Shame!

This be a post all about shame. I got a sore spot on my chin and I wouldn’t stop scratching it so Mum put me in the Cone of Shame. I doesn’t like it. I don’t care about the cone so much, but I doesn’t like not being able to scratch. I has developed cunning ways to get it off like pretending I need new water and whining. This works very well on TNP. Also my scratching has got a ‘secondary infection’ or so the vet lady says so now I has to take some antibiotics too. Why the cone of shame? Mum says cos I did it to myself and ‘shame’ means “the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done byoneself or another” According to the dictionary anyways. 




Ok, now for the rest of the post. This also about shame, by the very definition of the word. Mum believes in positive dog training, not just for trainings. But for life stuff too. So this can often be a bit anti to the theories and practices displayed by one popular dog trainer. Because we value all of our friends a lot Mum avoids posting about it when issues crop up and she tries not to sound mean about him when we see posts on him, because we know that some of you do like him a lot and we would not want to upset or offend anyone. We believe that everyone be entitled to their point of view and there really do be lots of different ways of dealing with something, so we don’t disregard any one trainer out of hand and everyone can agree that he has done some good, for some dogs. But we got sent a video on Facebook which someone has compiled showing one particular method that this person uses. 


Edit from Mum.

After sleeping on it, I decided to take the video down. When I first saw it I was really shocked, disgusted, dismayed etc. I felt like I had to do something about it! But Ludo’s blog is not the place to show this sort of thing. Maybe because I have a sensitive dog I am more affected by these mehhods as I know what harm they would do to MY dog. Maybe every dog is different? I’ve included a link to the original post on another blog instead.

You can see it here: http://www.dancingdogblog.com/2011/03/cesar-millan-abuse-is-not-a-training-tool/



(The title, well, it’s very sensationalist and I don’t like that sort of thing, but you can’t deny the facts and it’s very different, seeing it all compiled like this. I’ve always found the kick and the choking and pinching etc that are used very unsettling, but it is easy not to realise what is happening when it is a quick second of footage contained within a segment and has someone waffling away over the top of the physicality. I realise that some of the people that go to CM to appear on the show are at their wits end, but I still do not believe that it excuses his type of ‘method’. You will see from the video, even if you ignore the very biased way it’s put together, that the dogs are often set up and then prodded etc to get a better/more dramatic reaction for the camera. I tried to ignore the kicks and look at the dogs and the setting and looked to see in what way was it necessary? I just can’t agree with showmanship meaning more than the well being of the animals.) Yes it’s true that a video could be made of all the good things he does (isn’t that what the show is?) but I would hope that you could take all the footage of a positive trainer and never be able to make a video of this ilk. It could only be put together because it existed in the first place.


ok, that’s my rant over. Sorry for corrupting Ludo’s blog with it, but it is an issue I do feel very strongly about.

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30 thoughts on “Shame!

  1. Poor Ludo! Borderline abusive! I guess it is for your own good.I agree we shouldn't judge other people's training methods, everyone has a right to their opinion. However, this video was very disturbing. I would like to know what other methods were attempted before resorting to the kicking.

  2. Poor Ludo with the cone of shame! Sorry to say you did it to yourself – why couldn't you just leave your chin alone? Hope it heals quickly.That video takes the very worst and compiles it in the worst possible way. I am not saying at all that we agree with that kick as a method of dog training (we don't at all) but a video could be made of the very same person that would highlight the positive aspects of his training. Any way, all people do have the right to their own opinions and we like the positive, reward-based methods ourselves.

  3. We are so sorry that you have to wear the dreaded satellite dish on your head Ludo. Hope your sore is better soon.Of course we are completely supportive of reward based, positive reinforcement training. Just wish there were more TV shows about it so that people could see how well it works.

  4. Oh Ludo, we don't like the cone of shame either, but your chin looks so sore. It is best to wear the cone and let it heal. We will cross our paws that it is better soon.We too are very much in favor of positive reward-based training – enough said.Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  5. My mom akhtually mentioned in an exchange with Jethro's mom today that we don't khare fur him – she had mentioned him in an email to the transport group -I'll get her bakhk down from her soapbox now -Hope your thingie is better soon!Hugz&Khysses,Khyra

  6. Oh Ludo, we can't have you spoiling your handsome face with scratching! The Cone of Shame, boooo!We are reward based here too, and fortunately, Ms. Stella and I get along very well!Cheers and hugs,Jo and Stella

