disgusted!!!

Discussion of Victoria's TV show, It's Me or the Dog.

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gabs1303
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disgusted!!!

Post by gabs1303 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:44 pm

i have just viewed a victoria It's me or the dog tv show on uk Sky 3..it was about 2 spaniels who where just over running dogs like any others..whilst victoria bless her had success with one of the dogs, she never thought twice about advise the owner of putting the second dog to sleep simply because of the dog bad behaviour!!..we are talking about a Spaniel dog here..not pit bull..not rotweiller..not destructive dog...a Spaniel..this dog just loved food and he bit the owner daughter for food, yet the owner was feeding the dog behaviour in the first place..victoria gone in..and..hey: this dog is dangerous!!!...get real love..this was a dog that could have easily been trained with determination and perseverance..what annoys me is that Victoria only shows the good bit of the shows..amazingly those unrully dogs perform and react to her first command the minute she walks in!!...wow eeee...!! NOT..these are days and weeks of filming and teaching dogs new ways.....not 30 minutes TV show programms..and to advise putting a Spaniel..i mean a Spaniel..most intelligent dogs on earth to sleep!!..and then to show it being put to sleep on TV just cos Victoria said so.....not to speak of the family that own the pet...shouldn't be allowed ever to own a pet in my opinion..as for victoria...love..you 're not worth your name or to be near dogs either..this is bad very bad that you could allow such advise just cos you failed to bring one little small spaniel up to scratch.....shame on you love..hope you sleep well..by the way..the programm was screened on SKY3 UK at 8pm 6th January 2011..make that a date in your life..sure you put your faith on that little dog at some other time before it was screened but that is as far as i am concerned the day you killed an innocent dog...

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Re: disgusted!!!

Post by ladybug1802 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:10 pm

I too would have been very sad to have seen this and heard her advise a dog be put down, and am very surprised to hear about it.

I cant make any other comments really, other than I am not sure this is the place to write such in depth comments as I dont know if Victoria reads the posts here or not....have you considered writing directly to her somehow? Or sending her a private message?

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Re: disgusted!!!

Post by Noobs » Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:16 pm

This is an old episode, and this discussion has come up every time the episode airs. Victoria wrote a post about it but unfortunately it was on the old forum.

It is quite ignorant of the OP to say the dog was a Spaniel and not a Pit Bull or Rottie. How unfair to say that about those other breeds.

I'm sorry the OP is disgusted, but there was far more to this than what was on the TV show, and has been discussed here more than once. I wish I could find that old post of Victoria's that explained the situation.

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Re: disgusted!!!

Post by emmabeth » Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:26 pm

This is a very old episode and Victoria wrote at length about the issue with this dog at the time, explaining fully what could not be shown in the time frame of a 30 minute show.

Victoria did not 'make' the owners put the dog to sleep, they were advised this by their vet and had I believe been advised to take this course of action before Victoria was called in, giving the dog another chance.

The original page this was hosted on was part of the old website and no longer exists however I have found that someone copied it elsewhere so I will paste it here:
Victoria's Detailed Description of 'Benjy' Episode

October 18, 2006

As could be expected when dealing with such a sensitive issue, there has been an overwhelming response to the episode of ‘It’s Me or the Dog’ that aired Oct. 17, 2006. Obviously, the overriding sentiment created by the episode is one of sadness for Benji, Bramble, and their owners, and I think this is most appropriate. The family struggled greatly with the situation, and ultimately made the toughest decision a pet owner can ever make. My thoughts are with them, especially after the recent broadcast of the programme.

While the majority of the responses I’ve received via email and on my web site have been positive, there are those whose sadness and anger at the nature of the situation has, quite justifiably, prompted them to ask questions regarding the story. I will try my best to provide as clear a recounting of the situation as I can in the hopes that it will answer some of these questions. Because the format of the show is only 30 minutes long, it’s sometimes difficult to include all of the details and information involved in any given situation. Indeed, there is often quite a bit more training advice I wish we could include in each episode which I think is interesting and would be helpful, but due to time constraints, not everything can make it into the final version. This was also the case regarding the episode in question.

Benji attacked 3 different members of the Marshall family. The first bite was on Emily (the youngest daughter) and occurred because she had dropped a crisp packet on the floor, Benji went for it, and she went to pick it up - clearly an instance of somewhat typical food aggression. After this attack, the Marshalls took Benji to see their vet (who has been in practice for 25 years) to see if there was any medical reason for his aggression. The vet ruled this out, and after a full checkup, Benji was given a clean bill of health. The vet concluded that Benji deserved a second chance.

