Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 8th 2013 Contents B
comes to the
CHARLES KONG SOO
Dog trainer Caspar Durant says
the aggression training and
abuse given to pitbulls by irre-
sponsible dog owners and trainers
contribute to the incidents of maul-
ings and deaths, as the dogs are
turned to hate humans.
He said the same pitbulls that are
demonised as vicious killing
machines in the media are used as
therapy dogs or service dogs for the
blind, the disabled, in hospitals,
retirement homes, schools and pris-
ons in the US and other countries.
Durant said: "They put on a dog
bite suit to give the dogs aggression
training with a stick in their hand,
they harass the dogs, provoking them
to attack and into hating humans. I
don t do that.
"Protecting your property is nat-
ural to them, you don t have to teach
them that and aggression training.
"Your home is their territory and
their boundary, my dogs are not
trained to use deadly force to stop
an attack, but only as much force as
is necessary to neutralise the situ-
"In the scenario of an armed
intruder, I don t teach my dogs to
go for a specific part of the body. I
leave them free to improvise and do
what is convenient to them as the
situation presents itself."
He said a dog trained in the
method he employed, Schutzhund
(German for "protection dog") was
the only dog capable of this feat.
Durant said the dogs were never
aggressive unless he or his owner
were under immediate attack.
He said all his dogs were brought
to that standard and the same applied
to dogs he trained for clients.
Durant explained the difference
between a watch dog and a guard
dog: A watch dog warns its owner
of an intruder or trespasser by bark-
ing. A guard dog guards the prop-
erty or livestock of its owner and is
capable of stopping a threat.
If a bandit was foolhardy enough
to set foot in Durant s yard, he had
to contend with Durant s seven guard
dogs---two pitbulls and five Rottweil-
ers.He said the pitbulls, Blase and
Pancake; Eve the Rottweiler and Sul-
tan, one of her four offspring, were
trained to protect their territory even
when he was not around. They
recognised him as the Alpha male
or leader of the pack and were all
eager to follow his commands.
There were chickens roaming freely
in the yard and the dogs were well
trained, leaving them alone even with
their inherent high prey drive.
Durant s yard was not enclosed, yet
his dogs remained within the bound-
ary of his yard and wouldn t even
touch nearby garbage bags.
He said his dogs did absolutely
nothing without his say. He used as
few words as possible, it was done
through body language.
Durant gave a demonstration. On
his command his dogs would sit obe-
diently, go to an area, play together,
stop play, and go into their kennels
and stay there with the doors open.
No fighting or jealousy
When he was playing with one of
his dogs, there was no fighting or
jealousy among them for his affection
or for food. When he demonstrated
training to poison proof the dog by
feeding just one of them, Durant
rewarded the dog with a positive hug
Just like Cesar Millan, world-
renowned "Dog Whisperer," known
for his ability to communicate with
animals, Durant has no formal train-
ing or education in animal behaviour,
however his uncanny ability to have
his dogs follow commands almost
silently is similar to Millan s.
He did have a security company
in the 70s with several foundation
dogs, and now that he is a retiree at
61, he wants to devote his time to
his passion and first love, rearing and
Durant reads voraciously books on
dog psychology, behaviour and police
dog training, but he has found that
there was always something missing
such as making the dogs do some-
thing they wouldn t do naturally.
Eschewing the word "training," he
preferred to use "manipulating"
because a dog cannot be taught any-
thing it was not born to do.
Durant said he didn t have to teach
a dog anything, all he did was manip-
ulate what it would normally do such
as run, sit, stand, bark, bite, jump
and eat, but only when and where
the owner wanted him to do it.
He said he was fascinated when
he learned how certain types of dogs
were selected to lead the blind, one
of them being the pitbull.
It was the same pitbull, maligned
in the press as responsible for several
attacks and deaths, that was also
used for rehabilitation and therapy
work in the US.
Durant said it was what people
did with their dogs, the abuse that
made them resentful towards
He revealed that the pitbull was
the most popular family dog in the
beginning of the 20th century in the
US. The mascot romping with chil-
dren in the 1930s movies The Little
Rascals, was a pitbull named Pete.
Durant said the pitbull was one of
the most loving dogs he came across.
His children used to climb up on
them to get into their beds and some-
times when they were playing they
would fall on top of the pitbulls.
He said that dogs can detect
changes in human body odour, sense
someone s intentions and will know
how to react or how much force to
use. Durant said because of the high
prevalence in crime, there was still
a high demand for pitbulls and other
Looking for exotic dogs
He said some homeowners who
could afford it, were looking for exotic
dogs in excess of 100 pounds such
as the Akita, American Bulldogs and
Durant said unfortunately crim-
inals also wanted a hardy dog such
as the pitbull which was hard to kill,
and they were experimenting with
creating bandogs, crossing pitbulls
and mastiffs to guard their illicit
He said he was not in favour of
the Dog Control Act which targeted
breed specific dogs, especially the
Durant said there was nothing
wrong with any dog.
"Don t try to blame the dog or
ban the breed for what people did
He called for the tattooing and
microchiping of dogs to be made
mandatory and that they be regis-
tered by veterinarians.
Durant said if a dog bit someone,
the owner should be held responsible.
He said over a period of time dif-
ferent breeds of dogs were labeled
as killer dogs, Rottweilers were called
devil dogs, German Shepherds were
described as mad dogs and Dober-
mans went for the throat.
Durant said he had too much
knowledge to let it die with him and
there was just too much misinfor-
mation out there on dogs that he
would like to correct through his
In the earlier days, obedience was
a matter of forcing the dogs to learn
and given corrections and rewards
were only given by voice (praise).
These dogs were also not well
socialised, and the end result was a
correct but submissive working dog.
They had no pleasure doing their
work because of fear of correction
that would follow a mistake.
After that period, a younger gen-
eration of dog manipulators invented
a whole new method using "stim-
ulation with reward" based on "play
and learn" with no pressure and forc-
The end result was a fast dog
which emanated a joy in doing what-
ever it did, with a minimum of sub-
The modern set of manipulators
are now using a new method invent-
ed and developed by American dol-
phin trainers, which is called "the
positive learning method," based on
each dog learning for himself without
any sign of pressure from the owner
and no corrections made by the
Dog Whisperer blames careless owners, trainers for abuse
Dog trainer Caspar Durant demonstrating the obedience of his pitbull Blase, who will not come out of his open
kennel until his master gives the command.
Escape from Babylon
next Sunday ---PAGE B4
The End of an Era
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