MSPCA-Angell Hosts Boston Debut of Documentary Film “Tough Love”

June 11, 2012

BOSTON, June 11, 2011 – The MSPCA-Angell today announced that on Sunday, June 17 it will host the Massachusetts premiere of Tough Love: a Meditation on Dominance and Dogs, a hard-hitting documentary tracing the history of the “alpha dog” concept and its impact on the evolution of dog training philosophies and practices.  Tickets for the film, which will air from 5:00p.m. to 6:00p.m. are on sale now and can be purchased online by clicking here.  The film will be shown at the MSPCA-Angell auditorium at 350 S. Huntington Avenue in Jamaica Plain, Mass. 


Lilly the Hero Pit Bull to Attend

Lilly the Pit Bull—who became a worldwide celebrity last month when she rescued her unconscious owner from the path of a speeding train—will attend the screening to sign “pawtographs” following the screening.  Also on hand will be Chad Montrie, the director, cinematographer and co-editor of the film.  He and MSPCA-Angell behaviorist Terri Bright will conduct a Q&A session for attendees as part of the event.

 Lilly the Pit Bull, seen here recovering at Angell Animal Medical Center, will be signing "pawtographs" at the Boston premiere of Tough Love (credit: Angell Animal Medical Center)


Tough Love: Re-evaluating How we Train Dogs

It is a commonly accepted idea that dogs are “man’s best friend.”  As a society we have given dogs a special place in our lives, and by extension they have become loyal companions.  At the same time, many modern dog owners also believe they are meant to establish themselves as the “alpha dog” in relation to their pets.  The movie confronts the disconnect between science and popular practice by putting the “alpha dog” notion in historical perspective.  The movie will assess the effectiveness of dog training strategies that focus primarily on physical correction vs. methods based on positive reinforcement.


Said Bright of the film: “This is a hard hitting documentary that will clarify for many people (including dog trainers, shelter workers and pet owners) how our historical notions of dog training strategies have evolved over time, causing us to look deep inside and ask profound questions about how we might revolutionize dog training in a way that’s kinder and more effective.”


For more information about Tough Love readers can visit the film’s Web site at




The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions of individuals who care about animals. Please visit