Pet Education, Training & Behaviour Council

Article: Bradshaw’s Theories Unpicked by Sue Gilmore

Sue Gilmore
BSc (Hons) Political Science MCFBA MA Professional Practice in Canine Behaviour & Psychology

The publication of Prof. John Bradshaw’s book “In Defence of Dogs: Why Dogs Need Our Understanding” was greeted with enthusiasm, receiving plaudits from the learned scribes of the national press. Indeed, “this book is here to set the record straight”, according to Amazon, the world’s largest bookseller. Perhaps so until it was subjected to the exacting focus of Dr David Sands, a brilliant scientist who specialises in the human-dog relationship.

The thrust of Bradshaw’s theories is unpicked with literary dexterity and systematically dismantled referencing scientific evidence to discredit the weakness of Bradshaw’s elitist assertions. Sands is ably supported by Dr Roger Mugford and Sara Muncke, the latter being an authority in dog behaviour with specialist experience in dog rescue and it is from these perspectives that she dissembles Bradshaw’s research and hypotheses.

Muncke provides evidence to support her assertion that Bradshaw’s experience of “problematic…psychologically troubled” rescue dogs is founded on theory alone. The relationship between man and dog, notes Dr Mugford, should be a fascinating field for scientific study, but it evidently attracts the least able academics who fail abjectly to produce worthwhile scientific data, instead producing a litany of untested theories that contribute nothing to the enhancement of our understanding of this most special relationship.

Together, Sands, Muncke and Mugford, truly set the record straight in condemning Bradshaw’s jaundiced dogmatism that the dog’s wolf antecedents are irrelevant in 21st century social constructs and that dominance as a construct is synonymous with punishment based training. A balanced perspective, based on sound science, by true experts.

The PETbc is so concerned with the large increase in dogs being euthanised as a result of ineffective training techniques and the aggrandizement of interest groups purporting to hold the welfare of dogs as central to their mission statements, that in order to debunk the bad science entwined within their training methods, this exposé is being circulated to every English speaking country and over 5000 websites worldwide.

Sue Gilmore

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Sara Muncke

Dr. Roger Mugford

Dr. David Sands

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