The Damage Of The Dog Whisperer

  • 07/06/2014
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millan-finger.pngI’ve now been training dogs for a decade. I find Cesar Millan’s training theory and advice appalling. As a scientist, it is obvious that his factual statements and derived conclusions are entirely wrong. As a trainer, I can tell how stressed and unhappy - not cured - the dogs portrayed on his show are. It’s covered up by rhetoric, the soundtrack and a voiceover. Tens of scientists, trainers and behavioral science organizations have spoken out against his theories. I’ve seen dogs mistreated by well-meaning owners who took his advice unquestioningly. I wrote this paper as a cumulative work for an intensive independent study last year on canine cognition and applied training theory.

Please read this. Even if you don’t own a dog. Then share it. The only way to help a lot of misinformed owners and mistreated dogs is by making the correct information known.

(I had to omit footnotes because it was ridiculous, but I’m happy to provide specific references/page numbers upon request.)

INTRODUCTION

Theories of canine psychology and training derived from legitimate behavioral science have progressed greatly in the last fifty years. Unfortunately, the public’s most beloved source of information – The Dog Whisperer by Cesar Millan - advocates a theory in direct opposition to this progress. For the last eight years, Cesar Millan has put forth an abusive training theory predicated on disproven science, fallacious logic, and incorrect assumptions. Described by a New York Times affiliate as a “one-man wrecking ball directed at 40 years of progress in understanding and shaping dog behavior[1],” Millan mixes an overly simplistic and incorrect view of canine social structures with a lack of scientific knowledge. His philosophy centers around two main theories; that canines have an innate and ingrained need to function according to a ‘wolf-pack’ social structure, and that dogs need to live ‘as they did in nature’, before human intervention. Because the concept of dominance theory is central to Millan’s training philosophy, many other crucial aspects of a dog’s environment and psyche that should be addressed when dealing with behavioral issues are completely ignored. As a result of the Dog Whisperer’s popularized methods, many dogs with simple issues are handled badly and likely abused in the name of ‘pack theory’. The worst part is that the entire situation could be avoided easily. It requires only a small amount of research into the social and psychological lives of the common canine to understand where Millan’s theory goes wrong. 

MILLAN’S BACKGROUND

Millan openly admits that he has no scientific background. An immigrant from Mexico who never went to college, he has had no formal education in any biological or psychological science. The extent of his background is a short period working as a veterinary technician as a teenager in Mazatlan[2] and a period of self-education from dog psychology books popular in the 1980’s [3].  Rather than see this as a problem to be rectified, Millan touts his lack of training as almost another credential. It is a badge of pride for him – he maintains that his work stems from an intuitive knowledge of dogs’ universal ‘language of energy’, which he feels even schooled scientists and most trainers can’t seem to understand. To the uneducated layperson this might be a convincing argument. However, Millan’s lack of any sort of scientific background and the absence of scientific credibility supporting his beliefs means that his theory is built on a combination of outdated behavioral science amalgamated with old-wives’ tales and quasi-scientific concepts.

Millan‘s ‘pack’ theory is not only demonstrably incorrect when applied to domesticated canines, but also did not even exist in the ‘wolf ancestors’ that he draws it from. He holds to the romantic ideal that we need to help dogs return to their ‘wild nature’ and to supplement their lifestyles according to how they would live in a world without human intervention. Millan does not take into account the fact that dogs would have not have evolved into the animals they are today without interaction with of humans[4]. Therefore there is no such thing as “the balance they would achieve naturally in a world without human influence.[5]” Throughout his books he makes statements that are patently false; many of these errors relate directly to his inadequate understanding of canine psychology and behavior, such as the idea that domesticated canines ‘in the wild’ would routinely execute the frail and feeble [6]. These misconceptions lead to serious flaws in his methodology.

MILLAN’S WOLF PACK ANALOGY

Central to Millan’s philosophy (and foremost in his use of incorrect science) is the belief that dogs are motivated by the need to be part of a stable pack hierarchy. He asserts that “a dog’s pack is his life force. The pack instinct is his primal instinct. His status in the pack is his self, his identity. Pack is all important to a dog because if anything threatens the pack’s harmony, it threatens each individual dog’s harmony.”[7]

Millan suggests that while dogs are not wolves[8], a lot can be learned by observing these canine ancestors. However, he never distinguishes between the two in his theory of ‘pack’ and uses examples of (often incorrect) wolf behavior as direct analogies to the behavior of domesticated canines. He believes that by taking the role of ‘pack leader’, or alpha, for himself, “their deepest, most primal instinct guides them to follow [him]… to obey [him], and to cooperate with one another.[9]” Unfortunately, there are numerous problems inherent to Millan’s ‘pack theory’, not the least of which is that the dominance-based theory of wolf-pack structure is not biologically correct. It was created by a Nazi scientist as a way of justifying their eugenics campaign in the 1930s and 1940s.[10]

Research has shown that wolves do not actually live in a dominance-based hierarchy as Millan and many others like to assume. The belief that wolves function in a dominance hierarchy can be traced back to the Victorian era. During this time, ideas about the ‘right of the strong’ were perpetuated by influential writers such as Nietzsche and Kipling, often with analogies to wild predators like wolves.[11] The Nazis co-opted this rhetoric of ‘man as predator’ and Nietzsche’s references to a ‘Teutonic blonde beast’ that inspired terror. During this time, Konrad Lorenz, funded by the Nazi party, tried to justify eugenic measures in human populations by comparing the genetics and behavior of wild and domesticated animals – especially canines. He based this work primarily on Nietzsche’s comparisons of human civilization with the domestication of animals. After the end of the Nazi era, the theories of wolf behavior and that of other wild canines put forth by Lorenz in King Solomon’s Ring closely paralleled Nazi ideology: wolves are seen as far-ranging and powerful, devoted to the pack and willing to defend it to the death. In contrast, jackals and their metaphorically Semitic descendants, while intelligent, lack the obedience and loyalty to the group which made wolves supreme.[12] Humans are well-known for projecting their own social structures onto the animals they study, and by using wolves as a metaphor for Nazi ideals Lorenz projected the Nazi structure of absolute rigid rank onto wolf packs. Just like the Nazi structure he adored, Lorenz decided wolves operated in a distinct hierarchical structure, where each wolf adhered to a strict rank – submissive to those above him, ruthless to those underneath.[13] Because he is considered one of the founders of modern ethology, much of Lorenz’s work was accepted as fact for years.  In light of the Nobel Prize he won for his work, the origins of his philosophy were never effectively questioned until after his death.  This is the beginning of the modern myth of dominance-structured wolf packs.

