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Rebecca, Irena Farm

John Katz Strikes Again

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Original Poster: Stafford

Add contributing to quackery to his list of crimes.

 

Of course, gullibility and the panicked flight from science and reason seem to be hallmarks of this day and age.

lol! that's great

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Guest TheRuffMuttGang

Hey there. I am new to this board, but I wanted to add my 2 cents to this thread.

 

I have read many of the Katz books and really enjoyed them...until now. This guy is so hypocritical it's unreal. In one article he talks about how unfit rescue dogs are for society, and in another he talks about the great lengths he goes to in order to correct his "rescue" dog's aggression issues. What's up with that?

 

All four of mine are rescues, and I, like many of you all, would have it no other way. They each came with their own baggage and problems, but I wouldn't have rescued if I didn't have to desire to work through these problems to, in the end, have a wonderful, loving companion. Make that 4 companions!!

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I just sent an email to the program as I hope others will do. Someone needs to stop this man and it might as well be all of us!

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Originally posted by Rebecca, Brook Cove Farm:

I'm sure his books are very nice and funny.

Ugh, don't be sure! I bought the first one, and was so very sorry that I wasted the money.

 

I just absolutely don't get his bias against rescue. It's really a shame...he's popular enough to do lots of damage.

 

Michele

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WOW! this is Twilight Zoney. I was on the computer about 3am Tues morn, and happened upon the "Slate" web page, and was reading the "ad" on the Katz, book. I just didn't quite get a feel that he knew what he was talking about.. and I emailed him and asked him what his background & experience was in training dogs, and if he had any credentials, that would let me feel comfortable that he really knew what he was talking about!!! WOW.. now I am soooo glad I did not order his book..for an outrageous price at that. I had not heard of him before. hmmmm!

I will also listen to the show on the puter and send an email. We have listened to Diane Rehm's show for years. She really needs to hear from us!!!

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I went to the NPR website and sent an email to Diane Rehm. I would encourage others to do the same, and voice their opinions on this so-called expert.

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I will say this about Katz's writing, which I have seen unedited in an exchange of e-mails. He must have a very good editor.

 

I find the term "rescue" pejorative. When you "rescue" a dog, you have all sorts of reasons for excusing away his bad behavior. He's a rescue, so he must have been abused, etc. He can't help it, he's a rescue. Unfortnately, Katz feeds into this notion by denoucing dogs that are adopted or simply obtained from sources other than breeders.

 

I realize that the people who are involved in rescue get it and understand that "rescue" dogs don't have a license to nip, pee in the house, attack other dogs, etc., but the general public doesn't and I suspect that a lot of people who are getting these dogs use the fact that they have "rescued" them as an excuse not to train them.

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Well that was certainly the case of the lady who called whose friend had a rescue Fox Terrier that was domininant aggressive (it sounded like). Instead of pointing her to a professional trainer, that was when he said the thing about rescues being an unknown factor and pretty much untrainable.

 

One thing that kept giving me the creeps was how he kept repeating, well, dogs only live seven or eight years average anyway, so - and then he'd leave that blank - but the implication I'd get from the context (this was on multiple occaisions during the show) was that if you had a dog that was defective in some way you may as well put it down. :eek:

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This is one of the cattiest threads I've ever read. I listened to the interview. Much of what he said is true, much more has been taken out of context, and most of you are complaining without even having heard it. His credentials are as good as anybody else's and, last time I checked, he was entitled to his opinions.

 

Most people aren't like you, and are not prepared to rehab dogs with severe behavioral problems. Most of you appear to live for your dogs. (Note the latest post of the woman trying to decide between dogs and kids...like that's a decision that needs to be made). But for millions of other people their dogs are just one part of otherwise full lives.

 

You people feed off each other, complain, commiserate, roll your eyeballs at lesser dog owners. I come here to get and share information. Everyone stresses positive training methods with their dogs. But there's so much negativity on this site, it sometimes just wears me down.

 

Just a suggestion--Why not spend more time enjoying your dogs and less time kvetching online?

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I'm sorry, but I just can't ascribe to the "I'm OK, you're OK" mindset. I think we have to be analytical, and to be analytical is not necessarily to complain. Not only do we have the right to consider a source's credibility (particularly moreso when this person has the ability to affect others in a massive way), but I think we have an obligation to do so - at least for our own peace of mind if nothing else.

