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Chicago "dog whisperer" Ami Moore arrested on cruelty charges

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by BostonRott, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. These kind of people make my skin crawl. :mad: 

    Ami Moore

    Having worked with some of the top people in the world in two very different dog sports (Agility and Schutzhund), and having spent the last 11 years training, trialing and titling (with top honors) 4 different dogs, I have a plea:

    If you have a dog, or your good friends/relatives have a dog, and see someone offering training where the dog is boarded and trained, and in 10 days, or even a month, is "completely reliable" ...... PLEASE.......... run far and fast.

    The learning process takes time, in dogs as in people. Would it seem a bit odd to you if I told you that in 10 days (or a month), I could take your 6yr old who has NO knowledge of math, and promise complete fluency in Algebra?? :confused:  :eek:  :confused:  This is what idiots like Moore do. They promise the world and people are willing to pay for it. In the meantime, the dog suffers.

    If you look at the top competitors in any sport (dog or human), you will find that they spend YEARS practicing, adjusting and honing their skills. It takes MONTHS of proofing against all sorts of distractions to have a dog be considered "reliable" on a behavior .... and proofing is not done until a dog is well versed in said behavior (i.e. sit) already.

    When working with living, sentient beings, there are NO short-cuts. You must put in your time on the field, or in the ring, and build a trusting relationship. If a dog is to return "trained" in short time, you can believe that the dog has been very harshly trained and is working out of fear and avoidance of correction. I am not saying that prong collars or e-collars are evil, I've worked with both and fully understand them. However, any tool can be mis-used and it is this mis-use which quickly leads to abuse. :frown:

    If this rant gets even one person to reconsider using a "board and train" for quick turn-around basic training, I'll be very happy. :smile:
  2. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    i took my boxer to dog training my self and worked with her. only nylon colars were allowed. so your safe with me.. the animal lover
  3. I wonder if they make a collar in her size. We use to breed Samoyed when I was a kid, these stories make me sick.
  4. We could always buckle two together and she could have a box on either side of her neck. :tongue: :cool: 
  5. GoGo


    Apr 20, 2006
    New York
    not all bad

    Hi Gretchen,

    You know me as a fellow dog lover!

    I found that my Deutsche Kurzhaar, the lovely Greta was a very difficult assignment (training wise) when she was still a pup.

    After having been lucky enough to live with and sucessfully train a very bright and exquisitly mannered Dalmatian, I thought that I could do no wrong in training my new dog Greta myself! Oh O!

    I did what I thought was good research listened to the breader and to other enthusiasts until I found Greg Edgar and his school for dogs. Greg takes in the dogs for two weeks to three months at a time. After working with Greg and sending Greta in twice I finally got my standing back in our family as primo.

    Greta was trained by Greg and Greg in turn spent the time to train me and let me know just what works effectively with Greta. Greta still has some moments where her maners are less than socially aceptable, but she is still learning and we are still working on it.

    Greg may be the exception, but then there are some dogs that need more training than others. Regardless, training need not be violent in any way and in this regard I am totally with you. But some dogs need to be sent to boarding school, just be careful and do the research about your school.

  6. Hi Gretchen. I understand your comments about those dog handlers you deal with and how it takes years to fine tune dogs' behavior, but how do you explain the success Caesar Milan has achieved? While I've never seen his facility in person he seems to achieve success in relatively short periods. These problem dogs highlighted on his TV series usually seem to have annoying ticks and are simple pets, not obedience or show dogs. Admittedly some dogs take a while, as he occasionally keeps seriously affected dogs with his pack for relatively long periods. Nevertheless, unless he's running the perfect con his philosophy seems to be firm, but gentle treatment of dogs with behavior problems and he achieves correction in comaparatively short periods.

    As for collars, we have owned two large male german shpherds and the slip chain, sometimes called "choker collars" by critics, is an absolute necessity for a dog pushing 100# to get their attention. Lots of people mistakenly leave the collars on all the time which defeats their purpose. As you know this type collar is meant to be snapped quickly and abruptly to gain the dog's attention and then released and hang loose. Walking with a dog who is constantly pulling the owner who is using this type collar shows that the owner is ignorant of the intended use of it. Clearly the owner doesn't have control of the dog in the first place and needs training him/herself.

    Thanks, Rich
  7. How people treat "lowly" animals shows their true character. Once they've knocked the soul out of an animal, it's body is just a shell for a large empty space... usually with a lot of hurt attached.

    My second cat is a rescued cat. If I raise my hand, even in play, he cowers, so I've had to learn how to play with him. He's now settled, happy, very talkative and is a treasure. Even after five years, the damage is still there. They never forget bad treatment.