  7. Hmm,..yes, I have to say, although I am not a 100% purely positive trainer myself in that I DO believe you should be able to say "No" to your dogs and tell them off (which purely positive people say you can't – they say you shouldn't even say "No" to your dogs for fear of damaging the relationship) and I do use corrections in certain situations – however, I do worry about CM's shows because they don't show the whole picture and could promote irresponsible methods by stupid people – and what works for him because he has a natural skill & authority with dogs may be very dangerous if attempted by your average Joe Bloggs. There are always idiots looking for a "quick fix" and will just copy whatever they watch on TV without understanding the philosophy behind the methods. For example, with corrections, timing is absolutely critical, as well as the type & level of correction for that dog's temperament – if you get these wrong (and it's very easy to!), then you can certainly do more harm than good. That's why although I do believe they have their place and can be very good, effective training methods if used by experienced trainers, it can be dangerous to promote them coz they're usually seized on by idiots. They need to be heavily supervised & guided – and you certainly can't do that over the internet or on TV!! Having said all that, I have to agree with Ricky also that video editing is a very dangerous thing – I know because I edit lots myself and I can tell a totally different story sometimes just by the way I cut things together. It's amazing how much "meaning" you can give to a simple look just by the order you put it in! 🙂 Plus the other thing I would say (and I'm not saying this because I condone what he does!) is that you cannot tell how hard he is "kicking" the dogs. It might just be a light nudge on the body with his foot – no different to you nudging someone under the table when you don't want them to say something – more to "startle" the dog out of his fixation and grab his attention – a bit like somebody poking you with their finger or tapping your shoulder when they want your attention. Again, I'm not condoning it but in that case, nobody would think that sort of pressure is cruel. I just think it's important to be fair and balanced in the analysis and to consider all possible scenarios. I know that a lot of these sorts of trainers explain their method of "jabbing" the dog by saying it mimicks what dogs do to discipline each other – ie. the nip – which actually I just saw Misty do to puppy Oreo in a video on Sara's blog. So they feel that it is actually a form of communication that dogs understand – even better than verbal correction. Dogs don't bark at each other when annoyed – they nip to discipline. So I can see where they are coming from, even if I wouldn't necessarily choose that method myself. But anyway, I have to agree that sadly, when things are done for entertainment, ethics often go out the window…Hsin-Yi

  8. Just a quicky!I do agree with what others have said about the editing and etc. But I think you can see the force in some of these clips. Some of them do have good timing to distract a behaviour, some of them are just charge up to dog, give a boot. And the video was originally created in response to a video released by CM teaching people how to do the kick. I believe. In one clip he kicks the dog with his roller skates on! I'm not being all high and mighty. I say no, I'll admit to shouting sometimes and using body blocking, but I'm not a dog, so I don't try to emulate biting my dog or using physical force in the same way a dog would.

  9. I hope you get your "cone of shame" off soon. We hate the cone of shame.I didnt watch the video because I just cant handle it. But someone was telling be about it last night. I really dont agree with his training methods at all.

  10. So sorry about the cone of shame, Ludo! Be good and you will get rid of it in no time!I find the video was disturbing and agree with many blogger friends' comments.

  11. Oh Ludo – what have you been doing to yourself, that is one nasty looking itchy spot – I sorta know how you feel I have a "hot-spot" on my chest that itches a lot. My vet has me some tablets to help with it. The cone will help if you keep it on.As for the other – I have met in person and spent time with CM and I can say a kinder more caring person one could not meet. His so called "kicking" is nothing more then a nudge to get the dogs attention and if that makes him guilty of being cruel – then we had better take EVERY person who has ever ridden a horse out and shoot them! Because what do we do to get them moving, we "NUDGE" them in the side to ask them them to pay attention and move. Those video clips were disgraceful – that is blatant editing of the worse kind and completely taken out of context and the shame should be in believing them when those involved have probably never or even seen CM in action! That is my opinion only of coarse – I don't agree with any kind of punishment or hurting of any animals. I believe positive reinforcement is what works and lots and lots of love – which is why all us dog bloggers are here – because we love our furbabies so much.

  12. NO, not the cone of shame! I remember having to wear one for a very LONG time when my poor feeties were in horrible shape.I have to agree with Ricky, Honey & Reilly's comments. All 3 of them took the words right out of my mouth! For us we don't believe in just positive training. There HAS got to be a balance of corrections & praise. We are trained with choke collars. We have no problem with other people using other methods though. Hoomie Melissa just prefers this method & it works well on all of us.

  13. I share your opinion and don't put those videos on Oskar's Blog or on Pet Blogs United. You made the right choice for you. Now I'm sure Ludo does not think you've made the right choice with the cone of shame!Nubbin wiggles,Oskar

  14. Oh Ludo, I just want to say that I am glad that Gail decided to take advice about training me from people she knows and trusts and who love and understand us dogs and do not seek to make lots of money out of us….Toodle pip!Bertie.

  15. Sigh, the big problem with all these dog training shows is the same as with all the DIY shows. They just don't show the whole story and can't convey the subtleties of what is actually going on.So regardless of what is or is not happening in the movie, MOST ignorant viewers will see a kick. I have been to thousands of training classes over the years and my biggest complaint is how the majority of dog owners just don't understand ANY training method. Given that, my tendency would be to focus on positive only just because if somebody makes a mistake with that there is less harm done.That said, I do nudge both dogs with my foot, especially Mango when he needs to get out of the way. I have also bopped him on the head with my fist once or twice, but honestly, my hand hurts from doing that and all it does to him is kind of make him go, "huh? what?" because his head is so hard. I use lots of different training methods depending on the dog. All five of my dogs have responded to different things and I have a fairly large bag of tricks to draw from to suit the training to the dog. I would, however, like to see more follow-ups to the dog training TV shows. My guess is that six months to a year down the road a lot of them will be right back where they started. Of course that wouldn't sell the product, right.You just keep doing the right thing and setting a good example.Mango Momma

  16. Well I guess if you hadn't messed with your sore you wouldn't have to wear the cone. I guess you need to think about that and stop blaming mom.

