Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
This was a fun interlude Dannan and I had not too long ago.
Yes, we are in the bathroom. If he and I are going to try to do any work, we have to be shut away from the Min Pins. So we go into the bathroom (thanks, Nan, for that great tip, btw!). Please do not notice that the floor is dirty.
So, we went in with some cheese, Karen's digital camera, and my desire to learn how to capture photos of Dannan while we work on our "Zen".
(Dannan would like to interrupt me here to clarify that "we" don't work on Zen. I get to control the cheese, the access to the cheese, and when he gets to eat the cheese. He works on Zen, and I get to play sadistic dog trainer human. Those are his exact words.)
He sees I have the cheese, and his default is "down".
Then, he lets me know how mean I am.
And sometimes, he tells me "wrooooooooooooooo" to let me know he's serious.
Yeah, yeah, you hold the cheese and tell me to wait. Haven't we done this often enough, or do you like to pull puppies' tails, too?
OMG, you are killing me here.
My attempt to capture him taking the cheese. Not the greatest photographer. I did warn you.
There, that's better. Dannan gets a little crazy when we practice Zen.
There'd better be more...
This is also known, in DogWorld, as torture in the first degree. The cheese is sitting on the floor (the tiny, tiny piece, Dannan wants you to know) inside the white circle. (See, you can't even tell there's cheese there! I'm telling you, she's killing me, and for what? Three molecules of cheese?)
This is the advanced stage of Zen. Not the master's level, where I put the cheese on his snoot and tell him to wait. We're not even working on that yet, but he's getting pretty good at advanced level Zen.
Woah, finally. Girl, do you always have to wait until the string of drool from my right lip reaches the floor?
The best picture of the night! Catch!
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Reward the Good, or Punish the Bad? from the Dogs in Danger newsletter (www.dogsindanger.com/newstory3Cont.html)
There is a quiet battle being fought in dog-training circles. On one side, Cesar Millan. No doubt you’ve heard of Mr. Millan, world-renowned “Dog Whisperer,” known for his uncanny ability to communicate with dogs. He is often seen power-walking large packs of dogs at a time. Millan has captured the national spotlight with his National Geographic television series in which he rehabilitates wayward canines — aggressive, scared, lazy, compulsive and jealous dogs.
Millan’s style and methods sure make good television drama. What are Cesar’s credentials for this line of work? Well, according to Cesar’s website, his “blessed gift - a primal communion with nature - always came naturally to him.” “For me,” Millan says, “it's just instinctual -- I understand how they think and behave, so I can relate to them and communicate with them.”
Cesar has no formal training or education in animal behavior. He draws on his observations of his grandfather in Mexico and his own life experience. He gained Hollywood attention after training guard dogs for actors Will Smith and Jada Pinket. Millan has created an empire of videos, books, blogs, webinars, talk show appearances, and his Dog Psychology Center in Los Angeles. There, with a pack of 50 dogs, he works his Cesar magic.
Millan subscribes to a theory of dogs that fell out of favor with trainers long ago, a dogs-as-wolves pack theory. In his best-selling book, "Cesar's Way," Millan writes that there are only two positions in a relationship, leader or follower. His philosophy is that we, as humans, must act as dominant pack leaders, and our dogs must behave as submissive followers. He teaches that, in order to properly fulfill both our dogs and ourselves, we each need to become our dog’s calm-assertive pack leader. "I teach owners how to practice exercise, discipline and then affection, which allows dogs to be in a calm, submissive state," he explains. "Most owners in America only practice affection, affection, affection, which does not create a balanced dog.” "Training," says Millan, "only teaches the dogs how to obey commands -- sit, roll over -- it does not have anything to do with dog psychology."
Ian Dunbar, though he didn't ask for this fight, stands in the opposite corner of the proverbial training discourse ring, armed with degrees and scientific study. Dr. Ian Dunbar is a veterinarian, animal behaviorist and writer. Dunbar received his veterinary degree and a Special Honors degree in Physiology and Biochemistry from the Royal Veterinary College (London University), a Doctorate in animal behavior from the Psychology Department at the University of California at Berkeley, and a decade of research on olfactory communication, social behavior and aggression in domestic dogs. On top of that, add decades of dog-training experience. Impressive by any standards, but Dunbar’s opponent in this training controversy is backed by the power of Hollywood and charisma.
