Dr. Michael W. Fox

Dominance-based Dog Training

Vegetarianism: A Bioethical Imperative
Dr. Fox on the Tonight Show
In Memoriam_Feral Cat Mark Twain
DVD Links
Releasing Cats To Live Outdoors
Outdoor Cats, Wildlife And Human Health
Cat and Dog Nutrition--the Thiamine Issue
Cat Food Recipe
Cat Tail Deemed To Be Good Vaccination Spot
Cat Behavior
Cat Vaccination Protocols
Declawing Cats
Feline Stomatitis Complex
Cat Litter Box Issues
Introducing A New Cat
Introducing A Dog Into Cat's Home
Choosing To Live With A Dog
Dog Vaccination Protocols
Dog Mutilations
Dog Food Recipe
Dental Problems In Companion Animals
Dog Food and Feeding Issues
Dr. Fox's Good Medicine Juice
The Truth About Manfactured Dog and Cat Food
Companion Animals Harmed By Pesticides
Dominance-based Dog Training
Dr. Fox and the Super Dog Project
Guide to Congenital & Heritable Disorders in Dogs
Dogwise E-Books
Concerning Outdoor Chaining/Tethering Of Dogs
Dogs In Shelters
Dr. Fox's Good Dog Cookie Recipe
Don't Clone Your Dog Or Cat!
The Pros and Cons of Neutering Your Dog
Recovering Canine Health And The Natural Dog
Animal Vaccination Concerns
Care For Dogs and Cats With Renal Failure
Urinary Tract Stones
Green Pet Care
Puppy and Kitten Breeding Mills
Pure Water for Cats and Dogs--and All
Dental Problems In Companion Animals
Chemical-related Human Diseases In Companion Animals
From Mineral Oil & Multiple Sclerosis to Plastics, Nanoparticles
Companion Animal Care
Companion Animals and Flea and Tick Treatments
Behavioral Problems and Drug Solutions: A Last Resort
Preventing Fleas
Domestication and Diet
Lyme Disease and Wildlife Management
Disease and Animal Rights
GMOs and Pet Food
Journal of AVMA and GMOs
Indoor and Outdoor Poison Hazards for Pets
Carrageenan In Pet Foods
Cats, Dogs and Cadmium
Fluoride In Pet Food - A Serious Health Risk?
Best Manufactured Pet Foods
Pet Food Letters
Nutrigenomics and the Pet Food Revolution
The Ethics of Krill Oil and Protein Supplements
Animal-Insensitivity Syndrome
Wolves and Human Well-being
Wolf-Dog Hybrids
Crying Wolf Too Much
Betrayal of Wolves and Public Trust
The 'One Medicine'
Pet Health Insurance
The Veterinary Profession
  Pharmaceutical Cruelty In Animal Farms: Consumer Beware
Pig Parts For People
Conflicts Of Interest In The Veterinary Profession
Bioethics: Its Scope And Purpose
The Bioethics And Politics Of Manufactured Pet Foods
Animal Rights, Human Rights And Wrongs
The Future of the Veterinary Profession
Holistic Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary Ethics and Economics
Veterinary Bioethics and Animal Welfare
Principles Of Veterinary Bioethics
What Price Our Animal Relationships?
Changing Diets for Health's and Earth's Sake
Wildlife Conservation
Wildlife Reseach Needs Ethical Boundaries
Wildlife Management Practices
How Animals Suffer Around the World
Feeling for Animals and Animal Liberation
Animal Altruism and Abilty To Empathize
What Makes Animals Happy?
The Empathosphere: Animal Prescience, And Remote Sensing
Mental Effects on Physical Health: The Mind-Body Connection
Animal Spirits
Light Of Compassion
Religion, Science and Animal Rights
Animal Suffering And The God Question
Healing Animals & The Vision of One Health
Islam And Animals
Panentheism: The Spirituality Of Compassion
One Earth, One Health
Why We All Must Care For Animals and the Environment
Quality Of Life In Animals
Healing Agriculture's Broken Connections
Mammon Vs. Civil Society
Justice For All Beings And The End Of Terrorism
Universal Bill Of Rights For Animals And Nature
Science Writers' and Reporters' Political Agendas
Cambridge Declaration On Consciousness
Michael W. Fox Resume'
Dr. Fox Biographical Interview
Interview: History of Animal Welfare Science
Curriculum Vitae
Books By Dr. Fox
Dr. Fox Lectures, Seminars and Workshops
My Life For The Animals
To Kiss Salamanders and Stones


DEAR DR. FOX: I am a great admirer of your work (at least what I know about it).  I own many of your books and was attending the SPARCS 2013 conference this last weekend of June, 2013.  I like the part of spirituality that enters, is given space in your work.