 

I also don't think its an issue of rolling eyes at lesser dog owners, but moreso an attempt to share hard learned lessons with those seeking information. Maybe the way it comes across makes some people unhappy, but sometimes there is no other option. For what its worth, I happen to know quite a few of the members of this board, and they're not particularly inclined to eye roll, or look down upon other dog owners. They happen to be compassionate and PASSIONATE people, who actually do care about the other people on this board. AND they feel compassionate and passionate about the working Border Collie, and not necessarily in that order.

 

Maybe those of us who are inclined to feel threatened here should dig deep inside and figure out what it is that is scaring or troubling us. I did. It was that I was wrong, and I was missing the point.

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GeorgiaBC,

Do you feel better now after administering a collective slap?

 

As for your example of the woman choosing between dogs and kids, your comment is just plain silly. Maybe it wasn't for you (are you a man or a woman, I wonder?), but for most folks the decision to have children is a huge one. The OP should be commended for actually thinking about how children will affect her life and how her current lifestyle suits children (far too few people think enough about the consequences of bringing a child into the world) instead of being ridiculed for asking the question. And FWIW, your comment about her is really no better than the comments you are taking people to task for in this thread. So perhaps you should take your own advice and go play with your dog.

 

J.

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I've been up since five, training under the lights. My farm chores and morning training are done. My young dogs don't WANT to "play" (well, Don could go anytime, all day, but he's a bit of a freak). My work for the next several hours is here now, home schooling my kids - and I think your suggestion on what I should be doing with my time is a wee bit unwarranted. Although technically I am playing with my dogs - Ben as usual is getting his ball thrown down the hallway over the flyball jumps.

 

If this were just some random person I would have no beef. But this guy is very respected and is viewed by the popular media as an expert on dogs, not to mention Border collies. So do you agree with his sentiments that rescue is the greatest current danger to modern dog ownership, that it is the direct cause of the supposed rise in dog bites (yes, I said supposed, and have my reasons for saying that), that rescues cannot be trained and death is the best recourse for a dog with issues?

 

We already have a problem with dogs being viewed as disposable in this country. We really don't need a popular figure out there feeding and justifying this philosophy. Yes, he has opinions but he isn't honest that that is what they are. Is he a vet? A long time trainer with numerous dogs trained to a high level to point to as references? A formally trained animal behaviorist? A research scientist?

 

Perhaps if it's difficult to pin down his training-specific credentials, it might explain the fact that on the call-in show I listened to, he was unable to address a single problem that callers raised. His answers ranged from, "Dogs just do that," to "It's because the dog is a rescue and sorry, it wouldn't be worth it to go to the trouble of trying to retrain." How is that helpful?

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I read "The Dogs of Bedlam Farm" and found it to be an entertaining book...and I also got some good, basic information from that book. It wasn't meant to be a training manual...it was meant to be entertaining. And I think it's a good read for anyone who is considering getting a BC for the first time, as it accurately depicts the energy levels and intelligence and life in general with a BC.

 

Is Katz the end-all expert on BC's? No. But if you put things into perspective, at least the Bedlam Farms book does what this board does...tries to educate/inform people of what it is like to have a BC before yet another BC ends up in a rescue.

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I read Dogs of Bedlam Farm - mostly because it was about border collies and partly because his farm is in my neck of the woods. I thought the book was okay, not the best I ever read though. He spends too much time whining and making sweeping generalizations. Even though I was new to the whole BC concept at the time, I never thought that he was a dog expert by any means, so I am baffled that he is considered such. I thought he made it pretty clear in his books that he was fairly clueless about what he was doing and making up the rules as he goes along. (Though his description of the local Stewarts coffee shops are pretty accurate).

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Most people aren't like you, and are not prepared to rehab dogs with severe behavioral problems.

"Most" dogs do not have severe behavioural problems. SEVERE behavioural problems are relatively few and far between; normal training and handling issues crop up in most dogs, for most average owners. This is an important distinction.

 

Just a suggestion--Why not spend more time enjoying your dogs and less time kvetching online?

Pardon my ignorance, but is the point of a discussion forum not, umm, discussion?

 

If you dislike discussion, perhaps the person who should be hitting the "off switch" on her computer is YOU.

 

RDM (who knows lots of Labs whose lifespan was much longer than 8 years, a "statistic" Katz cites in his book)

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Originally posted by Stafford:

Here's an article where Katz talks about using acupuncture and "Chinese" herbs to treat one of his dogs' behavioral problems.

