Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Leader of the Pack episode review - Amigo the Greyhound

Hey hey everybody - and a special hi to my secret stalkers who I met on Monday at dog-club, you know who you are! :)

So this weeks Tssssst Fest features the delightfully stripey Amigo, a brindle 'greyhound' (I think galgo actually, hes a lot finer and pointier than a typical UK racing greyhound).

Apparently, Amigo's problem is that he is SUPER dog aggressive, according to the representative of Animal In Need, hes an 8 or a 9 and we do get a voice over early on about 'Red Zone'.. yay, the amazing Red Zone...

The opening scenes do indeed show Amigo lunging and twirling on the lead and apparently, he has bitten an 8 week old puppy and wouldn't let go, and he's redirected onto someones leg in the past as well, these may have been the same incident.

So, hes super dog aggressive and really dangerous and 'red zone' - oh but he lives with another greyhound.

He was adopted from Spain to somewhere else (I missed that) and the lady who took him on hadn't actually met him or his greyhound friend before taking him on.... she returned him to Animal In Need in Spain for this aggression.

Once he arrives at Cesars Dog Torture erm I mean Psychology Centre in Spain, note here he is wearing a martingale style hound collar and a harness - this is the last time he is wearing something safe and comfortable.

Without any muzzle on him, Cesar almost immediately has an assistant walk a strange dog head on at Amigo - they let the dogs get dangerously close and Amigo could have bitten the other dog - he is lunging and twirling and really frustrated and really wants to get to that dog...

Cesar does the old routine, tsst, kick, jab, prod - each time he jabs in the side, Amigo yelps and looks round at Cesar, I can see how Amigo could very quickly redirect if this carries on, unless of course Cesar does something even more scary. We won't see that though of course.

By now Amigo is clearly quite wary of Cesar, as Cesar is punishing any and all attempts to look at the other dog or approach it.

Now Cesar introduces him to the pack and here its damn obvious, Cesar already knows that this dog is NOT dog aggressive - the pack is large, but its mainly sighthounds and fairly solid medium sized dogs, there are at least 8 dogs in there.

Cesar walks Amigo in on the lead and stands near the door whilst all the dogs crowd him - Amigo stands there looking a bit trapped but theres no reaction and soon his tail is wagging in a fairly relaxed way despite the fact he is also tense and panting a bit.

Cesar lets him off the harness but dangerously, leaves the martingale collar on which has an extra long leather loop hanging off it - I am cringing in horror as I have an image of one of those delicate sighthound paws getting stuck in that loop, either Amigos or one of the other three sighthounds in the pen!
At the end of this scene, Cesar just walks away from Amigo, leaving him in the pen full of dogs - suggesting that actually at this point, Amigo already knows these dogs, or, Cesar knows damn well that Amigo is not dog aggressive and nothing is going to kick off. Otherwise this is a damn stupid risk to take!

It is blatantly obvious at this point if it wasn't before - this is not a dog aggressive dog. He lives with a dog, he has shown no fear of other dogs, he is frustrated and he wants to play and he has not learned how to greet appropriately.

In addition he has quite possibly made a mistake in the past (predatory drift anyone?) with a puppy, mistaking it for prey - this CAN happen, and particularly with male dogs who are often utterly horrified and confused by tiny puppies. Of course, we only have the previous owners word for it that he attacked and wouldn't let go, he might have just nipped a pushy puppy and scared the owner - we will never know.

We meet the candidates:

Anya and her two daughters and their dog Herbie, a GSD.

Sevillio - single guy, I didn't catch where from but hes a chilled out kind guy, very quiet and relaxed.

Dagmar and Daniele - again I missed where from. Shes had dogs before, hes a cat person.

First Challenge - meet Amigo.

Anya and family go first and they have their GSD boy Herbie. They admit that Herbie has some issues, pulls on lead, growls if they pet other dogs.

The screen caption tells us: "Dogs that are overly possessive often show dominance as well"

Mm, that was a useful piece of B.S. In fact, dogs that are very possessive are usually insecure and anxious and fear losing their valued resources - a dominant animal is confident and has no such insecurities. If of course, dominance wrt people, existed. It does not.

They describe Herbie as being their pack leader and he's also pulled so hard he's broken Mum Anya's wrist in the past.

I don't need to tell you.... they won't win.

They take Herbie to meet Amigo, first through the bars of the pen and then straight in. Amigo sniffs Herbie and walks away. Once in the pen, they let Herbie off the leash (again, there's no muzzles here and we are told both dogs are dog aggressive...) Herbie barges over and sniffs Amigo's boy bits - Amigo does nothing, sniffs back and the two dogs part totally disinterested.

Oddly, Herbie is wearing a weird bandanna - its not a folded triangle like I am used to seeing, its a flat, wide band, in addition to his normal collar and I am wondering if its hiding either a prong collar or a shock unit. I don't know, it could be for decoration, I really have no idea but it looks odd in addition to his collar, and his flea collar..

Next, Sevillio meets Amigo.

Hes calm and quiet and Amigo seems to like him - Sev puts the lead on him ok (calls him over to put it on rather than approaching him) and they go for a walk.

Here Cesar talks a load of stuff about how Sev is allowing Amigo to walk in front and how thats no good, he must lead, and Cesar demonstrates by taking Amigo on a very short leash and holding him practically behind his back. Interesting to note, Amigo is nice and relaxed with Sevillio, and not so with Cesar.

