Why does the Humane Society of Greater Miami support Cesar Milan outdated, “traditional and/or balanced”, force-based, dominance theory and punitive style dog trainers? Are they ignorant or do they just not care about the welfare of animals? UPDATE: Not only is it immoral to subject companion animals to abuse, but it is now illegal to use shock collars in Miami Beach.
The reasons to choose positive reinforcement dog trainers over what others euphemistically call traditional dog “
trainers“abusers are abundant and have long been proven in studies and widely accepted by scientists, ethnologists, and educated veterinarians and pet owners worldwide. There is no existential, visceral or scientific evidence that points to the long term effectiveness and humane treatment of aversive dog training, so why do the Humane Society of Greater Miami and many veterinarians support these dangerous and abusive dog training methods and ignore 80 years of research in animal behavior? This pandemic was propagated by the reality show “Dog Whisperer.” One of the problems is that many people have a hard time differentiating from a reality show vs. sound, educated, scientifically proven, professional advice. Has the Humane Society lost their moral compass and goal of why they were founded?
What doesn’t sit well with me is a heretical, spurious, disingenuous masquerade meant to mislead by the guise and farce of altruism that obfuscates the hoi polloi and the Humane Societies true intentions. Educators/trainers/behavior specialists, all have a moral obligation to human and non-human animals alike, to protect, educate and serve all in the most ethical, moral and painless way possible. To bypass this obligation for any other motivation is a feckless tragedy to the community, and the animals they falsely serve to protect.
One of the reasons we created our Best Veterinarians in Miami list was to help community members find Veterinarians and organizations that provide the most up-to-date humane and effective dog training and behavior advice. If your organization or veterinarian is not on this list, check and ask them why not? Ignorant people that have alternative motives and intentions deserve light in the dark and confusing places that they have created. These organizations and individuals both directly and indirectly support outdated methods of ethology, dog training, and science for nefarious reasons and the truth should be made known to the public.
Is PetNet Humane?
I recently became aware of PetNet, which is an amorphous affiliated group of “young professionals” who yearn to be part of the Humane Societies board of directors or trustees someday. PetNet supporter Jared Slansky (who is the Facebook page owner) seems to be trumpeting the next generation of uneducated, wannabe board members that sit in their ivory towers and dogmatically and ignorantly stand behind an organization and subject they know little about, specifically ethology and dog training. They are being hazed as their introduction into the political mechanism and cronyism of the Humane Society of Greater Miami. Their cluelessness about what and how the Humane Society of Greater Miami works is not shocking but sad. As I have posted on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/PetNet-Miami/163105807085880?sk=info (if they have not already removed it yet):
“PetNet’s goal is to create awareness about responsible pet ownership, raise funds, educate others about compassion and caring for animals and bring together other animal lovers in a fun and relaxed social setting.” There certainly is a paradox here. Were you aware that The Humane Society of Greater Miami currently advocates and fully supports unscientific, inhumane dog training methods and force based “traditional” dog trainers? This is the antithesis of ‘compassion and caring’ that you mention above.”
Of course, I received no response from anyone at PetNet, the Humane Society of Greater Miami (at their sponsored event at the Bass Museum Friday 10/5/2012) or after my numerous attempts via meetings, phone calls and emails to the Humane Society of Greater Miami in a doomed effort trying to educate the staff and directors, to no avail. “
This discussion has left many community members with ennui. Fun Paw Care and nearly every world-renowned scientist, behaviorist, Ph.D., and positive reinforcement dog trainer have covered why to choose positive reinforcement over traditional style dog trainers in the past. We encourage readers to become educated and to read our Resources page for just some of the many scientific articles about the subject under, How to Choose the Best Dog Trainer and Behavior Professional.
The Dog Training Cliff Notes
Here is a brief overview: Outdated, traditional style dog “trainers” force their pets to do what they want and “educate” them in the form of fear, pain, and punishment just as an autocratic totalitarian dictator would do or as the reality show host Cesar Milan does. This provides ephemeral relief when dogs are in a state of fear and afraid to move or do anything. Otherwise known as stressed out, anxious, fearful, phobic, shutdown, learned helplessness where there is nothing operant occurring. In other words, outdated traditional style dog “trainers” kill relationships faster than Kim Kardashian.
