Several weeks ago I inadvertently stumbled upon a group of dog owners that had signed up for “Street Safety“ classes led by a supposedly “certified” trainer. Too bad that the certification in question was awarded by Brad Pattison*. "Because dogs don't listen when they are excited." That's what the woman leading an unfortunate group of dog owners said when asked 'why don't you just teach the dog to sit?' as a solution to a dog that jumps up during greetings. But isn't that why we train our dogs, so they LISTEN? Even when excited? But let's go back to the beginning. On our usual Saturday walk to our off-leash park, I see a group by the baseball field moving around. From the chaotic and haphazard nature of their movements it was clear that these people had no idea what they were doing. The dogs were being manhandled in every possible way. As soon as I got close to hear the leader of the group, I recognized the unique combination of misinformation and alarmist stories. There was no doubt, this woman was one of those Pattison clones. I had unknowingly walked into the hilariously named 'Street Safety Seminar" being led by a Brad Pattison “graduate” C.E.T.** A woman in neon pink jacket that was 2 sizes too small. I would later learn her name.*** I was already familiar with the error filled rhetoric and violent style of Brad Pattison but seeing it in action was something else. Back to the dogs that don't listen when they are excited. So, since a Pattison trainer can't get an excited dog to SIT, what did she suggest? Shoving the dog downwards and to "hit them like a drum" (direct quote) when they try to jump. So, her advice: Don't train 'em. Hit 'em. Why? She told us that “Force is the only language dogs understand” which is direct quote from Pattison. This was only one small sample of the idiocies perpetrated on the unsuspecting group of novice owners, most of her advice on other issues was equally foolhardy and counter productive. She took a small dog to show the group how to handle a dog that won’t recall. She started pulling and he put on the brakes. At this moment I could no longer keep quiet when I shouted that by pulling the dog she was engaging his opposition reflex, she looked but pretended not to hear. However this little Yorkie had more spunk that she expected, a few moments later she changed to a dog she COULD manhandle. That’s how the demonstration ended. One segment included how to walk with the dog and she suggested to “Karate chop” the leash when it got tight, and to alleviate any concerns she told the crowd, “it’s not the force, it’s the speed”. I guess she never took physics. Force is mass times acceleration which means that fast IS hard. She took the hapless Yorkie for another round (revenge?) and chopped so hard (I mean fast) that he was sent flying off to the side. She followed this up with an “attention” exercise. For those not familiar with the Pattison method, this is where he runs with a leashed dog into a tree or lamppost, changing directions at the last possible moment. If the dog is lucky it is only jerked back when the obstacle comes between it and its handler, a few of the dogs were rammed right into the trees. A curious thing is that she (the instructor) recounts the same apocryphal stories about the dangers of ‘treats’ making dogs aggressive that Pattison has told hundreds of times. Besides being blatant lies, she also tells them from a first person perspective as if she had witnessed them. After this the crowd moved to another location where she took a poor Labrador type dog and started working the leash again. In less that a minute the dog was jerked back about a dozen times. Several times his from paws came off the ground. I was dumbstruck that any owner could stand by while their dog suffered such treatment. And even more so to see that all the owners were treating their dogs in the same manner. Interestingly, she would ‘celebrate’ quite loudly each time she jerked the dog. This may have served a dual purpose; to prevent the dog from shutting down and to distract those who witness the abuse. The class ended with a so-called “agility” course. This was another excuse to drag their dogs around over obstacles. This time she took another dog (chihuahua mix?) and hanged it as she tried to pull it over a large log. The rest of the owners also tried to pull their dogs over the logs, park tables and benches with various levels of success. Again, it seemed that they were all ignorant of the opposition reflex and were more interested in forcing the dog over a particular obstacle rather than teaching the dog something. And that’s what takes place in a ‘Street Safety” class. I saw little safety for the dogs, zero training and a lot of misinformation. A lot of tucked tails, backswept ears, gaze aversion, yawning, and licking; some dogs even downed after being jerked. All their attempts at appeasement were ignored. It’s a tragedy that TV has given Pattison and his trainer cronies such air of respectability and competence. They possess neither; with good marketing and appealing memes they’ve convinced thousands of people that violence is the way to train dogs. * Brad Pattison is a Canadian trainer and host of a show called ‘At the end of my leash, aka In the Dog house’ His methods are similar to those of Cesar Millan but without any of his likeable qualities. He takes an even more extreme use of punishment and show an over-preoccupation with “dominance” He also seems overly obsessed that dogs are trying to subvert him to become (in his words) “alpha” A few years ago the IPDTA came out with a position statement against his methods. ** In Canada and several US States, the C.E.T. symbol us legally protected for use by certified members of the Canadian Council of Technician and Technologists or similar professional associations. Pattison has no more right to give out "CET"s anymore than he has the right to bestow PhDs.