Monday, October 25, 2010

Brad Pattison vs Cesar Millan - Client relations

Watching an episode of "At the End of My Leash" with Brad Pattison never fails to cause a shudder or two (or three, or four, or five...) go up my spine. What I would LOVE to see is him take on some of the dogs Cesar Millan deals with.

Strike that last sentence.

What I would LOVE to see is no more At the End of My Leash.

In yesterday's episode I watched in horror as Brad grabbed one dog's collar and started pulling it towards him. The dog did what most dogs would do... He resisted by planting his feet. It was opposition reflex in action, NOT aggression or blatant disrespect for his "authority"! If a stranger grabbed me and started dragging me forward I guarantee I would resist. (Sure I'm anthropomorphising here but I don't think I'm way off base.) Brad didn't like the resistance so he then proceeded to lift the large dog off the ground by his collar. The dog panicked, whipping his head around, only then trying to bite the hands at his neck. What other options did the dog have? I wish he had managed to land one of those bites.

Halfway through the episode Brad convinced the family that the dog's many aggressions were too much for them to deal with and he himself drove the dog to the shelter. By the end of the episode they had a new puppy. I was disgusted by how it played out.

He's rude to his clients and why people continue to trade money for his abuse is beyond me. I don't feel that badly for them, they've seen his show. I do feel for the dogs and any children who are involved. To make a point he's always invading people's personal space by touching or lifting their kids, (GET YOUR HANDS OFF THE CHILDREN BRAD! Am I the only one who notices this???? GRRRRR.) sitting on the adults, grabbing or pushing at the dog. And his need to put surveillance cameras everywhere? Disturbing.

He seems to have stopped the human relationship psychiatry which is a very good thing. In the recent episodes I haven't seen him demand pushups or barge into a woman's bedroom at 6:00 in the morning. It's been a while since I've seen him rummage through people's homes while they sit outside. Also a good thing. It looks like he's trying to soften his image but all I see is very bad acting.

When you watch the show you'll see that most of his clients are put off by his abrasiveness and are uncomfortable with how he deals with their dog. I wish they could hear me screaming through my TV that they should follow their heart (and entire intestinal tract for that matter) and run as far away from him as possible.

If are currently having problems with your dog I guarantee there are trainers out there who will put you at ease and treat you (and your dog) with respect. When things get that bad, finding someone to help you work through an issue is the first step. It IS possible to find a trainer you enjoy dealing with, and guess what? You can even have some fun along the way! It will take work and cooperation on your part, a behavioural issue isn't caused in a day and habits can be hard to break - both yours and the dogs. But if you are consistent and work at it you will see improvement.

If you don't feel comfortable with a method you should always have the right to question it and then say NO if you don't like the answer. Even to a "professional". A real professional won't take a question personally so if you don't understand something, just ask! Don't be afraid to walk away and find another trainer. Because someone has a TV show does not make them special.

It's always better to confront any issues with a professional before they become too much for you to handle.

Watching Cesar deal with clients is great. He listens intently to them. He observes the dogs in action. He gets the full story before trying to solve anything. He doesn't sugar coat the truth, but he communicates to the people clearly and on an individual level. Politely! If the client is a business owner he'll draw parallels between how they deal with employees and how they should carry that over to their animals. He wants them to understand and has saved the lives of many desperate dogs.

It makes me laugh when Cesar is dealing with a dog and it reacts. He stays totally calm and continues his conversation while still working. He'll comment "That's good, I wanted you to see that" as he's trying to stop a dog fight, or "That's what I wanted" when things start to fall apart. Like it was his idea. He stops panic before it starts and deals with the situation quickly, efficiently and smoothly. Always in cool control of each element.

He practices with his clients what he preaches about the dogs - calm assertiveness.

Brad looks like he's desperate to prove something, what exactly that is I'm not sure. He's teeming with tension and seems to consider everything a battle. He must always be right, in control and "winning". He demands that everyone respect him. He demands trust.

The thing about respect is that it cannot be demanded. It must be earned. From your clients, from the dogs and from an audience. Same goes with trust.

Cesar has my respect. Brad, not at all.


Christine said...

Oh, so well said. I've been thinking about writing something about him too. I've only watched his show twice. The first time he "threw" a dog off of a bed and it didn't land on it's feet. The 2nd time, he was rude to the owners and told them that by training with treats they were setting their dog up to be vicious!

Jenn @ Youknow...that Blog? said...

WELL SAID. Pattison is a creep, and I wouldn't let him anywhere near my dog, and especially near my kids. How he got a following at all is beyond me.

Great post - very well stated.

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