Brad Pattison on learned helplessness

For those of you who have never heard of Brad Pattison, I apologize because I am about to make your world a little uglier.

Let me start by saying I think Brad Pattison is an idiot. Let me qualify that; Brad Pattison is a dangerous and abusive idiot.

I don’t come to that conclusion lightly; it is based on an overwhelming amount of evidence provided by Mr. Pattison himself.

Pattison is a traditional jerk and crank trainer whose ignorance is only exceeded by his arrogance. He believes in forcing a dog to do what he wants; this may include running a dog into trees and lampposts, pinching ears, slapping it on the face, kneeing the chest or pinning it to the floor 20 times a day.

 “I have all my clients perform this [pinning exercise] twice a day for a minimum of twenty repetitions; however you may need to do more.” – ~ Brad Pattison, Synergy (2009)

Even a pup is not excluded from his draconian approach.

How to Mistreat a Puppy

What’s worse is that he actively lies about positive methods – claiming they make dogs aggressive –  in order to prop up his approach. Think Cesar Millan but even more violent and with none of Millan’s people skills. He’s the opposite the stereotypical image of the nice, polite, stalwart Canadian; instead he comes across as a foul tempered, client berating fool.

Like Millan, Brad Pattison has no formal education in animal behavior. He has never achieved any obedience or sporting titles and he has never produced any working service dogs. In short, he is that special brand of “TV expert” whose expertise come from being on TV.

And Mr. Pattison is not content to mistreat animals for Canadian television; he is also using his middling fame to franchise his brand of animal abuse to gullible dog owners who also have no experience with dogs but are willing to pay over $6000 to be associated with him.

And the people he attracts aren’t exactly paragons of wisdom or vanguards of animal welfare; franchisee Cat Repetowski writes:

Over the first twenty years of my life my family had owned nine dogs. One was hit by a car, five were given away because of behavioral problems, two were euthanised because of more serious behavioral problems and one was killed by a neighbor.

That’s 5 discarded dogs. 4 killed. 1 Killed by neighbor. With that history, it is not the kind of person I want as a trainer.

I am currently slogging through Mr. Pattisons new book on puppies and I plan to review it. So far, its been a slow going. I can only tolerate his ignorance in small dosages. But just so you dont think that Im exaggerating regarding Pattison’s ignorance I present to you 2 quotes from this book and his views on “learned helplessness.”

This is a blurb on learned helplessness from a well respected scholarly book on behavior.

In the phenomenon called learned helplessness, an animal is first exposed to inescapable and severe aversive stimulation. Eventually the animal gives up and stops attempting to avoid or escape the situation. Next, an escape response, which under ordinary circumstances would be acquired easily, is made available, but the animal does not make the response. — Behavior Analysis and Learning 4th Ed – W. David Pierce (2008)

And this is what Mr. Pattison thinks about learned helplessness.

If you treat your pup like a human baby, you’ll disrespect and neglect her unique canine needs and also potentially saddle your pup with a condition called “learned helplessness.” And when you teach you pup to be helpless, all sorts of issues, come up, including insecurity, anxiety, depression and even aggression.[p.17]

If her bed is upstairs, she might not be able to make it on her own. In that case it’s okay to pick your pet up. Otherwise, never pick up your pup to take her anywhere. That will teach learned helplessness, which you want to avoid at all costs. [p.74]

Not only do his examples really miss the mark but the part on aggression shows that he absolutely has no idea what he is writing about. Aggression is the last thing you would expect with LH because it indicates that the animal is NOT helpless.

I don’t expect everyone to know about learned helplessness (LH), but I do expect it from someone trying to pass himself off as an expert. And at the very least I expect an author writing about LH to take the time to enter “learned helplessness” into a Google search. Now was that too hard?

There is one more possibility.

Pattison could be lying because the truth is inconvenient.  As part of what he calls ‘alpha training’, Pattison recommends an exercise that is a classic study in inducing learned helplessness. He tells owners to forcibly lay their dogs down, pinning them to the floor up to 22 times a day or until they stop fighting. Or as Pierce describes above, until the “animal gives up and stops attempting to avoid or escape the situation.

