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'Dog Whisperer' disciple denied Stokenchurch dog adoption
A DOG lover was dismayed to hear she was not allowed to adopt a new pet, after a rescue home disagreed with her "brutal" Dog Whisperer techniques.
Elke Hojer, who runs a rural TV and Film studio location near Saunderton, already has five dogs and went to Stokenchurch Dog Rescue to add to her pack.
But when she and her son took two of their dogs to meet pug-cross Piglet, Miss Hojer was told the centre did not approve of her controversial disciplining style.
The mother-of-two follows the teachings of TV ‘Dog Whisperer’ Cesar Millan, who believes humans must assert themselves as ‘pack-leader’ using a series of physical and psychological techniques.
These included forcing a dog into submission by pinning it to the floor, a move Miss Hojer performed on her own pet during the meeting.
And the 49-year-old studio director, who has adopted from the centre before, is disappointed she wasn’t told about their stance on Mr Millan until after her visit.
She said: "I was told they disagreed with the technique and that I couldn’t have a dog from them.
"I have a very well-balanced pack of dogs. Yes, some of them are young and still learning but they are all very well behaved.
"The techniques of Cesar Millan are not aggressive, in fact they are very calm and a lot of it is based on psychology and body language.
"What they are doing at the centre is tremendous, that’s why I went there, but they have wasted my time and staff time just because we have a difference of opinion over disciplining.”
Mexican-born Mr Millan rose to fame with his TV show ‘The Dog Whisperer’, which features him dealing with aggressive dogs and helping the owners gain control over them.
Stokenchurch Dog Rescue have hit back over Miss Hojer’s criticism, calling Mr Millan’s techniques "brutal" and "out-dated".
Since opening in 1963, the home has successfully re-homed thousands of stray and unwanted dogs.
Joyce Marriott, chair of trustees, defended her staff’s decision and condemned techniques used by Miss Hojer during the meeting, which included forcing the animal to the ground and slapping its back legs.
“During the visit Miss Hojer advised us that she follows the Cesar Milan methods of training,” she said.
“These involve him, when he feels it is necessary, using electric shock collars, pronged choke collars, kicking the dogs’ flanks and other dominance techniques.
"Mr Millan has openly confirmed that he uses these out-dated and brutal techniques."
No-one at the rescue centre suggested Miss Hojer used any of the methods other than the ones witnessed during their meeting.
She added: "These methods have been condemned by countless dog lovers who, like us, practice and promote positive reward training.
"Our first duty is the wellbeing of our dogs, particularly bearing in mind that a lot have already been abused in previous homes.
"Therefore, given what the staff had witnessed, we did not think that this was the right family for this little dog."
Mrs Marriott has since contacted Miss Hojer personally, and added that the rescue centre’s website will now carry a message outlining its stance on dog discipline to avoid future disappointment.
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