  17. It's such a shame you can't post direct replies to people, but hopefully this will get into people's inboxes, or at least eyesight…I would like to take a moment to say I'm not a qualified or registered behaviourist, but I am on my way there, so I am not talking from the rose-tinted perspective of "just" being a dog owner, or "only" owning my own dog, “only” seeing other dogs every now & again.I see dogs almost every day, in one capacity or another; and I make it a point to watch shows such as Victoria Stillwell, and Caesar Milan; as well as to keep up with the easily-available magazines – all of which our clients may be watching & reading. In addition to that, I am always reading one book or another to do with operant conditioning, or canine cognition, or how our four-legged-waggy-tailed friends actually understand the world, and now I have the reading list for the canine psychology course I'm starting, you can bet I'll be jumping right into those books when they arrive.Firstly, I'm going to take a moment to look at the statement made by Honey the Great Dane that "purely positive people say you shouldn't even say "No" to your dogs for fear of damaging the relationship".I think "purely positive" is a misnomer. Even if you don't actively discourage/punish a dog, the simple act of ignoring a behaviour, replacing a treat in the jar, removing the dog from the room – are punishing events (though negative, not positive) and will decrease behaviour if used consistently & correctly.The problem with trainers who do not understand operant conditioning, is that it can be taken to mean we do not punish the dog. We do, but because the punishment is not physical, it is often thought that it is not a "true" punishment, or it is a punishment that wont work as well as something physical.Actually, because in clicker training (.K.A operant conditioning) the punishment is psychological, rather than physical, the animal (dog, human, dolphin, cat, horse…) can understand which of it's actions lead to the punishment, in the same way that the clicker helps the animal see what lead to it being positively reinforced. This means that the negative punishment in operant conditioning is actually working better & faster than the negative punishment of, say, a lead correction.The problem that I, personally, have with Caesar Milan, and other such trainers, is that they simply stifle behaviour. The dog growls when you take his toy away. They don't care why, they just stop the growling – using force (hitting, kicking, tapping, choke chains). They don't teach another behaviour, they don't teach the dog that someone taking their toy away is good; they just make the growling stop.What this means is that for the rest of the dogs life, it will not growl for the people that have trained it (as per the above), when they take that toy away.Anybody that hasn't trained it and takes away it's toy is in grave danger of being bitten without warning – and for the Americans amongst us, I'm sure you'd then be expecting some sort of legal action against you and/or your dog.Trainers who use operant conditioning are using a scientifically proven method of training that works with any creature on the planet, and that has been used for over sixty years. Trainers that don't, are using superstitious methods which have no proof or facts to show that they work.. I could see two dogs walking down a street, or on TV (Crufts being a great example) & I can tell which have been trained scientifically & which have been trained superstitiously.That may not mean much to anyone here, but when the training method affects the demeanour of the dog, their willingness to learn & try, it's a huge thing.

  18. Oh Ludo… sorry you have an owie on your chin – hope that cone is gone by now! Well… the video is definitely gone now… somebody from CM's company must have seen in portrayed in a less-than-happy light heheh! So… can't comment on that, but I definitely am a propenent of POSitive training – don't believe dogs can EVER be happy at doing the "job" unless they are liking the work they're doing and that comes with good energy! Thanks for the post – not corruption of Ludo's blog!Hugs xoxoxoSammie, Avalon and Ozzie

  19. Sorry about the "owie" Ludo! We are not a fan of CM at all. Wasn't there another lady on TV that did dog training for people that were desperate? She was British wasn't she? Skinny with long black hair in a pony tail? She used only positive training if I remember…whatever happened to HER show?

  20. Hello, and thanks for linking to my post Just wanted to let you know that an enterprising person has uploaded the video again, without sound this time,so people can form an opinion and I have included the link in that post. Perhaps my title seemed sensationalist but actually it matched the message and sentiment in my post. I did mention that a couple of uses of his foot were only nudges and not kicks, but that was not true for the rest.I realize there's a lot of misunderstanding regarding positive training and people don't really like change, as much as they say they do – it's hard! Change requires completely rethinking what you thought you knew and what always "worked." But having a thinking, responsive dog that cooperates with me is so much more rewarding than a dog that responds…or else.The partnership is remarkably different. In the US, everyone wants whatever it is "right now." That alone should make this kind of example banned on TV – it encourages quick fixes that aren't anything of the sort.Hope Ludo is free of that cone at last!

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