On the other hand, force-free positive reinforcement dog trainers empathetically teach clients to build a lasting, loving bond and relationship with their pets, based off of mutual trust, understanding, and communication that employs scientifically proven techniques to engage the dog and have them perform behaviors on their own volition, operantly, because the pets love to learn and want to please their pet parents. Positive reinforcement behavior modification changes the underlying emotional state of the dog, thereby changing the behavior and providing long-lasting change and building a wonderful relationship in the process. This reduces the negative effects of fear and punishment and the abundance of other maladapted behaviors that manifest as a result of fear, punishment, and abuse. Recalcitrant television personalities, ignorant dog rescue organizations and veterinarians stuck in the 1930’s era provide agita and harmful information to humans and pets everywhere. The Humane Society of Greater Miami’s recommendations for dog training and behavior is severely outdated, regressive and destructive to both owners and pets and were popular in the 1930s when Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt were in office. Explicit in that point is their perfunctory understanding of dog training and ethology. They are stuck in the 1930s when the average life expectancy was 59 and common reasons for death were rickets, scarlet fever, dust pneumonia (from the Woody Guthrie song “Dust Pneumonia Blues”) and jaundice. How does the Humane Society of Greater Miami resolve the paradox of their mission statement:
“Our philosophy is to engage the young and teach them about being kind to animals, being a responsible pet owner”, and as they go on to state, “The organization works diligently at creating a more kind, just and loving community for the pets and people of Miami-Dade County. We offer programs and services to educate, inform and inspire people to take responsible care of their pets and treat animals with the kindness they deserve.”
Huh, are you kidding? An organization’s actions speak much louder than the meaningless printed words on a webpage.
Is Ignorance An Excuse?
The internet is wonderful because information is ubiquitous and democratized. With a little effort and due diligence, you can find out whatever it is that you desire with enough digging and perseverance. As Seth Godin elegantly stated in The Curious Imperative,
“Now that information is ubiquitous, the obligation changes. It’s no longer okay to not know. If you don’t know what a word means, look it up. If you’re meeting with someone, check them out in advance. If it sounds too good to be true, Google it before you forward it. If you don’t know what questions to ask your doctor, find them before your appointment. If it’s important, do your homework. I confess that I’m amazed when I meet hard-working, smart people who are completely clueless about how their industry works, how their tools work…It never made sense to be proud of being ignorant, but we’re in a new era now. Look it up.”
There really is no excuse for “not knowing” any longer Humane Society of Greater Miami and surrounding veterinarians, look it up! Ignorance is not an excuse!
Be informed before you donate time, money or support to an organization that isn’t practicing what they preach. Animals deserve better and should not be embroiled in politics or held hostage to ignorant cronyism. My recommendation to pet lovers everywhere is, if it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it! If you don’t agree with putting a shock collar or choke chain on your 2-year-old child or physically forcing them to do your bidding, then don’t do it to your loving dog. If you wouldn’t discipline your child by poking or prodding them hard in the neck or body, by choking or kicking them to teach them right from wrong, don’t do it to another sentient being regardless of ignorant outdated advice from your veterinarian or the Humane Society of Greater Miami. Disintermediate your veterinarian, your trainer, your local humane society and do your own research online and educate yourself before you choose whose advice to accept and how to educate your pet. After all, dogs are our best friends, please don’t abuse them!
If you love dogs please call and write to The Humane Society of Greater Miami and to your local Veterinarian and ask them why they support outdated traditional dog “trainers” and “behavior specialists”!?
Humane Society of Greater Miami 2011 IRS form 990 (that they do not make readily available on their website)
Associate Executive Director
Director of Development and Donor Relations
Senior Shelter Manager
Director of Finance
Maureen E. Swan, DVM
Chief Medical Officer
Board of Directors
Patricia Wallace –Chairman
55 Casuarina Concourse
Miami, FL 33143
Robert W. Hudson, Esq. – Past Chairman
Leslie Sardinia – Vice Chairman
16480 NE 29TH AVE
NORTH MIAMI BEACH FL 33160
Ian Bailey – Treasurer
1050 CARIBBEAN WAY
MIAMI FL 33132
Alison Kunkel – Secretary
4770 BISCAYNE BLVD #1280
MIAMI FL 33180
Sandy Batchelor – Member at Large
Samuel Blum, Esq. – Member at Large
2666 TIGERTAIL AVE, SUITE 106
COCONUT GROVE FL 33133
Richard Gomez – Member at Large
4300 BISCAYNE BLVD, SUITE 305
MIAMI FL 33137
Ann Rubino – Member at Large
Maggie Villacampa – Member at Large
Russell D. Atlas, CPM
Jorge De La Torre, CPA
Peter Fernandes, DVM
Allison Nash, Esq.
Robert T. Pane, DVM
Darin I. Zenov, Esq.
Board of Trustees
Fredric S. Brandt, MD
Jane and Jerry Goodman
Linda Marraccini, MD
Ana Maria Salaya
Donna E. Shalala