• Touring celebrity dog trainer exposed over ‘cruel’ methods

    September 22, 2023


    A celebrity dog trainer faces widespread criticism for promoting ‘cruel and outdated’ methods, rather than rewards-based dog training techniques.

    With Augusto Deoliveira set to tour Australia, leading pet organisations say his methods compromise dog welfare.

    Reward based dog training on german shepherd

    The Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia (APDT) and Pet Professional Guild Australia (PPGA) have combined to highlight the harm that the punishment-based training Deoliveira promotes inflicts on pets both mentally and physically.

    PPGA has previously urged owners to use rewards-based dog training to prevent pet surrenders at already overcrowded animal shelters.

    That call came as Network 10’s aired dog training tv show ‘Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly.

    The show features controversial UK dog trainer Graeme Hall.

    ‘The Dog Daddy’s’ fear-based dog training methods

    Deoliveira, aka The Dog Daddy on social media, also uses training techniques and equipment designed to cause pain and fear.

    These include hanging a dog from a slip lead and delivering physical corrections repeatedly using a prong collar.

    He also is shown physically forcing a dog to lie down or sit, and provoking aggression.

    PPGA says his videos clearly show dogs displaying fearful behaviours and extremely high levels of stress.

    Scared dog being touched by human hand
    The PPGA says training methods used by the ‘celebrity trainer’ can inflict fear and stress on dogs (image: stock)

    Deoloveira’s failure to correctly respond to dog’s body language and communication has also been used as an example.

    The Dog Daddy’s methods have led to international petitions calling authorities to stop his events.

    This includes his upcoming seminars in Australia from Sept 30.

    It’s feared he is potentially spreading training techniques which risk compromising dog welfare.

    The methods used also put handlers and the general public at significant risk of being bitten.

    Aversive and punishment-based dog training

    Both the APDT and the PPGA strongly oppose the use of the aversive equipment used by Deoloveria.

    Including electric shock, citronella, and prong collars (also known as a pinch or constriction collar).

    They say the use of these collars can lead to injury, pain and suffering in the dog.

    FACT Prong collars are illegal to import into Australia and are currently banned in Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland.

    “Punishment-based methods cause a lot of stress, can put the dog into conflict and may lead to worsening behaviour,” said APDT President Louise Ginman.

    “Modifying behaviour using positive reinforcement is far more effective long term and causes far less stress in dogs.

    “Dogs that show aggression may be fearful, suffer from anxiety or trauma, lack socialisation or have other mental health challenges that require veterinary treatment.

    “Two dogs can present similar behaviours, but the cause can be completely different.”

    “Professional dog trainers get to the bottom of your dog’s challenges.

    “(this helps to) put the best and most positive behaviour change program in place, added Ms Ginman.

    Research conducted by the Bristish Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) shows positive, reward-based training methods – using no force, no fear and no pain – work most effectively at improving dog behaviour outcomes and have no side effects on the dogs.

    “The aim of dog training is not to suppress unwanted behaviour with punishment, but to make real positive change that is long lasting for the dogs and their owners.”

    Ms Campbell said the PPGA has contacted the Department of Immigration about growing concerns from the pet industry and the public but has not heard back.

    Benefits of positive and rewards-based dog training

    Dog training has evolved significantly over the years.

    Here’s some reasons why positive and rewards-based methods have become increasingly popular:

    Builds a stronger owner/pet bond

    Positive reinforcement strengthens the bond between the dog and the owner, fostering trust and cooperation.

    By training with rewards, dogs develop a positive association with their owners and want to learn.

    Better learning outcomes

    Dogs are more motivated to learn and repeat behaviours when rewarded.

    By using treats, praise, and play as rewards, owners can communicate clearly and effectively with their pets.

    This then leads to faster and more reliable training outcomes.

    Increased emotional well-being

    Rewards-based training promotes a positive and stress-free environment for dogs.

    By focusing on positive reinforcement, owners can enhance their dog’s emotional well-being, reducing anxiety and fear associated with punishment-based methods.

    Read PPGA’s full position statement on the airing of Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly here

    About PPGA

    The Pet Professional Guild Australia (PPGA) is a membership organisation representing pet industry professionals.

    All members commit to science-based, rewards-based dog training and pet care.

    The PPGA is an official branch of the Pet Professional Guild.

    PPG is a worldwide organisation for advocating, educating and encouraging improvements in companion animal welfare.



    How to find the best doggy daycare near you

    Aggressive dog behaviour: dog body language and other warning signs