MODERN UNDERSTANDING OF WOLF PACK STRUCTURE

Today it is well understood in the scientific community that Lorenz’s theory of wolf pack structure is entirely wrong. When forced into captivity with other unrelated wolves, a dominance hierarchy will form among the individuals as a way of keeping order – as with almost any group of unrelated individuals within a species who are forced into unnatural proximity.[14] But thanks to David L. Mech, we know that in the wild, wolf packs are simple nuclear family units, led by a mating pair and containing multiple generations of pups.[15] As pups grow up and come to sexual maturity they disperse, find a mate, and create their own pack. Within a pack there is often a non-rigid hierarchy between siblings, which is due more to individual personalities than to any sort of need for violence and dominance within the pack.[16] Nowhere is Lorenz’s idea of a violent and rigid social structure observed. Lone wolves do exist, but not because they are outcasts or martyrs –such situations arise, for example, when there might not be enough prey in the area to support a larger group or when the wolf hasn’t found a mate yet. Aggressive wolves are reprimanded and socialized by the group, not outcast. Wolves living together in the wild are close family units, into which strangers are rarely ever admitted. Within the larger group ofcanidae, the definition of a pack is a nuclear family unit that hunts and defends a territory together.[17]

Thus wolf packs in nature don’t behave with anything like the ‘pack structure’ that Cesar Millan maintains exist in dogs. There is no such entity as a dominant ‘pack leader’ – the closest that exists is the oldest pair of wolves, who are generally the parents of all other wolves in the pack. They lead by example and experience, not by physically dominating their offspring. By preaching that “in a pack, there are only two roles; the role of leader and role of follower,[18]” Millan is completely ignoring the fact that wolf packs function on a family dynamic. He teaches owners that dogs have an ingrained pack mentality and writes that “If you’re not asserting leadership over your dog, your dog will try to compensate by showing dominant or unstable behavior[19].” This leads to the creation of many dangerous situations where a dog that is not showing aggressive behavior will be misread by its owner and its real problems ignored, or an owner will attempt to dominate a dog that is showing aggressive behavior. Both are prime ways for the owner and dog to get hurt – entirely because Millan has misrepresented the situation and the solution.

ADDITIONAL PROBLEMS WITH MILLAN’S IDEAS AND METHODS

There is a crucial error in Millan’s thinking even more important than incorrect wolf science: he completely ignores recent research that shows that the domestic dog is not a pack animal[20]. He cannot ‘lead the pack like an alpha wolf’[21] because in domestic dog society no role of the sort exists. Free-ranging urban dogs spend the majority of their time either wandering alone or with a singular companion.[22] Groups larger than three dogs are rare - and when they do exist, they are not a ‘pack’ because they are fluid groupings of individuals rather than stable family units. These groupings of dogs consist of temporary gatherings of essentially solitary animals that don’t derive benefit from group living.[23] Because the major dangers to feral dogs are cars and poisoning, there is no reproductive advantage to living in a group, for either protecting pups or hunting for food. In fact, domestic dogs are notoriously bad at hunting – hundreds of years of human influence have disconnected them from the behavioral sequence of a true hunter[24]. Domestic dogs that have turned feral survive as scavengers, not hunters. [25] This is the most economic state for a feral dog – unlike wolves:  a dog does not have to travel for miles on end to find food. In fact, free-ranging dogs barely forage at all – living around humans provides enough food that most dogs spend about 80% of the day playing, sleeping, or lazing around.[26]  Science has shown that domestic dogs don’t behave like wolves or function on the same social continuum that wolves do, so it is ludicrous that Millan has based an entire theory on the fallacious assumption that dogs are akin to wolves. His view that “dogs in the wild have [the natural ability] simply to be dogs, to live in a stable, balanced pack[27]” is simply wrong.

Many of Millan’s other assertions are also incorrect. He teaches that owners should always eat before their dogs, because the alpha leader in a pack should always eat first and most – after all, he says, if wolves kill a deer the pack leader gets the biggest piece[28] and the most submissive wolf always eats last.[29] This is incorrect:  it has been shown that wolves in the wild that catch large prey eat simultaneously. Small prey is generally devoured by whomever captures it.[30] Domestic dogs are foragers and scavengers rather than hunters and because they are generally alone, whatever they find, they eat. Because he believes that dogs hunt like wolves, Millan contends that dogs must do so as well in order to be fulfilled in their ‘purpose’. Since “the need to hunt… is hardwired into wolves”[31] it is “natural for them to expect to work for their food.”[32] However, free-ranging dogs in their natural habitats barely work for their food and spend most of their time ‘goofing off’. Therefore, requiring owners to eat before their dog is unnecessary - the supposed hierarchy it creates does not exist in any canine social group.

Even more egregious are other statements that are completely without basis in fact.  One example is the claim that pit bulls were bred for fighting bulls,[33] when in reality the term ‘pit bull’ has been used to describe any dog used for pit-fighting. Millan seems to believe that dogs are as ruthless as humans and says that “dogs don’t feel sorry for the frail and the feeble. They attack and execute them.”[34] Such blatant factual errors call Millan’s already tenuous credibility into serious question.

Evolution Of The Domestic Dog

Millan says that “nature designed [dogs] for a purpose, and that inbred desire for purpose does not go away when we bring them into our homes.”[35] However, in this and many other statements, he seems to forget that interaction with humanity – not natural selection – created the domesticated dog[36]. Throughout both of his books, Millan preaches that his goal is to “help dogs receive both structure and intensive physical activity to help dogs achieve the kind of balance they would if they lived naturally, in a world without human influence.”[37] There is no such thing as a world in which the domestic dog could live without human influence.

Humans and the domestic dog co-evolved starting thousands of years ago.[38] The original theory was that proto-humans decided wolves could be useful, stole a number of pups, and reared them. They would then have intentionally bred the tamest individuals, and eventually ended up with the modern dog. However, this theory does not hold water on further  investigation.

While it isn’t unreasonable to think that early humans might have captured wolf pups and tried to rear them, taming wolves is extremely difficult and the resulting adult would have been hard to handle.[39] Early humans were migratory, and would not have stayed in a particular area long enough to influence the genetics of the nearby wolf population even if they did exert slight control over the breeding of wild wolves. It is much more likely that some wolves ‘chose’ to domesticate themselves. As humans began to create temporary settlements instead of migrating constantly, trash would have accumulated. The wolves in nearby populations who were less wary of humans would have learned to conserve energy by accessing this easy-to-find food.[40] At that point, natural selection would have taken over and these less-fearful wolves would have begun to differ from those that were still completely wild.[41] Over time a tame type of wolf would have developed. During this process, it was likely that humans would have recognized the reciprocal benefits of having such predators around the camp. The camp would have been cleaner; resulting in fewer vermin and less disease, and the presence of the proto-dogs would have warded off other predators.[42]

Eventually, humans would have realized that they could influence the temperament of these creatures they lived with – and maybe even make use of them – and begun to intervene in the breeding process, resulting in the creature we know today as the domesticated dog.[43] Without the presence of humans and their debris, wolves would never have had the opportunity to evolve into dogs. A domesticated dog’s ‘natural habitat’ is anywhere that humanity is – in cities, towns and homes.[44] It’s not possible for a domesticated dog to return to its humanity-free roots, as they never existed in the first place. Millan advocates this romanticized idea of domestication because of its appeal to the layperson, but it has no factual basis.

