Barking Blondes: Dog whisperers, Alan Titchmarsh and Hallowen charity dog walks

Joanne Good and Anna Webb

barking 300x225 Barking Blondes: Dog whisperers, Alan Titchmarsh and Hallowen charity dog walksCesar Millan, “The Dog Whisperer”, was back on our show this week. Not without some controversy. In fact, we were surprised he didn’t opt to leave the BBC building under a blanket!

Having just flown in from the States the day before, his first appearance on television to promote his national seminar tour had attracted more publicity than he could ever have dreamed of.

Who would have thought that a grilling by Alan Titchmarsh would have made headline news? However, accusations of cruelty and barbarism on Alan’s teatime chat show got the dog world in a frenzy.

We know from our own experiences that the mere mention of Cesar’s name will split this nation of dog lovers right down the middle. It seems that as far as training and discipline is concerned, methods are as controversial as those of child rearing. In fact, Super Nanny’s technique is often compared to that of dog training.

In a country where we commission television series with the word “Borstal” in the title or promote dogs to become “Top Models”, or where we have boys hanging fighting dogs from trees in order to train them and where our rescue centres are fit to bursting with abandoned dogs, it seems strange Cesar is the target for so much vitriol. We leave it to you to draw your own conclusions. But we can tell you this… we discovered he has fantastic hip movement as he joined us for an off air shimmy to a rendition of a Bill Hayley song.

There are various Halloween charity dog walks taking place this weekend, one of them being on behalf of Guide dogs For The Blind. It sets off from Lincolns Inn Fields on Sunday morning. This charity goes all the way back to 1931 when it trained dogs to help First World War veterans blinded in combat by gas. But there are even images on Egyptian tombs of dogs leading blind people and Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote in her poem Aurora Leigh; “The blind man walks wherever the dog pulls/And so I answered”.

Originally, most guide dogs were German Shepherds but nowadays Labradors or crosses are trained up. Labradors, of course are often considered the most “biddable” and easy dogs to train. This charity relies on donations and receives no public funding, so events like the Halloween Walk are essential. It costs £50,000 to breed, rear, train, maintain and support a guide dog through its working life.

It could be said that these dogs save the NHS a fortune and transform peoples lives, bringing them companionship and independence to go out and about despite their disability. Under the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) it is illegal to refuse a guide dog entry into any public place, yet campaigning to raise awareness on this still, continues.

One caller to our radio show, with impaired sight, and listening to us from her home in Israel congratulated this UK charity on acting as advisers in her country where awareness is still needed. Of course one of the most famous of all guide dogs was Sadie, owned by politician David Blunkett. She was once awarded “Guide Dog Of The Year”.

Well, this week, in politics, there were more canine honours being paid to The Westminster Dog Of The Year. MP for Deal and Dover, Charlie Elphicke’s four-year-old terrier, Star was the winner. Her interests include barking at the French doggies across the Channel from her home on the coast. We are told her next campaign will be “to stamp out puppy farming both here and in the rest of Europe”. We wish her luck. So far, no one else has succeeded.

Woof! Woof!

‘Barking at the Moon’ is on every Thursday from 10pm to midnight on BBC London 94.9FM

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  • Molly Doodle

    Barbara Woodhouse was contraversial in her own way but my God she never raised a hand or her voice in anger to a dog.

  • derek davies

    Barbara Kathleen Vera Woodhouse was our best loved and respected animal trainer . Titchmash & co forget that she too advocated a ’shock’ to the brain of a
    badly behaved dog. She recommended that a metal ‘chain’ should be fitted
    around the dogs neck and tugged very sharply whenever it pulled away or mis-behaved in any way. This action is no different at all to the ‘touch’ or ‘low voltage shock’
    administered by ‘The dog whisperer’. Please pass this on to Al;an
    Titchmarsh and ‘the dog whisperer’ or kindly tell me how i can do this. i
    am aged 75 and never done this before! Thank you. Derek Davies. Wirral. UK.

  • Lozange67

    I agree. Milan deals with problematic dogs to begin with, and rehabilitates them when their owners are at wits’ end. It was cheap of Titchmarsh, and probably about competition for ratings. I have a Mal/Husky and a cat.

  • Gizwiz

    Oh for goodness sake………..whenever Cesar’s name crops up the same very vocal and trolling minority all start yelling about how cruel he is/shock collars etc. However the vast majority still see that his methods work and promote happiness and harmony within dog owning households. Those who see him as cruel for trying to introduce rules and discipline probably have very badly behaved children too!

  • 5brian5

    Hi Ladies; I have never watched Ceaser Milan on tv, or for that matter heard of him until you both introduced him on BATW via 94.9. When I heard him again on your show, I personally didn’t find anything he said offensive. Everything is relative and usually needs to be taken with a grain of salt. It would never occur to me, to have someone else train a cat or dog of mine, any more than I would allow someone to have trained my son decades ago. As I have said, right now I have a cat and no dog. Until I am sure my heart issues are under control, I feel its the best thing I can do for a dog. I have made arrangements for my cat to be cared for if something goes wrong. She is however, the most perfect room-mate I could ever have. We both read each others body language, and we are both in sync with one another. I beleive this is due to my constant interacting with her, talking to her, and allowing her to explore her world without my interference. I can honestly say, that she is more loyal and self controlled than most humans I have known throughout my life. I don’t ever remember an animal having a separation anxiety issue. Even when she’s sound asleep next to my pillow, if I get up, she’s right there with me. She follows me everywhere, and if I call her, she comes running. I wouldn’t change a thing about her or train her to do anything, except sing like the Friar you had on your show! LOL. ALSO, in regards to what someone said about service dogs on BATW, I don’t beleive there are any rules pertaining to how people on the street should deal with a sevice dog in America.(i.e. feed, touch, or talk to the dog) I wouldn’t think of feeding someone elses dog or cat. I have however, talked and touched someone’s service dog, as it was looking at me in the doctors office, and the owner seemed comfortable with our interaction. Thanks again for another great blog! Take Care! Brian (Detroit)

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