The second attack was considered a mauling, as Benji attacked Susan (the mother of the family) in a frenzy, not having been provoked. Both of these attacks occurred before I visited the family. After this incident, they returned to the vet, who recommended (based on Benji’s history and the results of his prior checkups) that Benji should be put to sleep.

The Marshalls were considering putting Benji to sleep when they found out they were accepted on ‘It’s Me or the Dog', so they all decided to give Benji another chance. We did some good work together, but as I mentioned on the programme and still firmly believe, once a dog has shown the propensity not just to bite, but to attack (especially unprovoked), that dog can never be trusted not to attack again.

Six weeks after I left the family, they phoned the production company to inform them that Benji had attacked a third member of their family, Rachel (the middle daughter), unprovoked. The girl had been hanging up washing in the back garden and was ignoring the dog when Benji mauled her, inflicting the wounds shown during the programme. The eldest daughter (16 years old) witnessed the attack from beginning to end, and the mother witnessed the end of the attack, dragging Benji off of her daughter.

The family placed Benji temporarily with his groomer while they determined the next course of action. They consulted the vet again to seek his advice, and they decided not to put Benji through any more medical tests. Based on all the information he had collected regarding Benji, the vet’s advice was to put the dog to sleep. They called me while I was filming another episode to ask my advice, and based on Benji’s prior history, the vet’s advice and my intimate knowledge of Benji’s situation, I concurred, as was shown on the programme. As I was filming elsewhere in the country during this time, I was unfortunately unable to be with the family while they went through this terrible time.

I have been made aware of rumors suggesting there may have been individuals or organizations supposedly willing to take Benji in after his third mauling, but neither I, my representatives, or the production company have any firsthand knowledge of these or any other facts surrounding these stories. If true, we were not made aware of any such developments. Understandably, those involved with Benji’s life before he went to the Marshalls can be expected to maintain that he did not pose a significant threat, either out of fondness for him or defensiveness for their practice. It has recently come to my attention that the Benji's breeder has produced at least one other black Cocker Spaniel with a history of unprovoked attacks. Regardless, I firmly maintain that rehoming Benji was not a suitable option, though it was one that was strongly considered. Throughout the entire affair, a qualified veterinarian's input was regularly sought by the family, which resulted in repeated diagnoses ruling out medical causes for his aggressive behaviour. Even if Benji had been rehomed with adults who were able to provide the best possible environment specifically for him, there is no sure-fire guarantee that he wouldn’t someday be exposed to others (children or adults) who could then be at risk. That was a gamble neither the vet nor myself were willing to take when advising the Marshall family about Benji. Ultimately, however, the final, difficult decision was made by the Marshall family themselves, and I stand by them fully. They have expressed their gratitude to everyone involved in the situation, and I wish them the very best as they move forward.

Victoria Stilwell
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

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Re: disgusted!!!

Post by Mattie » Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:22 am

What you see on a tv program is only a very small part of what goes on, most of the filming ends up on the cutting room floor. If this is one of the early British programs it wasn't meant to be for dog training but for entertainment with the emphasis on entertainment.

We don't see what the dogs were really like, we don't see just how long it was taking for Victoria to assess the dogs, we don't see what training was put in place, all we see is the start and finish, there is very little middle in a half hour program were the work really goes on.

Like everyone else Victoria has moved forward with her dog training, she is a much better trainer now than she was them because she has taken the trouble to learn as well.

There are many different types of spaniels, some of them have been so over bred that there are brain problems with them, you didn't say which type of spaniels they were. Although rage has been very misunderstood in the past, spaniel rage hasn't become known for nothing, there had to be many cases of this for it to become so well known. I am not saying this dog had rage, I am saying that over breeding has caused a lot of problems with many types of spaniels.

Before we attack someone we should take the trouble to find out why this decision was taken, what was going wrong, what was the dog really doing and what was put in place to see if the dog could be helped or not.

It is only a week ago that I handed over a foster dog that was on the point of being pts because of his behaviour, by using Positive reinforcement as advised on here I turned this dog round in under 7 weeks. He is happy with his new owners, he lives next door but one to me so I see him often. His new owners are also doing positive reinforcement with him with success. If it wasn't for Victoria starting this forum I may never have been able to turn this dog round.
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Re: disgusted!!!

