Thursday, June 26, 2008

Humans Whose Leg We'd Pee On: Dr. James Dobson

We try to keep things pretty low-key around these parts, but Dr. James Dobson, author of The Strong-Willed Child is in the news recently with attacks on Barack Obama and his "fruitcake ideas." We definitely won't get political here, but Dr. Dobson wrote about his dachshund 'Sigmund' as an example in his "spare the rod, spoil the child" book, which was revised in 2005. Here's a wild excerpt for those who have never read it on how to NOT train your dachshund.
One word of caution: it won't make your day. Dr. Dobson needs to explore positive reinforcement techniques if he wants dogs or even children to respect him as the pack leader.

Please don't misunderstand me. Siggie is a member of our family and we love him dearly. And despite his anarchistic nature, I have finally taught him to obey a few simple commands. However, we had some classic battles before he reluctantly yielded to my authority.
The greatest confrontation occurred a few years ago when I had been in Miami for a three-day conference. I returned to observe that Siggie had become boss of the house while I was gone. But I didn't realize until later that evening just how strongly he felt about his new position as Captain.
At eleven o'clock that night, I told Siggie to go get into his bed, which is a permanent enclosure in the family room. For six years I had given him that order at the end of each day, and for six years Siggie had obeyed.
On this occasion, however, he refused to budge. You see, he was in the bathroom, seated comfortably on the furry lid of the toilet seat. That is his favorite spot in the house, because it allows him to bask in the warmth of a nearby electric heater...
When I told Sigmund to leave his warm seat and go to bed, he flattened his ears and slowly turned his head toward me. He deliberately braced himself by placing one paw on the edge of the furry lid, then hunched his shoulders, raised his lips to reveal the molars on both sides, and uttered his most threatening growl. That was Siggie's way of saying. "Get lost!"
I had seen this defiant mood before, and knew there was only one way to deal with it. The ONLY way to make Siggie obey is to threaten him with destruction. Nothing else works. I turned and went to my closet and got a small belt to help me "reason" with Mr. Freud.
What developed next is impossible to describe. That tiny dog and I had the most vicious fight ever staged between man and beast. I fought him up one wall and down the other, with both of us scratching and clawing and growling and swinging the belt. I am embarrassed by the memory of the entire scene. Inch by inch I moved him toward the family room and his bed. As a final desperate maneuver, Siggie backed into the corner for one last snarling stand. I eventually got him to bed, only because I outweighed him 200 to 12!
But this is not a book about the discipline of dogs; there is an important moral to my story that is highly relevant to the world of children. Just as surely as a dog will occasionally challenge the authority of his leaders, so will a little child -- only more so. (emphasis Dobson's) Source.


Moira said...

I am deeply sickened by this man. I a have always hate his self-righteousness, but now I am completely horrified by his violent inhumanity. God help his children and pets.

Anonymous said...

I have always admired and respected Dr. Dobson but am horrified, shocked, and disappointed at the mental picture of this episode. There are other ways to "discipline" a strong-willed Dachshund and Heaven forbid! that one might use this advice to "train up a child." Dr. D. has just dropped a couple of notches on my admire-o-meter.

Anonymous said...

Poor Siggie. I think Dobson should have a permanent enclosure in the garage, or rather outside in the snow. It just sickens me to read something like that. So much violence, he should be ashamed and embarassed to even tell that story.
I would leave a man like that and take the dog with me.

Donna said...

I've always loathed that man. Now I have a reason to dislike him even more.

MaggieandBandit said...

We are startled to find no one called animal control on this man after his article appeared. If we had thumbs, we'd go rescue Siggie ourselves. What a horrible person to think this was OK and worth sharing as good behavior for any man or beast!

Amy said...

How very sad and sickening. I would not treat either my kids or doxies in such a fashion. The man needs to own up to his need to CONTROL already. Sickening.

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