Statement Regarding Casper

In a recent article in the New York Daily news, it was reported that during an episode in the 3rd US season of It's Me or the Dog,

"threatening actions were taken against a Presa Canario named Casper."

The article suggests that these purported aggressive actions contributed to the already dangerous dog's instability. These statements are false.

Casper was never subjected to any such treatment on camera or off during my time filming the episode. In fact, as part of my attempt to demonstrate to Casper's young owner the extreme power of dogs such as his and show him how dangerous his dog could be if he was not willing to take the necessary steps and follow my training, I arranged for Eric to watch a demonstration with an experienced handler and his own trained protection dog to show, in a controlled scenario, how powerful a bully breed can be.  This segment included the handler, his trained protection dog and an experienced trainer in a bite suit, who waved a bite stick at the trained protection dog and NOT CASPER - a common scenario in protection work.  At no time was any stick waved at Caspar.  Misrepresentations such as these by respected publications like the New York Daily News are dangerous, misleading and ineffective.

It is also misleading to suggest that the issues with his local condo association regarding Casper were triggered by his appearance on It's Me or the Dog. To the contrary, the neighborhood was already concerned with Caspar and his owner Eric, and there's no doubt that the biting episodes which actually triggered the dispute would have occurred (probably even sooner) without him appearing on the show.

Casper was (as his owner Eric himself admitted) indeed a potentially dangerous dog, and while I worked with him for several days and tried to convince his owner of the need to put in the time and effort necessary to rehabilitate Casper, it was to no avail.  As the episode clearly demonstrates, despite his protestations to the contrary, Eric did not follow through on much of the training we began during filming, nor did he neuter Caspar as I urged him to do. I am very glad that the judge in this case required Caspar be neutered, as I had argued vociferously on the episode and off-air that this might well help curb some of the existing issues Caspar already had and prevent future negative behaviors from occuring. Also, I am always very clear about the need to continue the training which begins during the filming of the show long after I and the crew leave.  In this case, I actually arranged for Eric to work with other local trainers, as Casper was a dog in particular need of extensive further behavior modification. Eric did not follow my advice and neuter his dog or take me or the other trainers I arranged up on the offer of continued training.

In short, I'm afraid that Casper is a victim of an owner unwilling to take the steps necessary to ensure his dog's proper development and deal with the existing anxieties that Caspar had, and I completely agree with his own assessment (as well as my own original assessment and that of the court) that Casper poses a threat to those around him.

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14 thoughts on “Statement Regarding Casper

  1. Erin James

    I volunteer as a Family Pet Dog Trainer the SPCA Tampa Bay. We so so many bully breeds in the shelter that have come from similar situations to Caspar's. It's a terrible injustice to the dogs that they get into homes where the owners don't take the time to train them properly, or at all. And 99% (I'm guessing) come into the shelter intact. Not nuetered or spayed.

    I hope you can get the NY Daily News to print a retraction, but it's not likely. The news is bad enough for Caspar without this discriminating misinformation being distributed.

    I don't see a good future for Caspar.

  2. Erin James

    Re my reply about Caspar, I should have read it before submitting it. In the second sentence, "We so so many bully breeds" Should be We SEE so many...
    Thank you.

  3. Reagen D. (@RedDesilets)

    So sad! 🙁 It seems that sometimes people that own dogs, esp bully breeds, do it more as a status symbol rather than really, truly welcoming a pet as a member of the family. As a kid when we moved into a new house, the neighbor had a pit bull. At first my mom was terrified as the infamous clip of a pit bull changed the wave of fears of dogs to that breed. But it didn't take long to realize what a sweetheart that pit bull was and we frequently went and spent time with our neighbor and her dog over the decade we lived there. My heart goes out to poor Casper as it seems his fate is about set in stone. 🙁

  4. Ruth

    Unfortunately this is all too common. All too few believe that their dog doesn't need training or much if any input from them as the dog's owner. I have met several Presa in my area but only about half can be convinced to actually work with the dog.

  5. Debbie Jacobs

    How frustrating this must be for you. Hope you keep on, keeping on! Good luck with your efforts for Lennox. I am envisioning a post a year from now with pictures of him getting to enjoy his life...finally.

  6. Alemke

    Dear Victoria,

    I know that you do your best for the dogs on the show. Do not call the left-leaning rags we have in America "respected publications." Every one of them is owned and run by liberals who want to control everything you have and do including the kinds of pets you have. Cats carry diseases, dogs are dangerous! You must get rid of them for your own good! I'm not surprised at all that an article would twist the truth for sensationalism. Thanks for setting the record straight and I'm sorry about Casper.

  7. Jan Hankins

    I cannot believe that anone who watched that episode (as I did) could believe that Casper was threatened or mistreated in any way, shape, or form. In addition, any one who has seen Victoria Stilwell working with dogs would know better than to think she would use harsh and punishing training methods. Nor would Victoria do anything so ignorant as to make threatening gestures toward any dog, much less a dog like Casper. While I am saddened by the fact that Eric chose not to be a responsible owner, it does provide me some sense of personal relief. One of my biggest fears is that when I finish my master's degree in Animal Behavior and Counseling that I will feel "at fault" if owners do not always follow my training advice. It make me realize that it is, ultimately, the owner's responsibility to act on training advice and the trainer can only provide the best advice he/she can.

  8. Archie

    Fun, looks like people are once again blaming the wrong beings in a situation! I shake my head.
    The show does nothing but good for the dogs AND owners.

  9. Terri

    Why does there always have to be one person on a thread who turns the issue at hand into a political one? Alemke, go somewhere your comments will be welcome.

  10. Kim Jackman

    I remember that episode with was soooo frustrating to see your efforts to get his owner to neuter him and put in the effort to continue training him...I have had several clients like just want to shake them and tell them to wake up and smell the coffee!!! Delighted he at least got nuetered. No one could have done more to try to help Casper...shame.

  11. stephanie Michaels ....

    @Alemke .... is it really necessary to politicize this? this is not a right or left issue--liberal or conservative. this is about an dog owner's irresponsibility. and a great trainer's delineation of her response. Stay on topic, please. your decision to "go there" with your response serves no purpose at all except to show your own ignorance about media outlets or individual reporting.

  12. Jules

    Please...I beg of you all...STOP calling them "bully breeds"! The humans are the ones who are made quite clear by this foolish mans ignorance & lack of effort to protect his dog & people around him! Just please...stop labeling these certain dogs that only certain people fear & only certain people disrespect...It's not fair & is creating an easy way for society to judge ALL of these dogs!

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