Flooding and Positive Punishment

When The Dog Whisperer first aired on September 13, 2004, it was shown despite the vehement protests of veterinarians, trainers, behaviorists and other experts who reviewed the show prior to its release.[45] All who spoke out against Millan’s methods understood that his theories were based on outdated science, and that the training solutions he promoted had been proven to create or increase aggressive behaviors[46],[47]. His main techniques are flooding and positive punishment, both of which are unpleasant and often traumatic. These techniques go directly against all sets of professional dog training guidelines, which state that less invasive techniques (i.e, without pain or force) must be competently tried and exhausted before more invasive techniques are attempted.[48]

Flooding is an exposure to something that provokes a stimulus (either aggression or fear) until the animal simply stops reacting. In one episode of The Dog Whisperer, Millan drags a Great Dane terrified of shiny floors onto the surface he feared using a choke chain, ‘flooding’ him with the stimulus. The dog was under extreme stress, as documented by excessive drooling and body posture.[49] The dog collapsed from fear and eventually stopped struggling – the results of a phenomenon known as ‘learned helplessness’, which occurs when an animal repeatedly exposed to an aversive stimulus learns it has no escape. Whether or not the animal is cured, flooding puts it under extreme amounts of stress and runs a huge risk for traumatizing the animal. It has always been considered a cruel method of treatment whether used on humans or animals. Some dogs may become so traumatized by flooding that they become aggressive and dangerous for the average person to handle.

Also an aggression risk, positive punishment is the application of an unpleasant stimulus as a consequence for behavior, and it is generally considered an entirely inappropriate method for dealing with any behavioral problem that is based in aggression or anxiety. Positive punishment quells the symptoms of a problem but does not eliminate the cause of the behavior. In another controversial episode of The Dog Whisperer, a Rottweiler was punished by being kicked for “showing aggression” on a walk; the ensuing struggle resulted in the handler being bitten more than once and the dog being nearly asphyxiated as punishment for biting.[50]

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Both these techniques are not only unhealthy for the animals involved, but they are also extremely dangerous for the handler. Any animal that is scared or forced into an aggressive state is more likely to bite. During the course of his show, Millan repeatedly gets bitten by the dogs he’s working with and is proud of it. Alexandra Semyonova, one of the many behaviorists who have openly spoken out against Millan, attributes this to what she calls ‘Lion Tamer Syndrome’: “There are thousands of us out here working with ‘aggressive’ dogs every day and not getting bit,” she says:

This isn’t because we intimidate or terrorize the dogs even better than Mr. Millan does, but because we understand them… if Mr. Millan is worried the dog won’t get aggressive, he does something to make it do so. The dog must be aggressive, and the more aggressive it is, the greater an authority the trainer must be… The Lion Tamer Syndrome is not, not ever, about competence in training animals. It’s more a kind of pissing contest between humans. And the more a human engages in it, the less s/he generally really knows about the animal involved.[51]

Attesting to this, at the beginning of each show, a disclaimer reminds owners not to try his techniques at home. Many professionals who speak out against Millan say that, bad science aside, any dog training show that considers its methods so dangerous that it needs such a disclaimer should not be on the air.[52],[53]

           One Size Fits All

Even more worrying then the specific techniques is the ‘one size fits all’ approach Millan takes. To Millan, every behavioral problem is rooted in dominance and pack hierarchy, which ignores a dog’s true mental state. Regardless of whether the dog is fearful, anxious, excited, or has severe psychological issues, Millan diagnoses it as a dominance issue. [54] Even something as simple as an excited dog greeting its owner by jumping up is diagnosed as a dominant behavior[55] and Millan recommends dealing with this by stepping on the dog’s toes, throwing her to the ground, and forcibly rolling her over into a submissive posture and holding her there. That sort of ‘training’ can lead to further behavioral problems – the dog will stop jumping, but she’s also going to quickly become afraid of her owner’s apparently ‘random’ violence. Veterinary staff say they can always tell when dogs come in who have been subjected to dominance-based training, as they are often very fearful and aggressive towards people as a result.[56]

Dogs with actual mental disabilities often fare even worse. In yet another episode of The Dog Whisperer, Millan treats an Entlebucher Mountain Dog that has a compulsive disorder with a prong collar, ‘popping’ it every time the dog began a compulsive behavior. Dr. Andrew Luescher, the director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Purdue University, compares this to abusing a child exhibiting stereotypic rocking behaviors. “The method Millan used to approach this problem would be like hitting this severely disturbed child each time it rocks. I bet you could suppress the rocking behavior, but certainly no-one would suggest that that child was cured.”[57] This is particularly disturbing because obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is known to be a neurochemical imbalance, and is therefore an undeniable medical condition. Nevertheless Millan advocates using punishment to control the behavior. Dr. Rachel Casey, Senior Lecturer in Companion Animal Behaviour and Welfare at Bristol University considers the blanket assumption that every dog is “motivated by some innate desire to control people and other dogs” ridiculous.[58] None of the dogs in the examples above were displaying any signs of dominance – all of them had entirely legitimate reasons for their abnormal behavior that were completely ignored by Millan. Many trainers call his reasoning and techniques “outdated, needlessly harsh, often cruel, and dangerous.”[59] Those who were trained to use the same techniques say that when science proved them to be ineffective and cruel, they quickly switched philosophies and have had far more success ever since.[60],[61],[62]

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SUMMARY/CONCLUSION/PROFESSIONAL CONCLUSIONS REGARDING MILLAN

In his review, submitted to National Geographic before The Dog Whisperer was ever aired, Dr. Andrew Luescher stated that the show “would be a major embarrassment… as my colleagues and I and innumerable leaders in the dog training community have worked now for decades to eliminate such cruel, ineffective (in terms of true cure) and inappropriate techniques.”[63] In criticizing the program, the director of The SF/SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers goes even farther, saying that “a profession that has been making steady gains in its professionalism, technical sophistication and humane standards has been greatly set back.”[64] Set back how far? Easily twenty years, according to the letter written to National Geographic by Dr. Nicholas Dodman.[65] Outcry against Millan’s methods has come from all corners of the scientific world. His methods are outdated, dangerous, and scientifically baseless. Not only is Millan himself abusing animals, but he is perpetuating incorrect scientific knowledge throughout common media, leading to the mistreatment of thousands more animals. Any small amount of research would make it clear to a nonscientific layperson that dogs are not wolves, and in no way function on the dominance-centered hierarchy that Millan espouses as the basis of his theories. While entertaining and charismatic, The Dog Whisperer is the worst thing to happen to the domestic canine in recent history.

Editor's Disclaimer: I did not write this insightful piece. Authored by Rachel Garner ...

