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#61 Blackdawgs

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 05:43 PM

Board certified animal behaviorists spend years getting hands on experience before they can earn their title. This experience is often with the worst of the worst as far as behavioral problems go.


Yes, board certified animal behaviorists are veterinarians, who complete post graduate residencies in animal behavior. After they complete the residency, they are "board-eligible"; they have to pass a test (oral and written) to become board-certified. There are 49 boarded veterinary behaviorists in the US + Canada (see here for a list: http://www.dacvb.org/) These people are the equivalent of human psychiatrists, who are MDs, complete a residency in psychiatry, and pass a test. The MD (or DVM) allows the person to legally prescribe drugs.

In terms of the training and cases that these people see, the residencies are generally at vet schools. No one is going to drag their dog to a vet school and pay the $$$ for an animal that is simply badly behaved. These are dogs and cats, who the local trainers and vets can't help; veterinary behaviorists are frequently the last stop before euthanasia.

My dog was never in danger of being euthanized. For her, it was a quality of life thing, minimizing her anxiety and not forcing me to imprison her on my little suburban lot. I took both dogs to the botanical gardens today--a year ago walking in a public place with both dogs was unimagineable. I had origionally adopted her as an agility prospect, but in the end she doesn't love agility enough for the scarey stuff in the environment not to matter. When she is in a herding environment, she doesn't care about anything but the sheep, so I would have no qualms about trialing her once she was ready from a herding training standpoint.

Anyway, many dog trainers also refer to themselves as "behaviorists". Among these folks, there is a broad range of experience/ training ranging from PhDs with practical animal behavior experience to zip. So, one has to scrutinize these folks really carefully, as anyone can call themself a "behaviorist", just as anyone can call themself a horse trainer, or dog trainer, or whatever.

#62 Lenajo

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 07:03 PM

Anyway, many dog trainers also refer to themselves as "behaviorists". Among these folks, there is a broad range of experience/ training ranging from PhDs with practical animal behavior experience to zip. So, one has to scrutinize these folks really carefully, as anyone can call themself a "behaviorist", just as anyone can call themself a horse trainer, or dog trainer, or whatever.


I would apply the same to the "veterinary behaviorists". My experience with them has been primarily negative. I've found little useful in the advice given, a total lack of respect for human safety over dog "happyness", and the charges they bill for when they know in their heart the dog is never going to be more than a elaborate management scheme of medications and home structure that most pet homes can't possibly manage borders on criminal.

CM is a TV show designed around extreme cases for entertainment value. Many postitive and science trained behaviorists and vets would have recommended that dog euthanized - so CM gave him a chance with doing things his way. Maybe he prolonged a bad life, or maybe he made a difference. Dead, is dead - no improvement on that.

As for lying a dog on his side until he calms down, *holding him there until he does*, that's a technique called in positive training circles (as promoted, in detail at the Portland APDT conferance) called a "zen down". Isn't if funny how changing the name has made it acceptable in the same circles that actively trash CM and similar trainers?

#63 bc4ever

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 07:23 PM

I like to watch Cesar. And Victoria Stillwell. And any other show that has to do with dogs. I might watch CM one night and pick up a tidbit of information or VS and get an idea I hadn't considered before. It's like a smorgasbord--pick and choose what appeals to you. You might not like everything on the menu, but you can probably find something worth trying. :rolleyes:

#64 Lenajo

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 07:36 PM

I like to watch Cesar. And Victoria Stillwell. And any other show that has to do with dogs. I might watch CM one night and pick up a tidbit of information or VS and get an idea I hadn't considered before. It's like a smorgasbord--pick and choose what appeals to you. You might not like everything on the menu, but you can probably find something worth trying. :rolleyes:


Agreed :D

Certainly both shows have given me some signficant things to think about.

#65 pansmom

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 07:59 PM

I would apply the same to the "veterinary behaviorists". My experience with them has been primarily negative. I've found little useful in the advice given, a total lack of respect for human safety over dog "happyness", and the charges they bill for when they know in their heart the dog is never going to be more than a elaborate management scheme of medications and home structure that most pet homes can't possibly manage borders on criminal.