Learned Helplessness the Pattison way.


67 thoughts on “Brad Pattison on learned helplessness

  1. If people watching or listening to someone like this man, and believing it to be so, and believing it to be a good method, have lost pure and simple common sense. Or they were somply born without compassion and reason.

  2. Two years ago I thought CM was the best thing since sliced bread, I am so grateful to those that re-educated me for the benefit of my dogs, and I hope and pray that followers of this Canadian moron will also see the light very soon. I don’t know why it is we assume anyone deemed worthy enough of a television camera must be an expert in their field.
    You mentioned recently another dog trainer and tv star in Ireland and wondered what his name is and what you think about his methods?

  3. When seeking assistance for training or behavior modification, it pays to stick to some of the better respected sites: Pet Professional Guild, Academy for Dog Trainers, Karen Pryor Academy, Peaceable Paws, Truly Dog Friendly, etc. There you will find people who will not use antiquated and harsh methods to train dogs.

  4. When Brad is talking about learned helplessness, it is something different than what the term has traditionally referred to. He is referring to when people don’t let their dogs do things on their own, so the dogs never learn to do those things without human intervention. People teach their dog to be helpless! If someone picks their dog up every time they see another dog coming near, they are teaching the dog to be fearful of other dogs. So when the dog is actually exposed to another dog, they may lash out in fear. So yes, learned helplessness can cause aggression, and I have seen it multiple times.

    The “official” dog training schools aren’t a guarantee of a good trainer. People who study human psychology are deemed more suitable to work with dogs than someone who has had 20+ years of hands on dog experience. Instead of sitting in a class room and being told what to do, Brad watched dogs and coyotes for thousands of hours to study their behavior. He watched how his dog, Dez, taught other dogs. Dez didn’t give treats to dogs that behaved! So why should people? Instead of using all these new “scientific methods”, Brad developed his own method based on how dogs teach each other and how they learn naturally. It is the purest and most logical style of dog training.

    Have two trainers teach the same child how to handle their dog. One trainer is a treat/clicker trainer and the other is one of Brad’s trainers. I would bet all my money that the child would prefer Brad’s training. It makes the most sense!

    Also, drawing up on the leash to get the dog to sit doesn’t hurt the dog if you use the proper martingale collar. Pushing down on their bums to get them to sit can cause damage to their hips and spine though, thus why Brad doesn’t condone it. He never ever does anything that would harm a dog. Kneeing dogs in the chest, for example, is a popular way to get dogs to stop jumping up. This can easily break their sternum, which could wind up killing the dog. Instead we quickly “bop” the dog on the forehead, where it can’t cause permanent damage! It is meant to interrupt, not to hurt! I’ve seen an excited chocolate lab run full force down stairs and into a wall and she didn’t even notice what happened! Dog’s heads are tough! This is a just one example of how logical and intuitive Brad’s training is.

    The pinning exercise is not taught to clients lightly. It is not something that is used for your average misbehaving dog. The dogs are not “forced down”. You draw the dog down 3-5% more than what they are pushing back. This does not hurt the dog. It simply shows the dog that the owner is physically capable of managing them, and allows the owner to establish a more alpha role.

    As most dog owners know, dogs have an innate ability to sense good and bad people. So with that in mind, I would like to attest to the fact that I have seen dozens of dogs go absolutely CRAZY with excitement when they see their “Uncle Brad”. That many dogs can’t be wrong about him being an awesome guy.

    Anyone who wants to see the end result of Brad’s training is more than welcome to come down to Calgary and come to the dog park with my dog, Jake, and I. You’ll find, much to your chagrin, that he is one of the happiest dogs in the park. Brad’s teachings allow dogs to just be dogs! I don’t have to bribe Jake to listen. He listens because we have a mutual bond based on trust and respect.

    Leave this post up and let people decide for themselves if Brad is really as bad as you make him out to be.


