All animal lovers/activists are aware of “dominant theory” and how pop cultural has shaped today’s dog training methods. Tough Love is a documentary that gives a fascinating look on the progression of dog training from the outdated “alpha” theory to the positive reinforcement methods many trainers use today. Featuring the late Applied Animal Behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin, the video explains how the “alpha theory” came about and also goes to great lengths to debunk this theory.
Thanks to television shows like Cesar Milan’s The Dog Whisperer, many dog owners erroneously believe dogs misbehave because they want to be “pack leader” and you need to deliver corrections such as making a “tsss” noise at them or jerking hard on their collar when they do something wrong. Tough Love points out that using modern force-free techniques is far less abusive. It is based on operant conditioning and urges owners to reward the behaviors they want the dog to perform so that way their furry friend will keep repeating said behaviors.
Dr. Yin even recounts a story about a Boxer that she had owned named Max who had behavioral issues. She took a class with a trainer who used corrections and grew frustrated when her dog was still “acting out.” His issues lead her to research a more humane way of training, leading to her becoming an animal behaviorist so she can help others.
The documentary argues that reinforcement dog training methods can lead to a deeper bond between canine and owner, and it also points out that force-free methods also work to address the cause of behavior and over time, helps to curb the issue entirely.
If you love all things canine, Tough Love is a fascinating exploration of how dog training has progressed and persuades owners who may be on the fence about what kind of methods to use to choose wisely, for the safety of their pet.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Tuesday, December 1st, 2015||No Comments »|
W. Bruce Cameron’s beautifully woven novel The Dog Master: A Novel of the First Dog is a fascinating tale of how canines became the loyal, domesticated pets they are today.
More than 30,000 years ago in a world where our ancestors fought to survive in a brutal landscape, one of the keys to becoming the dominant species on Earth was our relationship with dogs. Cameron’s novel weaves in several different stories to explain the domestication process that turned wolves into obedient dogs.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, September 17th, 2015||No Comments »|
Most dog owners mean well, but they often become incredibly irresponsible thanks to TV stars like The Dog Whisperer’s Cesar Milan that preach traditional training methods that have since been debunked by science. Jean Donaldson’s snarky diatribe against clueless dog owners is what makes The Culture Clash such a fun read. She brutally deconstructs the idea of a “Disney dog”—i.e., an intelligent four-legged pal who has a philosopher’s understanding of morality and instead, uses wit to teach her readers “how to speak dog.”
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, March 11th, 2015||No Comments »|
While everyone is talking about the adorable beagle Miss P’s big win at the 2015 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, there are others of her kind who are in desperate need of homes. The documentary RESCUED: The Beagle Freedom Project explores the mistreatment of beagles in scientific research community. Because the sweet-natured hounds are docile and are the perfect crate size, they are often the breed of choice by scientists who pump the dogs full of toxic chemicals. These cute pups won’t even bite the lab techs who are performing such horrific experiments.
Thankfully, Snoopy’s kin has a champion in Shannon Keith, founder of The Beagle Freedom Project. She started the organization in 2010 after seeing an advertisement about a laboratory that was going out of business and needed to get rid of the dogs or they would’ve been killed. She notified her friends via social media and was able to save them from being put to sleep.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, February 19th, 2015||No Comments »|
While most graphic novels have a quintessential superhero who can do no wrong, Chuck Wendig’s young adult comic Atlanta Burns takes readers on a thrilling ride alongside a teenage vigilante. Atlanta isn’t Superman or Wonder Woman, thank goodness. She’s a little rough around the edges and makes mistakes. But in the process of saving two kids from bullies, another teen winds up dead by an apparent suicide and Atlanta blames herself.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Friday, February 13th, 2015||No Comments »|
Anyone who has ever owned a dog has often become frustrated when Fido just doesn’t seem to get the concept of “sit” or even “fetch.” However, unlike Cesar Milan’s outdated methods, famed animal behaviorist Karen Pryor, who revolutionized the training world by introducing the idea of a clicker, offers a simpler way to live in harmony with your pooch in Don’t Shoot the Dog.
Unlike other dog training books, Pryor doesn’t toss difficult-to-understand psychological concepts at the average dog owner. While she does have a good list of academic references, Pryor makes sure to break down tricky concepts so that even the novice dog owner reads the book and goes, “Ahhh, everything makes sense now!”
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Tuesday, February 10th, 2015||No Comments »|
The heartfelt documentary To the Border Bred by Shadowcat Films explores the deep bond between man’s best friend and the weathered shepherds that employ them as working animals.
The documentary revolves around a breed of dog known as Border Collie and their shepherds who work in Northumberland, Scotland. In the film, they discuss the different aspects of these hardy canines, from raising them as puppies, to how tirelessly they herd sheep, and finally, to the deep bonds of love they have for their owners.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, January 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|