A controversy was created around your comments re: use of aversives, use or neck shaking and shock collars. These seem to contradict all of your work or my perception of your work, approach of respect towards other animals.  I see you as a man of grace who would not hurt other animals.  Some people here (Canada) are totally flabbergasted by these 'recommendations’ as they perceive it.  To me, it is very painful because I really appreciate all of what you did so far for animals all over.

When I see your interactions with animals I cannot imagine that you would use or recommend these methods to modify their behaviors.  The shaking of the neck is something that Cesar Milan would recommend and in some dogs it will escalate the emotion and increase the risk of a bite therefore putting them in danger of losing their life.  And yes I am struggling with the opinions of trainers who take the position that only gentleness ( so called R+ or positive reinforcement/reward) works and should be used at all times and it makes things difficult to maintain a balanced view and find where I position myself all things considered.   You see what the controversy is about.  I needed to put my mixed emotions on paper out of the admiration I have for you.  I would really appreciate if you could share your thoughts on this with me.
 M.F.L., Carignan, Quebec

Dear Marie-France: I think it is important to address what seems to be an on-going controversy ignited by the dominance-intimidation ways of people like Cesar Milan, which I have publicly deplored.  Some dogs need physical restraint to learn internal inhibition/self-restraint, one method I have described being ‘Cradling’ for pups and small dogs.  Holding around the neck and shoulders with one arm or holding the neck- scruff and when needed, placing a hand around the dog’s muzzle or putting on a muzzle are standard handling procedures for keeping some dogs still for veterinary examination.  I would not write this off as cruel domination but rather, as when a cat is held by the scruff of the neck, induces a reflexive passivity.  Pups are likewise held by the scruff of the neck when being carried by their mothers and a reflex passivity is triggered as per my earlier research on the reflexological/neurological development of the dog.
I would only advocate using a scruff and muzzle hold and even holding a dog down for a few seconds as an extreme intervention, only by a competent person, as when one dog has attacked another. When put into practice, as at my wife Deanna Krantz’ animal refuge in India, in addition to other safe and effective techniques to break up a fight when caring for a free group of 30 or more dogs, this NATURAL, ethologically appropriate method of canine behavioral inhibition works well. Loud sounds can also prove effective at a greater distance.
I hope this helps clarify things for you and my position and total aversion to the Millan-style of domineering aversive conditioning which could increase canine aggression.
Another issue is training collars using remote wireless signals: buzzers and tones are fine, but no electroshocks for any dog, hunting and working dogs in particular where there can be much misuse and abuse of these devices .Remote control electroshock collars with variable intensity should never be sold to the general public. Only experienced, sensitive and qualified dog handlers and behaviorists should use remote shock collars in aversive conditioning, such as to prevent dogs from attacking livestock. This technique is being considered for use in Sweden on wolves, captured and released with such collars to deter them from attacking farm animals in their range.


Call for a Ban on Electric Shock Collars for Dogs

The British Kennel Club and others in the U.K. are urging the Government to prohibit the use of shock collars for training dogs. This comes after two independent studies have shown that there is “ conclusive proof that electric shock collars do not deliver the promises the manufacturers claim and could actually cause more behavioural problems than they solve”, according to a report in the Veterinary Record, Aug 10, 2013, p 130.The research indicated that “ behavioural and physiological responses are consistent with negative emotional states”, and that the use of e-collars in training pet dogs leads to a negative impact on welfare, at least in a proportion of animals trained using this technique.”


Dr. Peter Stockdale, veterinary college class-mate and former Dean of the veterinary college at Massey University, NZ, now sheep farming in British Columbia, tells me that in his opinion all users of shock collars should be trained and certified. He relies on them while working his dogs with the sheep, using remote controlled, rheostat-adjustable DogTra system which can deliver a warning buzz or beep to the dog’s collar, coupled only when needed after initial training as a conditioned reflex signal, with reinforcement of a mild electroshock. “Improperly used, these devices will demoralize a dog, and I have not developed the skill of some shepherds who can simply control their dogs with different kinds of whistles.”