Post by BoardHost » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:53 pm

While it is true that all good trainers develop over time, Victoria has continued to defend the decision of the vet and the family to have the dog in this episode put to sleep for all of the reasons relayed in her original response above. If a similar case presented itself today, the available options, while very sad, would not have changed since the time this episode was filmed.

We all agree that putting animals to sleep is sad, and while there can be debate over how the production company chose to portray the event, the science-based dog training community largely agrees that not all dogs can be saved. While this is tragic, it is the reality, and we feel that the emotions triggered by the grief of putting dogs to sleep would be better served if redirected towards making an effort to educate the public about responsible breeding, ownership and medical needs.
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Re: disgusted!!!

Post by Mattie » Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:56 am

I didn't mean that Victoria wasn't a good trainer then, she was, I was just trying to get across that all good trainers continue to develop and learn.

Since the start of this year, and it is only the 8th January, a dog that came into the pound with my new boy had to be pts because he was too far gone and there is another who will be pts once her 7 days are up, again, she is too far gone to help. Both these dogs are lovely dogs, they have been let down by their previous owners, the owner of this Spaniel accepted her responsibilty and didn't put their dog through what these 2 dogs have had to go through nor put the kennel staff in danger. In cold kennels with people they don't know, and are very frightened before their trauma and pain is released.
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Re: disgusted!!!

Post by stk » Wed May 02, 2012 9:30 pm

Hi All,
I realise this episode was quite some time ago but I've only just viewed this episode on Foxtel recently. I too was mortified as I have an English Cocker Spaniel I bought whilst living in London and flew her home with me upon my return to Australia.
To give you some background, I was savaged twice on the face by a border collie dog when I was 4. It was unprovoked and over food. At one point the Dr's thought the dog had taken my eye but luckily I was fine. I am now 38 and have no ill will towards any animal. In fact I'm a champion for all animals in need of care.

Which is why I was so hoirribly mortified by this episode of "It's me or the Dog". I have read Victoria's explanation but unfortunately I cannot agree with this thinly veiled excuse for the loss of of a life. The dog that savaged me was not put down and I wouldn't have wanted it to be. There are always other ways. I think it was more a failing on your part Victoria. Obviously you have limits within your profession. Not all trainers have success with all animals. My advice to you, which I hope you seriously consider next time before you suggest putting a dog to sleep, is call Caesar Millan. He's dealt with "red zone" cases before and has had success where others have failed. I think all avenues should be explored first before murdering another living being. As we are at the top of the food chain and these animals rely on us completely for all decisions made in their lives including food, shelter, affection, excersice - even when they die. We should always do the humane thing and explore all possibilities before ending a life. Ego and personal limitations or failings shouldn't be a consideration here. I truly believe you should have called Caesar. Shame on you. I strongly suggest you consider contacting him next time. It takes more strength to acknowledge that you have failed and ask for help rather than opt for the easy out of euthanasia.

Thank you

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Re: disgusted!!!

Post by emmabeth » Thu May 03, 2012 8:42 pm

I appreciate you were a child when your family dog attacked you, but given you still clearly believe an incident that involved food and a serious bite was 'unprovoked' means your real understanding of dog behaviour is not quite what it could be.

Dogs that attack people over food ARE provoked - the provocation can be as little as a person near their food, it is a sign of an underlying problem - the fact that the provocation may not be obvious or warranted to US is irrelevant, its what is important to the dog that matters.

As for recommending someone call in Cesar Milan.. I am sorry, Cesar has no qualifications and is using extremely outdated methods that rely in the main on bullying and domineering tactics to make dogs behave through fear.

As far as this (very old) episode of IMOTD goes, Benjy's owners were already considering PTS, their own vet who knew the case inside out recommended it after the THIRD incident, and the second that was clearly unprovoked - Benjy had been given every chance, and far far more chances than many dogs would ever get.

Given the history, I do not know ANY reputable, qualified, experienced behaviourist who would have recommended the family keep trying, both for their sakes AND for the dogs sake. The only people I can see who would allow such a situation to continue, are inexperienced trainers using outdated methods. I (and I base this on over a decades worth of dog behaviour experience) can quite safely state that using methods such as those Cesar uses on a dog whose trigger for his behaviour cannot be found, and may well be suffering from some neurological 'fault' due to poor breeding, would in all probability make the situation WORSE and involve fear and anxiety for the dog and likely serious injury for the humans.
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Re: disgusted!!!