      Confronted with a harsh fact that disrupts your illusion of reality, your first response is DENIAL. To make sense of Pattison’s ignorance, you are forced into semantic contortions, forced into reinterpreting and redefining well established terms. Whatever you think Pattison means by learned helplessness is irrelevant. The fact remains is that Pattison is using the term incorrectly, proving he doesn’t know what it means. And no, no matter how many times you repeat it learned helplessness will not cause aggression. You have never seen it, but because you’ve absorbed Brad Pattison’s ignorance you now believe something which isn’t true.

      Or you could just be upset because you make money from your association to this clown. Gotta protect that bottom line, right?

      I don’t know what you mean by “official” training schools, though dog training is just like any other profession there are good ones and bad ones. One sure sign you are dealing with a bad trainer is the fact that they are ignorant of the terms and jargon common to their profession. Like the ignoramus in question who doesn’t know about learned helplessness. Another sign of incompetence is a trainer who pretends he knows something but he doesn’t. Pattison and his CTE crew are examples of bad trainers.

      Mr. Pattison has never published work on animal behavior that is of any value or referenced to by scholarly papers and I for one do not believe the myth that he spent “thousands of hours” watching coyotes. To top it off, the fact that you bring coyotes into the discussion only highlights your own ignorance about the subject. And frankly in the absence of valid scientific knowledge, all his ‘watching’ was just a waste of time since he lacked the proper knowledge to put his observations into meaningful context.

      I also ask, why are you basing your behavior on a dog? And why not ALL your behavior? Why are you using a leash? Dez never used a leash. Why are you vaccinating? Dez never vaccinated other dogs? Dez never gave another dog a bed, or toys or food or car rides, or ‘chest scrunches’. Why are you doing it? Not only does your argument rest on a naturalistic fallacy, it also shows how ou cherry pick your way through it, making arbitrary decisions as to which of Dez’s examples you will follow.

      BTW, you are perverting the word “scientific” by using it with anything associated with Brad Pattison. As a working scientist I am offended by such wanton ignorance.
      Your challenge as to what a child prefers is irrelevant. It has nothing to do with what is best for the dog or the child. What’s more, as I mentioned in the article Mr. Pattison has never titled any dogs. I know of thousands of clicker trainers who’ve achieved what he cannot.
      And while you don’t know the that the half-choke collar won’t hurt a dog, I know that there is no POSSIBILITY of a dog being hurt by the use of a clicker to teach it to sit. But then again, here you are promoting hitting a dog in the face as a way to stop it from jumping. Me, I just teach it an incompatible behavior like SIT and reward him for it.

      Just on that alone let’s decide. One training method requires you to hit a dog. Another one doesn’t. Forgetting the science; ethically and morally one is better that the other. The one that doesn’t hit!!

      By your own admission the pinning exercise is done by forcing the dogs down to the ground. And the idiocy of fighting an animal’s OPPOSITIONAL REFLEX, once again shows how little you and Pattison understand about animals. What’s more does not accomplish your desired goal since your quest for ‘alpha role’ is meaningless to the dog. In short, is abuse.

      I’ll end with a quote from Erich Klinghammer, PhD, ethologist and professor emeritus at Purdue University and the president of the North American Wildlife Federation,

      “the so-called alpha roll overpracticed by some is nonsense.”

      • I agree with the first comment. Treat training killed my first dog. Brad’s training saved my new dog’s life. Nothing else to it.

          • Nope. The dog across the street was way more interesting than the treat that was in my pocket. How dare you say I killed my dog. I was taking the advice of a certified behaviorist on how to stop my dog from running across the road after dogs, bunnies and other things.

            • As I said. Your incompetence killed your dog.

              Positive reinforcement training, or as you ignorantly call it “treat training” uses food to reinforce desireable behavior.

              “Postive reinforcement” does not use food as a lure or prompt. That’s what you were trying to do.

              In fact you failed twice, the first time with the improper training and then again for not having the dog properly secured when you knew it had a tendency to chase.

            • Whether you were using the method correctly or not, why on earth was your dog off-leash around stimulus that you know is more interesting than you? That’s not a training problem, that is a management problem.