 Bark-activated buzzers can work well for some dogs who are incessant barkers, but again, electroshock-devices I find ethically unacceptable and yet they are being sold to insensitive owners, trainers and handlers who are lacking the kind of empathy and skill called for in their proper use .


 At the other extreme are the ‘hands-off’ never shout or hold-down dog trainers/counselors who put gentleness before all else, a position I respect but which will prove ineffectual with some strong-willed and over-indulged dogs, like some parents who are averse to exercising ‘tough love’ when it comes to dealing with their delinquent offspring who do not respect boundaries and want their own way---like so many delinquent dogs. Striking may be the solution of last resort or only response for some, an action which I deplore. There never can be any justification for hitting or kicking a dog, an attention-getting loud hand clap or shout being sufficient. Also. ‘time-out’, such as banishing a misbehaving dog immediately to another room, is another effective corrective for most dogs.


Canine genetics, early experiences, socialization and other dog-related influences on behavior and tranability/adaptability/educatability not withstanding, one must look at the attitude, competence, confidence, intelligence, understanding and capacity for empathy of the dog’s human companion with equal thoroughness before deciding on the most appropriate remedies for troubling, unwanted, aggressive and other behaviors which need to be modified in order to improve the human-non-human bond and in many instances prevent animal abuse, cruelty and even abandonment or euthanasia.


I must add that many people, including dog caregivers and trainers/educators, are limited by their own preconceptions and misconceptions about how to handle and communicate with dogs. No amount of factual knowledge without hands-on experience is going to make a difference because they variously lack empathy, have unresolved fears, need to dominate and control etc etc. This is why I do not advise many people to engage in play-fighting with their dogs which includes grabbing and shaking the scruff of the neck, cheeks and muzzle. But many people can engage in such intense physical contact because their dogs know what is going on and the humans know when to set limits and boundaries in terms of response intensity and duration of interaction. Those who play together stay together. But many trainers say, mistakenly, that such interactions, and even having a tug-of-war with a chew-rope or knotted towel, will encourage dogs to become aggressive and dominant in the relationship. So they say no to what many dogs really enjoy, along with their human playmates. This is unacceptable and makes me wonder about the training/education of many individuals in the dog business of training and behavioral counseling. Some trainers even regard a dog jumping up on a person as dominance behavior, another example of a little bit of knowledge potentially causing more harm than good. Dogs also jump-on to greet, embrace, display affection and to solicit play.


Even a leash and collar (and especially the choke-chain collar which I deplore) can be an instrument of torture and abuse in the wrong hands. When commonly used improperly as tools of domination, correction and control they can cause neck injuries and great harm especially to small breeds whose tracheas can collapse when they pull too hard or are corrected too roughly. Small breeds in particular should be walked in harnesses around the chest, and for other dogs the Anderson-type ‘Gentle Leader’ around the muzzle can provide effective, non-injurious control and direction.


Above all we must examine the truths that we live by, including what we believe to be the best and only way to treat, handle, train dogs and other animals, and to remain open to new ways and old using common sense as our guide, not ‘pure science’, and compassion, not custom, expedience or convenience, as our compass.


Check the link below for a Dr. Fox C-Span feature concerning "Animal Testing"

Dr. Michael W. Fox on C-Span

--Video Link--

Dr. Michael W. Fox

What right do we humans have to exploit other animals?  Where does that right come from and what are the limits if any?  What duties or obligations do we have in our relationships with our dogs, cats and other animals domesticated and wild?

          Follow and support Caroline Kraus and her Moments of Truth Project documentary film as she travels across the U.S. asking people, who variously live, work with and care for animals, these and other relevant questions.

Is there an overriding consensus and what are the reasons why people respond very differently to these questions, which in part examine our character, culture and future?

The viewing and discussion of this kind of documentary should be part of every school curriculum and will be of interest to all who work with, profit from and care for animals. Project Home Page: http://momentsoftruthproject.com/  To see the interview with Dr. Fox go to http://momentsoftruthproject.com/dr-michael-fox/