Although I don't want to trivialize the negative experiences you had, Wendy, and although I ended up having to euthanize the dog for whom I sought help from a vet behaviorist, I still feel like I should speak up on their behalf here because my experience with one was wonderful. Dr. Haug told me straight up it would take 1.5+ years to rehab my dog to a manageable place, that she might never be safe around children, but that she believed since some dogs - she can't always tell which - improve dramatically through behavioral modification and medication, so she admired my desire to give Pan a shot. I had already tried methods similar to what CM describes and they had made my dog way worse because she had SEVERE fear aggression. Anyway, Dr. Haug's prices were reasonable, her compassion and email and phone followups were so helpful, I learned so much, and when I ended up deciding to euthanize Pan, she called me on the phone when I emailed her clearly upset, listened to me cry uncontrollably, talked about the situation in a way that was very helpful, and then sent me a sympathy card with a long note and donated $50 to the AAHA Pets Fund which helps animals in need. In short, I was completely impressed with her. I only spent $400 for a 2.5 hour consult with her and the dog and she probably spent wow I don't know how many hours emailing me. And now though Pan is dead, poor thing, she was given a shot, and I learned so much about how to interact with dogs and handle animals in general from Dr. Haug that I am a much better owner as a result. So really great experience here. Just thought I'd weigh in.

As for lying a dog on his side until he calms down, *holding him there until he does*, that's a technique called in positive training circles (as promoted, in detail at the Portland APDT conferance) called a "zen down". Isn't if funny how changing the name has made it acceptable in the same circles that actively trash CM and similar trainers?


Dr. Haug specifically told me to avoid at all costs to touch my fear aggressive dog with my hands--okay, my dog had gotten to the point where she didn't like petting--but still the idea of making her down with my hands and HOLDING her there, Dr Haug was not happy that I'd tried to force her into a down (I'd been advised by a CM-style behaviorist to do this) -- and Dr Haug was not at all surprised that two of these confrontations seemed to make Pan worse in the long run after a brief respite). Body blocking was okay if necessary with legs and arms but never to force into a down! That seems crazy. I can't believe a BCVB would advocate that? Srsly? What's the Portland APDT?
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#66 geonni banner

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 08:17 PM

I would apply the same to the "veterinary behaviorists". My experience with them has been primarily negative. I've found little useful in the advice given, a total lack of respect for human safety over dog "happyness", and the charges they bill for when they know in their heart the dog is never going to be more than a elaborate management scheme of medications and home structure that most pet homes can't possibly manage borders on criminal.

CM is a TV show designed around extreme cases for entertainment value. Many postitive and science trained behaviorists and vets would have recommended that dog euthanized - so CM gave him a chance with doing things his way. Maybe he prolonged a bad life, or maybe he made a difference. Dead, is dead - no improvement on that.

As for lying a dog on his side until he calms down, *holding him there until he does*, that's a technique called in positive training circles (as promoted, in detail at the Portland APDT conferance) called a "zen down". Isn't if funny how changing the name has made it acceptable in the same circles that actively trash CM and similar trainers?


Oh, that's too funny!

It also made me think about snarling, snapping dogs we used to see at the last veterinary clinic I worked in. We essentially did the same thing to do treatments on dogs brought in for office visits - shots, check-ups, whatever. So were those dogs nasty? Were they terrified? Were they just spoiled? Or did they have "curly brains"? In most cases, I don't know, never having seen them outside the clinic. But no matter how convincingly "savage" they seemed, they were nearly all calmer when we were done, let them up and took off the muzzle.
I'm not saying that we cured dogs of aggressiveness, terror, bad manners or insanity. I'm just saying that they were not scarred by the treatment, and when they returned they were no worse, and in some cases they were much less "hysterical."
I'm no cheerleader for CM, I just don't think what I saw him do in that video was all that bad. Was it disturbing? Yes! But it is always disturbing to see an animal in that much distress. And one thing he said, as others have noted, was that it's important not to reflect back to the dog with anger, panic or fear.


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#67 shysheperdess

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 10:20 PM

I would like to point out that I think the key to CM's success and one of the KEY factors that should be taken from his "methods" is his calm yet assertive energy. When I have watched the show I am always impressed by at least one thing and that's CM's ability to be "un-emotional", calm, yet firm and effective.

I have heard in many training circles the importance of correcting or providing disipline to a dog needing it in an "un-emotional" way. Most recently in our lessons on stock. I have heard MANY a well respected herding clinician describe the application of a correction this way, not being angry about it or taking things personaly. To make a correction on the behavior move on.

I thinkg it's not just the correction itself but the application of a correction and your sttitude when doing it that can make or break your success with getting results.

#68 hsnrs

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 11:24 PM

We also watch CM and VS. They are interesting programs and to see all these clueless owners is truly amazing. Especially the one with the girls who were roommates letting their dogs go in the condo they were renting. Makes me glad we live in the boonies and that our dogs are able to be dogs.