      • How can you possibly say that its denial??? its the dogs that are clearly making the choice to love their “uncle Brad” as i have also witnessed first hand. as stated in the above “Brad Rocks” post people can make thier decision based on results; which i would say the majority of the BPEC trainers have shown. just because you dont agree with someone or have a different view does not mean that you are right and they are wrong. you dont see him writting negative posts about you with your name all over it… shows what a good and hoenst person he truely is. he is all about the dogs and doesnt have time to agrue or belittle others, that alone to me says that his character is much more desirable than that of individuals who bash and insult him with such words as “idiot”. thats pretty cruel and you should be ashamed to say such things about anyone including your competition. decisions are made based on outcome, not necessarily on what fancy textbooks and classrooms teach. i have seen the possitive outcomes with my own dogs and many others. we respect eachother and have an amazing bond. that is all Brad is trying to encourage and his methods have saved the lives of numerous dogs and helped owners along the way.

        • Are his brainwashed followers so abysmally dense to argue against the well-known and established meaning of “learned helplessness?” It’s DENIAL that you keep fighting this dead issue. Brad Pattison is wrong about learned helplessness. That’s it.
          For you to think this is about ‘opinion’ indicates your ignorance of the subject. There is no opinion about ‘learned helplessness’, we know what it is. And yes, Brad Pattison’s view of LH makes him an idiot.

          It’s interesting that you mention his trainers; just about all the ‘certified’ trainers have little or no previous experience with dogs. None of them have titled dogs, or even compete. They are a collection of incompetent, inexperienced, first-time dog owners who saw TV and paid $6000 (plus yearly fees) to become poorly educated jerk-training advocates.

          Of course it all starts with the instructor; Brad Pattison is a failed salesman/landscaper who uses violence on puppies.
          As I point out in the book review, Pattison does attack other trainers; he does it all the time. In print, on his tv show and during interviews. He is always lying about the dangers of positive training.

          And in his most recent venture, Brad Pattison is trying to profit from Mexican street dogs. Trying to line his pocked on the suffering of street dogs, yeah, tell me how much he “cares” about dogs.

          Pattison comments on street dogs

    • There is absolutely no debate within the scientific community regarding the definition, or proper usage of “learned helplessness.” If Brad Pattison desires to coin or name behaviors or the antecedents that prompt them he can invent or use another term that doesn’t already have a proper meaning. This isn’t a semantic dispute, it’s ignorance on Pattison’s part.

      Psychology majors and graduates spend “hours in a classroom” (an academic necessity you seem to undervalue), and yet you assert (without any citation) that they’re more qualified to handle and train dogs than someone who has years of experience within the animal learning and training fields. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the point you’ve attempted to make here, though I think it’s safe to say you’re uncertain yourself. Furthermore, you claim Pattison’s “thousands” (citation?) of hours observing the behavior of wild coyotes makes him more qualified to train domestic dogs than a CTC or CPDT-KA. Bogus.

      You may be newly introduced to science-based and force-free methods of training, but these concepts- operant and classical conditioning- are not new. And Pattison has most certainly not developed his “own method.” Pattison uses negative reinforcement, positive punishment, flooding and coercion. These are all included in the “scientific methods” you seem to try to be discrediting- they’re just the ones that happen to use startle, pain and fear to “motivate” the animal. Progressive trainers, behaviorists, medical professionals and researchers now understand how our interactions with animals influence and shape their behavior, and how using these aversive methods negatively affect their health, and our relationships. Your assertion that Brad Pattison’s choice of aversive training techniques is the “most logical style” of dog training is an opinion not reinforced by the scientific and professional community at this time.

      The martingale collar, if used correctly, is not a correctional device. Its purpose is largely to function as an anti-slip device. Though it tightens when the dog strains or pulls on lead (positive punishment) and loosens when the dog stops pulling (negative reinforcement), it is never- ever- recommended that a dog be strung up by a martingale (a dog should never be strung up, period!), or that the leash attached to a martingale should be jerked. Pattison, if using a martingale, is not only using it incorrectly but subjecting the dog to discomfort, confusion, fear and potentially strangulation and long-term damage to the trachea, cervical vertebra and eyes- not to mention exacerbated behavioral issues!

