Guidelines for Comments

These guidelines are as minimally intrusive as I can make them. Most of you wonderful, pleasant, polite people probably don’t even need to look them over. I want to talk to you. I respond personally to about 95% of the comments I publish. I particularly want to hear from you if I didn’t explain something well enough. Ask away! Let’s talk.

Guidelines, for “Them as Needs Them”

  1. No name-calling, cursing at others, or ad hominem attacks.
  2. If you speak in favor of using an aversive, I may or may not publish your comment. If I do so, it will be for purposes of clarifying things to other readers and your comment will come with a counter-response from me.
  3. Please avoid acronyms, jargon, and made-up expressions that are unique to marketed protocols or have the effect of masking an aversive. For instance, don’t call a shock from a shock collar a “stim” or a “tap” and expect not to be called on it. When discussing behavior science, please use accepted terminology, such as could be found in a basic textbook. (If you don’t know the terminology, fine; say so and we’ll investigate it together.)
  4. Be careful about self- and product promotion. If I find value and relevance, I may publish it. If I don’t, I’ll probably delete it, or possibly publish a critique.
  5. You folks who submit a generic, one-liner comment in order to get your website listed shouldn’t bother. I happily edit out your attempts at product placement.
  6. Also, on the topic of promotion, if it becomes obvious that you are asking questions only in order to throw in references to a favorite method or protocol or person, I will stop the dialogue.
  7. I don’t take kindly to condescension or rudeness, aimed at me or other readers, or argument that is clearly not aimed at gaining further information. If you don’t show signs of being willing to listen to anyone else or consider evidence, I’ll show you the door.
  8. My time is my own. Often I have a choice between answering comments and writing a new post. I’d prefer the latter. If your comments waste my time, I will tend to stop responding and/or close comments completely.

Thanks and let’s have a nice time discussing. I never realized until I started to blog how important hearing back from readers was. It is the main form of feedback we get; without it, we often feel like we are talking to outer space. So thanks in advance for talking to me!

17 thoughts on “Guidelines for Comments

  1. I found you through Pinterest and feel very lucky I did. This is the first comment I have ever made on the computer. Thank you for doing the work that you do. I believe you are in the service of so many (animals and humans alike) and I am grateful that you are willing to write and make training videos. My life changed a couple years ago when I adopted two beautiful dogs from a forced shut down puppy mill…….I sure wish I had know of you then, but I do now and I watch and re watch your videos and am just thrilled that you take your time and energy to do this and help all of us. A most sincere thank you!!

  2. I am a trainer and work a lot with shelter dogs. These dogs are very sensitive to say the least, and often have many behavior problems. My goal is to make a connection with the dog in a positive way, harsh methods would never work in a shelter environment. There are no quick fixes.
    I heard of Bark Busters, and did some reading up on them, always trying to widen my scope of knowledge. I was very leary about what I did read. I use gentle training methods and positive reinforcement. I recently had a client that told me she had used Bark Busters and was not pleased. She left after 1 session, so I believe my impression was correct. Thank you for providing insight on this, and other methods of training. The more I learn, the more I am able to help dogs and their families.

  3. This is one of the most ludicrous articles I have read and I find it totally defaming. I have been working with an excceptional trainer through BarkBusters and I am 100% pleased. There are NO abusive techniques, a ton of positive reinforcement, and MY trainer devotes MORE time with training ME than my dogs. I do understand that not every trainer may be as qualified as mine is, but I feel blessed to have found someone so compassionate and willing to work on MY schedule. And if I need help more than once or twice a week, there are NO problems and NO additional costs. I guess anyone can spin a story in any direction that might sway people to believe things that are just not true!!! Shame on those who comment and have not actually experienced BarkBusters.

    1. <<Note: I believe Sandy's comment was directed at my post on Bark Busters. I think she submitted it here after I closed comments on that post.

      I find it interesting that not one person has singled out one sentence I wrote for correction in my ludicrous article. I am known for my willingness to make corrections and addenda when information is off base or missing.

      Again: I quoted from Bark Busters own publications. I showed some tools, some of which they provide (their logo is on them), and some of which appear to be repeatedly suggested by the trainers. And I spoke in general about the possible pitfalls of techniques based on startling and scaring dogs. But certainly, if you got a good training experience and a good trainer, I’m glad for you and your dog.

  4. Thank you so much for your youtube video on Cricket and her CCD. My dog is 17 and shows all the signs and more. I’ve been debating the end of life issue but, now I know it is inevitable and for the best. Thanks for helping me understand. And sorry for your loss.

  5. Dear Eileen. You are so inspiring <3 I have had dogs for many years, but saddly it was more "follow the dominant leader".. I never alpharolled or anything, but i was really firm with my dogs… I lost interrest for a while because i do not want to dominate an animal.. i want a friend.. but for 15 years ago – when the new era for dogtraining begun i got my interrest back 🙂 There is a lot of different types of training.. it is super confusing for when you THINK you find a method that is positive there is some negative stuff in it.. **sigh** Luckily i have found some positive ones like Karen Pryor. Zak George.. etc… BUT.. what do you think about this guy?? i can not decide 100%.. what do you think?? he does a lot for dogs that normally would be put down, but that is what makes it so hard.. it is always a MIX of stuff.. good and bad.. i would be very happy if i could get your opinion reg. this guy.. Thank you SO much for your wonderful tribute to the worlds best animal <3 KInd regards Ann , Ira and Da vinci from Norway 🙂 **link deleted by Eileen**

    1. Hi Ann-K! Thanks for your kind words and I hope you are able to enjoy dogs and training again with more pleasant methods.

      The link you posted is of a man who is mostly using pressure/release and force on a dog. Yes, he is using a few treats, but they go away fast when he gets down to business, which is basically to pull the dog onto something that scares it. You can tell from the early part of the video that he is not using force free methods when he says:

      This (the dog’s behavior) is just based from fear and anxiety. It’s important that we don’t buy into that—we actually give them firm leadership.

      Whenever someone dismisses a dog’s fears (and the dog is clearly petrified) in this way and claims to cure them through “leadership,” there is force about to happen. When the trainer claims to be having a “conversation” with the dog through leash pressure he is basically demonstrating force: “I am not going to stop pulling on you unless you do what I want.” The dog gives up. Note the dog’s body language (panting, cringing, sniffing, avoidance) through the rest of the video. It is very, very stressed.

      I don’t know this trainer and I haven’t watched his other videos. But something to question when someone claims to have saved lots of dogs is how do we know? Do we see what happens next? “Fixing” a dog through suppressing behavior and forcing behavior has predictable fallout. It is known to create behavior problems, not fix them.

      Keep watching the other folks you mentioned! Also Emily Larlham (Kikopup). If you want to learn how accomplished trainers deal with fear in dogs, check out and the Fearful Dogs group on Facebook. Thanks for writing! You asked a great question.

  6. My husband and I unfortunately got suckered in to buying the one your plan however within 24 hours we changed our minds after reading reviews and the trainer kept $250 of her $577 payment also she couldn’t control our dog on the leash for 30 minutes.using a choke chain which we never use and that BAH never worked my dog looked at me like I was crazy . Also choke chains should never be used on a dog under 1 year old. Also choke chains are very harmful to your dogs tendons and trachea. Very disappointed and upset we didn’t research further.

    1. Melody, I’m so sorry this happened with BarkBusters. Too bad you lost the money but you probably saved your dog from a world of hurt and fear. I hope you and your dog are doing OK.

  7. Hi Eileen, I found you via google researching the “bah” sound that I learnt through bark busters. Yes, I have gone through the training process with my dog who is a 3 year old Rottweiler who is still kinda aggressive toward other male dogs. I have gone through other trainers with very little success, then a bark busters trainer came to my house and did exactly as you describe in your blog. We spent about 2 hours going through their training process and I have seen so much improvement in my dogs behaviour than I have seen in 11 weeks of group training. Having said that I also agree with you, I do wonder if I am making my dog scared of me instead of earning his respect and him recognizing me as the pack leader. I am one of those that do my research and learns from different types of teachings. Perhaps I’ll create my own “jeet kun do” of dog training. I do believe their method works but I also think it has flaws. For the moment my dogs aggressiveness has come down a couple of notches and it makes me really happy because I love him. I have found that many trainers have different methods of training and they all contradict and criticize each other’s way of teaching so how does one really know that one has found the right one?

    Thank you, your blog has not made me think twice about hiring bark busters but it has left me with a really open mind about improving their methods.


    1. Thanks Jose! I like your comment. What more could I ask than that something I wrote made someone consider something! It works both ways too–I appreciate what you wrote and I am always learning from my readers. It comes through loud and clear that you love your dog. Just be aware–using methods to intimidate and “put the dog in his place” can backfire and beget more aggression. Positive reinforcement based training works very well on aggressive dogs. Keep reading and keep considering!

      One thing you might be interested in, since you remark that trainers argue about their methods, is this post on transparency in dog training. Many trainers have responded to the challenge and given honest assessments, without jargon or mystical talk, about how they train. I think it helps people make choices about training. Enjoy your dog and thanks for writing!

  8. I have a somewhat random question about a video that’s making the rounds on social media (again)—the one where a veterinarian gets in the cage with a young grey dog who is petrified. The vet sits down and eats a bowl of food while also hand-feeding the dog in an effort to build trust with her. She is smashed against the far wall in an effort to be as far away from him as possible due to her fear, but she does eat out of his hand. The video then cuts to a year later where she is seemingly happy and trusting of him. My question is this: is what he did considered flooding? I don’t mean to be a party pooper because the video is very sweet; I’m just curious if, in your opinion, his method would be considered flooding. Thanks!

    1. Hi Tamara,
      I know the video you mean. And yes, that would be flooding. The dog has no way to get away from the aversive thing (him). It is a well-meaning video and I know what you mean about not wanting to be a party pooper. Flooding can actually work, although I would guess in this case the dog came out OK in spite of it, not because of it. A less stressful way to help the dog get comfortable would be to toss something fabulous in the crate/pen every time one walked by, and then get closer as the dog got more comfortable.

      This was a good observation on your part.


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