American Humane Behavior and Training Advisory Committee

I've supported and promoted the Animal Behavior Research Institute website since its inception several years back as the best place for professionals to go to for pet behavior information. The site is free and also open to the public. So anyone can sneak in and watch superstars in the world of animal behavior instruct their colleagues about the right way to do things; and that's important because there's SO much misinformation out there.  It's all the inspiration of legendary veterinary behaviorist Dr. R.K. Anderson.

Dr. R. K. Anderson in Chicago 011.jpg

Dr. R.K. Anderson training our dog Ethel. After this day, with Dr. Anderson's hands on Ethel, I said "I may never bathe her again." What one lucky dog, she was trained by the legendary Dr. Anderson, and kissed (about a year after this photo was taken) by Dr. Ian Dunbar.

However, at the age of nearly 89, Dr. Anderson wants to slow down (huh? - I don't personally ever see that happening), he approached the American Humane Association, who will now oversee the website, with direction provided by the newly created Animal Behavior and Training Advisory Committee. This group will also advise American Humane about an upcoming American Humane hosted dog training summit and offer continued general guidance. You won't believe the names on this list, which will be directed by Dr. Marie McCabe, senior vice-president of American Humane's Human-Animal Interactions Program and American Humane's Katenna Jones, a certified applied animal behaviorist and humane educator.

Dog behavior consultant Marjie Alonnso, International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants; dog trainer Kelly Gorman Dunbar, Dog Star Daily; Dr. Dan Estep, certified applied animal behaviorist Animal Behavior Associations; Dr. Gerrald Flannigan, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists; Pam Johnson Bennett, cat behavior consultant Cat Behavior Associations; Dr. Jacqui Neilson, veterinary behaviorist CATalyst Council; Dr. Karen Overall, veterinary behaviorist University of Pennsylvania Center for Neurobiology & Behavior; Dr. Valli Parthasarathy, American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior; Karen Pryor, Karen Pryor Academy; Terry Ryan, Legacy Canine Behavior and Training; Julie Shaw, senior animal behavior technologist Purdue University; Dr. Sophia Yin, applied animal behaviorist as well as Mychelle Blake representing the association of pet dog trainers, and me too.

History might view this transition of ABRI Online, as well the creation of this Advisory Committee as an exceedingly important event to support the steering training and behavior advise on the 'right road.' The impact, just by looking at these names, is undeniable.


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  • How impressive - it must have taken a lot of thought and coordination. It's wonderful. I would love to even lurk in the corridors.

  • I am really hoping this is going to be a good thing and not another 'cliquish' group of people who are suddenly all powerful, handing only those 'they' deem worthy, licenses, and ability to work in areas of dog training and behavior.

    I am in no way 'for' any sort of abusive or physical forms of punishment when training any species. And of course, I did stand on a soap box, a while back on this forum and let that fact be known, when saying how I really felt about Cesar Millan and his "Whispering" bull crap, abusive, fear flooding, dominating, kicking, choking, strangling into "calm and submissive" handling methods with dogs, aired on a very Overrated cable 'reality TV' program, for far too many years now.

    However, I have also come across SO many extremist who claim to be "Completely Positive" and believe that EVERYONE should do everything just as THEY do. And unfortunately, some of those particular people are associated very closely with committee members here.

    I once read an article by an individual who was very upset with American Humane for removing their statement 'against' Cesar Millan's methods.
    This individual claimed he had written several letters and made several phone calls asking why they had made the statement on their website and then suddenly withdrawn it.
    He ranted and raved, on and on, about how the 'upcoming' summit meeting was now looking like "Millan's idea" and it was all a plan to further Millan and 'his' fame and fortune.

    He pointed out how the American Humane's statement 'against' Millan's methods,as a professional and 'well known' reference, was vital for his educational purpose, for those people insisting on using techniques similar and/or often used by Millan on "The Dog Whisperer". And after withdrawing the statement 'against' Millan's methods and techniques, he had lost his only well known, reputable, 'source'.

    All of that was fine and good, Until, he went on to claim "Anyone who took money from someone for providing training services to their dog should be able answer all of the following questions....
    I WAS able to answer the questions that followed, because I am a trainer and I stay current, even if the information I 'read' isn't relevant to exactly what I provide.
    But I completely disagreed with him on the entire thing.

    He was mixing up training and behavior.
    There is a very big difference in areas where teaching dogs basic obedience and good manners, rally, and such are concerned, and where consulting with someone who has called regarding a dog who has some serious issues with other dogs and/or people.

    I began my training career with Marine Mammals.
    At this particular point in my dog training career, I would not be willing to take on an aggression issue, where I would certainly take on a matter of house training.

    This person seemed to believe that anyone who did not belong to all the different associations, groups, clubs, etc..he did, and have the 'titles' and letters of the alphabet behind their names, such as he had, they had "no business taking money from anyone" under the title of "dog trainer".
    He was wishing to have a standardized license for 'dog trainers', but only if it met 'his' qualification and the knowledge 'he' held.

    This is very, very, scary. I know for a fact, he is one of the people closely associated with several people on this committee.
    And I am not 'scared' because I doubt myself or my abilities.
    At the time, I am still working toward gaining the hours required to receive my CPDT. I am a member of the APTD and the IAABC.

    What is frightening is the thought of one more group of 'elite' forming, governing and controlling.
    Power does some really strange things to 'some' people.
    And please, when I say that, I am not meaning to accuse anyone at all or to say that it has already happened or even will.

    Like I said in the beginning. I honestly DO hope this is a 'good' thing. It could be something which turns out to be the best thing that could have ever happened to dog training since 'Karen Pryor' OR it could be the very worst thing to happen since 'Cesar' himself.

    I am certainly willing to be patient and open enough to give it a chance to at least get underway.
    And I DO wish all the best to those who have taken on the responsibility of accepting to sit on the committee.

    Cheers to You each and every one you!

  • What a great collection of people working together for a common goal.

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