      Most owners seem to think their dog has the mental capacity to understand moral and ethical dilemmas that our own species struggles with- like which people are fundamentally “bad” and “good.” This is a terribly misguided and unfounded assumption, and it holds domestic dogs to incredibly high standards. When a dog cannot, naturally, meet this standard of identifying “good” from “bad”- like when they bite the mailman- they are labeled as “dominate,” “aggressive,” or worse, a lemon. These dogs are regularly subjected to abusive training techniques, such as those espoused by Pattison, and very often euthanized because the owner failed to seek a certified professional and treat the underlining emotional state of the dog. Your very misguided post suggests you know little to nothing about animals, animal learning, or the wealth of research we currently possess regarding these areas. What you interpret as dogs going “absolutely crazy with excitement” when in proximity to Pattison may be a misinterpretation of body language and intention.

      I’ve decided that Brad Pattison is really as bad as his television show, website content, “certification program” and the various images and videos posted on the internet attest to him being. I’m glad the author of this blog has brought Pattison’s dubious, dangerous and abusive practices to light.

    • Thank-you ‘Brad Rocks’ for clarifying things and revealing who is truly ignorant. You can tell that man would lay down his life for his or any dog, and anyone spewing such venomous hatred for his methods has to have the real agenda here.

      • Well, it’s obvious to anyone not brainwashed by the moronic rhetoric of #bradpattison that both of you are truly ignorant. There is no dispute regarding the meaning of LH and for Pattison to say differently just shows what an imbecile he is. And his followers even more for taking the word of a salesman.

    • Pinning a dog is NEVER necessary. It is an old fashioned method that modern and knowledgeable dog trainers do not ever need to use. Ever heard of Oppositional Reflex? If not, look it up and then you will see why trying to pin a dog in this way is stressful. If the dog defacates or urinates it’s not being defiant. It is TERRIFIED. The stress hormones coursing through their body are working. When an animal feels it may need the fight or flight response, the hormones work to rid the body of extra weight, i.e. urine and faeces so they can run faster. Anyone who has ever been frightened can probably attest to that horrible feeling of butterflies in their solar plexus. Plus sometimes being scared makes a person feel that they need to use the bathroom. Same flight or fight hormonal response as a dog. Sadly some people are still using it in the mistaken belief that it is a bone fide training method.

      Trainers that constantly update their knowledge by attending workshops and seminars as often as they can have learned new ways to train dogs that do not involve such methods, including trainers who previously used punishment based training. There is plenty of education out there. APDT conferences are a fantastic opportunity to learn a lot, along with networking with other like minded people. There are usually around 1,000 trainers in attendance. People like Ian Dunbar, Jean Donaldson, Terry Ryan, Gail Fisher, Sarah Kalnajs, Kathy Sdao, Susan Sternberg, Turid Rugaas, give lectures and impart so much knowledge.

      I am wondering if you have ever attended an APDT conference. When was the last time you attended a trainer’s workshop or seminar using modern methods? I have just gotten home from a weekend seminar given by Sue Sternberg, studying dog aggression and dog play. Although I didn’t always agree with everything she said, I still learned a huge amount which I will pass on to my clients. There were about 100 people at the weekend seminar, including employees from Animal Control, Rescue organisations and trainers like me. Being a trainer involves constant continuing education. I certainly could not imagine a time when I would stop learning something new.

  5. Whew, what a discussion. My trainer taught the alpha roll too. I never thought this natural. And made us all get prong collars for the dogs. And my dog (Akita) flunked dog school by being aggressive to the trainer, no wonder. And all the TV trainers say they have not met a dog they cannot train. Hum….

    • If people met a doctor who said there wasn’t disease he couldn’t cure, they would be smart enough to walk away.

