First fatality? First of many?
Via the One Show facebook page:
RSPCA Statement in response to The One Show feature on dog behaviour – 21.9.11
We are investigating several complaints received following an item featured on The One Show on Friday, 16 September. However, because that investigation is now active we cannot comment further on this specific instance.
The RSPCA only recommends reward based training methods. A number of scientific studies have found an association between the use of aversive training techniques and the occurrence of undesired behaviours in dogs. As such, they may worsen the behavioural problems they aim to address.
Anyone who wishes to find a suitable dog behaviour expert can find out more at www.rspca.org.uk/findabehaviourist with further information on training techniques available at www.dogwelfarecampaign.org
STOP PRESS: Victoria Stilwell offers to fly in to put Roxy back together.
We alerted Victoria Stilwell - of It's Me and the Dog fame - and her response has just been posted on her facebook page:
Did you see BBC1's The One Show on Friday? Specifically the feature on Roxy the Jack Russell that was protecting her food bowl, her mistress's bed, chewing up the post etc?
Did you see the very young, attractive Cesar Millan fan Jordan Shelley?
Here's a link to BBC iPlayer if you missed it or need to see it again.
You need to go to about 30 minutes in - just after Freddie Mercury's mum and sister:
If you are unable to view on iplayer here is a link to a blog that has a clip http://laidbackdogs.com/ar
What is your reaction?
I'm about to write my editorial for next month and I'd really like to hear some feedback from others.
Has anyone tried this at home with their aggressive dog?
How did you get on, if so?
(If you're thinking of doing it, can I urge you not to and recommend you first seek advice from a member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors or the APDT or another reputable positive trainer.).
Have you written, phoned or emailed the show?
Any dog experts read that dog's body language and tell me what you see?
How would you have tackled this problem had the TV called you?
Can we find an equally attractive and charismatic - young yet experienced and qualified dog trainers to take over this spot on The One Show?
Here's my suggestions which appear to tick every box...do feel free to nominate others.
I am looking for case studies - people who watched the show and have tried this method on their own dog. Have a sighting of a Staffie who took the adult's boot off. Any others?
Here's the Press statement (received Tuesday afternoon - Sept 20th)... please don't read when drinking hot coffee please... you may need to sit down.
"We appreciate that many dog lovers have strong opinions on the subject of dog training, however the family with the problem dog Roxy are extremely happy with the outcome. Jordan Shelley, who runs a dog treatment centre in London, will display other techniques
in future films.
Jordan himself will also be putting out a line talking about his approach and why he employed the technique in the programme, it may be an hour or so and I'll call you with that.
I will also call you now to give you a bit of background
BBC Comedy and Entertainment"
Just come off the phone with the press officer and they are really delighted with Jordan as they have had more than 500 people ask for his help. No plans to take this segment off air. I pointed out that of course people will be keen to try what is portrayed as a quick-fix and that is in itself the problem - making it look like you can sort out complex behaviour problems by just throwing your weight around. ("But it wasn't a quick-fix, he spent three hours with them.")
As you all know it would take months to properly solve this problem. And that technique on a medium to large dog would be spectacularly dangerous.
It was positioned by the press office as there are just two ways of doing things and all this fuss is just people who don't like dominance training methods kicking off.
But surely even Cesar Millan would not now be doing this sort of thing - he has evolved sufficiently for this not to be his first approach to a dog resource guarding? And his TV series would certainly badge his more extreme stuff as something that should never be tried at home!
This Jack Russell segment, I was told, was recorded six weeks ago and the family are apparently delighted. But as many have said - Jordan's just taught a dog not to warn when he's unhappy. A dog that no longer warns is far more dangerous.
Jordan, they told me when I asked for qualifications, is self-taught and runs the Sanctuary in London. Well that may explain it, the Sanctuary do great massages and beauty treatments but I wouldn't ask them to train my dog. Anyone heard of this organisation? How long has it been trading? Anyone know any customers?
It seems to me the BBC have dismissed all the complaints so far as being from just one half of the dog training world and that the other half think his methods are great - despite not receiving any fan mail from any training organisations.
But I disagree. I see the unification of the dog welfare world - not a jealous and petty faction. Everyone thought it was dangerous and harrowing and something that definitely shouldn't be shown on TV.
It's like someone watching Holby City and then going on This Morning as an expert and telling everyone how to take out their own appendix. Only slightly worse somehow - as you'd not get 500 people volunteering the next day to be the guinea pig for DIY nose jobs!
This is not a dominance versus reward-based petty spat.
This is a BBC show that on one front exposes cowboys and on the other gives Billy the Kid a national platform.