Here is a link to the page with all the experts who were used to make this article the people are at the bottom: https://www.facebook.com/notes/rachel-garner/the-damage-of-the-dog-whisperer-a-scientific-critique-of-cesar-millans-theories-/10150861101089441

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Comments (183)

Dano
Said this on 13/12/2016 At 04:46 am
Here is a thought for you. How about you attempt to make your success as a trainer speak for itself rather than trying to drag a famous trainers reputation into the gutter?
I hope people reading this understand that you are slagging his methodology in order to sell yours.
If you can't get anywhere on your own merits you use his name to get attention.
An old and ugly trick don't you agree?
Brenda
Said this on 24/03/2016 At 07:22 am
Wow! Someone protests waaaay too much! I'm thinking there may be just a tad bit of jealousy going on here.... I've owned, raised, loved, large breed dogs for most of my life, and believe me, I'm old! I observed the pack mentality, Alpha theory in action, and always used calm, assertive energy, along with massive amounts of love and affection with my dogs. All of the above long before Ceasar came on the scene. But, when he did, he just reinforced what I had already been doing, known and passed on to others. I have not seen Ceasar be overly physical with an animal, hurtful, and in no way abusive. I have always gotten compliments on my dogs excellent behavior, good natures and balance. I'm in charge of them, they have respect for me, I love them with all my heart. The techniques Ceasar use work, they are proven, but I'm sure you'll convince some that decades of training is all wrong and they will jump on your bandwagon. Good luck to you!
Ivory Miller
Said this on 16/03/2016 At 03:53 pm
I have never read such an unprofessional or disgusting piece of work in my life.

Not only do I not agree with almost ever statement you have made, but I see nothing
by a nasty and vicious attach on a very successful and respected man. I cannot even
begin to imagine what your motives are, but they can do nothing but to shine a bright
light on the total lack of professional ethics and character you have.

A university degree is not essential to be an expert in animal behavior. Jane Goodall
had absolutely no university education or experience when she first went to Africa to
research chimpanzees . On her first return and publication, she was laughed at by educated
scholars as she had named each individual rather than numbering then as was the norm. Now she
is the world expert on chimpanzees.

Your pompous and elitist attitude is seriously to your detriment and says nothing about Cesar Milan
and a huge amount about you as a person.

Ivory Miller










\
Charles ODonnell
Said this on 29/08/2016 At 10:00 pm
Thank you Ivory Miller. You pretty much said what I think to be true.
Beth Mattei
Said this on 15/03/2016 At 02:39 pm
As a professional, certified dog trainer and canine behavior consultant, thank you for putting this well written article out in the world. It amazes me that when someone writes something like this how many people claim that the motivation is jealousy. Professionals can choose to train the same way as Cesar. It's over simplified and exceptionally easy to replicate. It's based on 2 or 3 concepts. However, many CHOOSE not to use these techniques for the betterment of the relationship between dog and owner and for the dog's well being.
Lisa M
Said this on 21/02/2016 At 06:28 pm
SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH isn't the ONLY way of knowing/learning. I'm not going to give my opinion on the article's content per se, since I don't feel educated enough to do so. However, the author does seem jealous to me, and in my humble opinion the dogs don't appear fearful to me or seem to be unhappy. And they don't appear to be unhealthy or mistreated. The author does make some interesting points about Caesar SEEMINGLY treating everything as a dominance issue, though. I still think Caesar has a good heart and great intentions, and I firmly believe the dogs can sense that.
Michelle
Said this on 08/02/2016 At 04:18 am
Why do so many want to bash Cesar? I've watched him for years & have never seen him being cruel or harmful to a dog.
He has helped countless numbers of people & dogs.
He has helped the Pit bull tremendously. Which in itself is wonderful!! All the people bashing him why don't you work to help people & their dogs?
There are a lot of BAD trainers who abuse & use harsh training.
Get off Cesars back & help those tgat need it!!
William Curtis
Said this on 02/02/2016 At 04:27 pm
I would refute this article completely; it is not even getting near to reality.
Most of this article is not factual. It appears to based on jealousy, envy, racism, snobbery and bigotry …

I do not see the author of this crap enjoying a highly rated TV show…

The following corrections should be noted.

1. Cesar Milan does not claim to train dogs.
2. He trains people and rehabilitates dogs.
3. Many of his cases are red zone; some would have been put down.

Furthermore:

Given the results he obtains in the time frame it is obvious even to a complete idiot that there is much to be gained from his methods and ideology, despite the fact that it may not be scientific or explicable in terms others would use, but IT WORKS and it helps people, so stop spouting this “intellectual crap” and stop trying to bring him down…
Kweenie
Said this on 16/01/2016 At 01:40 pm
How many ways can we say jealous
Caroline Walcot
Said this on 05/01/2016 At 12:44 am
As a dogowner since 1985, after watching many many past episodes of the Dog Whisperer on cable TV (National Geographic and Dutch-speaking TV channels), I came to the conclusion that:
1) there are many abysmally stupid and criminally lazy peoplewho acquire dogs but make no effort to learn how to handle them; they do not necessarily live in America - they ALL benefit from Cesar Millan's training.
2) the episodes were far more about training owners than about training dogs; so the more episodes, the better!!
3) it must be difficult for dogs to be filmed, and difficult for Cesar to work with dogs while being filmed - I believe his best work with dogs is proabably done away from the camera.
4) most dogs appeared to be OK with Cesar - you cannot get 100% of anything with canines - it's another species and you have to respect that dogs have personalities and do not necessarily go with the flow; I cheered when badly-trained dogs were brought to Cesar's "rehab" facility and allowed to run free with other dogs over a large area - I bet that would be the best time of their lives before being returned to their useless owners.
5) I have no time for useless owners who squeal over their pets - or allow their family members to do so.
6) I have no time for self-important so -called scientific demolitions of Cesar Millan's method. What these navel-gazing people just don't see is that, thanks to CM's programme, some 'difficult' dogs have been spared from being dumped in a shelter, to meet death a few days later; there are many dog owners who might have picked up a tip or two and learned to be less ignorant about their pets; there might be a tad less cruelty towards dogs also.

In my time I have seen bad trainers work with dogs, and I have no hesitation in going up to any man or woman who I see pulling too hard on a lead, or pulling the wrong way, or hitting their dog or punishing it in some way. I have no hesitation in hitting such a person if I have to.

For me, the more Cesar Millans, Victoria Stillwells etc there are the better. There are too many bad or abysmally ignorant dog owners out there who need to know better. I know - I used to be one myself, before someone showed me how to behave better.
2pugmama
Said this on 15/12/2015 At 11:28 pm
I was one of the people in one of the Dog Whisperer episodes. My pit bull mix was epileptic and 14 yrs old--and we filmed the entire day. Poor guy was so tired by the end.Cecar went into his trailor that was parked on our street. A woman walked by pushing a baby stroller. My dog--had been run over by a kid with a bike when he was a puppy--still had issues with tires. The lock wasnt on the extendaleash--and he ran--and SLIGHTLY nipped--the lady in the leg.Only--she was wearing skin tight pants--and his eye tooth punctured her skin on her ankle. I screamed for Cesar to come help--but--he refused to leave his trailer. My dog--wasnt trying to bite her--he was trying to attack the wheel--but--the woman stepped to the side. It ended up costing me a fortune.And if Cecar had come out to talk to the lady--I dont think it would have cost--and--if filming wasnt so intensive--he wouldnt have been so tired and out of sorts
Chelsea
Said this on 15/12/2015 At 07:33 am
I watched most episodes of Dog Whisperer and the biggest take away for me is that when your dog is having issues its most likely because you are a lazy owner and not exercising them. Amazing how true it is! And if you don't believe there is energy being communicated nonverbally between humans and their dogs then you are unenlightened.