According to Dunbar, the return to dominance training such as Millan's is a disservice to dogs. Though Millan gets results, Dunbar notes that most people don't have Millan's strength or skill, and even fewer keep dozens of dogs. Dunbar's mild mannered, hands-off, reward-based approach is in stark contrast to Millan's “I’m the Boss” attitude and physical corrections like finger jabs, alpha rollovers and leash pops, to elicit compliance. Instead, Dunbar advocates a trusting and respectful relationship in which our dogs are treated as companions and family members as opposed to a lesser species requiring physical dominance. Dunbar works to dispel the myths that those such as Millan foster. Dogs aren't wolves, Dunbar says, generations of evolution separate the two animals. "Learning from wolves to interact with pet dogs makes about as much sense as, 'I want to improve my parenting -- let's see how the chimps do it!' "
The soundness of Dunbar's philosophy and training techniques have been recognized and embraced by trainers everywhere. He is credited with spurring the demise of punitive, punishment-based training. His Sirius Dog Training program has redefined and revolutionized pet dog training. Over a decade ago, he founded the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, an international organization devoted to promoting human-canine relationships based on trust and respect. He has written numerous dog training books and hosted the popular British television series "Dogs with Dunbar". Dunbar and his wife Kelly Gorman (also a dog trainer), founded Open Paw, a nonprofit dedicated to keeping dogs and cats out of shelters and in loving homes. Dogstar Daily, the online arm of Open Paw, was born shortly thereafter.
With so much dog training success, and the respect of the most renowned figures in dog training and behavior, why is Dunbar still relatively unknown and Cesar Millan a household name? "Cesar works with aggressive dogs, and that's sexy these days," says Patricia McConnell. "His methods work well on a limited number of dogs, but in many cases the dogs become shut down. Ian's methods are successful for the average dog owner, and what's more, have been used by professionals for years to successfully treat serious aggression problems. And, they're fun."
The field's most respected behaviorists and trainers are concerned that many of Millan's ideas are unfounded and some of his methods are downright harmful. In Cesar’s world, physical corrections - such as snapping a dog's leash, finger jabs, and forcefully rolling the dog onto his back - are an effective way to garner compliance and good behavior. One technique often used by Millan to “cure” a dog’s fear is to overwhelm the dog with the very stimulus that terrifies him. Imagine treating your dog’s fear of thunder by locking him out in the yard in a severe thunderstorm. Many behaviorists argue that this technique, called "flooding," actually leads to further psychological trauma. The dog learns that resistance is futile - his spirit is broken. Trish King, Director of the Animal Behavior & Training Department at the Marin Humane Society observes: "In some of his shows, Cesar tells the owner how 'calm and submissive' a dog is, when to me, the dog looks shut down and fearful."
Nicholas Dodman, author of "Dogs Behaving Badly" and program director for the Animal Behavior Clinic at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University calls Millan's techniques "abuse."
Editor of Bark Magazine, Claudia Kawczynska, is one of Dunbar's many fans. "It's irritating to see Millan treated as the expert. Ian is an animal behaviorist with decades of experience. He should be where Millan is," she says. "Millan lived on a farm, so what? He's good looking, but he's not smart about dogs. It seems people don't want their experts to be educated."
Jean Donaldson, director of dog training at the SFSPCA and author of "Culture Clash," a book about the human-dog relationship, views the history of dog training in terms of pre- and post-Dunbar. "Ian is the man," she says. "He revolutionized the field." She also thinks Millan has tapped into something deeper in the current culture. "It's a backlash against political correctness," she says. "People are angry and life is frustrating and [when] someone tells them it's all about dominating something smaller and weaker? They'll go for that."
Writer Mark Derr, in a New York Times editorial, went as far as to call Millan a "charming, one-man wrecking ball directed at 40 years of progress in understanding and shaping dog behavior."
"All training is negotiation," Dunbar says, "whether you're training dogs or spouses." Dunbar agrees that training is training is training. "You can instill fear in your kids and get them to mind, but they won't function better in the world and your relationship will suffer greatly," he adds.
But if the Cesar magic works, who wouldn't want the magic? That’s what all owners want –the faithful dog that dutifully obeys commands and walks calmly behind us. But does his magic transfer to the average dog owner? Cesar says owners can learn to become better communicators with their dogs, and that his methods teach owners and dogs to become more balanced.
In a letter from Martin Deeley, Owner of the International School for Dog Trainers and Executive Director and Co-Founder of International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP), Deeley praises Millan saying, “Owners are learning to respect their dogs for what they are – dogs. Owners are learning that by understanding what a dog is and does can help them create a long and lasting loving relationship with their dogs without resorting to bribery and child like rewards. Being leader of the pack does not imply strong punishment and corrections but an assertive confident approach where the dog recognizes your leadership.”
