But first, since it's a Thursday, I'm doing a Thoughtful Thursday. Dad and I have been watching lots of "It's Me or the Dog" with Victoria Stillwell on Animal Planet. This is the counterpoint show to Cesar Millan's "The Dog Whisperer" on National Geographic. Victoria is a trainer, Cesar is a rehabilitator. Victoria is nearly all the way positive training, Cesar is nearly all the way corrective. There is little controversy over Victoria's methods, there is a ton over Cesar's. So, confession time: until about a year ago, Dad was a Cesar-o-phile.
I've seen this guy on TV, and it's easy to see why Dad liked him so much. The guy is charming and engaging, and his methods seem to be downright magical. But then, when Snoufer was getting trained at Petsmart (KGC test, here he comes!), the trainer noted some of the interventions Dad used were Cesar-ish (i.e., "shhht!", or the "alpha" lingo). So, he pulled Dad aside and asked him if he was aware of any of the controversy surrounding Cesar and his methods. Without preaching or lecturing, he advised Dad to check it out and to look into positive training methods similar to what he was being taught at Petsmart. So, Dad did.
The bottom line is, Dad is now a total "positive training" convert. I haven't heard a "shhht!" unless I start to do something really wacky and don't pay attention to anything else. Big Brother says he's never been "alpha rolled" since, and we get lots and lots of treats! Score! Plus, I've watched this Vicky lady with Dad on TV every Sunday, and she seems to be the real deal. No questionable methods, she is presented as fallible, and she has less of a magnetic personality to make me wonder if there isn't an element of "hero worship" in her following. Finally and most importantly, this whole positive training stuff doesn't rely on outdated science and is supported by broad-based and current research. Two weeks ago, she even had some pugs on her show! I kept looking at Dad during the show, as if to say, "See? I'm not THAT bad!" She straigtened them up right, and they and their owners will be better for it, I'm sure.
Plus, she has an English accent. 'Nuff said.
So, I'll never look down at or lecture those who choose less positive methods of training, but I certainly encourage everyone to check out the information for yourself. It's there in spades-- just Google "Cesar Millan controversy" and you'll get more than you ever wanted to know. Just please-- stay away from forums and junk like that. Those places are full of trolls.
And now, the lighter side: some videos from the last Pug Club! Remember Picasso? She's the little black one.