    Don't worry... Karma works... eventually, she'll get hers.
  8. I hope she doesnt have kids...IF she does I think an invetiagtion is in order...
  9. Yvette


    Jan 3, 2007
    Gretchen, thank you for bringing this story to everyone's attention and I could not have worded your advice any better. As a canine behavior counselor it just pains me when I read stories like these. I, for one, do not believe in using any kind of electronic devise. Yes, they do work if used correctly, but there are other, more humane methods of training one's dog. I also do not believe in these "training camps". Yes, some of them may be reputable but if only people would do their homework, get references etc, before sending thier beloved companions off to these places. We would not send our children off to a summer camp without first getting references would we?
    Cesar Milan's success comes in the fact that he trains the human, rather than the dog. 90% of the time, a dog's behavior is caused because of something that is amiss in it's environment. The dog may be getting mixed signals from the owner, they are not consistent with their commands etc. It is very simple to rectify that. I am not however, saying that I agree with all his methods. I worked for a German Shepherd breeder and she imported Shutzhund trained dogs from Europe. One day I witnessed her doing a "helicopter" on a dog because he would not stop pulling on the leash (he was one of her puppies and was about a year old". That was the day I decided that I first of all, had to leave, and second of all, I had to make it a mission of mine to teach people how to humanely train and treat their dogs.
    Unfortunately, anybody can call themselves a "dog trainer" and open a business. There is no board that governs how dogs should be trained and many people take advantage of this. I cannot stress enough, if you want to train your dog, be it at a a local pet store or a private trainer, GET REFERENCES FIRST. And, if at any time duriing the training you feel uncomfortable about what you are doing, leave. Trust your instincts.

    Sorry I did not mean to give a speech but this is something I feel very strongly about. I can't believe that she is still allowed to continue training dogs. What is wrong with the justice system?
  10. If the method employed by this trainer was applied to humans, there would be a national uproar. Cable news would milk this for weeks on end, especially in the slow season. Positive re-enforcement creates happy dogs, negative re-enforcement mostly creates neurotic beings. This trainer displays a serious lapse of judgment.This Ami Moore is truly a poor reflection of a human being and should not be allowed near animals.

    When I think of "real" dog trainers, Barbara Woodhouse springs to mind. My labradors would perk up their ears when someone would say "Walkies".
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2007
  11. Just as Yvette said, much of what is wrong with these dogs is that their owners aren't firm with them. I'll draw another analogy for you, hopefully without angering too many parents here. :cool: 

    How many times do you see little Johnny or Susie in the store with Mom.....child is running amuck, being rude and obnoxious, and getting away with it. Mom issues idle threat after idle threat. She doesn't give commands, she whines them, and the child, knowing that nothing will happen, continues on.

    Here's a specific scene I witnessed at Walmart a few weeks ago.

    "Stop running."
    Child runs all over the front end of the store.

    "If I have to tell you again, you'll be in the cart."
    Child runs about some more.

    "That's it, you're in the cart."
    Child is picked up to be put in said shopping cart, but puts his legs out, whines and fusses and then suddenly Mom says "Ok, fine. But don't run anymore" and PUTS HIM BACK DOWN! :eek: 

    I'm sorry, but WHAT?! You tell me, what did that child just learn? He learned that if he puts up minor resistance and acts like a brat, that he gets what he wants (to run about the store).

    Dogs are no different. People give in to their dogs all the time. "I can't make him stop getting on the bed, so we just let him sleep on the bed." Um, yes, you can make him stop getting on the bed. But the longer you allow the illicit behavior (which is usually self-rewarding to the dog) to continue, the harder it will be to break.

    With *some* dogs, allowing a few "bad" behaviors does not result in poor behavior because over all the dog understands the rules, his standing in the household, and where the leadership lies (with the owner). However, a dog who IS having leadership/pack rank issues, and who is allowed to get away with pushy behaviors develops into a problem.

    Dogs are not humans, and don't value things as we do. If owners can not understand how their actions are translated by their dogs, they then do not understand why behavior issues "come out of nowhere."

    Milan simply opens people's eyes to dog behavior and it's meanings. He shows people how their dogs are walking all over them, and does it in their home environment where he can observe the dog/owner interaction, versus in the "sterile" environment of a training facility where all the issues may not present themselves.

    Do not for a second think that he has not had his share of bites too. Some of what he pulls would get him shredded by some of the dogs I've had to work with. The major flaw I see with Milan is his complete lack of respect for a dog and a lot of over-bearing and dominating postures and movements. With many small breeds or soft-tempered dogs, this is fine, the dog accepts it. I can think of many dogs with strong temperament that would take great exception to some of his dumber moves (i.e. leaning over into a dog's face and hissing at it to make it be quiet.....I'm still waiting to watch him get nailed for that idiocy).

    What you see in his outtakes are the dogs behaving for him, and when he's present. I will tell you as someone who has helped regular pet people train their dogs for quite some time: their dogs *almost always* perform better for me than for the owners. Why?? Because I am consistant in my cues and commands and because I reward ONLY the behavior that I want. Most owners who are having problems are not consistant with their cues, or will reward behaviors that aren't what they're looking for. It's difficult to point out to people their errors, without offending them. People don't want to hear that their dog's problem stems from their own mistakes.