Missy Lemoi, owner of Hope Lock Kennels Dog Obedience, is one of Millan’s many fans. “I can only hope that more people will follow [Cesar’s] methods and allow their dogs to be dogs rather than treating them as children in fur suits,” Lemoi says, “as a result, there will be fewer dogs given up for adoption or euthanized as uncontrollable animals.”
Despite the great Hollywood success, numerous testimonials, and a near cult-like popularity, top dog trainers nationwide express dismay that Millan has become the current face of dog training, and most say Dunbar should be the one with the empire. It's a fundamental conflict in training philosophy: Are results best achieved through rewarding good behavior or punishing bad?
"He has nice dog skills, but from a scientific point of view, what he says is, well ... different," says Dunbar about Millan. "Heaven forbid if anyone else tries his methods, because a lot of what he does is not without danger." "Don't try this at home" messages are flashed throughout Cesar’s television show.
American Humane, the oldest national organization protecting children and animals, works to raise public awareness about responsible pet ownership and reduce the euthanasia of unwanted pets. In a letter to the National Geographic Channel, American Humane asked the network to stop airing Cesar Millan’s "Dog Whisperer" citing the training tactics featured on the show as inhumane, outdated and improper. American Humane expressed dismay over the “numerous inhumane training techniques” advocated by Cesar Millan and several instances of cruel and dangerous treatment -- promoted by Millan as acceptable training methods -- were documented by American Humane, including one in which a dog was partially asphyxiated in an episode. In this instance, the fractious dog was pinned to the ground by its neck after first being “hung” by a collar incrementally tightened by Millan. Millan’s goal -- of subduing a fractious animal -- was accomplished by partially cutting off the blood supply to its brain. In its letter, American Humane said: “We believe that achieving the goal of improving the way people interact with their pets would be far more successful and beneficial for the National Geographic Channel if it ceased sending the contradictory message that violent treatment of animals is acceptable.”
Millan supporters say that all of the criticism of Millan is just jealousy from the established dog training community because other trainers have not managed to achieve the same level of notoriety and success.
"You can lead with force, like Saddam Hussein, or you can be a benevolent leader to your dog by choosing a style more like Gandhi's," says Tamar Geller, trainer to Oprah Winfrey's dogs and author of The Loved Dog. "Your approach will determine the type of relationship you have - and whether your dog acts out of intimidation... or respect."
The shelters are full of dogs whose lives might have been spared if only they had received training. "Without training, the life of a puppy is predictable: chewing, soiling the house, digging up the garden, followed by a trip to the shelter where, if it's lucky, it gets another try," Dunbar says, wearily. "Without training, that dog will be dead in less than a year."
The one thing Millan and Dunbar both agree on -- training is critical. It saves dogs’ lives. But that’s about where their similarities end. Indeed, compliance from the dog is the goal of all training. Is it best achieved through fear and physical dominance or positive methods based on trust and respect? Will future dog owners of America side with Millan or Dunbar: will the dominance mentality take a back seat to the reward-based training which promotes understanding and living peacefully with one's pets? It’s hard to say.
The Anti-Cesar Millan
Ian Dunbar's been succeeding for 25 years with lure-reward dog training; how come he's been usurped by the flashy, aggressive TV host?
Sunday, October 15, 2006
It's late afternoon at Point Isabel, prime time at the Bay Area's popular off-leash dog park, and the man some call the most innovative in the field of dog training weaves unnoticed through the two- and four-legged throngs. No one recognizes the slight, snow-haired man dressed in Berkeley-esque traveler's clothes (well-pocketed shirt and cargo pants) as Dr. Ian Dunbar, the man who wrote the book -- rather, six books -- on pet dog training and the guy who developed one of the earliest puppy-training courses in the country. Dunbar is 59, and though he's been away from his native England for decades (since 1971), he carries the air of an English gentleman. Occasionally British colloquialisms slip into conversation. "I was gob-smacked!" is how he explains his recent shock over a case of dog-owner ignorance.
With an eager border collie obsessively dropping a ball at his feet, Dunbar scans the Point Isabel regulars. It's hard to imagine he's not passing judgment on particular behaviors, but mostly he smiles at the four-legged passers-by. Thirty-five years of studying dogs has not dulled him to simple joys.
