One More Post on Sanzone, I Won't Be There


Dog trainer Toriano Sanzone wanted me to promote and appear at an event, called 14 DDV: The idea is to train 14 dogs in 14 days and then those dogs receive a Canine Good Citizens Test, and they’re given (free) to 14 veterans. How can that be bad? I went to Sanzone’s website, since I was unfamiliar with him….and I offered concerns to Sanzone. His answers, pretty much telling me what I believe he thought I wanted to hear. But I didn’t know that at the time.

I suppose you can say I was duped, or am naive.

In my WGN Radio Podcast – I even asked Sanzone about his training methods. So, something was bothering me….Guess we should all pay more attention to what our gut tells us.

This is not my event – I never endorsed Sanzone (despite what apparently people believe because others have written that on the Internet, where everything must be true).

I did write a positive blog post about Sanzone’s event, which was followed by hundreds of emails from angry dog trainers….mostly critical of Sanzone, and of me.  (Also a handful of emails about the “dangers” of rehabbing pit bull type dogs, another topic for another day).

If you ever doubted the importance and respect I have for professionals….know that I’ve read as many of the emails as I can. And have answered many. I have not answered those who have outrightly attacked me.

More important, I’ve been watching videos of Sanzone – like this one:

This is disturbing….and my exact words after watching, “Enough already.”

The force of old-style training a dog by stepping on a leash isn’t what bothers as much as the dog’s response, as this dog is clearly in some distress.

I have decided NOT to attend Sanzone’s Sautrday’s event, which I was to emcee and broadcast from.

I will be in studio- taking phone calls, as I routinely do at 10:30 A.M.

This was not an easy decision for me to make. Here’s the thing: The reality is few trainers at all venture into the inner city, and here’s one who is. And his message isn’t all bad. Also, he’s helping veterans, and at least these 14 dogs are living because of his mission or stunt, depending on your point of view.

I am not – I repeat NOT defending Sanzone’s methods….but at least he’s there. I wonder how many of those who attacked me – are in the inner city, themselves setting an example? How many of those criticizing are training potential service dogs for veterans? While some might; most are not walking the walk….Using his own skill-set and knowledge, Sanzone is trying to do something good (and promote himself along the way).

While I did pull out….and clearly pay attention to those who made me aware – I will say some trainers have become so intent with tunnel vision on their one way or no way. And attacking others who don’t do it their way…unwilling to have conversations or educate anyone who acts differently than they do. I’m not sure how this attitude is consistent with what many of these same trainers preach…In particular I find it curious why I was attacked, by some.

I am also grateful for the letters of support – greatly from some extremely well known trainers….with gratitude to you….my real friends. I will remember who had my back, knowing me.  But I am sad those positive emails were in all honesty out-numbered.

But this is not about me, it’s about a Chicago dog trainer….I suppose I find it flattering that what I think (or what people think I think, or what’s been spread around the Internet about what I think) can stir so many emotional responses.

This has been a learning experience for me. And for Sanzone, I hope…I do believe he’s sincere to want to help veterans. I am told some dog trainers have reached out to him, and he’s refused to talk. Wouldn’t it be nice – if everyone can play in the same sandbox, forget about their egos, agree with an appropriate training protocol and find a way to do what Sanzone is doing in Chicago on a national level to save dogs and help veterans (heroes in my view)….but to use training methods which are consistent with benefiting dogs, and people and the relationship they can have with one another.

I am well aware that training methods are a religion for some. So many wars have been started as a result of religion.