Finally, Dagmar and Daniele meet Amigo.

They go in the pen and almost immediately fuck up because whilst dithering in the doorway asking Cesar if they can let Amigo out, he slips out (very slowly, there's no barging around).
Cesar tells them off for this and Amigo goes back in his pen, they are told to choose a leash and so they choose..... oh you guessed it, the thin black slip leash. Nice.... on a thin sighthound neck, cringe cringe!

Now they practice going in and out of the gate and Dagmar is better at hoiking the slip leash up under Amigos ears, she is more assertive than Daniele.

For some reason in this test, unlike the other two candidates, Cesar allows his pack to dash into the big paddock and run right up to Amigo... Amigo doesn't bat an eyelid, but then, he's been living with this pack for we don't know how long, and hes been getting corrections and kicks from Cesar for we don't know how long. As we saw when Cesar just walked off and left him in the pen with the pack though, we already know Cesar knows he isn't dog aggressive.

Anya and family and Herbie are out on the grounds that they can't actually control Herbie now.

Final Challenge: Rabbits and Dogs in Public...

Sevillio is first up, and Cesar has a pen with some white rabbits in it to see how Sevillio copes with Amigo's prey drive.

With Amigo on the slip leash, ears up seeing the rabbits, Sev walks him past and just avoids them, in fact if its not obvious that Sev is avoiding and not punishing, we get a screen caption that tells us:

"To address Amigo's excitement, Sevillio chooses avoidance over physical correction with the leash".

Amigo is mainly ignoring Sev at this point and pulling at the rabbits but he is pretty calm. Cesar tells him off though because hes not taught Amigo to ignore rabbits (hes also not wound Amigo up into a leaping lunging frenzy either but hey, you know...)

Next they go into town and Amigo has various dogs walked at him head on - he looks at a few, the slip leash is now up under his ears and its choking him, we actually get a close up of him yarking and Cesar comments on it, because its Sev's fault for not correcting him apparently (nothing to do with the cheese wire slip leash that will NOT loosen, nono).

Dagmar and Daniele face the same challenge. Daniele is confident, but he gives no corrections and again this is wrongity wrong - Dagmar does it and shes not correcting properly, her timing is out and Amigo isn't really paying attention.

We get a nice screen caption here too: " A correction with the leash could refocus Amigo's attention and lower his excitement".

Oh what I'd give for there to be a screen cap that says 'A correction with the leash could damage Amigo's trachea and vertebrae, cause him to redirect aggressively onto his handler and cause fearful associations with the trigger for the correction, ie, the other dog."

Not going to happen is it!

Cesar inevitably has to demonstrate how this should be done and he takes Amigo and he gives him a quick TSST and a kick in the flank. The second click of the fingers and TSST has Amigo sitting, ears back and looking as tragic as only a fucking worried Greyhound can, he slides into a down and Cesar throws the lead at him, and steps away..

Given that only minutes ago, Amigo wanted to get himself a nice fluffy bunny tea, I can only conclude that Amigo has some damn fine reasons to shut down in the presence of Millan and fluffy bunnies. The reaction to the flank kick and the TSSST and the click are evidently conditioned, his face is so worried and he can't even remember the bunnies exist he is so focused on Cesar and what he might do next with his nasty little kicky feet and jabby fingers and collar corrections....

They go out in public, same deal, TSST yank, kick etc.

Dagmar and Daniele win, because apparently lovely calm Sevillio is not a pack leader, because he wouldn't give corrections.

Now, we get the 5 week catch up - yay, theres lovely Amigo lazing on the sofa. Nice.

But what about this dog aggression problem, which of course is really a frustration/lack of greeting manners and self control problem - surely Cesar has fixed this.....

No. Because Dagmar and Daniele are actually walking Amigo on a fucking prong collar.

Yes, you read that right - that fine skinned, long, skinny necked sighthound, who is known to lunge into his collar, who was walked on a hound collar and harness for saftey - is wearing a prong collar.

Fabtastic marvelous splendid job there Cesar - how long before these people rehome Amigo because hes become worse on the prong collar or redirected onto them? Who knows.

In the end shots I think I can see some sore spots on the underside of Amigos neck, but they could just as easily be spots on his coat, I really don't know but I did notice them.

All in all, another sucky show - I wish Sevillio had won, he was kind and calm.


Anonymous said...

Oddly, Herbie is wearing a weird bandanna - I am wondering if its hiding either a prong collar or a shock unit. I don't know, it could be for decoration, I really have no idea but it looks odd in addition to his collar, and his flea collar..

Your review sucks!!! You have no idea what you're talking about. You have weird ideas of prong collars or shock collars that are hidden behind a bandana. FYI the bandanna is an aqua coolkeeper! Do you know how hot Spain gets in the summer?? And Amigo is doing fine! Ass.. http://www.aquacoolkeeper.com/gb/cooling-for-pets/cooling-dog-collar-for-pets.html

Ems said...

I love how people want to have a go when they are Anonymous...

Prong and Shock units (more often prongs though) are often hidden behind coloured cloth collars or bandanas, so thats not a weird idea at all! If you re-read the bit you actually quoted I did also state 'it could be for decoration'.

It didn't occur that it could be a cooling bandana, it could, but I haven't seen any of the other dogs wearing any cooling type clothing. I am well aware Spain gets hot in summer, you may have noticed I have mentioned the heat in other reviews. Ass.