Back to Normal, and a Book Review.

Posted: October 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

  For  2 months now, it seems that everything I’ve written has either been concerned with canine tragedies, or dealing with unprofessional individuals within the canine Search & Rescue community.  Enough already with that…

  Omorrow Farm weathered it’s difficulties with Grace and professionalism, and will emerge from tragic loss even stronger and more confident than ever before.  Rhonda and everyone there demonstrated just how strong and knowledgeable they are about German Shepherds, proper Kennel maintenance, and rapid response to an unseen viral invader.  If you are interested in finding a Breeder that you can trust to do her “above and beyond” best to provide you with a GREAT German Shepherd puppy, you need to call Rhonda Sellers at Omorrow.  The actions that we observed this last month there, are ample evidence that she is the Best of the Best.  See her Facebook page and see for yourself.

  I recently was made aware of a new book titled, “Dog Sense”-How the New Science of Dog Behavior can make you a better friend to your pet.”  The authors name is John Bradshaw, the Foundation Director of the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Bristol, Southampton, England. 

  My methodology in reviewing books is pretty simple.  The first step is find out which Trainers or Behaviorists the author criticizes, and then berates as being inferior to his or hers “newest” methods.  This is simple, just review the index for familiar names.  Usually trainers that have achieved success and/or fame by training or rehabilitating dogs.  Bingo!!  First in line for a good tongue-lashing is Cesar Millan.  While I admire Cesar a great deal, I’m open to other methods as well, but Mr. Bradshaw (Dr.?) opens his criticism with chiding us for following a “Trainer without Formal Education or accreditation by some Governmental entity qualified to train dog professionals.”  Yes, Mr. Bradshaw, you ARE no doubt, a very lettered man of University education.  But I’ve read your book and find you to be lacking in knowledge received by actually TRAINING or RE-HABBING a dog.  Mr. Bradshaw  further begs for the formation of an organization that can take control of the Dog Training industry in the United States and use his standards as their own.  Bradshaw further assails Victoria Stilwell, a fellow Brit, as one of the “Media-Trainers” that are causing so many problems in the industry.  Bradshaw implies that most Animal Shelters are brimming over with dogs “Trained in the style of these TV stars.”

  Chiefly among what he considers “Canine Myth” teachings, is the idea of “Pack-Based” methodology.  Bradshaw attempts to ridicule and explain the idea that dogs are “Lupomorphs”, (His “highly-educated” word for Pack Animals).  He does not believe that canines are at all influenced by “Pack Development” and the idea of “Dominance Behavior” is in his learned opinion, just nonsense.  Among others that he targets, are Karen Pryor, Patricia McConnell, Jean Donaldson, and the Monks of New Skete.  He is somewhat more kind to the “Positive” or”Operant Conditioning” practitioners, but still dismisses them as yesterdays news.  This is an expert that wants to hear and see training that appeals to his “Opinion”, as the following quote from page 98 of the book demonstrates.  He says, “Personally, I’m delighted that the most recent scientific evidence backs up an approach to managing dogs that I’m comfortable with.” 

Not all of the book carries this patronizing, superior tone.  He has some interesting thoughts on “How Dogs Learn”.  He states, “…It’s important to stress that dogs are learning all the time-not just during formal training…”    This supposition leads to the conclusion that dog owners are often training certain behaviors to their dogs without knowing it.  This is a conclusion reached by anyone that has ever owned a dog since the beginning of time, but one that he proclaims as a wholly new paradigm.

  If you require your dog training ideas to come from someone with multiple degrees from a large University, plans to regulate “Dog-Training” from a governmental board, and seriously suffering from an elevated sense of superiority, READ THIS BOOK.  Chances are, you’ll stall out after 5 or 6 pages of explanations of canine DNA blather…


  1. Tessa99999 says:

    Wow…Just…wow. I’m not sure I could suffer through this book as you have. While I am a university educated person, none of it relates to dogs other than my own personal discoveries, learning, and research, however I do feel pretty knowledgeable about dogs (and learning more and more each day). Without having read the book I already don’t want to read it because of his apparently close-mindedness towards other training methods. I am a huge fan of Cesar Millan and Victoria Stilwell. They both have different methods of rehabing and training dogs. I don’t think one is better than the other. I think certain techniques work in certain situations with certain dogs. I’ve used both their techniques to help with my GSD, Addie’s, rehab. I don’t think any one style works in every situation or with every dog. I think it just depends on the dog, their needs, and your abilities. It’s saddening to think dogs could potentially suffer because of some shpeal written by someone with no clue.

  2. Kyrie says:

    Hahaha…loved your review Robert. I must say I too do appreciate hearing from trainers who think their method of training is the ONLY method that works when training dogs. Lol. I especially took amusement on the part about there needing to be a governing body over dog training in the U.S. When was the book written? Apparently he hadn’t heard about the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT)…which has at least expanded into Canada with a similar organization the CCPDT, but that’s just whatever I guess…lol. To paraphrase from Gail Fisher: It doesn’t matter to which training method you subscribe, whether it be traditional training, the methods popularized by Cesar Milan, Lure-Reward training or clicker training; the important thing is that the method you decide to use is getting the results you are looking for. If they aren’t, time to move on and try something new that will work for you and your pet…