Dog Training and Dog Behavior

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Two Missouri Trainers Charged With Animal Abuse

Two Missouri Trainers Charged With Animal Abuse                                                                                         St. Peters, Missouri, July, 2015

Anthony Dean Lambert and Zachary Labath of Sit Means Sit face animal abuse charges for using shock collars in a way that caused pain to four dogs at a St. Peters dog training facility, according to authorities.

Lampert, 45, was charged with one count of animal abuse. Labath, 24, was charged with three counts. The charges are all misdemeanors.

According to court documents, Labath knowingly used a shock collar device “to cause pain and suffering” to two Labrador Retriever mixes…[and] …They also allege that Labath used a shock collar device to “unreasonably cause pain” to an Irish Setter.

The Sit Means Sit St. Louis website lists Tony Lampert as the owner and training director and Nick Labath as a trainer.


What is “least invasive” dog training?

There may be as many answers to this question as there are dog trainers. I have my own ideas, of course. I like to think I follow this logic:

To use shock as an effective dog training method you will need:
A thorough understanding of canine behavior.
A thorough understanding of learning theory.
Impeccable timing.
And if you have those three things, you don’t need a shock collar.
–Author unknown

In my opinion, and many others, this logic applies to tools and methods dogs may find aversive, not only shock collars. There are SO many options before aversives are applied, that a good trainer would never need to use them. That said, I do use head halters as an occassional training tool but want my clients to work out of them.

For your perusal and thought:

LIMA vs. Humane Hierarchy

Application of the Humane Hierarchy (CCPDT)

LEIBI. Version 6.0 (AABP)

Humane Hierarchy, Part 1

Humane Hierarchy, Part 2


The “Humane Hierarchy” for animals may have been based upon a similar treatment hierarchy for developmentally disabled people. I can’t find the original source.


“The fact of the matter is that displays that we term submissive or dominant can appear under a myriad of different circumstances.”

A well-researched article on dominance in canids (wolves, dogs, jackals…)

Dominance Behavior in Canids

"Varg fotograferad pa Polar Zoo Norge (15)" by Johannes Jansson/ Licensed under CC BY 2.5 dk via Wikimedia Commons -

Varg fotograferad pa Polar Zoo Norge (15)” by Johannes Jansson/ Licensed under CC BY 2.5 dk via Wikimedia Commons




Gilbert enjoying the yard and the sun on a better day.

Gilbert enjoying the yard and the sun on a better day.

Pasco County Animal Services in Land O’ Lakes, FL, decided to fumigate Building C in the spring of 2015. All animals had to be removed for one week. Burt and I agreed to take one dog for that week. One of the staff asked us to take Gilbert, a Weimaraner mix, because he humps people. He had failed a SAFER assessment by biting the fake hand. He was consequently labeled a resource guarder. When volunteers would take him out he was happy and well-mannered with possible adopters…until he started to hump them. She thought if we could get him to keep his feet on the floor, he could get adopted. I picked him up on 4/30/2015.

He was gorgeous! His short coat was sort of a brownish-gray and he had yellow eyes. He was tall and thin with small feet for his size. Burt and I really liked him and he liked us. Our dogs did not like him. He didn’t follow the house rules they had established among themselves. For example, Molly wasn’t allowed to take his toys and he did not see Candy as Queen. He had excellent house manners. He wouldn’t come into the kitchen, he went to his crate on cue, he was completely housetrained, he could shake with both paws, he knew all the basic cues, and he never took anything except dog toys.

I worked with him for that week and he got better in all areas. I could trade for anything he had in his mouth, put food into his bowl while he was eating, walk by him when he was eating, and pet him while he was eating. We worked consistently and calmly on having him put his feet on the floor instead of humping. He only humped people, not the dogs. He could safely go into the yard with the other dogs and would come when called.

After the week was over, I took him back to PCAS. I also gave a presentation to the staff that day on my training methods and used Gilbert as my demo dog. He was perfect until we’d been there 45 minutes and he was done. The staff took him and put him in a kennel. He was there 2 days and we decided to go get him again and see if he would fit in to the household well enough to adopt. He spent most days loose in the house. The other dogs would not walk past him; they walked around him. We took him to the vet to get him a dose of bordetella so we could board him with our dogs. He did ok at the kennel, though he went in to the play yard by himself.

One day while we were all in the yard, he walked up beside me and put his head under my hand and I knew we were making progress. Every day he humped a little less. As long as there were no resources involved he’s did pretty well. Still pushy when he wants to play with people or the other dogs. It’s like he doesn’t know how to ask politely. Burt and I still really liked him.

May 18
I just used the pool guy to teach Gilbert Look at That. We went from “must kill the pool guy” to a glance and a Sit. Much better!

May 19
I can grab toys Gilbert has now. I can put my nose on his nose while we’re playing. I can give him a hug while he has a toy. He’s finally quit humping Digger. He’s becoming a much more mellow guy. He’s not ready for adoption yet but he’s better.


On May 21st, I was feeding the dogs breakfast and forgot a can of food on the counter. Digger stole it, as he often does, and took it into the yard to eat. Gilbert saw him and decided to take it. Digger has NEVER defended anything as long as we’ve had him. That day he did. Gilbert and Digger got into a fight, then Molly joined in. The 3 of them are tumbling around the yard, sometimes standing up, sometimes on the ground. Noisy with lots of teeth flashing. Luckily I don’t see lots of blood. I’m yelling LEAVE IT and Digger backs off. But Gilbert and Molly are still going at it. Molly is trying to get out but Gilbert keeps going after her. I pull him out by his back legs and he turns around and bites me hard. Then goes back after Molly. I pull him out again and get him to follow me into the house. I grab a handful of treats and toss them into the crate. He goes in after them.

I wrap a towel around my hand and arm and take Molly to the vet (because the vet’s office opens before my doctor). She’s not too bad, just a bite on her chest near a front leg and a couple nicks on her ear. We take her back home and then go to my doc’s. I get a bunch of steri-strips all over my hand and arm. She counts 20 wounds in total, some deep, some superficial, that she puts on the report to PCAS. Gilbert had been at our house about 5 weeks in total.

I cried coming home from the doc but we couldn’t put our dogs at risk. If he had gone after our old dog she would have been badly hurt. When we get back home, I put our dogs in the bedroom so I can safely take him into the yard without them interacting. He and I both still have very high levels of cortisol but he walks in the yard with me. I sit in my chair under the trees and he comes over to me. I try to check him for injuries but he doesn’t want to be handled. I don’t see any wounds. I call PCAS to come pick him up though I feel like shit doing it because I know it’s most likely a death sentence for him. When the Animal Control Officer got there, he happily walked out to the truck with me and I felt even worse.

The next day I’m even more swollen so I go to the hand surgeon. He opened the worst punctures and flushed everything out. Gilbert had also broken a bone in my hand. Gilbert was in quarantine for 10 days and failed another SAFER assessment. He was put down.

I couldn’t even talk it about for weeks. I still feel disloyal to him for sending him back to the shelter and responsible for his death. Even now, months later, I can’t think about him without crying. It will be awhile (if ever) before we can have another foster. I’m so sorry, Gilbert.

Burt and Gilbert napping sad emoticon

Happy guy in the yard

g bite 4g bite 7






First brace for a week.

First brace for a week.

Second brace for 6 weeks.

Second brace for 6 weeks.

Final brace until the bone heals.

Final brace until the bone heals.


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