      BTW was it an American or Japanese Akita Inu? Tomorrow’s new post is on the JAI

  6. So refreshing. And let us not forget the Mantra of the Cowardly. ‘We have to be open to other people’s views and opinions” which is how the Sarnia Humane Society justified bringing this jackass in for a seminar. The irony of an organization with the word ‘humane’ in its name, soliciting advice from a man who is anything but is inescapable.

    • I was just informed by email about the situation at Sarnia Humane Society and how they are deleting and blocking anyone who supports positive methods. It’s the same tactic that Pattison was using with youtube claiming “copyright” infringement on a clip a few seconds long (falling under fair uses/criticism) and threatening Facebook groups with lawsuits for criticizing him. Feel free to read about here

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  8. Glad to see that you let my post be published… afraid that after reading my comment people won’t want to bash Brad any more?

    • You make less sense every time.

      Your comment is nonsensical, nobody is bashing Brad Pattison. The straight fact is that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and your bad attempts at sophistry were unconvincing. LEARNED HELPLESSNESS has a specific meaning known to all who deal with animals. We all agree what that term means, and it’s not what Pattison is saying.

      Your reworking of the definition smacks as a desperate attempt to bury his ignorance under a poorly constructed semantic argument. Of course Pattison is known for trying to redefine terms, like his recent attempts to sell his forced based approach as “positive training”. These word salads are unique to Pattison and his followers use them without knowing what they are saying. These words have no meaning to anyone but the inventor and he can’t explain them to others. When asked to define them, he becomes sullen, defensive, aggressive or changes the subject. His recent refusal to answer questions regarding his appearance with Sarnia Humane society is a perfect example of that.

  9. Ok first of all, when WordPress updated my phone apparently missed the memo so I missed this post of yours. Fortunately, I just found it on a clicker training site recommended by a Canadian friend of mine 🙂 Anyway, I just have to say that I am still honestly shocked that people haven’t caught on yet. I was just discussing this very phenomenon with my herding instructor. We were discussing how crazy it is that people in my generation (I’m 24) still use these averse methods when they are so obviously antiquated. It seems to be particularly bad in the herding world, so much so that people are shocked that I use positive reinforcement and a clicker to train my dog to work livestock. I guess in the end though it really just comes down to laziness. If I had a dollar for every person who told me clicker training didn’t work on his/her nine week old puppy after having tried it a week because the puppy still goes to the bathroom inside or hasn’t perfected its heel, I would be as wealthy as these idiots making money off of what can quickly turn into rather brutal methods. I’m not perfect, and I don’t like to throw stones, but this stuff really irritates me. My hope is that one day this will all be just a past nightmare.

    • Glad you found us again 🙂 I’m on a clicker training site!! :0, surprising since my focus isn’t really training. (Which one?)

      I agree with you. My Belgians are are also HIC dogs and both were clicker trained, and unlike others in my group, I don’t have to scream at my boys to get a response, and it’s the same with the protection work we do.

      What annoying is that here we have Pattison, with an obvious lie. Something anyone with an internet connection can show that it is false and yet we still have people gullible enough to believe his nonsense and slavish enough to defend his position.

      • I’m a crossover trainer myself, and I guess it’s like what Karen Pryor says about the people who defend the physical punishment methods, you sort of have to fiercely defend the methods, because if you don’t, you’re admitting to yourself that what you’re doing is cruel. I wish that I could change the way I trained in the past, but I can’t. Fortunately, my male GSD only went through that training for about 5 months, and he will get to spend the duration of his life without being punished. The effects are still present, but every day they get better and better, and I try very hard to make it up to him. It’s difficult though, admitting to yourself that you weren’t doing the best thing for your dog when you should have known better, so I can see the psychological process of defending these methods. However, given the alternative, I still think it’s better to handle my own guilt to make my dogs’ lives better. But that’s just me.

        And the site is a FB group just called “Clicker Training” – you should check it out, you’re one of the first blogs posted 🙂

  10. Brad Pattison ‘ruined’ my little puppy, almost 18 years ago; he knew not how to care for puppies/dogs when he started ‘yuppy puppy’ and I applaud your vigourous, incisive look at this fallacies.

