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Kamloops News

POULSEN: A pile of doggy-do from Brad Pattison?

Image Credit: Chuck Poulsen
January 21, 2016 - 8:25 AM

Last weekend the "renowned" and "best selling" author Brad Pattison provided two articles on these pages about his views on dogs and the people who own them.
I have some thoughts and questions about that.

Dear Mr Pattison:

You begin your article by saying: "I am sure it will annoy you, make you angry, mad and even hate me."

Sorry to disappoint, but I'm not angry nor do I hate you.

However, I confess you have annoyed me. That happens when I spend so much time suffering through bargain basement journalism.

Do you really think you are "renowned?" I ask because I hadn't heard your name before. I have heard of the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, but I think it would be a stretch to call even him renowned.

I also can't find any sign of your books on any bestseller list anywhere. If I'm wrong, I stand to be corrected.

I may sound catty at this point but I wanted to highlight my overall objection to your articles: You offer no proof or even evidence, not a shred, for your assertions. No common sense either.

I'm not renowned but I do have some experience with free spay-neuter clinics in Mexico, as well as rescuing a dog from there and taking her back to Canada.

I disagree with your comment that: "Rescue is a fictitious world (sic) to inflate ego."

That's not fair to people who provide a home to unwanted or feral dogs.

I don't think people rescue dogs because of their ego. They do it because they are kind and love the dog. I suppose you could make a philosophical argument that love is about ego, but blah, blah, blah.

You do also have some nice words for rescue groups. I don't understand your contradiction but if you're going to make claims, you're on the hook for everything you write, not just part of it.

You also claim: "Neutering dogs does not work. Fact: Time and money spent catching and neutering dogs is wasteful."

Where is your "fact" to support that?

When it comes to procreation, it takes two to tango.

Why then would you want to totally concentrate on only the spaying of dogs?

Most female dogs come into heat only twice a year, for about three weeks of fertility each time.

A male dog can and will do his part at least close to 24/7. Sure, in a perfect theoretical world you could solve problems by spaying all the dogs. Where is that world other than in your imagination?

Neutering also reduces the roaming behaviour of male dogs who have the scent of a female in heat. The literature also says it reduces the aggressive behaviour in many dogs, although not all of them. Still, no small benefit.

It's also more expensive by about 35 per cent to spay than neuter dogs. Cost is a big factor in Mexico and for indigenous people in Northern Canada, where a lot of rescue dogs also come from.

Mr. Pattison, I've watched a couple of videos of you hitting dogs in the face and physically punishing them in other ways as training techniques.

You seem to be quite angry in these videos, both toward the dogs and the owners.

I'm no PETA pansy, far from it. But the only time I can think of when hitting a dog might be productive is if the dog bites you.

Otherwise, it's counter-productive.

The command I expect my dog to obey is that she comes when I call her.

This has been achieved through the judicious reinforcement of treats. The right code word and an impending treat also works well in encouraging the dog to promptly pee first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

A dog isn't likely to come on command if the dog thinks it's going to arrive to a punch in the mouth. Dogs are smart that way; they don't want to come to pain.

There are other ways to assert your position as master.

I seldom have to do it, but I've found the occasional loud "NO" in my dog's face gets her undivided attention. I also don't have to hate myself afterward.

If you beat up your dog, you will poison its feelings toward you beyond repair. Just like abusing a spouse.

Chuck Poulsen

— Chuck Poulsen and be reached at

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