Paul Hutton Canine Behaviour Centre

The ‘Bullshit Industry’ of the Century

Since the beginning of time ‘bullshit industries’ have abounded (and in many cases flourished) sucking in the ignorant and naive with promises that can’t possibly be fulfilled. Together with ‘feel good’ persuasive rhetoric and an ability to touch a number of areas of human vulnerabilities ‘total bullshit’ is peddled to eager believers who can’t wait to part with their money.

Many of these ‘bullshit industries’ have enjoyed huge success and in the process profitability, but none have come within cooee of the latest and most successful one to-date. This ‘bull shit industry’ takes the ‘Supreme Award of the Century’ sucking in more people and as a consequence more money than any other to-date. And scarily, it is only in its infancy. What is that industry??

‘New age’ dog training.

Read on and I'll explain...

Some 10 years ago, a phenomenon which I describe as ‘new age dog training’, but more commonly called ‘positive reward training’, began sweeping the world.  Its origin I am unable to attribute to one particular person, but it was based in part on a belief that the methods and philosophies used in the training of dolphins could be applied in the training of dogs.  (How wacko is that!!)  This was at a time when a training approach generally known as ‘dominance training’ and based on how dogs behave with each other, was (quite rightfully) coming into question for a number of reasons. 

‘New age dog training’ was born and went on to not only capture the imagination of many dog owners and dog training schools, but trigger a world wide emergence of ‘puppy schools’ and ‘new age’ dog psychologists/behaviourists/whisperers/listeners etc  who believed that this was the elusive magical answer they had been looking for.  It spread not only in numbers of followers  but in ever increasing theories and philosophies that were based not on valid research, but naivety, ignorance and ‘feel good’ theories which included…… the ignoring of ‘bad’ behaviour and lavishly praising ‘good’ behaviour and distracting and encouraging dogs to ‘behave’ using food. 

Their belief that aggressive dominance training was abusive (with which I agree) instigated this swing to the other end of the spectrum where dogs were to now be distracted, praised and rewarded with food to hopefully encourage ‘good behaviour’ and reliable responsiveness to instruction.  

A combination of the ‘feel good’ factor and unbelievable ease of implementation (i.e. no skill ability, or thinking required) ensured there was a literal stampede to catch the ‘new age behaviour train’, leaving no time to stop and question its authenticity or the validity of its origins.  It was simply irresistible to so many. 
Tragically armed with their ‘clickers’ and food pouches, these ‘pioneers’ with a commonality of spiritual residence in a lovely place abounding in fairies and goblins called ‘La La Land’ ensured that the phenomenon was not only born but was quickly a snowball out of control, gathering all in its path who failed to realise that it was in fact based on a ‘feel good’ and totally flawed concept. 

That’s right.  A TOTALLY FLAWED CONCEPT!!!  Yes, millions of people have bought into a phenomenon that gives them little or no chance of producing a well behaved dog.  And how do I know that it is flawed??  Easy.  It doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t bloody work.  The end results or more accurately, lack of results achieved by ‘new age training’ makes it totally obvious that it is flawed.  If it did work, then the many ‘bounties’ being offered around the world by non believing trainers living in the ‘real world’, in the form of a challenge to verify this nonsense, would be claimed.  Some of these bounties are up to $10,000 and still wait to be claimed.  My ‘Put up or Shut Up Challenge’ gives the N.Z. branch of ‘new age’ trainers and behaviourists the perfect opportunity to prove that their doctrine and philosophies are not hopelessly flawed.

Now take a deep breath and consider this for a moment.  The unbelievable reality now is that……

Most of the ‘Puppy schools’ worldwide, many run by Veterinary Practices, subscribe to this flawed concept.

Most of the Universities throughout the world that are involved in teaching dog behaviour now subscribe to this flawed concept.  This means that Veterinary students are taught this flawed concept.  Veterinary nurses are taught this flawed concept.

Nearly all dog obedience schools throughout the world now subscribe to this flawed concept

Nearly all entrants into the behaviour industry  (operating under a variety of titles such as trainers, behaviourists, psychologists and more recently and ridiculously, dog whisperers, dog listeners etc) that have ‘flooded the market’ over recent years subscribe to this flawed concept.

As an inevitable result of this, the vast majority of dog owners are now introduced to and encouraged to follow a totally flawed concept for training and raising their beloved pet. 

Unbelievable as it may seem, it is an irrefutable reality!

Consider this also for a moment.  As a result of many Veterinary practices around the world naively and unwittingly embracing this flawed concept as credible, it is not inconceivable that some dogs are actually destroyed by the very people who sold their owners the flawed concept in the first place.  To those Veterinarians out there, digest on that for just a moment.

Sadly, we have now reached the point where a myriad of diagnosis/excuses are now being legitimised by ‘new age behaviourists’ to explain the so called ‘behaviour problems’ of dogs, excuses such as “he was abused as a puppy”, “he was weaned off his mother too early”, “it’s a genetic inheritance”, “he has some mental disorder”, “it’s his diet”, ‘he has a hyperactivity disorder”, etc, etc, etc.  All designed to avoid facing the real truth about the abject failure of the doctrine they follow.

Mark my words!!!  It is only a matter of time before A.D.H.D. will be ‘wheeled out’ as yet another diagnosis/excuse for unruly, uncontrolled dog behaviour.

Also sadly, drugs are now being prescribed in ever increasing numbers, for dogs with behaviour related problems, with little or no chance of working in the vast majority of cases. Dogs now even have their own version of Prozac!!!

Anyone getting an overwhelming feeling of a wee parallel here?????

Of significant importance with these developments is the fact that they can all be sourced back to the ‘new age behaviour industry’, an industry that can’t exist without a ‘truckload’ of excuses to explain away the failures of their nonsense philosophies and practices or/and their individual lack of knowledge and skill to perform. 

There is never a moment goes by when I don’t wonder just how many dogs there are out there that end up going to an ‘early grave’ as a result of so called ‘problem behaviour’ caused by these people.  I am given some clue to the actual numbers from the fact that I am personally involved in hundreds of cases every year following up behind ‘new age’ trainers and so called behaviourists that have ‘screwed up’ the lives of yet another dog and its owner.  Given that my experiences with these cases represent a ‘grain of sand’ in the grand scheme of things, you can safely assume that the numbers are horrendous. 

It simply is unacceptable.  For the sake of dogs and their owners it cannot be left unchallenged.  For something so damn serious there must be accountability and with the help of all those that truly care about dogs, I am confident there will be. 

So what can you do??  A lot! 

Firstly, if you’re a dog owner seeking help from so called trainers and behaviourists ask if they offer a ‘Performance Guarantee’ (see F.A.Q.). (No, not a lifetime Guarantee offered by some which is misleading and not the same thing!!!)  If they don’t, what does that tell you?? Why bloody why, would you even consider parting with your well earned money on someone who clearly doesn’t believe they are sufficiently competent to provide you with total satisfaction.

Next, ask them if they are a follower of ‘positive reward training’.  If they answer yes, RUN!!!!!! as fast as you can screaming loudly and then make sure you tell everyone you know that that there is something out there much worse than the ‘Nigerian Scam’ and that they can read about it on this site.

These two strategies will ensure that you and as many others as possible are not, yet another victim of the ‘bullshit industry of the decade’.

Paul Hutton
Canine Behaviour Centre