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Lv 6
. asked in PetsDogs · 9 years ago

What are your thoughts on Ian Dunbar?

Got a couple of his books today, jw what the DS thought

Legit: How would you train a dog to do the cop-cop trick?

5 Answers

  • anne b
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I think he has revolutionized the way we train our dogs. Many of the things he has discovered over the years make perfect sense, and I have every intention of going to his workshop in June of next year. Can't wait!

    *Just because one bad trainer couldn't turn out trained dogs doesn't mean it should be blamed on Ian Dunbar. I am sure he had nothing to do with it. I have met many bad trainers. Some people just shouldn't be working with animals....

    @raven-You obviously buy into the whole "cult" thing. Everybody who happens to like what the positive reinforcement trainers do must be a "cult" follower. I don't approach anything with that kind of attitude, and to say that he had nothing to do with the growing popularity of less physical methods of training is just ludicrous. You had to have BEEN aroud 50 years ago to even understand what his theories and studies did for the dog world.

    And I never said that I believe in everything he says-as a matter of fact, I am not fond of treats as a reward in general. And I wouldn't take any of my dogs to a dog park-ever.

    It cannot be denied that he spurred a huge movement of training that makes much more sense than some of the stuff in the back of Bill Koehler's book.

    And once again, just because someone "worships" a person, doesn't mean they have the ability to be a good trainer. If that was the case, good trainers would be falling off trees, and they don't! I could give you quite a few examples of bad compulsion trainers in my neighborhood. They read the book, but they still can't do the job properly.

    I could read a book on physics, but that doesn't make me a rocket scientist.

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  • 9 years ago

    I think they are good, common sense books for the pet dog owner. Some of the things I do with mine or client's dogs are quite different, but I recommend the books to ALL young puppy owners who come through my doors, as reading for while their pup is with me for training, especailly if many of the probelms they are having are due to poor management of the puppy, like housebreaking or destructive behaviour.

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  • Aduial
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    I love him. I met him in March and he's absolutely amazing. He's the go to guy on positive reinforcement training. He's the go to guy for training right now.


    What is the cop-cop trick?

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    I think he's one of the very best for training puppies. I recommend his books to anyone with a new puppy, especially first time dog owners.

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  • Chix
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    quirky - not my role model for success.

    If I remember correctly (this is some years ago now when he first emerged so maybe his thinking has evolved or maybe I have him confused with someone else..._

    Anyway the trainer I am thinking of was big on these puppy parties which I associate with one of the biggest wastes of time and money in all dog training history.

    Years ago, I had a pet food store. There was a trainer where I live (not in LA where I believe Dunbar is) that was big on his method. She was a Dunbar ``junkie`and cited his methods as her credo. She would recruit all these puppies into her puppy class - they went for several weeks - spent lots of money, and then would graduate and come to my store. The dogs were all over the place - barking, peeing on the floor - dragging people around - absolutely no notion of heeling, and gawd forbid they met another dog -because then the two would just start brawling (usually play fighting) in the middle of the store.

    Mostly, what I observed were the dogs that graduated were dogs that liked to eat (smile) because that was the one thing they excelled at - eating. Not so big on much else. And since I sold pet food and treats, it was all good - and I was happy to have them. The rowdiness, and unruliness and playfighting on lead - not so good - but you learn to adapt in retail.

    @AnneB - the book is selling the method - not the man. How can you not question his methods . And she was a fan - met him, had photographs of him and her (he was thin, young man at the time in the early 1990s - narrow nose and I recal he wore glasses. She was more than just a passing fancy - she was joined at the hip and part of his cult)

    Revolutionary - seriously. He was an advocate of dog parks which is what his puppy party model was built on. Except dog parks are free. I think he was certainly enterprising, hell, I wish I thought ot it. Instead of a pet food store, I should have charged people to bring their dogs in to run around for an hour and condition them to brawling on lead, knocking over displays and barking. Aggression - no problem, we dont deal with it - we just muzzle them (which builds aggression in certain breeds) and let them fight. What a great way to develop a dog!

    yeah, he was revolutionary all right.

    And for the record, I am not adverse to food as a method of positive reinforcement when appropriate - I use it occassionaly on my doberman now with good success. But I dont credit Dunbar with that invention, food rewards are as old as the hills - when I was 10 (a long time ago now) my uncle would use food to bring the cows in - and the dogs along with them.