Cesar used techniques to help aggressive dogs avoid euthanasia. As he always started his episodes, it's more about training people than dogs. I doubt most of the people commenting negatively here have done anything to help save a borderline dog from being put down for aggressive behavior. The rest of the cases I've seen featured are really about making dog owners less lazy and coddling and treating their dogs like dogs instead of dressing them up and carrying them around like babies.
Medusa
Said this on 15/12/2015 At 05:48 am
This article is total BS & full of lies about Milan & a complete waste of time to read. Almost everything stated here is FALSE including what is said about wolf pack behavior. Anyone can read about wolf behavior by actual biologists who have studied them for YEARS. I have worked for years in rehabbing WILD animals for re-release into the wild & a LOT of what Milan talks about concerning behavior actually rings true to several species (including flock birds). I don't know why someone would bother to write all this crap that isn't even true at all about his methods, but obviously they have some sort of personal issue w/Milan. It's pretty obvious, as no one with half a brain would go into talking about the Nazis! Please! Milan has never abused animals, kicked or hit them, or stepped on a dogs toes as stated in this. Clearly, whoever wrote this actually has no idea what his methods actually are, & instead has decided to put their own twisted interpretation on his methods. Why, is the question? I guess this person just wants to be a hate spreader, for whatever reason. Lame..
Rick
Said this on 15/12/2015 At 12:48 am
Cesar's mantra of "Exercise, Discipline, Affection" -- I can't speak too much on the middle one as my recently-departed four-legged soulmate needed very little "discipline" or training in order to become the fun-loving, adventurous, patient and kind being she was.

Of course, the word Discipline is interpreted differently by different people, but if you want to say that what that signifies, is "training," I do 'get' why there are such strong opinions on either side of that coin; but, from my experience, I can't speak much to that issue.

Affection -- I think most people who have turned in to Cesar's shows have that one down pat -- although some have ONLY that and put that first before exercise or training and that is not good either, and so it's good that he put that third to make people realize that affection should never be the first thing on the list.

So what I do have to give major credit to Cesar for, at least, is the first part of his mantra, Exercise. I've seen people walk their dog for 5 minutes just to let them pee and then go back inside. That is not good for the dog. Dogs need exercise for physical and mental stimulation. Walking/exercising your dog is important to their longevity. Not everyone can do this in their particular city or situation, but I always strived to take my dog to different walking/playing areas every day, including trips out of my city, not only to keep her body challenged, but her mind.

So, go ahead and argue about Cesar's training methods. But, for me, the best gift he's given to dogs around the world is to inform their owners and/or remind their owners that a dog isn't just your "best friend" to cuddle and give treats to, but how important it is to keep your dog active in body and in mind.
Said this on 14/12/2015 At 09:16 pm
Well, if people decide to ask the advice of Cesar Millan as it is not your problem, I think that you or a resentful former employee, or envious, or love Cesar Millan because I spend a lot of words to say what is wrong, or was in a previous life wolf or coyote or dog because he speaks as if he had had experience in life, and stating that I know mr. Millan, so wear batteries and do your best to compete with and believe me it is going to be so entertaining that will not even have time to criticize others
Missy
Said this on 14/12/2015 At 12:27 pm
funny how you talk about mistreatment and stress put on the animals by him-YET you volunteer at a ZOO and before that worked at an AQUARIUM.
both are the type of places known for abuse and putting stress on animals.
R Tyldesley
Said this on 13/12/2015 At 05:35 pm
CM's methods are not my methods, but I think its hard to deny that he has a certain gift of timing. I feel the real danger is that normal, "ungifted "people may follow his example and really not have the insight or timing he has, resulting in un fair, potentially cruel treatment of the animal. Think of the so called tap he gives a dog, supposedly to redirect its attention, if thats given by someone trying to be "dominant " and copying CM, it really can be rather disastrous. You cannot teach someone how to correct problem behaviour in a few hours! Whatever method you choose, unless you have a real gift, it will take time and effort to teach a person how to re educate a troubled dog.
Pauline
Said this on 13/12/2015 At 01:00 pm
Give me Dr Sophia Yin any day (over Milan).

It surprises me the venom that is spewed forth over this article. As an academic I wonder at people's approaches that having a scientific background doesn't basically count for squat. I wonder hoe many of these people would consult with an unqualified doctor. Then yet, perhaps that answer would shock me too.
Tony
Said this on 13/12/2015 At 05:56 am
I have been training high drive working dogs that live in our house for over 20 years. I have used them in sport and real world jobs. Having worked with many high level trainers from multiple fields, I have seen a positive shift to better thought out effective training that brings out the best in the dogs.
CM would be referred to as a bully to dogs. Often weaker dogs submit to him, and a bit stronger dogs that feel they must defend themselves, will bite him. Truly strong dogs would have him for lunch. The stronger the dog, the more thoughtful the training must be. There are triggers to aggression that are induced or from temperament, such as the difference between an aggressive dog and a defensive dog.
I have been batting a 1000 with my dogs as all have become good companions, as well as formidable in the field, they can become both. The simplest way I can put it is, one needs to be the leader, not the boss with their dogs. And as in all things there must be balance in your training. It is more like good manager skills that create enthusiastic and responsible workers.
Oh, and the majority of my training has been from the school of hard knocks, supplemented with operant conditioning workshops etc. (Bob Bailey is great). Like any other skill, one limits their own ability to improve if they do not strive to become better.
Tony
Jim Salter
Said this on 12/12/2015 At 05:30 pm
I'm curious... How many more dogs would be in shelters without guidance from CM?
Gina
Said this on 12/12/2015 At 02:36 pm
This is wrong in so many ways ...First you never bash colleges in the field you inspire to be in ...shows unprofessionalism...I am not saying Caesar is perfect...he is human and can make mistakes

There are some individuals with a natural connection to animals ...and do not need the scientific background or years of college debt to be excellent in communicating with animals...but they are also human and can make their mistakes. They are the naturals ...just like kids that can play pianos...make masterpieces of art...dance ....math wizards...ect ....they were born with a talent that many do not have .

You also have the book and lab educated trainers ..10 yrs of college...they can also be good ...and learn how to connect ...some never know how to connect and are not good in the filed they picked....thus we have bad vets ..trainers...or will not continue their education to learn new methods... they are also human and can make mistakes.

Not every way of training works for every dog ....the more you know the more paths you will take to fix the dog and its issues .

For me its been generations of my family raising dogs...growing up in a house full of wolves...raising my children among them ...Teaching service or working dog task training since the late 70's ...