  11. I have hated

    this jerk for years now, since the first time I saw him. He is an idiot when it comes to pitbulls and causes issues with people in public even takingf someones collar off their dog and put one of his own on.This man is a big jerk, idiot and alot of other bad words.

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  15. I found a facebook page a few months back that informed people when Brad posted on pages, and was attending events so that people could protest it. I forgot to like it and I can’t find it. Do you know the link!? I keep missing out on it! I want to be able to protest this jerk so he can’t hurt any more dogs. it was called positive reinforcement or something. Please help!

  16. Pingback: A Review of Brad Pattison’s Puppy Book | Science of Dogs

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  18. “Aggression is the last thing you would expect with LH because it indicates that the animal is NOT helpless.”
    This is completely untrue. What about fear aggression? Scared dogs would be considered helpless, and will turn to biting and aggression to defend themselves.

  19. I saw the Puppy SOS on NATURE and the way he interpreted the dogs’ signals are just… I don’t know what to say. Never have I seen such passive-aggressive approaches. He has no people skills and most of the dogs avoid him – a good sign that his energy is NOT good. He gives me the jeebies and never in a MILLION years would I ask him for advice on anything. I’m a big fan of Millan, mainly because he accepts and RESPECTS the fact that dogs are animals – not humans. This guy’s show just makes me extremely uncomfortable and none of his approaches work. Mostly the dogs are super afraid and timid and his way of forcing them to obey his will is just NOT working for anyone.

  20. I think Pattison is an idiot. The pinning example is tantamount to torture. That is not training a pup that’s just forcing them to do something. This makes me so angry because people are following his teachings.

    Good for you to post this.

  21. I’m a little late to this discussion but wanted to make everyone aware that Mr. Pattison hit (or “nicked”, as he calls it) my dog at a Pet-related event this past weekend. My dog was wearing a gentle-lead as people and pets were allowed at the event and was stimulus-heavy. As I walked by one of the booths, a vendor approached me and asked if I would like to see a collar they were selling that would do the some thing as the lead without the nose-loop. I consented and she began to demonstrate the collar. Meanwhile, another vendor attending the same booth was demonstrating the collar to a man and a woman. While the demonstrations were being done, something fell out of the woman’s pocket, which my dog decided was food. You have to understand, we spent 2 hours at the event at every single booth tried to give my dog a treat of some sort. At the same time the vendor went to get it, my dog did also. The vendor reacted by hitting my dog on the nose.

    I need to tell you that in demonstrating the collar on my dog, the vendor I was dealing with had halved the 6 ft. leash I had, in order to show me how to tether the dog to my body. So, the leash was no more than 3 ft. long. The placement of all the parties in this incident was as follows: the vendor and my dog, myself, the other vendor, and the other couple … with an adequate amount of personal space in between. Please keep this in mind as I continue.

    I turned to the vendor demo’ing on my dog and asked her to remove the collar as we needed to leave. I then turned to the vendor who had hit my dog and told him it was not acceptable to hit my dog. He then told me that he had only “nicked” him and he wasn’t hurt. I replied that he could call it whatever he wanted at it was semantics, as far as I was concerned. He then got very hostile and demanded I give him my hand so he could “show” me how hard he had “nicked” my dog. I told him that there was no way I was giving him my hand and that I thought he had done enough hitting for the day. I turned from him to help in getting the collar off my dog and overheard him trying to convince the couple that all he was doing was “protecting” them as my dog was going “after” woman. At no time did my dog growl, bare his teeth, or act in an aggressive manner. He then told me that he had “done me a favour” and I was “lucky” he had stopped my dog because if he had hurt the woman I would get sued. Again, no-one AT ANY TIME was ever in any danger. My dog was not interested in the woman, only what had fallen to the floor.

    The vendor clearly did not like being chastised so publicly and left, so I asked the other vendors at the booth who he was and was then told he is a “certified trainer” named Brad Pattison (I still didn’t really know who he was but saw he had two books for sale at the booth). It was then I later learned that he also had a television show and that this wasn’t the first time he had hit a dog.