#69 herdcentral

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 10:36 AM

Oh, that's too funny!

It also made me think about snarling, snapping dogs we used to see at the last veterinary clinic I worked in. We essentially did the same thing to do treatments on dogs brought in for office visits - shots, check-ups, whatever. So were those dogs nasty? Were they terrified? Were they just spoiled? Or did they have "curly brains"? In most cases, I don't know, never having seen them outside the clinic. But no matter how convincingly "savage" they seemed, they were nearly all calmer when we were done, let them up and took off the muzzle.
I'm not saying that we cured dogs of aggressiveness, terror, bad manners or insanity. I'm just saying that they were not scarred by the treatment, and when they returned they were no worse, and in some cases they were much less "hysterical."
I'm no cheerleader for CM, I just don't think what I saw him do in that video was all that bad. Was it disturbing? Yes! But it is always disturbing to see an animal in that much distress. And one thing he said, as others have noted, was that it's important not to reflect back to the dog with anger, panic or fear.



I am afraid that kind of treatment at the vet just increased my fearfull dogs terror, she would simply shriek in fear and with each visit became increasingly more difficult to manage. Eventually because she had to be treated for elbow problems, my kindly vet suggested I bring her in on a daily basis to get to know the staff and I made the committment to take her on visits and staff gave her treats and tried to make it a good experience. Eventually we were able to give her treatment without too much fuss. We didnt even need the muzzle and she even submitted without much fuss to a treatment of accupuncture.

I think it very much depends on the dog and the nature of the dogs problem. I worked out what worked with this particular dog and in her case it was probaly not Cesars way.

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#70 Pat W.

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 01:00 PM

I too have recently gotten NGC and was interested in watching CM as in the past I have watched VS. One of the things I dislike about both shows is that due to time constraints they edit out alot, they dont mention just how long CM or VS worked with the dog and owner. Within the show to the uneducated it seems that either "trainer/behavioris" is a miricle worker to effect such a quick change over an animal. I do see some things that I like with either CM or VS BUT would never ever take everything they say as gospel. I appriciate the calm demenor that CM presents, the education of the owner to a small extent by both. Although both CM and VS are talented in their own way they are entertainers first.
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#71 Anda

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 02:09 PM

I like watching his show - haven't seen Victoria's in a while, not sure if it's still on. But I watched the episode that this thread was about, with the water obsessed Border Collie and I swear I didn't understand what he did to "fix" this obsession :rolleyes:

#72 Smokjbc

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 06:21 PM

I like watching his show - haven't seen Victoria's in a while, not sure if it's still on. But I watched the episode that this thread was about, with the water obsessed Border Collie and I swear I didn't understand what he did to "fix" this obsession :rolleyes:


Yes, the whole thing kind of had me scratching my head. Mostly he made the consequences of doing that behavior more than the dog thought it was worth (making him swim/go into the water- which he hated). Personally, I was thinking- you are at the beach- why not let the dog do it for a few minutes and not long enough to get water intoxication? Was Cesar even necessary for that?

#73 Anda

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 01:09 AM

Yes, the whole thing kind of had me scratching my head. Mostly he made the consequences of doing that behavior more than the dog thought it was worth (making him swim/go into the water- which he hated). Personally, I was thinking- you are at the beach- why not let the dog do it for a few minutes and not long enough to get water intoxication? Was Cesar even necessary for that?


Yeah, I think he tried to scare the dog from approaching the water... weird... I was very disappointed for staying awake the entire show for those few minutes of Border Collie :rolleyes:

#74 bc friend

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 11:02 AM

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who did not get the "fix" - I didn't see the point in teaching the dog that going into the water was a negative since the dog already disliked being IN water and was basically trying to herd it away from him. I also didn't quite grasp the connection between taking the dog to herd sheep before going to the beach since it didn't appear that lack of exercise was an issue.