Post by CarolineLovesDogs » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:28 pm

emmabeth wrote:I appreciate you were a child when your family dog attacked you, but given you still clearly believe an incident that involved food and a serious bite was 'unprovoked' means your real understanding of dog behaviour is not quite what it could be.

Dogs that attack people over food ARE provoked - the provocation can be as little as a person near their food, it is a sign of an underlying problem - the fact that the provocation may not be obvious or warranted to US is irrelevant, its what is important to the dog that matters.

As for recommending someone call in Cesar Milan.. I am sorry, Cesar has no qualifications and is using extremely outdated methods that rely in the main on bullying and domineering tactics to make dogs behave through fear.

As far as this (very old) episode of IMOTD goes, Benjy's owners were already considering PTS, their own vet who knew the case inside out recommended it after the THIRD incident, and the second that was clearly unprovoked - Benjy had been given every chance, and far far more chances than many dogs would ever get.

Given the history, I do not know ANY reputable, qualified, experienced behaviourist who would have recommended the family keep trying, both for their sakes AND for the dogs sake. The only people I can see who would allow such a situation to continue, are inexperienced trainers using outdated methods. I (and I base this on over a decades worth of dog behaviour experience) can quite safely state that using methods such as those Cesar uses on a dog whose trigger for his behaviour cannot be found, and may well be suffering from some neurological 'fault' due to poor breeding, would in all probability make the situation WORSE and involve fear and anxiety for the dog and likely serious injury for the humans.
I second this! I respect Cesar as a person and know that he thinks he is helping dogs but in reality his methods are unnafective and unfair! If you have haven't notice he is often bitten on the show! :cry:
stk, I would like to just give a brief brushing up- here on the forum we fully support the use of positive reinforcement and reward based training so while we respect your opinion very much, I think it would be appreciated by all if you keep dominanace related theories to yourself. Thanks.

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Re: disgusted!!!

Post by Cassidyyorkie » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:49 pm

You know it baffles me that so many people think it better to keep a dog alive who is potentially suffering or is a danger to himself and the people around them than to euthanize. The truth is, there are far worse fates than death. A major problem no kill shelters deal with are dogs who are unadoptable who have to spend their lives in a cage in a shelter - quite literally going stir crazy. Imagine what your life would be like living in a cage day in and day out? A dog who has shown aggression and has little or no bite inhibition is likely to be a serious danger to itself and to people who have to interact with the dog. Each time the dog shows aggression, he is even more likely to exhibit it the next time. We can all take the CM approach and bully a dog into submission thinking that if the dog is exhibiting "calm submission" it is no longer a threat - but the truth is that dog is just a ticking time bomb. I salute Victoria and this episode and feel that she really did the right thing by the owners and their dogs. Sometimes, the kindness thing to do, is not the most "socially acceptable." It took a lot of strength and integrity to suggest euthanasia and I wish other public dog trainer personalities would demonstrate such integrity as well!


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Re: disgusted!!!

Post by bthompson » Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:52 pm

I have to agree with cassidyyorkie. I think Victoria suggested what was in the best interest for the dog and the family. The dog was not provoked on the third incident and I believe it was a danger to the family and especially the children. Rehoming the dog would have only put another family in harms way. I know it is a hard decision for anyone to have their dog put to sleep and I don't think they or Victoria made the decison lightly.

A little of subject but along the same lines: My brother recently had to have his two pitbulls put down. He came home to find that they had attacked and killed his other two dogs (lab mix I think). After contacting the animal shelter, they said he needed to euthanize them. My brother was very upset but felt he had made the right decision.

Maybe it's not best to compare these two stories. A spaniel and a pitbull is two completely different breeds of dogs and people have very strong opinions about pits. (good and bad) I personally do not think that just anyone should be allowed to own one but I'm not looking for a debate about this breed. And while I'm not sure of the circumstances that caused them to attack and kill the other two dogs, it was proven that they where a danger to anyone else and could never be trusted again. My point is: What was the best choice here? Euthanize or lock the dogs in a small cage for the rest of their lives?

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Re: disgusted!!!