    After my experience, doing research, and talking to people, it seems to me that Mr. Pattison not only scares dogs into submission but tries to do the same with people. He tried to frighten the other couple into believing they were in imminent danger and tried to scare me into thinking I would get sued. My dog wasn’t hurt but that simply is not the point – Mr. Pattison reacted to a situation he perceived was occurring, hit my dog, and became aggressive with me when I called him on it. I’m not sure how else to deal with this incident other than to tell people about it – awareness is key. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.

    • What you’ve recounted is all too common and other people have had pretty much the same experience. How this Brad Pattison – and his trainers – get away with hitting animals at will is beyond me. As you can see from the above links, letting Brad Pattison anywhere near a dog is putting that dogs at risk of being abused.

    • Wow, you handled that incredibly well, I am not sure that I wouldn’t have “nicked” the person who had hit my dog. Please make sure you let the Expo organizers know what happened, hitting a dog is never the answer, and hitting a strangers dog is outrageous.

    • RStepen, you hit it bang on !! The guy is a loser…. I was on his show about 5 years ago……….. BIG mistake he hit all my dogs to !! I can’t imagine how he stays somewhat popular….. he must be blowing someone. I was episode 4040 (season 4) and after the fiasco of the show (keep in mind this is before anyone really new what kind of asshole he is) With in the first hour of him and his team and all the rest of his crew (and they are all at fault) Cause they watch this guy hit everyone’s dogs and they do NOTHING – NOTHING I think they should go down too! He hit all my dogs when I stepped outside of my house and even threw me over my couch…. I think and I am not an expert but I would say he is a Psychopath (hope I spelt that right) and his followers must have something like Stockholm syndrome, again not sure if that is the correct diagnosis but you get my drift. In the first hour I could see where the show was headed and after hitting my animals I told them I would no longer do the show, they said I would owe then $20,000.00 cause that is how much White Iron had invested in my show …….. I wish I had the balls now back then…..
      So part of this show was done at COP (Canada Olympic Park) and while I was up there, their director said someone was on their way to my house to take some of my dogs away and if I needed to I could go cry in the bushes. And I did….. Panicked I called the humane society and said what was going on and they said ” what are you doing with that idiot in your home” So you can imagine what happened next………. he hates me with a passion (good) and if I get the chance to show up at one of his things he put on and he sees me he is speechless……….. just wish I had enough money to travel to ALL of his venues 🙂

    • What happens if you start to notice that your dog has developed hand shyness? How much will it cost you in behaviour therapy to get that fixed?
      Ottawa Pet Expo should be made aware. More importantly, a complaint should be filed with authorities.
      As for booth etiquette. Any professional should be aware of their own limitations in handling a dog. While an expert should have been able to handle two demos with two instructors, some cannot. They should be asking people to wait their turn.
      Seriously, report this – in writing. I’m so sorry this happened to your dog. But at the very least take steps to ensure this does not happen to another dog. What if that was a puppy mill rescue that was already somewhat fearful?

    • I am sorry your dog had to endure being hit by this ass. You should definitely write a letter of complaint, as the Ottawa pet expo has had protest regarding BP in the past. I cannot believe he actually hit a dog in such a public place like that. How can people defend him!

    • RStephen,if this happened at the Ottawa Pet Expo, the organizers would like to hear from you. This is from their Facebook page: “Please contact our Show Manager, Jake Naylor, to discuss at either or 613-325-0555.”

  22. RStephen, I hope you complained to the organizers of the event so that they will know for next year that perhaps his attendance can be avoided. You may also want to share your experience on the event’s Facebook page?

  23. Well done, RStephen. I’m sorry you had the experience and especially sorry your dog had the experience, but bravo for you for standing up for your dog.

  24. He tells owners to forcibly lay their dogs down, pinning them to the floor up to 22 times a day or until they stop fighting. Or as Pierce describes above, until the “animal gives up and stops attempting to avoid or escape the situation.“ For God’s sake why get a dog?

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