Great article ["Born Bad?" February 24]. Thanks for doing a story on this issue. One complaint though. It's very dangerous to promote negative-reinforcement training. Most people are clueless and end up only abusing animals further with these methods. These methods are very old-school. There are a number of new, more progressive, humane training methods used by animal behaviorists. I wish you would have presented their perspective as well.
One such behaviorist is Laura Monaco at DoGone Fun, who has worked at the San Diego Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, and the Shedd Aquarium. We work very closely with this first-class operation, and we are always very careful not to promote trainers who use fear, pain, and intimidation as training methods.
Anyone can be a self-proclaimed "dog trainer" or "dog whisperer," and it's faster and easier to use negative-reinforcement methods to train. I was particularily angry with Ami Moore's term of "cookie pusher" for trainers that don't use negative reinforcement. This is not a good message to send out to the public.
Thanks for listening.
Director of program services
Chicago Animal Care and Control