I couldn't get through the book, maybe I'll be able to watch the movie. John Grogan, the author of the book and Marley's owner, is a terrific writer, but knew nothing about dogs. He couldn't find a good trainer and had to live with a dog that had no manners, and had no idea how to behave. As a trainer, I wanted to scream "Get a crate and teach Marley how nice his own den can be!"
So much of Marley's misadventures could have been avoided with a little effort on the part of the human beings in Marley's life.
There's no need for alpha, dominance, or forceful training. Check out what the Association of Pet Dog Trainers had to say about the movies.
So I hope the Jennifer Aniston and the 22 dogs that played Marley will make this movie something I can finish, unlike the book.
The American Veterinary Society on Animal Behavior (AVSAB) issued this press release about the movie Marley and Me:
Not A Guide For Dog Owners
MARYLAND (December 26th, 2008)- “Marley and Me,” a film based on
John Grogan’s life with his loveable but unruly Labrador Retriever, is a
wonderful example of the depth of the human-animal bond. However, much of Marley’s “bad” behavior was
unknowingly created by his well meaning but poorly prepared owners and some of
it was an anxiety disorder called storm phobia.
Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) makes the following
require a great deal of time, attention, and training. Prospective owners should be well educated
and prepared to begin teaching good manners from the minute they get the
puppy. Waiting until the puppy is so
large that he is uncontrollable will make the process much more difficult.
should enroll puppies in puppy classes as soon as possible. This is important for the owner’s education
and for socialization of the puppy. This
should be arranged before the puppy comes home.
behaviors such as jumping, pulling on the leash, and chewing household items
can be prevented in the adult dog by teaching and rewarding mannerly and
appropriate behavior in growing puppies.
no point was “Marley” trying to be the “alpha male of the pack,” as claimed by
the film’s dog trainer. Training does
not require “dominance” and harsh corrections.
Being a good leader by training and reinforcing desired behavior using
positive reinforcement is the safest and most effective way to train
puppies. For example, kneeing Marley in
the chest to stop jumping up was potentially dangerous, completely ineffective,
and unnecessary. Simply teaching him
from puppyhood to sit for petting would have eliminated that problem.
dogs suffer from behavior problems that are unrelated to traditional
training. For example, destruction and
vocalization during storms often occurs because of the well-recognized
condition of storm phobia. This
condition is very treatable by veterinarians with a special interest or
certification in animal behavior. “Most
veterinarians and veterinary behaviorists see this problem very commonly. Treatment at an early age can alleviate
stress experienced by the family and improves the quality of life for the dog
itself,” said Dr. John Ciribassi, Immediate Past President of AVSAB and owner of the Chicagoland
Veterinary Behavior Consultants.
should resist the temptation to adopt a puppy or dog based on a movie. What is on the screen is entertainment, not
reality—even if it based on a true story.
Shelters were filled with Dalmatians purchased after people saw the
Disney film “101 Dalmatians” several years ago.
Once the adorable little puppies grew up into rambunctious and
destructive young adults, many owners simply dumped them.
your life can be a tremendously satisfying and enriching,” said Dr. E. Kathryn
Meyer, AVSAB President and owner of Veterinary Behavior Clinic in Gaithersburg, MD.
“However, there is a significant level of
commitment required and it is a decision that should not be made lightly.” AVSAB has published position papers on Puppy
Socialization, Choosing a Trainer, The Use of Punishment, and Dominance Theory
in the Behavior Modification of Animals.
These documents are available at AVSABonline.org.