    I actually instruct my puppy owners to not use a choke chain but rather a prong collar. Post-mortem studies have revealed that dogs with choke chains show tracheal damage from the torsional force of the chain. The prong collar, when properly fitted and used, is like power steering. I promise you, if you come into my house and show my dogs a prong, you will see 4 dogs who can't keep 4 on the floor, b/c they know the prong = walks, hikes or some other grand outdoor activity. :biggrin:

    I train with clicker and food, then later clicker and toy/tug rewards. The prong collars are used only for walks, not for training. My breed was bred to pull carts, and thus has the front end structure to lean into a collar and PULL HARD! I see no reason to fight that, as it's a physical battle I'll lose every time. People say "train your dog not to do it." Well, some breeds are hard-wired to do certain things. Ever tried to train a field-bred dog to not point or flush birds?! :eek:  :tongue: My breed pulls, the prong reminds them gently not to. :wink:
  12. That is horrible.

    It isn't always sweet and gentle when it comes to dogs, but it sounds like that woman was using abuse as a training method. Incredible that she managed to convince people to pay her to abuse their animals.

    My oldest borzoi was quite the character when he came home at 18 months. He attacked me on the first day. :biggrin: Him being 32" tall at the shoulders meant this was a serious problem.

    I actually went to a protection dog trainer to get him sorted out, but it was both of us, not a situation where you hand over the animal.

    I was skeptical at first, thinking this man that trained dogs to be controlled weapons had no idea how to teach a dog to calm down.

    But he did it. And he did a great job. His rotts and shepards listened to him perfectly, and even my angry teenaged alpha male borzoi couldn't rattle their nerves. They just stood there.

    So instead of condeming ute (the borzoi) to an early grave for attacking me, he ended up living to be 14, and quite the sweetie.
  13. That's an awesome story, and that is how things SHOULD be done. Working you and the dog together as a team. Only through mutual respect and understanding will you make true progress. :smile:
  14. Made me want to live with a rottweiler too one of these days. Awesome dogs!
  15. Gretchen, you are right on with your advise. I have a nice well behaved dog for the very reasons you cite. He sits when told to, does not bark without permission, comes when called and wouldn't think of running away. My wife on the other hand does not command the same respect because she is totally inconsistent. Same dog, different results.

    By the way, I did not have to use the prong collar to train my current dog but do know of their value for more difficult dogs.
  16. When you're ready, find me, and I'll get you set up with a good breeder. :smile:

    Yep, that's our household entirely. The dogs listen to what I say on first command. George on the other hand...."sit, sit, sit, SIT!" One of our dogs will not give up a raw marrow bone to my husband, he simply turns his head and walks away. I need one "out" command and it's placed in my hand. Why? Respect, consistancy, relationship. :smile:
  17. Yvette


    Jan 3, 2007
    I try and steer away from reccomending prong collars because I have seen what it can do if used incorrectly. I don't think that they should be sold without some kind of training - same goes for electric collars. I have also seen people sharpen the prongs thinking that it will make the dog learn quicker - NOT!. My 130lb Bullmastiff pulled me for years and I was at the point of giving up on taking him for walks. I tried every kind of collar on him (except electric). I finally found the Easy Walk harness and have never looked back. It is different from the old harness's that attach at the back because it attaches at the front of the chest instead. A very good device.

    Gretchen, you are giving some great advice here. Thanks.
  18. Yvette,
    If you ever want to meet Karen Pryor, come on up, I'll take ya over for a chat. :biggrin: She has her store in the city where I used to work, I'd go over and spend afternoons chatting with her and just learning/absorbing. She's a doll!
  19. Yvette


    Jan 3, 2007
    I am soooooo jealous. You must have learned a ton from her. I have only ever touched on clicker training. I really need to practice more.
  20. Great thread folks! I have a question for any dog trainers here....

    I have a 7 year old dog that is half Border Collie and half Austrailian Shepherd. It's actually a very pretty mix but needless to say she is smart as a whip and quite a bundle of energy. She is pretty well trained and quite obedient in every respect other than when we walk her she pulls, and she pulls.....

    My wife is pretty petite and it's quite a handful when you have 45+ lbs of dog tugging on your arm. We tried everything we could think of to get her to heel but it's beyond my training capabilities apparently. We've even tried the choke collar on a temporary basis and she pulls so hard that she just practically strangles herself and seems almost oblivious to that fact so we had to nix that as well. Even her regular collar chokes her when walking so we have settled on a web harness type of rig that goes around around her shoulders and across her chest that allows for a little better control without her strangling herself.

    Anyone have any ideas or links I could have a look at that might give some alternate training ideas to get her to heel? Thanks a bunch!
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