"Bay Area dogs are so cool, so friendly and polite," he says. When a brown fluff ball approaches jauntily and sniffs his pant leg, he genuinely gushes. "What a cute puppy!" Then an incessant barker demands attention. "We've heard," he says firmly to the lab. "Haven't you got anything else to say?"
Though they probably don't know it, Dunbar's training methodology has probably influenced the pet-owner relationship of almost everyone here at the park. He says he was the first to preach the once revolutionary idea of training puppies off leash (formerly only those six months and older were thought trainable) and also says he was the first to stuff food into a Kong (the conical shaped rubber chew toy and object of desire of most chewing-age puppies), thus saving table legs and Italian loafers worldwide. More important, his methods and theories have saved dogs' lives. Dog training is his passion, but it's not simply because he finds a well-trained pet a thing of beauty.
Training, he says, saves dogs' lives.
"Without training, the life of a puppy is predictable: chewing, soiling the house, digging up the garden, followed by a trip to the shelter where, if it's lucky, it gets another try," he says, wearily. "Without training, that dog will be dead in less than a year."
There is a quiet battle being fought in dog-training circles, and Dunbar, though he didn't pick the fight, represents one side. The mild, very mannered Dunbar is armed with degrees and scientific study: a veterinary degree and a Special Honors in physiology and biochemistry from the Royal Veterinary College of London University, a doctorate in animal behavior from the psychology department of UC Berkeley and a decade of research on the olfactory communication, social behavior and aggression in domestic dogs. All this, plus decades of dog-training experience.
Impressive, yes, but his opponent in this training controversy is backed by big business, Hollywood celebrity and, even worse, some say, the power of charisma. Cesar Millan, a.k.a. the Dog Whisperer, has his own television series on the National Geographic Channel and is churning out a burgeoning enterprise of videos and books. The subject of a recent New Yorker profile by Malcolm Gladwell, Millan is often photographed on high-tech in-line skates, leading a pack of pit bulls, rottweilers and German shepherds. The sexy Millan's dog-handling credentials include an upbringing on a Mexican farm, an "uncanny gift for communicating with dogs" and his Dog Psychology Center in Los Angeles. There, with a pack of 50 dogs, he rehabilitates wayward canines.
Besides foreign roots, there is little these two men share, except, as Dunbar points out, the bedrock belief that all dogs can and should be trained. If this were a dogfight, it would be the unlikely match between a pit bull and a border collie -- unlikely, because those who know dogs know the border collie would simply leave. In this case, however, those watching the fight keep pushing the smart dog back in the ring. Top dog trainers nationwide have expressed dismay that Millan is the current face of dog training, and most say that Dunbar should be the one with the empire. It's a perennial conflict in training discourse. Are results best achieved through rewarding good behavior or punishing bad?
Millan subscribes loosely to the idea of the pack, a dogs-as-wolves theory that had long ago fallen out of favor with many trainers. Touting dominance by pet owners, and the dictate to create "calm submission" in their charges, Millan says owners are essentially pack leaders. "I teach owners how to practice exercise, discipline and then affection, which allows dogs to be in a calm, submissive state," he explains when asked to clarify. "Most owners in America only practice affection, affection, affection, which does not create a balanced dog.
"Training," says Millan, "only teaches the dogs how to obey commands -- sit, roll over -- it does not have anything to do with dog psychology."
In his recent best-seller, "Cesar's Way," Millan writes that there are only two positions in a relationship, leader or follower. "I work with dogs all the time that are trained but not balanced." Included in Millan's repertoire is a snappy touch that he claims mimics a corrective response by pack leaders, "alpha rollovers" (forcibly making a dog show its belly), and submission to being rear sniffed.
"Never heard of that," says Dunbar when asked about bottom sniffing, but he is loath to completely discount Millan. Indeed, both trainers advocate any techniques that are humane and work for the dogs and the owner.
"He has nice dog skills, but from a scientific point of view, what he says is, well ... different," says Dunbar. "Heaven forbid if anyone else tries his methods, because a lot of what he does is not without danger." "Don't try this at home" messages are flashed throughout the show, and in September, the American Humane Association requested that the National Geographic Channel stop the show immediately, citing Millan's training tactics as "inhumane, outdated and improper."
Writer Mark Derr, in a recent New York Times editorial, went as far as to call Millan a "charming, one-man wrecking ball directed at 40 years of progress in understanding and shaping dog behavior."
Nicholas Dodman, program director for the Animal Behavior Clinic at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and author of "Dogs Behaving Badly," goes even further. He calls Millan's techniques "abuse." A TV producer claiming his dog was injured while training at the Dog Psychology Center is reportedly suing Millan.
