A Cogent Rebuttal to a Spurious Attack:

A few years ago I was the target of a not-so-nice comment on an internet list. An acquaintance forwarded the comment to me and I replied. Here’s the gist of it…

>>The reason I don’t promote Gary Wilkes is because of his introduction of P+ (positive punishment)into clicker training circles. I would be happy to discuss this privately with you if you wish — just not on this list, as I’m sure you’ll understand. ”

I do not remember which “Ms. Miller” made this comment, but I was obviously responding to a public comment that left no room for public rebuttal. I do not know if my acquaintance actually posted my comments. It’s really a moot point. However this kind of stuff is wide-spread on the internet and depicts the tendency of “all positive” trainers to make insinuations or innuendos without any opportunity for a response from the target. – GW Continue reading

The Only Scientific Presentation of its kind – in history

Author’s note. In 2009 I was pretty much fed up with scientists who distort reality. I have been a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International since 1992 and have given many presentations and been an invited speaker more than once. I decided to give it one more chance and peel back the onion for those learned doctors. I submitted this handout to the review committee for the international conference. It was accepted. I gave the workshop. My demonstration assistants were two adult male Dobermans that had fought viciously several days before. They were still wearing a multitude of stitches from their battle. I had them lying side-by-side within ten minutes. They fell asleep about ten minutes later. Of the 1500 presentations that year, mine was the only one to demonstrate punishment and discuss it as a viable, humane, ethical means of modifying/removing unacceptable behavior. I also presented a paper on the topic and one of the only clinics in the world that uses punishment to stop serious behavior problems did several presentations about work. In all, that makes a comfortable 150:1 bias against any discussion of aversive control. That is why I get stuck talking about this topic. I hate deceit. Pretending that punishment is evil, harmful, risky, dangerous and traumatic leads to an unethical practice – withholding treatment and knowledge of treatment known to be effective. In that spirit I hope you enjoy this. (UPDATE: At the 2015 ABAI conference a catalog search pops up three abstracts containing the word “punishment”. None of them actually discuss anything substantive and one is actually an attempt to control behavior without punishment. That makes the odds up to about 1500:0. The proof of bias is plainly statistical in a group that is obsessed with statistics about behavior.) Continue reading

Rescues, Strays, Adoptions, Shelters and County Pounds: Here are some things you may not know.

For almost eight years I worked in shelters – three private shelters and one municipal animal control agency. Later, I was on the board of directors of one of the largest humane societies in the country. I’ve seen every aspect of pet overpopulation, shelters, adoptions, rescue, animal cruelty investigation, leash law violations and enforcement, humane education and warm fuzzy puppies that lick your face and tickle your nose. I’ve seen adoptions go right and adoptions go horribly wrong. I’ve seen just about every wrinkle you can come up with to deal with this horrendous cultural problem. After I gave my heart and soul to the “humane movement” for those very difficult years, I got out, kinda. I started fixing dogs retail after being completely unable to help them, wholesale. Continue reading

Harley, Death Row and the best and the brightest.

Note: Harley was a purebred Golden retriever. I didn’t make him up. I was the shelter manager in this tale. I remember clearly which kennel he was in and the various scenes presented here. i.e. It’s not a fantasy. It’s the reality that few people realize. Oh, I should mention that I am the person who very reluctantly killed him. There wasn’t really any “death row” – merely my subjective decision on any given morning. We kept him three weeks – far longer than any other dog I remember.

At two years of age, Harley was in the prime of his life. He could expect many more years of service to his master. Then one day his life changed – his owner died in a car accident. Harley’s owner had left specific instructions for Harley’s future. He was to go to the owner’s brother, Tim. Tim had other ideas. Tim was going through a divorce. Harley went to the pound. Continue reading