 

http://www.slate.com/id/2120824/?nav=navoa

 

Add contributing to quackery to his list of crimes.

 

Of course, gullibility and the panicked flight from science and reason seem to be hallmarks of this day and age.

So are you saying that chinese herbs, acupunture and other forms of holistic and/or homeopathic treatments are all quackery and have no place in our society?

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Originally posted by GeorgiaBC:

Just a suggestion--Why not spend more time enjoying your dogs and less time kvetching online?

Because I don't know any other BC people in real life, for example.

Btw, since I've come to this board, my originally quite stubborn attitude about dogs (I tend to be stubborn about anything) has become a lot more open-minded and willing to learn.

 

Now my dog has learned not to pull, I'm learning how to use a clicker, I've started feeding her raw food, and I'm even looking around for an opportunity to let her work with sheep. Etc.

 

So, even though she starts chewing my sleeves every now and again when I've been sitting here too long, it's not all that bad for her :rolleyes:

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Originally posted by Kitch:

I read Dogs of Bedlam Farm - mostly because it was about border collies and partly because his farm is in my neck of the woods....He spends too much time whining and making sweeping generalizations. ...I thought he made it pretty clear in his books that he was fairly clueless about what he was doing and making up the rules as he goes along.

My Mom (a pet-dog owner) had it, and loaned it to me to read. To a basically pet-dog person, it was a cute book, and reminded her of me and my dogs - the parts about his "relationship" (love for his dogs). My impression was - "who is this clueless guy, and isn't he lucky that his dogs weren't killed, maimed or otherwise ruined by his stupid novice antics?" It seemed a manual in how NOT to train a Border Collie, to me. And now this guy is giving out training advise? With what credentials?!?

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Originally posted by GeorgiaBC:

he was entitled to his opinions.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but if it is JUST an opinion then its wrong to claim to know the answers to other peoples problems (whether its dog related or not) because an opinion is not a fact or necessarily true!

 

Most people aren't like you, and are not prepared to rehab dogs with severe behavioral problems.
My BC is a rescue dog, he did not have 'severe behavioral problems', and I cant say I've ever met anyone with a dog who has severe problems. But even if he did have severe problems I would have still given him a home and tried my best to fix the problem, I'm sure I'm not unique and a lot of people would do the same!

 

Just a suggestion--Why not spend more time enjoying your dogs and less time kvetching online?
I'm sure others like me are here to gain advice and tips that can help us enjoy our dogs and give them the life they deserve. I too am sat here playing fetch with Bailey whilst typing this, so please do tell me how I can spend more time with my dog by not doing this?!

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It would have killed him to name the "Cornell behaviorist" and give credit where credit is due?

 

I agree with most of the points in the article (I've made many of them myself in discussions with friends), but speaking as a writer I have to say this piece could have been much tighter. Meow.

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Originally posted by Northof49:

So are you saying that chinese herbs, acupunture and other forms of holistic and/or homeopathic treatments are all quackery and have no place in our society?

I'm a science & reason sort of person, or at least I try to be one. I try to be a thinker, rather than a believer.

 

People can believe what they want, and in general I'm not in favor of legislating belief. If when asking if they have no place in our society, you are asking me if I think those sorts of treatments and practices should be banned or outlawed, then no, I don't agree with that.

 

However, I do think they are for the most part quackery, and rely on magic and supernatural explanations rather than objective reality.

 

Ok, there may be real physiological effects from chemical compounds found in herbs, Chinese or otherwise. They could be studied, and the scientific method would apply nicely.

 

There is no scientific evidence that acupunture does anything, and plenty of science showing that the theories behind homeopathy are patently false.

 

Four out of five scientists in a recent poll say that John Katz is a nincompoop. :rolleyes:

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So much true, and so much poop. A very good example of why he's a nuisance.

 

I had a dog with severe seperation anxiety. One time she bent the bars of an extremely strong crate (an old rigid type with welded joints), and nearly choked to death after pushing her head through. Given the approach he offers, she would have killed herself by the third day. We fixed her, but we had to start with rewarding her for staying two feet away, then four feet, then out of reach, then in another room, etc.

 

I agree with lots of the individual concepts outlined. That was some decent journalism. I wish it were all like that. He managed to get another dig at rescue, did you notice that? The part where he says that if they had known more about their dog, another child wouldn't have gotten bitten. But he takes some research and frankly, some existential philosophy which is NOT science, and combines it to produce the sweeping generalization that dogs don't think.