While distaste for Millan might be growing, Dunbar focuses on discounting the myths such training ideas foster. Dogs aren't wolves, Dunbar says, generations of evolution separate the two animals. "Learning from wolves to interact with pet dogs makes about as much sense as, 'I want to improve my parenting -- let's see how the chimps do it!' "
Dunbar claims compliance, the goal of all dog training, is most often achieved through positive training methods. His lure-reward methods -- using treats and praise -- have an even higher rate of success if there is puppy socialization. Indeed, puppies put Dunbar on the dog-training track. In 1981, after buying an 8-week-old malamute, Dunbar sought a puppy class. He cast out as far as Sacramento and Carmel but came up with nothing. At the time, common understanding was that dogs couldn't be trained until they were 5 or 6 months old, but from his studies, Dunbar knew dogs were learning behaviors long before that. Though his academic interest was in dog olfactory research and sexuality ("dog humping," he shorthands), Dunbar soon found himself venturing out of the ivory tower. He found that he enjoyed educating pet owners and began developing a training program using positive feedback, games and treats.
Sirius Dog Training, as Dunbar called it, showed proven positive results from early off-leash training. His classes, and the resulting video, were embraced by trainers and owners alike. Many say Sirius spurred the demise of punitive, punishment-based training that was the vogue after World War II. In 1993, Dunbar founded the Association of Pet Dog Trainers whose mission is to promote better training through education.
The return to dominance training such as Millan's, Dunbar says, is a disservice to dogs more than anything else. Though Millan gets results, Dunbar notes that most people don't have Millan's strength or skill, and even fewer keep dozens of dogs. "I teach methods that a supervised 4-year-old can use," Dunbar says. Having been called as a witness in high-profile Bay Area bite trials -- he was one of a team who evaluated one of the dogs involved in the deadly attack on Diane Whipple in 2001 -- he is all too familiar with the violent underbelly of dog aggression. Fear, he underscores, doesn't train a reliable dog.
Claudia Kawczynska, editor of Bark magazine, is one of Dunbar's many fans. "It's irritating to see Millan treated as the expert. Ian is an animal behaviorist with decades of experience," she says, "He should be where Millan is." Kawczynska likens the Millan cult of personality and popularity to the anti-science, anti-academic sentiment she sees prevalent in American culture and politics. "Millan lived on a farm, so what? He's good looking, but he's not smart about dogs. It seems people don't want their experts to be educated."
Dunbar refuses to comment on whether his lack of profile is due to his weighty credentials, though a Millan fan on Gladwell's blog says the backlash against the Dog Whisperer is "because Malcolm had written about the unschooled Millan rather than a string of PhDs that the average person has never heard of -- and never will."
Jean Donaldson, director of dog training at the SFSPCA and author of "Culture Clash," a book about the human-dog relationship, views the history of dog training in pre- and post-Dunbar eras. "Ian is the man," she says. "He revolutionized the field." She, too, thinks Millan is tapping into something deeper in the current culture -- and his machismo is only part of it. "It's a backlash against political correctness," she says. "People are angry and life is frustrating and [when] someone tells them it's all about dominating something smaller and weaker? They'll go for that."
"Dunbar puts training in the owner's hands," says Aishe Berger, co-owner of SF Puppy Prep, a puppy day care facility that promotes Dunbar's theory of early socialization. "His methods are based on science and learning theory, not the kind of 'magic' touted by the gurulike Millan."
But if the magic works, who wouldn't want magic?
There's the catch: Since Millan's program has gained popularity, Donaldson reports, the SPCA has been flooded with calls from confused and frustrated owners who want her to decipher -- and give them the scoop -- on Millan's "mysterious pinch."
Dr. Patricia McConnell, author of "For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in Your Best Friend" and the animal behaviorist on Animal Planet's "Petline," goes as far as to say that Millan has put dog training back 20 years. "Dunbar is a world authority," she says, "and he should be the one with the celebrity."
Dunbar doesn't argue with that. Though he hosted five years of a TV training show in England, "Dogs With Dunbar," Hollywood never bit on it, or on his other ideas, several of which are tinged with the odor of ever-popular reality TV. "Shelter Dog Makeover" ("We'd groom them, train them and find them a new home!") and "Train That Dog" (trainers compete to train a dog to do various tricks and obedience trials in the least amount of time) were two he thought most promising. Dunbar says Animal Planet mucky-mucks said they turned tail at his foreign accent, but he doubts that was the real truth. After all, the channel vaulted to popularity with hosts from Down Under.
