When bad Science is promoted to the detriment of dogs welfare
How we care for and train our dogs is of paramount importance in their future success at forming relationships with us. My German Shepherd Deiter is now two. I filmed his upbringing in the first eighteen months for a new video production dealing with the dog's mind and development. He was obedience-
Most experts understand the dog's pack and wolf antecedents and the research by Robert K Wayne PHD in essence finds that the DNA of dogs and wolves is virtually identical -
However, as a canine and feline behaviour practitioner of over 30 years' experience I regularly see unattractive wolf behaviour in my clients' dogs and the variety that can cause immense conflict between owner and dog and between dog and dog. My job is to first alter the behaviour so the client can keep their dog, or at least manage the behaviour that makes owning the dog easier.
Unfortunately, there has been a trend recently to try and convince us that pack behaviour (dominance) does not exist. Yes, once again, and despite claims that the very limited study of this nature should be used to attempt to overthrow the established and well-
Thousands of dog owners going peaceably about their business are encountering increasing numbers of badly out of control dogs in public places because the owners have been indoctrinated to believe that any correction is bad so the problem is exacerbated daily. The rule I follow is simple, and based on having trained thousands of dogs successfully -
Well, welcome to a minor group of academics from Bristol University who are extolling similar parallel work that their child-
The dogs we deal with exhibit aggressive or other behavioural problems (like excessive attention-
It is not arguable that dogs work on a rank structure (dominance). Those of you who own more than one dog or see your dog interact with others in the park see this daily. Dominance can be subtle and does not always mean confrontation. Rank and position maintain peace and order. When dogs step out of line they are admonished by a glare, teeth display or an attack, that's dogs being dogs. Now, just how can these happy-
They are now saying, despite the rising problematic dog count that we need to let them sleep on our beds and sit on our furniture in case we stress them by getting them off. If the dog shows aggression over food, feed them until they burst, they say. The dogs that attack children over toys? Oh, simply supply more toys, they say. The outcome of this irresponsible junk is dogs that do as they wish and are more likely to attack children through dominance aggression because we supply more toy targets for dispute and dominance. Now, you may think this is madness. You're right. It is. These meddlers are purveying nonsense which, in my view, is also dangerous.
My Cairn Terrier Safie sits on my knee when invited and if people with dogs that are well behaved want them on their knee or couch then that's their prerogative. However, the dogs that my fellow behaviourists and I deal with are not dogs that are obedient or well-
The Canine & Feline Behaviour Association believes that more and more owners encountering problem behaviour is a direct result of the confusing counter information distributed. For owners, this makes decision-
Brainwashed to ineffectiveness
In the last 12 months I have asked on my walks 22 people, whose dogs are very badly behaved and a plain nuisance in the park, why their dog is not trained -
They have been brainwashed into becoming ineffective owners by advisors who believe in fantasy moralising. Often these owners have also not let their dog off the lead for over 6 or 12 months because they can’t get the dog back thereby ruining its critical socialisation and temperament development period with dogs and causing more aggression problems to other dogs they encounter.
I state the obvious: your dog does not come back despite following the advice for half a year or so -
I point out the actual negative behaviour in their dog they have taught: like upsetting daily most of the people walking their dogs, their dog running off and being hit by a car because it won't recall, or causing a fight by piling on dogs without control. Now, that's what I call negative and can lead, through endless frustration, to their dog developing serious aggression to other dogs. Of course, I am in no way blaming these unfortunate owners. They thought they were taking their beautiful puppy to an expert – they were wrong. I am not referring to lazy owners -
Intelligent Leadership Programmes (ILP)
I have personally on record instigated some 10,000 Smart Dog Psychology programmes on dogs which we have assessed in the UK. These programmes teach the dog psychologically that you are in charge and moreover link all the attention and praise dogs so enjoy to behaviour you wish to encourage -
Members of the CFBA could probably add many thousands more which have been placed on their own variation programmes sometimes called Alpha, Leadership or other title. Of the 10,000 dogs presented to this centre approximately 7,000 were already aggressive to their owners or dogs or both. The majority of owners were considering placing them in rescue or, alternatively, considering euthanasia. The human psychological crisis in the majority of these cases was critical and emotionally catastrophic. The result has been spectacular and only last week a little terrier dog that was due to be put down is now being kept because of the programme above. And, yes, the owner had the dog sleeping on her bed, attacking her visitors and husband over food and it bit people who sat on the couch next to her. Strange that.
Bristol University did an assessment of 19 neutered males all kept in prison-
Now if they were to produce quantitative evidence and programmes they do use that work on the dogs I have previously described and that we can inspect – then I would look intelligently at their speculations. They don't. They simply wheel out this irrelevant trial and deliver it as science. Well, if I took 19 male prisoners and neutered them and then drew the parallel that the behaviour in prison they were exhibiting was somehow a correlation of the behaviour of 19 non-
Bad Canine Science
In addition, the so called observers had no qualifications or professional experience. The leader of this junk science was Prof Bradshaw who admitted never visiting the rescue centre and moreover refused to give any of the research papers up for independent critical analysis when requested by Dr David Sands and on two occasions. Not really science is it? What was Bradshaw hiding or was he simply embarrassed. Nevertheless Bradshaw released this nonsense without further critical review.
Where safety can be an issue it is unfortunate if an interpretation arising from a study with few animals damages the long-
Dr Perez further stated that significant factors that contribute to aggression in the dog are: a lack of basic training, first-
He says "failure to observe all of these modifiable factors will encourage this type of aggressiveness and would conform to what we would colloquially call 'giving our dog a bad education'" He classically refers to the aggression as dominance which, of course, it is. Dr Perez adds: “to correct the animal's behaviour, the owner should handle it appropriately and re-
The Canine & Feline Behavioural Association, and other mainstream bodies whose members are practically involved with dealing directly with dogs in real environments, are appropriately concerned when inferences are too lightly taken from small scale studies and whose findings are not in accordance with well established research and experience.
Colin Tennant M.A.. F.C.F.B.A
Chairman of the Canine & Feline Behaviour Association
My opinions are based on the observation and personal interaction over 30,000 dogs behaviour at my centre and training 12,000 dogs. My experience is in the field. It is essential and real research.
My resume and work in dog behaviour training can be seen here: http://www.colintennant.co.uk/about/