 

Here's an opinion of my own - I think they do think, they just think like dogs. That doesn't make their problems any less approachable by us, it just means we have to take that into account.

 

The phrase refers to a belief each of us has about the way others think. Simply, it says that since we are aware and self-conscious, we think others?humans and animals?are, too. There is, of course, enormous difference of opinion about whether this is true.
This one statement gives me a lot of insight on his world view, and I believe I'll be satisfied now. Randomness in cad-dom bother me - when I can attribute underlying consistency to this kind of person I feel much better. :rolleyes:

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Actually, just as an FYI sort of thing, there have been published reports regarding accupuncture (applied to animals, for pain control), indicating that it does have at least some effect in animals. Parameters used to decide whether or not it was effective included objective measures such as heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure, as well as subjective ones (muscle tension, movement, etc). Since animals are not suggestible (you can't tell them, "This will make you feel better" and have them placebo themselves into wellness), if it works in animals it has to work on another level than the psychological.

 

Unfortunately, I can't quote you references since this is something I read in vet school and I don't currently have access to the University's veterinary library (which is where I found the articles). If you like, you can take my word as a professional that I have read such articles and they indicate at least some response to accupuncture as applied for pain relief. I have not read any studies in peer-reviewed publications regarding the efficacy of other alternative types of medicines, but I'll point out that there are plenty of pharmaceuticals that have their origins in the plant world. As I am not an alternative medicine practitioner, I proably can't legitimately make much more of a statement about it than that.

 

As for the Katz thing... I think I'll have to go listen to the audio to comment on that part of it, but the other day I was in the local bookstore and had the manager (who knows me well as a patron there) point out the latest Katz book. I had to tell her that I wouldn't buy anything he'd written, ever, because I didn't want him to profit from not only his own ignorance, but the ignorance (not to mention potential harm) he perpetrates upon the general public. He's in print. This lends him a certain credibility, regardless of how far off the mark he might be. Just the fact of having two covers and some nice cover art in itself lends it a certain legitimacy, however undeserved. He presents himself, if not as an expert (although I think he DOES do this, it might be argued that he's not doing it intentionally), then at least as if he knows what he's talking about, and it can be demonstrated that at least some of the time he does not. This does not appear to trouble him in the least, and certainly it has not stopped him from acting as if he's spouting the gospel truth.

 

Before I'm accused of cattiness (and you all know what a B*#$^ I am in general ), I might use just a single example to illustrate my point about the ignorance/error thing. In this case I'll use a FACT, not an opinion, and point out that it does an enormous disservice to dogs and dog owners everywhere for him to say "dogs only live about 8 years." This is not only incorrect, it's misleading, and it may very well encourage people to either euthanise their healthy geriatric dog, or to fail to pursue treatment in a geriatric dog of the myriad manageable and curable complaints and circumstances of old age. I WEEKLY have people say, "Well, he's old, so there's nothing you can do, right?" WRONG. Wrong, wrong and wrong again. There's tons we can do. Old age is not a disease. Things accumulate over time, and disease my OCCUR in old age, but there is not a disease called Old Age. Granted, we'll all come to the end of our road eventually, and there are times when trying to continue is the wrong choice, but every day that goes by I do something to make the life of an older animal easier, more comfortable, more active, more enjoyable, more disease free, and generally better. Sorry, but Katz is NOT an expert in the world of medicine, and for him to be spouting nonsense such as "dogs only live 8 years" as if this is a fact, is both morally and professionally offensive.

 

But THAT is just an opinion. Mine, as it happens.

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Thanks AK dog doc for pointing out that 'dogs living 8 years' is a crock. I know that I'm not the only one on this board who has had healthy, elderly dogs, (My Brandy lived to be 16 1/2..she slowed down around 15 yrs old) Zachary, currently 10 years old, is now on heart medication, but he's acting like a puppy again..so full of energy and looking forward to his evening walks (1.6 km every night) Of course, bringing Dusty BA into the picture might have something to do with his increased energy too :rolleyes: they play continually!

I can't express any opinion on Katz since I haven't read anything by him...and am not likely to now. I have read Patricia McConnell, Suzanne Clothiers (sp?) and Stanley Coren. Those are people whose writings I do respect.

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