#75 Anda

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 01:36 PM

And the few sequences of him working sheep were pretty horrific :D Or the way he thought stopping at a farm on his way to the beach to pick up some discarded sheep fleece so that the dog could sniff it (without any sheep anywhere in sight on the beach - LOL) and somehow would trigger a reaction just because he's a herding dog? I mean, really?! :D He could have picked up a roadkill with the same success :D

I wanna reiterate that most of the time I enjoy watching him. However, herding breeds don't seem to be his forte :rolleyes:

#76 bcnewe2

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 03:30 PM

Or the way he thought stopping at a farm on his way to the beach to pick up some discarded sheep fleece so that the dog could sniff it (without any sheep anywhere in sight on the beach - LOL) and somehow would trigger a reaction just because he's a herding dog? I mean, really?! He could have picked up a roadkill with the same success


That sure got me to giggling.....
As you guys know, we live in a very strange place (used to be a junkyard, now...it's getting better) I don't know where the skins are coming from, haven't found the source and things are looking better so it's got me stumped....but everyday Lilly or Jazz will drag up an old skin or cow leg or other simularly discusting thing. Lilly is dragging way more than that up...various articles of old clothing (none that i recognize) skulls, other bones, old horns from different animals, shoes (ok those might be DS's), stuffed animals and just about anything you can think of. She even drug a tote that I keep the chicken feed in (it was empty setting outside the chicken coop) down to her "area" which is in front of the sheep pen or, in it if she can fit her booty under the gate. We've been joking that it's her toy or booty box! Today I found an antique shoe or what was left of it after laying around for years in the weather.

Pach my DD's senior dog has a horrible habit of eating poo, we've done everything possible to help him curb his poo fetish but I really think he's just hungry (he's on thyroid meds and very little food to keep his weight at a good spot) well, he's found really old hides to be way more satisfying than poo so he spends hours outside chewing on hides. The sheep wool doesn't interest him in the least but ummm yummmy hides!

So with Anda's response all I could think of was next I'm gonna get road kill as the prize chewy toy!

I call Mick and Dew pirates, every morning they run down and plunder the booty that Lilly collected the night before. She waits till they finish plundering her booty and drags it back down.
I can't believe they haven't chewed up the stuffed toys. Mick and her have been trading off with a stuffed lion cub for weeks. Funny to see Mick running to help me do chores with a stuffy in his mouth. As he reaches the gate he quickly spits it out...cause everyone knows you can't be taken seriously with a toy hanging out your mouth or at least his sheep laugh at him! :rolleyes:

I don't think CM quite gets the concept of what's going on with working livestock. Everytime I've seen him take a dog to sheep (usually with a guy out in CA that is into all breed herding and well...maybe not the best, but great tv spot). I've seen CM's face just light up watching what's going on. I wish he had the chance to see what real work is really like or understand what he's seeing isn't real training or work in the BC since anyways.

I didn't "get" what he was doing with the water dog either. I have 2 water dogs, never had water intoxication DUH.... I'd never let it get that far. But I know I've been out washing the car and Dew or Pach will be going after the hose....I get so mad I just want to......SQUIRT THEM and we know that doesn't work! :D
Dew hates taking a bath but give her a hose, pool, river or pond and she turns into a fish! Pach OTOH hates to get wet or swim but loves to chase the hose water.
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#77 Anda

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 04:14 PM

I don't think CM quite gets the concept of what's going on with working livestock. Everytime I've seen him take a dog to sheep (usually with a guy out in CA that is into all breed herding and well...maybe not the best, but great tv spot). I've seen CM's face just light up watching what's going on. I wish he had the chance to see what real work is really like or understand what he's seeing isn't real training or work in the BC since anyways.



I think you hit the nail on the head with this, Kristen.

#78 Jimmyd65

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 05:23 PM

What's wrong with a water obsession? I think it's cute. :-)



Did you watch the show? The dog almost died from being obsessed with the water. It's cute but also can be deadly.
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#79 geonni banner

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 07:05 PM

Did you watch the show? The dog almost died from being obsessed with the water. It's cute but also can be deadly.


It's true. I had a friend who had a Shetland Sheepdog that normally had a rock-solid recall. But she was surf-obsessed. We would take her to the dog park (which, though very large, was mercifully fenced) that had a bit of shoreline, and she was determined to "come by" the entire Pacific Ocean. Only physically grabbing her would stop her. She would run along the shore, nipping at approaching waves and she had this mad gleam in her eye. Yeah, it was cute - for a minute - until you realized she couldn't shut it off... If you called her she would turn toward you and start in your direction, but she'd only get a few steps and then she'd turn back with a strangled yelp and go for it again. Fiona was no swimmer either. She didn't even like to get her feet wet. The first time it happened it was a cold, overcast day, and she ran that shoreline 'till she was on the point of collapse. I never thought of it as herding behavior - just OCD.


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#80 Guest_echoica_*

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 12:33 PM

does anyone know the episode # for this one...i want to download it to watch! i couldn't find this info online.


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