I didnt go back to school for K9 Behaviorist certification until 2010...and in continuing education classes...though I may not use all of CM methods....LOL...I see him using some of mine.
Said this on 12/12/2015 At 04:58 pm
Great article.
I cannot understand why people want to use barbaric methods recomended by someone who has no knowledge and even less empathy for dogs let alone what it does to any trust between dog and owner.
Rene Napoli
Said this on 11/12/2015 At 06:32 pm
I treat all my dogs I have had with the LOVE AND PATIENCE AND WITH TREATS. It works well. Even aggressive dogs respond well with me. Patience, with a calm relaxed voice works. People who own high energy breeds that don't play and run with their dogs seem upset when the dog chews up the couch or furniture. No human should never harm a dog or confine it in a small space. Respect all animals and remember dogs want food, love, and to play. Works for me!
Hmmmm
Said this on 11/12/2015 At 06:23 pm
I used ceasar millans advice and it worked to my dog, my dog is not stressed or hurt. Whats the purpose of this article? Go help people so that they can see your approach is working too. Dont pull ceasar millan down so you can go up.
Said this on 28/12/2015 At 01:28 am
WOW!!! I can't actually believe the number of posts on here that defend CM.
The guy uses pain to train dogs, end of story. It's discussing that people defend him. How many of you would have no problem being on the receiving end of that sort of treatment, yet you still defend him.
I have never used any of the methods CM uses to correct a dogs behaviour, I prefer dogs to do as I ask out of the hope of pleasing me, not out of the fear it will cause him pain.
You all who say you used his methods and your dogs are fine, I bet you wouldn't know the signs of stress in a dog if it jumped up and bit you in the ass.
Dog rescue she alters are full of unwanted dogs because of the training methods championed by CM, and all you folk who defend him are also responsible for this.

You will never know the joy of a dog wanting to please you in training out of of a willingness to please you, only the results of him not wanting to endure more pain.
Those that train using his methods are just to lazy to learn how to properly train a dog.
Sure both ways may work, but you chose to inflict pain rather than pleasure, that says a lot about you as a person, please never call yourself a dog lover.
CM wolf pack theories are false, verging on this side of comical, they are exactly as described in this article.

Would you think of using any of these methods on your young children?
I don't see how you could object if like you state, they are not cruel at all and produce excellent results...

But no, in all honesty you wouldn't because that would be child cruelty wouldn't it.
But hey, animal cruelty is okay buy you guys, even if you wrap it up as training.

YOU make me sick!!!
Tim
Said this on 11/12/2015 At 05:01 pm
Look at the facebook page of the author and tell me you trust her professional opinion.
Natasha
Said this on 11/12/2015 At 03:53 am
My partner and I work with rescue dogs, from all sorts of backgrounds. We have a Spanish rescue English Setter and he pretty much only responds to positive training as he is a very sensitive dog and has no sense of 'pack' at all - in a group of 30 dogs he will just run off when the others all stick together. We use clickers, treats and encouragement with him. However, some of the Romanian dogs we work with have lived in large packs and respond only to firm corrections and the assertion that we are in charge and they are to follow. Firm corrections and true 'dominance' based training is not about cruelty. At no point have our dogs ever been afraid of us or hurt by us. They love us to pieces and choose to spend their time playing or sleeping with us on the bed. It means being very sure and 100% clear in your intention and execution - most dogs can't just go through life being praised for good behaviour and never corrected for bad behaviour as this creates an imbalance (though as I mentioned it does work with our setter). If you have children, you must bring them up knowing the difference between right and wrong and it is exactly the same with dogs. Neither will respect or trust you in situations if you're not assertive and clear with what is accepted and what isn't.

Cesar Millan clearly has an intuitive understanding of dog behaviour, and he chooses to communicate in a canine as opposed to a human or simian way. His posture and his corrections come from imitating how dogs are with one another, and to me this is completely fine and extremely effective. He gets the message across to his dogs almost instantly, whereas with positive training you must spend weeks if not months teaching the dogs to learn to communicate through human language and gestures. To me positive and dominance based training are two sides of the same coin - one is teaching dogs to speak humans and the other is teaching humans to speak dog. They have the same goal in mind - clear communication and the desired response in any given situation. From every episode I've seen where a positive training advocator has picked out his shortcomings and tried to call him out on using harsh and/or cruel techniques, when I watch the episode for myself I can see only someone who has a complete respect for dogs and how they communicate, and someone who is trying to communicate on their level. His 'chokes' are not chokes but in fact small and light corrections, which throw the dog off balance - anyone who has used a slip lead correctly will understand how little force is used with this kind of technique and also see how the so called equivalent 'positive' tools such as haltis and no pull harnesses are in fact much more uncomfortable for dogs. The hand and foot taps are not at all kicks, they are touches which allow him to break a dog's fixation on an undesired target so that he can refocus them on something better. He often discusses the idea of creating a new positive association with dogs who have learned that a certain situation is negative. He takes on dogs that other people have tried to put down for their uncontrollable and often aggressive behaviour and he rehabilitates them himself and finds them suitable homes. Most positive trainers I've come across (though this is of course based on my own experience and not a scientific statistic) are far too quick to suggest euthanasia when they realise that a dog will be too difficult and too slow to rehabilitate using positive methods. To me, it is by far less cruel to use Cesar's techniques to rehabilitate a potentially dangerous dog than to put them down because they're considered too difficult to re-train. Many positive trainers focus on managing the dog's problems rather than fixing them - they get a reactive dog to a point where he/she can walk past another dog without lunging or barking, but this doesn't mean the dog becomes sociable or fixed, it's just that the problem becomes manageable. Cesar completely rehabilitates dogs like this, allowing them to have greater freedom in their lives and often saving their lives altogether. I have nothing but respect for him and his methods.
Lea Ladyraven
Said this on 10/12/2015 At 01:30 pm
Why are people so jealous of his career he does a lot for animals.
GSD
Said this on 10/12/2015 At 12:50 pm
The comments here are interesting. I run a rescue for German Shepherds and we take the odd Dobe and Rotti.

We use different styles of trainers depending on the dog's nature, drive and the underlying cause of the behaviour.

We have rescued over 400 GSDs.

We use working dog trainers, balanced trainers and positive only trainers depending on the dog but we will not use anyone that uses CM methods as we pick up the pieces from those families who have used his training methods and others who follow his methods.

Having rescued so many of our breed I can safely say there is no one size fits all. We only used to use positive only trainers but they could not cope with our very high drive dogs whereas the reputable working trainers know exactly how to focus them.

Training is something people feel passionate about.

None of our trainers on our dogs ever use prong or shock collars - we have seen way too many injuries from inappropriate use of them both.

Do I like CM? No people think they can fix their dogs in 5 minutes. They often cause more issues that take us months to rehabilitate.