Post by bthompson » Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:52 pm

I have to agree with cassidyyorkie. I think Victoria suggested what was in the best interest for the dog and the family. The dog was not provoked on the third incident and I believe it was a danger to the family and especially the children. Rehoming the dog would have only put another family in harms way. I know it is a hard decision for anyone to have their dog put to sleep and I don't think they or Victoria made the decison lightly.

A little of subject but along the same lines: My brother recently had to have his two pitbulls put down. He came home to find that they had attacked and killed his other two dogs (lab mix I think). After contacting the animal shelter, they said he needed to euthanize them. My brother was very upset but felt he had made the right decision.

Maybe it's not best to compare these two stories. A spaniel and a pitbull is two completely different breeds of dogs and people have very strong opinions about pits. (good and bad) I personally do not think that just anyone should be allowed to own one but I'm not looking for a debate about this breed. And while I'm not sure of the circumstances that caused them to attack and kill the other two dogs, it was proven that they where a danger to anyone else and could never be trusted again. My point is: What was the best choice here? Euthanize or lock the dogs in a small cage for the rest of their lives?

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Re: disgusted!!!

Post by msminnamouse » Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:31 am

How about instead of complaining, the OP spend his or her free time at a shelter and save as many lives as they can? Too many dogs are euthanized for less and for just existing because there aren't enough homes but people won't stop breeding bunches of dogs. I don't see any complaints about that.

If it was my dog, I definably would have gone the Veterinary Behaviorist route though. Not a trainer and not a general practice vet.

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Re: disgusted!!!

Post by fcis » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:44 pm

Sorry for reviving an old thread. Topic. I am a fan of both Vic and Cesar Millan both have different styles.

My reason for reviving this thread is just to speak my opinion after reading some the replies here. My opinion being a bit defensive towards CM's methods. This old incident of the cockerspaniel is an example as to why some people need to look at CM's methods at a different perspective. Most see Cesar's methods to be too much but in reality, it's not. It's not bullying, nor does it hurt the dog at all. It's just the same type of treatment you would see from dogs. Physical correction.

Now back to this "old" incident being an example. I do believe strongly that if the family did contact CM instead of Vic, that Cockerspaniel would have been saved. I don't care if the methods of CM would involve tapping or submission forcing. If it can save a dogs life and prevent future attacks then it wins. It's like dealing with a problematic child who is hurting people at school, sometimes positive words/treatments like "it's wrong darling.. no video games for a week.." is not to handle it, you may need to have physical discipline. Spanking for example. It's not abuse or anything, it's just the appropriate remedy. With aggressive dogs you do need to be more strict that "positive methods" can't have great effects anymore. You can't call CM's methods abuse anyway since he uses the philosophy of CALM ASSERTIVE ENERGY and abuse is made of negative thoughts it's just taking the role of the leader. What you are dealing with is a dog and not a child, unlike children, dogs can't be be told through explanation.

I think the poster who said they should have contacted Millan is correct. If Millan was the guy who handled this, that cockerspaniel would not only be alive but that dog would have been docile. Why? Because for those who have watched both the Dog whisperer and It's me or the dog knows that Cesar's cases where harder with much more aggressive dogs of powerful breeds. I'm talking pitbulls, rottweilers, and GSD's that were of the same problem as this COCKERSPANIEL and some were even worse than this yet at the end, more than half of those dogs were not only saved but became good house dogs and their owners rave about CM till the end. CM will allow more than 5+ months of dog rehabilitation for dogs like Benjy because it's obvious that dogs like that can't be changed in 2 months. Watch episodes of Oscar the pitbull where that pitbull was also showing aggressive towards the owners toddler daughter. If cesar sees the dog can't be fixed, because of the low-medium-high energy reality of specific dogs, he then swaps the dog with another dog in his pack then gives more time in helping the dog to be a worker dog. CM's style is like Martial arts of dog training because his philosophies of handling dogs is almost like that of Tai chi. People can make their opinions and get sensitive as to how he does it: claw tap on the dog, tap kick on the stomach.. none of them hurt the dog. If you are a person from Asia where massive street dogs are around the block, you will know what it looks like when a dog is hurt. If the kick to the stomach was a real kick, the dog would of had a small jump with a cry. Shock collars are not as bad as most make it additionally because it's vibration is weaker than a cellphones..

I can go on more, but all in all i am making this post in this old thread just for the sake of helping other people see that CM is a gifted talent and his methods are not hurtful/harmful. All the lies about it producing harm is certianly untrue (if the owners followed right)because we've seen it end with a good dog and a happy family.

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