs full-time in a professional capacity for 36 years now.. So I feel this gives me a right to voice my opinion on the major changes I have seen in dog behaviour over this period. I tell you... I have seen it all! This graph is borrowed from the website 'Victoria's future in responsible canine guardianship' ( https://responsiblecanineguardianshipvictoria.wordpress.com ) The above graph shows the dramatic increase in dog bite hospitalisations over the period 1999 to 2014 in Victoria. So what has changed over this period to cause such a dramatic increase? 16 years ago, balanced and traditional training methods were the norm. Dog owners weren't fearful of correcting their dogs to set rules and boundaries and to establish structure based on predictable consequences. Training utilising the 4 quadrants of operant conditioning was the norm, totally accepted, and more importantly proven to be effective. Over the...
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The punishment dilemma

The punishment dilemma
Conditioning a dog to avoid a behaviour is not punishment, as we would punish a child for example. Punishment of an animal tends to come from a place of anger and/or frustration. When we punish a dog in anger or out of frustration, we are conditioning the dog to avoid the anger, frustration or person, and not the behaviour we actually want the dog to avoid. Remember, if we are angry at a person for doing something wrong, we can verbally communicate that anger to explain to the person why we are angry, even if its days after the fact. When a dog experiences a negative consequence, the dog is conditioned to instinctively avoid that immediate behaviour or situation in one of 3 ways, fight, flight or simply shut down. So if for example a dogs owner rushes towards a dog in anger and strikes out, the dog reacts in...
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The big dog con, of the past 16 years

The big dog con, of the past 16 years
Whilst the practice of positive only training is allowed to influence dog owners through deception, the reliance on practices such as administering psychotropic mind altering drugs to dogs to mask behaviors will become an epidemic, if it hasn't already. Its a known fact, that you cannot replace an unacceptable behaviour by ONLY introducing an alternative behaviour. By utilizing such methods, all we are doing is adding a new behaviour to a dogs already repertoire of current beha viours, and not removing any. To replace something with something else, we need to remove the 'something' we are wanting replaced. Unless we work on removing an unwanted behaviour, by conditioning the dog to avoid the unwanted behaviour, that unwanted behavior always remains a strong possibility of surfacing under circumstances whereby the dog feels it will create a positive outcome. The only way to ensure an unwanted behaviour is not expressed again is...
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Latest Blogs

25 September 2018
Many ask why are a lot of my posts about punishment? Well, isn't that the major issue we have now in regards to raising our dogs correctly, not understanding the appropriate application & the misrepresentation of "positive punishment" and "negati...
1131 Hits
08 July 2018
I like to simplify things as much as possible when I am with clients to help them understand their dog better. One of the major hurdles most dog owners have when working through modifying behaviour is remaining consistent, and this means 'forever'.Wh...
1553 Hits
11 January 2018
It doesn't surprise me the emotive backlash I received from a 'few' dog owners in regards to my Facebook post, that a major part of the problem in regards to people humanising dogs and therefore the continuing rise in dog bites, dog attacks and aggre...
4471 Hits
01 January 2018
I don't mind people visiting to my Facebook page and disagreeing with my professional views, as everyone has a right to an opinion. What surprises me is how many become emotionally unhinged, just because a 'professional' has rocked their core beliefs...
2059 Hits
31 December 2017
"Your dog does not love you!"That is the number one comment I make that surprises many of my clients, and many even become upset that I would even suggest such a thing about their dog. When I am with clients where I can see that they are allowing emo...
2317 Hits
10 December 2017
One of the most difficult concepts for many of my clients to fully accept, when they have called me out for dogs that are highly strung, hyper-aroused, or suffer anxiety issues, is to cut back on the amount of affection they are giving to their dog, ...
3688 Hits
03 December 2017
Psychotropic medication should ALWAYS be a last resort.. Not the first go-to option that is now becoming so popular with Vet Behaviourists.The medical quick fix for behavioural issues at the expense of our dogs overall well being is at epidemic level...
2902 Hits
02 December 2017
I am angry..Yes angry, for 2 reasons. A beautiful GSD, forced onto psychotropic medication, and mainly due to a training methodology that wasn't offering him any guidance, discipline or structure around the home. Please note, I am in no way blaming m...
2633 Hits