Ignorance, Nonsense and Stupidity

Podcast - Ignorance, Nonsense and Stupidity

Podcast Episode 49: Ignorance, Nonsense and Stupidity

This episode discusses foolish ideas, some of which have become accepted norms. We review three cases of stupidity in particular. First, trainers attacking dogs as a means of temperament testing. Second, deworming dogs that have no parasites. Third, a relaxation protocol by Karen Overall which has nothing to do with relaxation, for starters.

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Podcast Transcript: Ignorance, Nonsense and Stupidity

Hello, this is Ralf from Happy Dog Training, and welcome to another episode of Dog Talk. Today we’re going to talk about ignorance, nonsense and stupidity. Oh, what a great title that is. So what do I mean by that? So first, we could probably make this an ongoing series because I’m sure there are many things coming up, we could fold into these categories.

But there are three specific things I’ve come across in the last 4 to 5 months that just absolutely blow my mind. And those I want to talk about in this episode. So let’s start with number one.

Don’t Assault the Dog

The first thing that happened is a client a client of mine with his German Shepherd, Max. Before he hired me, he had taken his dog back to the breeder where he got him from, because the breeder also offered some training. Max is a very headstrong dog. He is a very focused dog; very determined. He doesn’t give up easily. He’s smart and he’s a great dog. He’s a great German Shepherd, but not the easiest animal to train and not the easiest animal to shape up and live with.

So, he went back to the breeder where he came from. And here is what that guy did. This is just mind boggling to me. He went at the dog and pushed him into the ground. On the ground. Basically attacking him. I don’t know exact how he pushed him on the ground, but Max didn’t take that well and acted quite aggressively toward him. He barked at him and probably tried to bite him.

Well, duh. Obviously. Why would you do such a thing? Why would you come at a dog like that you basically have no relationship with? He’s been away from this guy for a long time. He only knew him when he was seven weeks old and he pushed him in the ground and then went “see,” your dog is aggressive.

Ignorant People Do Foolish Things

Your dog needs to be handled tough. That is literally what he said to him. He needs to be handled in a tough way, and it’s just mind blowing to me that somebody would do that to a dog and expect there to be any other reaction than an aggressive backlash. What else are dogs supposed to do? He is all of a sudden being attacked by this guy who is basically a stranger, and of course he’s going to defend himself. What else would he be doing? It makes absolutely no sense to expect a different result and outcome.

Max is not an aggressive dog at all. He’s not aggressive. He is headstrong. He is stubborn. He is smart, but he’s not aggressive. I had him with me for training and he is an awesome dog. I have videos on our training channel. Maybe I’ll link one in the show notes. He’s a great dog. But it took a while with him. He’s, as I said, he’s smart and he would just not do it the way I wanted him to because he didn’t want to.

It takes determination on part of the trainer to get the message across. We just have to be patient and re-explain and make sure he understands there’s no alternative. No, it’s not going to work any differently. You just have to be patient with the dog and calm and not not push him into the ground and basically attack him.

More Common Than You Think

This is not the first time I’ve heard this. This is just the most recent time. And this is what you get from these kinds of macho trainers or these military or police dog trainers who now venture into the pet world and think they can overpower animals with their force. Not that that’s good training in the military and police world. It’s not. But it’s more common there.

When these guys leave the force and then venture out and become pet dog trainers and think that dogs they’re going to encounter in the pet world have the same kind of temperament and toughness than the purpose bred dogs they encountered at work. That usually doesn’t work out well.

Common Sense is Not That Common

This kind of mentality is pretty baffling. And it’s a very unsurprising result. Just a very baffling behavior by a human who should really know better. So that was the first one. It falls in all three categories, right? It’s absolutely idiotic. Why would you do such a thing? That is just irrational.

Don’t Deworm Worm-Free Dogs

Okay, so number two. I took one of the service dog puppies we have in training for its very first vet visit. It was a week or two after he came here to get his second puppy shot for parvo and distemper. The vet wanted to deform him. The dog has no parasites. So I asked him, why are we de-worming a dog without first testing if there are parasites. Why are we de-worming a dog when there is no indication that he has parasites. What’s the point of that? De-worming is for removing parasites. So why de-worming?

The answer was, the dog is too young for the worm preventatives. Okay, but, there are FDA warnings against the worm preventatives and for some of the tick and flea medications on the market these days. So it’s not that they’re all that safe. Just because we can’t give them a medication, that is probably questionable.

Safer Alternatives

Also, there are alternatives. You should definitely protect your dogs against parasites. I’m not saying you shouldn’t, but there have been FDA warnings against some of those tick, flea and parasite products. That’s also a fact. And to deworm a dog that has no worms is inexplicable to me. Maybe that’s just me, but I think that’s ridiculous. I want to deworm a dog who has worms. I don’t want her to deworm a dog who doesn’t. Just because he may. That’s ridiculous. Why would you do such a thing? Why has that become the norm? And let’s be clear, that’s the norm.

The vet is not going rogue. The vet is following standard basic operating procedure. That is what veterinarians these days do. Let’s deworm everybody. And I just cannot wrap my head around why I would deworm a dog without parasites. If he has parasites, of course. By all means, yes. Give them medication. No question. But if he doesn’t have any, why?