As for books, of which he has sold hundreds of thousands, his first experience in publishing colored his view of New York representation. Dozens of publishers turned his first book down, but the one who finally came through soured him to New York publishing. He bemoans the editing that was done on his work, and the publishing experience itself disappointed him. The numbers of books sold, he said, never really added up to what was reported -- and what he knew himself had moved.
Some local experts lament Dunbar's failure to go mainstream, citing his unwillingness to lose control over every aspect of his work, including editing.
For himself, Dunbar has almost given up on the megamedia, though he says he could name 20 excellent and attractive trainers who could make a show fly. He's got other ideas. One groups experts from many fields -- a psychologist, a puppy trainer, a hostage negotiator and a grandmother with the wisdom of life experience -- who would be presented with a problem such as a husband who won't come home from the bar after work. Each expert would devise a plan and the favorite would be implemented on the show.
"All training is negotiation," Dunbar says, "whether you're training dogs or spouses." Indeed, a recent article in the New York Times titled "What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage" hit a nerve when the author, Amy Sutherland, who writes on exotic animal training, admitted using training techniques on her partner. Dunbar agrees with Sutherland's premise that training is training is training. "You can instill fear in your kids and get them to mind, but they won't function better in the world and your relationship will suffer greatly," he adds.
"Problems that need correcting are the thin end of the wedge," he says, "with dogs and people." It doesn't take much, he claims. A smile, a kind word. "You don't have to give M&M's all the time. People -- and dogs -- are dying to be trained."
Dunbar has a 23-year-old son, Jamie, a wooden dory river guide, with his first wife, Mimi, and says his family configuration is "very Berkeley" -- both his current wife (and former dog-sitter), Kelly Gorman, and his ex-wife are on friendly terms. Gorman, also a trainer and a founder of Open Paw, an international humane animal education program for pet owners and shelters, has done a good job of training him, he reports. Currently in the midst of giving up his much-loved cigars, Dunbar muses that Gorman is actually the better trainer of the pair. Two of the couple's three dogs are hers: Dune, an American bulldog, and Ollie, a rescue from Chicago Heights Humane Society. The third, Claude, a 110-pound rottweiler-coon-hound mix from the SFSPCA, is what Dunbar calls a "special needs" case. "We train him one day, and the next day we start over again. He's more than not bright."
Despite a lack of publicity, Dunbar's recent talk on dog aggression at a local bookstore brought out a full house of fans, many with pen and paper at the ready. With little sign of any training controversy, there is, however, evidence of Dunbar's status as local cult leader by the standing-room-only crowd. During his hourlong lecture, Dunbar explained the physiology of dog aggression in a way that showcased his British humor. He easily charmed the audience with jokes and witticisms; his dog impersonations, including a rear view, full-bottom wiggle, kept the audience enthralled and grinning. Though every move he made was carefully watched and met with nods of knowingness, at times he looked a tad silly. He giggled, he gushed and he panted. Having just returned from Tokyo, he contorted his face in an impersonation of a Japanese dachshund. Could an American TV audience have embraced this kind of goofiness?
At the end of the hour, Dunbar had to leave to get ready for yet another seminar, this time in the Midwest, one of the few left to which he has committed. With 850 full-day seminars behind him, Dunbar is winding down touring. He's considering living in southern France or traveling for pleasure, one of his passions. He's passing his baton to others who will no doubt continue the struggle over dog-training particulars. But without Dunbar's engagements to drive the sales of his training guides and videos, it's easy to imagine that flashier, more commercial materials will easily eat up his market. Whether those will reflect his ideas -- or Millan's -- it's hard to say.
At least half the audience still has questions for the expert, but despite raised hands, Dunbar uses the last minute to reiterate his training philosophy. "We need to thank our dogs for being good," he says, launching into a wrap-up more spiritual than practical. "Every morning I give thanks for waking up -- the alternative is not so good. Too often, we forget to be thankful." Clearly, he's from Berkeley, not Hollywood.
Louise Rafkin last wrote for the Magazine about her life as an undocumented worker.
This article appeared on page CM - 5 of the San Francisco Chronicle
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Really, do you want to be responsible for THIS?
And it's all your fault, Girlie. Live with that.
Note: No dogs were actually harmed in the making of these pictures. Despite what SOMEdog would like you to believe!
Friday, July 11, 2008
While Dannan chases birds, this is what Lexi is usually doing:
Also that day, Dannan found a spot that seems to have something good going on. He has been back to this spot every single day since: