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Leanne1986's avatar

Who is your favourite (relatively well known) animal behaviourist/trainer?

Asked by Leanne1986 (24149 points ) January 6th, 2012

I have just watched a recorded seminar about dog on dog reactivity by Patricia McConnell which I really enjoyed. Her knowledge alongside her manner made me want to listen to what she had to say and I came away feeling like I had learnt something that I could pass on to clients at the training company I work with. Is there a trainer/behaviourist that you, not only find engaging to watch but also who’s theories and knowledge you trust? On the flip side, who’s theories and training techniques do you disagree with?

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12 Answers

babybadger's avatar

I’m not sure if he qualifies, but Steve Irwin. His love for all creatures was obvious in his work, which was one of the reasons I njoyed watching his show. Steve Irwin had an infinite amount of knowledge about wildlife, and he was engaging and fun to watch – even for a child. I was absolutely devastated when he died.

Coloma's avatar

I love the horse whisperer Buck Brannaman.
I have owned horses and he is just an amazing trainer with a special presence that horses respect. I just watched his documentary ” Buck” and it was superb!

I have never done well with training dogs, at all.

I’m the goose whisperer. lol

Charles's avatar

Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins.

(You can’t say “Wild Kingdom” without preceding it with Mutual of Omaha.)

Marlin Perkins, a zoologist, was “Mr. Animal Behavioralist”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marlin_Perkins

SuperMouse's avatar

When it comes to dog training I am not even close to being an expert, but I like Victoria Stilwell from It’s Me or the Dog on Animal Planet.

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tranquilsea's avatar

I don’t know that she’s well know but I love Karen Pryor’s book, Don’t Shoot The Dog. She heavily advocates positive reinforcement as opposed to negative reinforcement. She’s studied many, many different types of training methods with many different types of animals.

SmashTheState's avatar

Barbara Woodhouse. Sometimes I still call my roommate’s dog out for a walk by yelling ”walkies!” in a fake upper crust British falsetto.

rooeytoo's avatar

For real honest to goodness, workable training technique, it has to be William Koehler. I have worked with large aggressive dogs all of my life and a lot of the methods espoused by current day trainers simply do not work when a dog is seriously trying to kill me. I defy any of them to stand in front of an attacking dobe and calmly click the dog into submission. His methods are also, imho, the quickest and most reliable for training the average pet dog to become an acceptable member of your family. It can be done easily in 8 weeks of classes. There would be a lot less abandoned and unmanageable dogs if his methods were to return to favor. His techniques are still embraced by most trainers of police and military dogs because they have to respond immediately and because lives of handlers and others depend on it. And they have to do it without promise of a treat. Cops and soldiers can’t always carry a pocket full of liver or their clicker.

Of the current day trainers Cesar Milan, again a realistic approach to actual problems, not abstract theories proposed by an academic.

Leanne1986's avatar

@rooeytoo Cesar Milan is often the source of discussion where I work. My boss is 100% against is techniques whereas I keep an open mind about him. I don’t think the average pet owner should be copying a lot of what he does though (it even says “do not try this at home” on his show).

rooeytoo's avatar

HIs ability to handle aggressive dogs is excellent but right, most people could not copy it. The average person couldn’t handle a truly aggressive dog with the methods of any trainer. I think these academics who say positive reinforcement is the best and only way to go have never been in a situation where they had a killer they had to deal with. But for everyday training I think his technique is very good and the average person is capable. His methods I feel are basically modified Koehler.

Just out of curiosity, what do you do and what method does your boss think is the go? Is your boss a handler/trainer ?

I use my version of his techniques almost every day I work and it allows me to handle dogs others have given up on.

Leanne1986's avatar

@rooeytoo I agree with you wholeheartedly. At the moment I do general training from young puppies to older rescue dogs etc. Every so often I get to work with dogs that are more troubled due to traumatic pasts etc and this is what I am training to do as a career (even though I can’t say I dislike working with puppies!!!). My boss is very much in the Victoria Stilwell camp and is all about positive reinforcement. I am all for this method when it comes to puppies and older dogs that just need a few manners etc but I agree with you that a clicker isn’t going to work on an agressive, powerful dog. Obviously, as it is my boss’ business, I stick to the methods that she wants her business to be associated and for the type of dogs we are usually working with this works just fine. However, I like to keep an open mind about other methods and trainers who deal with more challenging animals. I have always been a fan of Jan Fennell who is another one that my boss doesn’t agree with.

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