I am on the front line - I see sights no animal lover should ever see and we take the GSDs that cannot go into general adoption programs at pounds and shelters so to all those CM fans yes I do have something to compare it to and I work with and handle these dogs each and every day
Said this on 09/12/2015 At 03:43 pm
I did not read the article in its entirety nor did I read every response bc Iit is not necessary. I am a dog walker and pet sitter and before learning Cesar's techniques I was asked by a lot of ppl if the dog was walking me instead of me walking him. I got tired of hearing it. Started watching the dog whisperer and bought his books. I totally believe in what he does bc it works when I do it. So what if he isn't scientific about it. I have heard a lot of science talk that is bogus. Cesar is not abusive and when he taps a dog w his hand or foot it is to change his frame of mind and snap him out of the thoughts going on at the time and gets the dog back on track. Maybe the modern domestic pack is not the same as the wild pack but he still is on to something. Dogs that get along in a group are more balanced and safe.
B.P.Hofer
Said this on 12/12/2015 At 10:05 am
Cesar Milan takes more care of the pets owners than the pets and all your comments are the evidence of frustration
Said this on 09/12/2015 At 05:18 am
FYI, the image of CM has been Photoshopped/altered. He did not stick his middle finger up at anybody. Further info below.

"it was taken in a 2006/2007 episode where he helps a Hungarian Vizula overcome his fear of noise in the city"

Suggest you update that image as it falsely portrays CM at the time it was taken. I will be sending CM an email with this URL address. Look at it closely and you will see that the image has been altered.
Wayne Pamposa
Said this on 09/12/2015 At 04:57 am
show me how many dogs you have helped and i might consider believing you.

for the meantime, you have no credibility.

your pseudo science, no matter how technical it sounds, is all bullshit until you prove it with experiment.

cesar millan is all walk. while you guys are all talk. the same talking people who would recommend a dog be put down because he is "unhelpable".
Said this on 09/12/2015 At 03:01 am
I had watched a great many CM episodes before I decided on becoming an owner of a 12 week old puppy rottweiler. My previous best friend passed away close to 18 months before I decide to get another dog.

I followed CM methods and researched other trainers opinions including some of the people you have mentioned. I own a dog and treat him as a dog. As a rottweiler is a very powerful animal I made every attempt to understand the breed, via internet search as well as contacting rottweiler associations and vets that have rottweiler experience. I quickly found out that the a great many people fear rottweilers and they are misunderstood breed mainly due to media reports of mishaps due to owners not properly training their dog.

I am a fan of CM methods and enjoyed many of his shows. It all looked very cool on how he steps in and fixes many of the issues he came across. I learned that my knowledge of dog training was very limited to say the least. And I have had a few dogs by now, who all turned out well. But looking back some of my methods I now cringe on how wrong they where. And it bothered me greatly. CM showed me there were better ways and also as I was older and wiser decided to research was a good idea.

I could go on with how well my rottweiler has become a well balance socialized dog and after 5 years has never attacked, destroyed or showed any aggression in public. He is a one word command responsive animal. His tail has never been between his legs in fear and happily roams around with his tail up in confidence. He does poses different levels of attitude depending on the environment. When out he seeks out other dogs to play with and walks away from aggressive dogs. Like many owners he's walks lead to a group of other dog owners with a variety of breeds. I guess you can call it a pack/group of people. Never had a issue. If anything people have seen what a well balance rottweiler can become.

I trained my dog using a great many methods taught by CM. I can say that 90% of the training was CM inspired. I am no animal expert so I can't for certain weather CM is a master of animal behavior. I can say with no hesitation that my dog lives a well balance life, healthy and very smart. He has a natural ability to fit in were ever we go. At home he will alert me to anything that needs my attention. He is protective of my family but will show no aggression unless I command him.

I have read your paper and you maybe 100% right. In my case your assertions don't apply. My training was based on CM methods, starting from the age of 12 weeks. Using only positive methods. It was a huge amount of work and the training continues today. Hes happy to be at home alone. I have never seen any types of stress, damage or indications of unprovoked aggression.

CM may not be a hero to you and me either but I found his methods to be spot on. I had taken the time to understand the breed before I started his training. I made sure he never got bored. He is walked every day. I tire him out with fetch the ball. His training is reinforced every day and hes very happy making me happy.

The problem is not the dogs, its the owners who fail to understand dogs are not going to become great pets if you don't work at it. CM is totally right, bored un-exercised, untrained dogs become problems. If you don't have the time don't get a dog. And don't treat dogs like humans.

Fixing dogs with issues is very difficult, CM seems to be doing a great job as the follow ups seem to agree. CM may not have degrees from colleges, but I have no doubt he does posses natural skills and logic regarding helping those animals with issues.


Rottweiler
Matt Thomas
Said this on 08/12/2015 At 11:27 pm
For those wondering what alternatives are worth looking into, check out Dr. Sophia Yen, Victoria Stilwell, and/or Dr. Ian Dunbar. They are all proponents of force free training, (which does not mean a lack of discipline), and have experience working with and observing dogs.
Brian
Said this on 08/12/2015 At 09:14 pm
I have seen very large urban dog packs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In Bucharest, I happened upon an urban feral dog pack of over 60 dogs, all midsize mutts. They had bedded down for the day in an out of the way spot. I had to get out of there fast as that pack was dangerous and could easily have taken me down and killed me.

When I was a child, there was a period of time in LA when urban dog packs of 5-10 dogs roamed. After a pack chased down a child, killed and ate it, there was a crackdown. I remember it because my parents taught me to stay away from any signs of dogs roaming free. I trusted dogs because we had one.

Urban feral dogs are generally found alone or with one or two other dogs in the USA. However, that is because we have very effective hunting of feral dogs. So any larger group gets captured or killed.

Dog packs are real, and dogs prefer to stay with a group unless there isn't enough food or there aren't enough dogs to do that with.
Alicia
Said this on 08/12/2015 At 08:56 pm
I think I lose respect for your "research" because you attack the person too much. This is not "research" this is a personal attack and there is a difference. So, you disagree with CM's techniques and you have a better way.... "the RIGHT way"....that's cool - but it would be a better sell if you were arguing FOR something instead of AGAINST this person's practices. There is too much hate in the world as it is and I turn my nose up at it when I can. I understand your passion if you truly believe that CM is harming animals...so maybe write a paper about dog care and best practices and I will read it - write another one like this and I would not. I don't think comments should resort to name calling either. It's a creepy practice that shouldn't be continued in my opinion. I imagine we look at this site because we love animals...let's be good role models for them (o:
JJ
Said this on 08/12/2015 At 06:29 pm
Ask yourself this question: why would you want to teach your dog using pain and fear, when you can get the same or better results using positive methods?

Research into animal behavior has proven that dominance based training methods such as the ones shown on the Dog Whisperer can become reinforcing to the trainer. The dog trainer stops being able to utilize other methods and relies on force and fear, because it is easy. Instead of building a trust based relationship where a dog doesn't pull by choice...rely on a prong or choke collar. Pain and fear.

Research has shown us that force based training works.....but at what cost? It has been proven to increase aggression in Type A personality dogs, and to increase fear aggression in shy or fearful dogs. Frankly, the dogs that respond best to these methods are the happy, go-lucky, middle of the road personality wise dogs, who would respond equally well to any training method.