Testing is a Better Approach

And it’s not even that he wanted to do a stool sample first to see if there are parasites. That would at least be reasonable. Let’s say if a dog has parasites, that’s what a stool test shows. He’s a puppy. Maybe he does? Okay, that’s a fair approach. We could say we do or do not want to run this test. There’s no indication there are parasites. Maybe we don’t need to do that, but at least it’s a reasonable approach to test first if it’s necessary.

But to just give the medication without any indication that it’s necessary and without any test if it’s necessary or not. Again, that is inexplicable to me. This is normal operating procedure. This is the normal veterinary protocol. This has become the norm everybody just goes with and accepts. That makes absolutely no sense. If you pause for a moment and think about it. Why would you do that without taking a parasite test? First, test for parasites. Go from there. If he doesn’t have any, don’t. If he does, go ahead. That would be the way to go in my understanding of things. But um, okay, so that’s the second one.

Karen Overall’s Relaxation Protocol

Now let’s get to number three. This is my current favorite and it is a level of ignorance and stupidity that could really only come from this person. So I have a printout. Yeah, I have to read this because I cannot remember any of this. This is just lunacy. It’s just flat out lunacy. This has existed since the 1990s, but I’ve never paid attention to it. Recently somebody suggested that as a, as an operating procedure, and I had to download it.

It’s free. You can find it. I’ll put a link. This is the called the Relaxation Protocol by Karen Overall, who has absolutely no qualification to speak about dog training whatsoever. But that’s a different conversation. So this is a relaxation protocol. I’m going to read this 14-day protocol. I’m going to read the steps of day one. I’m just going to read those, and then we’re going to have a little talk about this, because this is. Wow. Okay, so day one.

Day 1 Routine

Sit for 5 seconds. Sit for 10 seconds. Sit while you take one step back and return. Sit while you take two steps back and return. Sit for 10 seconds. Sit while you take one step back and return. Sit while you take one step back and return. Sit for 10 seconds. Sit while you take two steps back and return. Sit while you take two steps back and return. Sit for 15 seconds. Sit while you take two steps back and return.

Sit while you clap your hands softly once. Sit while you take three steps back and return. Sit while you count out loud to ten. Sit while you clap your hands softly once. Sit while you count out loud to 20. Sit while you take three steps to the right and return. Sit while you clap your hands softly twice. Sit for 3 seconds. Sit for 5 seconds. Sit while you take one step back to return. Sit while you take three steps. Sit for three seconds. Sit for 10 seconds. Sit for 5 seconds. Sit for 3 seconds.

That’s day one of Karen Overall’s relaxation protocol. First of all. This is not a relaxation protocol. It’s an obedience routine for Sit. A relaxation protocol would actually relax a dog. A relaxation protocol leads to relaxation, not to some forced body position. There is a difference between a dog lying down on their own because they’re relaxed. And a dog lying down because I gave him a down command. He may or may not be relaxed. It has absolutely no influence on that whatsoever.

Simple Minds Have Simple Ideas

Now, the idea of this nonsense is that if you put a dog in a body position, the emotional state will follow. And it’s not that there couldn’t be validity to that line of thinking. To some degree there is. But this is not a way to accomplish relaxation in a dog. This does apply to people to some extent. There are some studies on being more confident or less confident based on body positions you assume before and after. But for dogs, to say that you’re going to become relaxed doing this crap, is a ludicrous proposition. It has nothing to do with relaxation.

If you wanted to do an actual relaxation protocol, one that really results in a dog relaxing, much better would be the Posture-Facilitated Relaxation from Stephen Lindsay. Where you basically massage a dog to relax them until they end up falling to their side and fall asleep. That is a protocol will lead to actual relaxation. This obedience routine will not, and only a complete idiot would think that it will, which is not a surprise given who wrote it.

Dogs Deserve Better Than This

When you do something like this, the second point, this is literally treating a dog like the dog is a complete moron. If you do this to a dog, I would even go so far as to call it animal abuse, because that is, treating a dog like it is mindless as a brick and dogs are not. Dogs are smart. It is disrespectful to a dog to do this. This is an absolute disgrace to treat an animal this way and expect them to come out well on the other side. It is demeaning.

An Ignorrant Idea

You do not train sit in this fashion, if you have any idea on how to train a sit or down or anything. This is idiotic and anyone who follows a concept like this has no business touching dogs. If you want look her up, he name is Karen Overall. She publishes all kinds of studies, and there are all kinds of opinions, one more unqualified than the next. But that’s a topic for another day.

So if anyone ever presents the Karen Overall relaxation protocol to you as something you should be doing with your dog, you should ask some serious questions. Because this has nothing to do with relaxation. Let’s start right there. It’s a completely misnamed thing. It’s an idiotic obedience routine, and nobody should teach a dog anything doing it in this fashion. That’s just ignorant. It really is not a way to teach a dog a sit, which is, I’m assuming, this is somehow supposed to accomplish. Okay, so that was my rant on this. Relaxation protocol. Really? Seriously. Wow.


Okay, so those are the three things I wanted to get off my chest. Today was a rant cast, a rant podcast. I hope you found it entertaining because there was nothing else to get out of it. So I hope it was entertaining and I see you again next time. Bye.


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Sarah started this journey because she had a trained dog to mitigate her disabilities. But Sarah needed additional tasking for a new diagnosis. The only option she could find was getting a second dog for the new diagnosis. She knew there had to be a different way to address this. Sarah's passion is changing the ways of the service dog training industry.