    To use an overwrought phrase: `` the truth is out there `` (smile). The problem is, its simple and not real flashy.

    So, people like Dunbar (and his ilk) made it fashionable by packaging a turn-key model of what farmers have done for eons ( let your dog run loose in a field it and then when its time to come in give the dog a cookie) into a fancy book with a glossy cover and then peddle it by telling people they need to pay lots of money to go to weekly classes to learn it.

    The problem is most of us dont live on farms these days, and urban living being what it is, requires a dog to learn different skills.

    But, you cant help but admire the man for his market savvy.


    PS: I do admit that his approach did get enough traction in the community where I live to promote the creation of dog parks (leash free areas) which I feel is valuable and as a tax payer, I`m glad to know some land is put aside for people and their dogs . So, for that, I`m grateful. And he gets full credit.

    Im sure he has crate training and housebreaking stuff in there which although not his invention, is good info, - and if people get value out of it, and new puppy owners learn something and the dog becomes a good citizen because of it - I`m all for it. I sincerely hope they do.

    Edit: @Anne - you are misreading my post. Let me summarize:

    1. You said Dunbar was revolutionary. I questioned how and provided my critique of one of his methods - puppy parties. Are you saying the concept of puppy parties is not his innovation. I`m asking. Because I submit they were - and this is the `concept` I object to.

    2. Are you saying Dunbar is not in favor of food rewards - I`m again asking. If no, what method (as an example) of positive motivation does he use. Please enlighten me. Does he use clickers, or toys, or what.

    3. You presume I attribute you as a member of a cult because you believe I am anti-positive reinforcement. To be clear, Im not. I think I made that clear. I use toys (balls, kongs) to develop recall in 8 week puppies, and food treats when a dog is first learning. I also use the lead to communicate corrections to the dog.

    4. Re: CULT: What I did say- is that the trainer who promoted his methods was in my opinion acting `cult like`. My point was this trainer was invested in Dunbar beyond a casual affiliatioin. What is the definition of cult :

    ``a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc. ``

    My criticism of this trainers approach (related to Dunbar) is the fact she applied his principles ridgidly - without reasoning or thinking. All dogs must have treats - all dogs will be muzzled to deal with aggression - all dogs will run loose in a church basement to socialize (etc etc).

    That, in my view, is not training. That is applying a method by rote. And that is my criticism of MOST training books - they strive to differentiate themselves (ie market ) by making ridgid, prescriptive rules for ALL dogs. And people stop thinking.

    And it might surprise you to know I have the same contempt for any training method - Koehler is another method trainer. I AM NOT A FAN OF KOEHLER. In fact, I said as much in another post on this forum. He`s pedantic in his discipline to the point of being destructive (again, generalizing - there is no doubt some principles that Koehler promotes that I would agree with)

    Finally as far as innovation, there were others before Dunbar - Carol Lee Benjaminin , The Monks of New Skete. These trainers arose in the 70s and early 80s (if I recollect correctly) and were instrumental in the `movement`away from strict compulsion.

    I saw Dunbar come along after them - and, whether it is fair or not, the only thing I remember about him is his puppy party. The ethos behind his training (in my recollection) was early puppy socialization (because at that time people had this view that a dog could not begin training before 6 months of age) using these free for all parties.

    After reading about it, and then seeing the results of it, I admit, I just lost interest. I consider it his method - and his failure as a trainer- not yours.

    Note - I`m not saying I don`t train before 6 months - I do. In fact I start at 8 weeks. I do not however believe letting dogs run loose in a room teaches them social skills that I would find useful in an urban environment -unless you consider puppies practicing how to fight as adults, and how to mate is a useful skill to serve human kind.

    We are here talking about Dunbar and his methods - I have no idea what you do (unless you write a book too!)

    To close off, what is my `cult`. Well, I`m kind of left of centre these days - I actually believe people have become detached from the natural world. They have lost sense of what a dog is.

    I have two rules that guide me - its either serious, or not. Its that simple. When I`m canoeing in the bush, I need my dog to down stay so i dont fall overboard - they do.

    When I come upon a fence that I need to cross - we climb it together.

    And when I`m not serious, the dog is a dog.

    End of soapbox, I`ve enjoyed discussing this - I do find other views interesting

    Source(s): Heres a link to Benjamin which I found interesting. As she says (which I like!) - although she is not a food trainer, she is not adverse to treats!
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