Jordan Shelley has issued a statement:
"As I said on The One Show, I respect and practice both reward based and dominance techniques and I use a mixture of both, depending upon the specific dog and its problems. Safety comes first in all my training and I would never approve of causing distress to any dog. The family were present for the entire filming and subsequently I have visited them on a couple of occasions and they say they are delighted with the improvement in Roxy's behaviour."Comments please on this comment and please say in your comment your qualifications, affiliations and the length of your experience training dogs if - that is - you define yourself as a dog trainer. If posting as a self-taught, which is obviously good enough for the BBC, also please say. How would you have dealt with this case and how many follow-up visits would you want to make for you to feel sure this dog's serious problems were resolved? Did Jordan's actions cause this dog distress in your opinion? Did he use a mixture of reward and dominance in this case? Did he use either 'technique'? What would Cesar Millan have done if that was who he was trying to emulate? Can we get Cesar to comment? And what element of safety was deployed in the 'training' of this dog.
This evening some concerned dog owners have started TWO facebook pages to register their wish for the Dog Fixer to be removed from The One Show. Do go and Like the page if you agree. Here's a link - if you haven't yet joined facebook this maybe your reason to! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Drop-Jordan-Shelley-from-the-One-Show/295608300454356 and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Get-Jordan-Shelley-off-BBC-One-Show/152947724795742?sk=wall&filter=1 When I looked they were already close to 500 likes combined in just a couple of hours. You can also find the page just by searching "Get Jordan Shelley off BBC One Show". United the dog world can achieve so much.
And the Daily Mail have joined in too: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2039782/BBCs-The-One-Show-embroiled-animal-cruelty-row-trainer-bullies-Jack-Russell.html
Qualified and experienced dog behaviourist Murial Brasseur is on BBC Radio Oxfordshire at 12.15 today talking about this subject - do tune in and indeed phone in!
There's also now a petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/jordanshelley/
Why not ask your favourite charity or organisation to get involved. Have they already complained? Please ask them to forward a statement for inclusion here:
Here's the latest ones:
"It is a great shame that the BBC have chosen to engage an unqualified and inexperienced young person to give advice about dog behaviour on the 'One Show'. There have been great steps forward in recent years in the development of appropriate standards of both qualification and experience in animal training and behaviour modification, for example with the setting up of the Animal Behaviour and Training Council. There have also been considerable developments in scientific knowledge and understanding of why dogs show undesired behaviours, leading to widespread consensus about how such behaviours should be addressed for both long term efficacy and optimal welfare. The advice given on the One Show did not reflect either current knowledge or practice - the material presented was incorrect with respect to interpretation of the dog's behaviour, and the techniques used were outdated and clearly caused the dog considerable distress. Whilst it may appear to 'cure' behaviour instantly for the purposes of entertainment on TV, using this type of confrontational approach does not address the underlying cause of behaviour, and will often lead to further problems in the longer term which are more difficult to resolve. I would strongly encourage viewers to not emulate the techniques shown on the One Show with their own dogs, as there is a serious risk of being bitten when 'challenging' dogs with established aggressive responses. I hope that the widespread opposition to this inappropriate material by the major welfare, behaviour and
training organisations in the UK encourages the BBC to reconsider their use of this inexperienced person as an 'expert' in this field."
Dr R.A. Casey BVMS PhD DipECVBM-CA Dip(AS)CABC CCAB ILTM MRCVS
RCVS and European Specialist in Veterinary Behavioural Medicine
Senior Lecturer in Companion Animal Behaviour and Welfare
Department of Clinical Veterinary Science
University of Bristol
Langford, Bristol. BS40 5BU. UK.
The Kennel Club is very concerned about the training techniques used by Jordan Shelley on a recent episode of The One Show and has written to The One Show to represent its views.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Although we do not know Jordan Shelley’s background, qualifications or experience we are very concerned about the dominance based techniques that were used on the show. The methods used were potentially counterproductive and may have caused unnecessary distress to the dog concerned. There is also a very real concern that it will encourage copycat behaviour at home that may result in dog owner injury and harm.
“The Kennel Club encourages the use of positive reinforcement training wherever possible, which is effective, produces long lasting results and a positive training experience for both dog and owner. We have sought assurances from The One Show about the future training advice that it will be dispensing.
“We recognise that it is extremely difficult to know which techniques and methods are acceptable, in a field where opinion is so split, or to know which dog trainers are from credible and reliable backgrounds. That is why the Kennel Club developed the Kennel Club Accredited Instructor Scheme, which has achieved City and Guilds recognition. It is the only scheme in the UK to give an external, independently verified qualification to its members. This is a real and credible step forward and it means that people can have the peace of mind that when they go to a Kennel Club Accredited Instructor they are going to somebody who has met a credible set of externally verified standards.”
Julie Bedford, head of behaviour at The Blue Cross animal charity, said: “We were extremely concerned to see the abusive dog training techniques used by Jordan Shelley on The One Show and we have already been in touch with the programme about this. Our years of experience at The Blue Cross supports the extensive research which shows that the ‘dominance theory’ is incorrect. Using such outdated methods to intimidate dogs to suppress behaviour can be extremely dangerous for the owner and leaves the dog stressed, frightened and highly likely to bite without giving any warning signals.
