I just... *facepalm* So much wrong with that statement. Let's ignore for a moment that she automatically assumes that a dog displaying aggression is dominant - which absolutely is not always or even usually the case. Aggression has many causes, a very common one being fear or insecurity. Anyway! Moving along...
Usually when people use the phrase "put him in his place" they are referring to using dominance or positive punishment-based methods, otherwise known as being your dog's "alpha." I've written about this topic before, and why you shouldn't get your dog training advice from Cesar Millan. But in this case, she is explicitly recommending that the owner use these methods to deal with a dog that is aggressive toward a small child. I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut when I see someone making a badly wrong statement in general, let alone when the safety of a child is involved. Of course I said something.
- Julie Lada: @M - Depending on what you mean by that - usually people who talk about putting a dog in their "place" mean to be dominant/alpha over the dog - you could very well make a bad situation much worse and get that child bitten. http://drsophiayin.com/
blog/entry/ experts_say_dominance-based _dog_training_techniques_m ade_popular_by_televis
- M: @ Julie - Not addressing the issue in fear of a bad outcome is worse than trying with the chance of failure - In which case it would probably happen anyway. There is no point in keeping a dangerous dog - there are too many good dogs that need homes!
She clung to her guns. Used "in my experience, dominance works" as an argument. Nitpicked the linked study (after I reminded her to read it three times) with some valid criticism and some outlandish and clearly biased such as implying that referring veterinarians had not assessed the dogs for a medical cause of aggression before referring them to a behavior specialist as well as attempting to chastise the study for not assessing data that it was specifically never designed to address (receiving professional training vs. at home use of methods learned through social media). It got ugly, I got more aggressive and eventually we stalemated. She's clearly not interested in having her worldview of dominance and aggression shaken up.
But what killed me was this line...
- M: Just because I am not up do date on the latest research regarding dog aggression does not make my knowledge inadequate to help a friend.
I feel like her statement is in line with a lot of my colleagues. "I don't have to know what I'm talking about, because I have a right to share my opinion." A right to do so? Yes. Is it ethical to do so? Not a chance.