"The Blue Cross always recommends reward-based training, using treats and toys, which is much kinder and more effective in teaching a dog to change its behaviour through positive associations."
(Julie Bedford BSc (Hons), PGCE, PG.Dip (CABC), CCAB, clinical animal behaviourist and head of behaviour at The Blue Cross animal charity)
“Wood Green, The Animals Charity is appalled by the BBC’s decision to continue airing Jordan Shelley’s idea of dog training on the One Show."As a nation we rely on the BBC to be a trusted source who would seek accredited professionals in every field, which they have not done in this instance."Mr Shelley showed disregard for health and safety, if viewers had been tempted to try his technique for food guarding on a larger dog they could have been seriously hurt."Dogs are sentient beings and over the past 20 years much more scientifically based training methods have emerged to aid our ability to communicate with mans’ best friend."A qualified, experienced dog behaviourist always works in partnership with the dog’s vet, a full background history must be obtained in order to assess the reasons why the behavioural problem has occurred in the first place, and behaviour modification must be carried out at a pace that the dog can deal with, learn by and benefit from."All behaviour is a symptom of an emotional state, change the emotion and the behaviour change comes much more easily. Shelley’s idea of training is to ensure that the dog is so scared of its owner that it retreats into itself and accepts such abuse as being a part its every day way of life."While Shelley’s approach might suit some owners in the short term, it may have long term adverse implications, ie the dog effectively becomes a ticking time bomb. The dog’s emotional distress could rise to such a point that it may suddenly react badly because it can take the abuse no longer. Consequently, the dog might attack a person and, as a result, be put to sleep. We cannot condone so-called training methods that could lead to a dog making a mistake which it pays for with his life.”
Wood Green’s Head of Training and Behaviour Sue Ketland
"The APBC (the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors) is particularly disappointed that the BBC chose to show Jordan Shelley using extremely confrontational techniques when attempting to train a Jack Russell Terrier on The One Show.
"The methods used were unnecessary, dangerous for owners to imitate and have serious welfare implications for the dog involved.
"We are surprised that the BBC is not aware that a large number of welfare and professional organisations have already warned against using methods such as that employed by Mr Shelley http://www.dogwelfarecampaign.org/
"Whilst it is relatively easy to intimidate a dog in the way demonstrated by Mr Shelley, it does nothing to address the underlying causes of the problem behaviour.
"The APBC strongly urges the BBC to consider using a properly qualified professional in any future programmes in order to demonstrate methods that can effect lasting change, are suitable for owners to use themselves and do not risk compromising pet welfare."
Members of the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes* were horrified to watch Jordan Shelley’s training methods on The One Show on Friday 16th September. The methods that he uses will only serve to exacerbate the dogs’ aggression and fear in the longer term.
Dog training has moved on a pace since such punitive methods were used and most trainers and behaviourists will agree that reward based training has the most effect with long term positive results.
We fear that families watching the programme will try to emulate these barbaric tactics with potentially catastrophic results.
We look forward to hearing that you will consider showing a more realistic view of dog training on The One Show.
Clarissa Baldwin, Chairman ADCH
* there are 90+ members of the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes based throughout the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man; these include the largest national charities as well as regional and local rescue organisations.
Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity is deeply concerned by the training methods used by Jordan Shelley who was featured on The One Show on Friday 16th September. The main issues we have are:
We are surprised that The One Show has featured such aggressive training methods as demonstrated by Jordan Shelley and are worried that families will try these methods at home. Jordan Shelley also stated that he ‘agrees with all training methods’ which really does not make sense when there are so many different training methods used throughout the UK.
- A dog with such aggression and fear issues should never, ever have food taken away by members of the family. There was no regard for the safety of the family - using methods like this will only cause the dog to suppress the behaviour and there is a strong possibility that, when the opportunity arises, he will revert to the aggression.
- There is no consideration for the dog's emotional state and the motivation behind the behaviour - until these are addressed then you can never consider the behaviour to be resolved.
- Any other pet dog owner attempting these methods will put themselves and their families at risk of serious dog bites.
- There was no warning to 'not try this at home.’
Dog trainers all over the UK use reward-based methods to train dogs very effectively. Where dogs have behaviours which owners find unacceptable, such as aggression or destruction, qualified and experienced behaviourists achieve long term changes in behaviour through the use of established and validated techniques of behaviour modification without subjecting dogs to training techniques which may cause pain or distress.
We always advise dog owners to carefully consider the help they choose to train their dogs or tackle behavioural problems, in particular to ensure that the trainer does not use any techniques which may put the welfare of the dogs or owners at risk.
Lynn Barber, Head of Canine Behaviour and Training at Dogs Trust