I have trained more than a few former fighting dogs, using only positive reinforcement training. Dogs who went on to pass their AKC Canine Good Citizen test, without ever raising my voice or exerting "dominance".

But, for those of you who are rapid fans, please don't concern yourself with studies, or behavior, or trust based relationships. Just swallow what you are being spoon-fed, without doing the research for yourself.
GiGi
Said this on 08/12/2015 At 03:19 am

I have been a fan of Cesar's for many years and had no idea how heated the debate had gotten surrounding his methods. It's obviously hitting some terribly deep nerves for people to use such strong language. No one is perfect, and as time passes, more information comes to light. After all, we used to think it was ok to slap/hit your child, now, few people do this anymore, thanks to educating the public. It seems there might be a middle ground. Instead of seeing the other side as stupid, or abusive, or what have you, maybe we can acknowledge that Cesar's methods may not be perfect, after all, most of us change our methods from time to time if things aren't working as well as they might, or because we gain information that contradicts our methods. Perhaps these individuals who have solid research to back up their claim that Cesar's methods are dangerous could get together and produce a TV show that explains these newer, supposedly more effective methods? Or, at the very least, write a book about it, that way the public could make up it's mind.  It must be admitted that Cesar has kept some dogs from being euthanized, and helped to create loving, happy pets from animals that previously led stunted, neurotic, destructive lives. And all for the price of watching his shows, or buying a book. This is something most of us can afford, rather than dog trainer's fees, which can be expensive.  Hopefully, we can keep the discussion civil, after all, what we all want, I think, is for dogs to be able to lead happier, more fufilled lives.

KaD
Said this on 05/12/2015 At 10:39 pm

Cesar is nothing more than a dangerous charletan.  His main concern is his celebrity quasi-status and animal profiteering income. King of the $tack.  

Said this on 09/12/2015 At 03:34 am
Many of my co-workers believe in Cesars methods without doing any research. That can be dangerous as I believe Cesar is dangerous. For many, many dogs I believe in positive reinforcement not punishment. His methods were used many, many years ago. I do not want a dog fearful of me but, as a companion. Yes, there are some dogs who may not respond to positive reinforcement but, there are other methods not as cruel as Milans. I also saw the episode where he drug the Great Dane across the floor. That was not training it was forcing more fear into the dog.
Said this on 03/12/2015 At 04:19 am

I agree with some of your article, but I do not agree with your wolf research. You need to look at wolf research done and being done in yellowstone. You might want to follow Yellowstone Reports to get some daily observations of wolf behavior. This area particulaly in the Lamar Valley does support the theory of alpha and no they are not the oldest wolves in the pack. They are the strongest wolves of the pack. THe pack does indeed at time over run displace or may even kill a weaker alpha. The alpha's do indeed allow who is to eat and at what time. SO true is its a family pack, but often there will be disruptions or outside disruptions of the pack.  True often the pups will eat first if allowed or food will be brought to them, but the lower adults may not be allowed or only after a certain time be allowed to eat. Discipline is often handed out with impunity to adults and to pups. You cannot compare wild wolves with captive wolves. Thru a few million years the some instincts of dogs were engrained to our domestic dogs and it cant be erased. SO yes I believe that dogs do respond to the alpha and act accordingly. IF they think they are alpha they will respond as such! If they  realize they are not alpha they will respond to such. No cruelty need be applied. Only a nudge to the side or a voice command. I do believe its ok to let a dog lead on a leash as long as he/she also knows how to heel when it needs. I have a hound and when he is outside he does not loaf. He is on a mission to sniff(hunt) or find food and explore. That is what makes him somewhat difficult to control. But it is his wolf like instinct. He also wants to be alpha and is not allowed.And I do agree with a comment, all dogs are individuals and disagree with Ceasar that all things work for all dogs. They all have fears and confidences. I truely think Ceasar has done a great justice to dogs by increasing awareness of dog behaviors and their pack behaviors!

Arnie
Said this on 07/12/2015 At 06:05 pm

you say you can't apply the same logec to captive and free wolves, a pet dog is basically living in captivity

 

 

E
Said this on 28/10/2015 At 11:44 pm

So many judgements are thrown so lightly here that I find it odd that so few have acknowledged the differences that every dog possesses.  I am no trainer...Few of us here are.  But I have two fairly well behaved dogs that I have trained by doing simple book research, trial and error, and watching videos.  Both mind me, trust me, love me, and submit to me when I ask.  But I learned within seconds that I could not train my second the same as my first!  My big lady - My first - Is a hard-headed brat.  I started training her using positive feedback only, and she walked her curly-tailed butt all over me, laughing.  She did not potty train, she did not mind, she would run away from me in a second.  After weeks of near-despair, I started using physical corrections, poking her in the side, swatting her bottom, etc. in addition to the positive.  I now trust her with everybody!  She walks loose lead, or off leash (when I have the ability to do so) and I have no fear that when I call, she will come.  So when I got my little dude, I attempted the same method that had done wonders with my girl, and within MINUTES, realized that his personality was so much softer than hers.  The same swat that causes my girl to look at me and give me her 'focus' throws my guy into fear and trembling.  I barely have to look, or sound upset and my boy will correct whatever behavior is unwanted.  Saying that Mr. Millan's methods are evil and abusive is slippery ground simply because of the different personalities of the dogs being trained.  That same method that clicks with one dog could very well be abuse to a different dog. I will grant that if everybody became a dog trainer, and spent their life and fortune studying canine behavior, they could learn how to train their difficult dogs with less to no physical correction.  But it is unrealistic to think that everybody can do that.  In this world of technology, and information sharing, and having every single person's opinion at your fingertips, I think that it is odd that we still think that there is one singular "right" way and that all of the others are purely wrong. Why can we not simply share what works for us - Or why can Mr. Millan not share what works for him - and we (those of us who read the articles, watch the shows, read the books, etc) simply apply the methodology of whichever trainer, or friend's method works best for our dog and understand that just because it works for our dog doesn't mean that it will necessarily work for somebody else's dog?

yinepu
Said this on 07/12/2015 At 09:22 pm

RESPECT and so true...

Andrea
Said this on 04/10/2015 At 04:36 am

Wow! It's actually quite impressive that Cesar can maintian the focus to keep up his little macho man routine, considering how many hysterical, proudly ignorant reality TV lovers are apparently crammed up his butt. I had no idea.

Chilli Hooligan
Said this on 29/09/2015 At 11:15 pm

Sounds like a witch hunt to me. Personally,  I would trust someone's opinion and experience (like Ceasar, living and spending time with dogs) than some who studies them in a lab and decides to write a derogatory paper on someone else's proven techniques. Pretty sad really.

 

 

 

Heidi Wittmann
Said this on 04/09/2015 At 12:49 pm

This reads as if it were written by a jealous HATER! Accompanied by the unflattering photo, I wonder what the true motive is here. 

Cathy
Said this on 24/08/2015 At 12:15 am

OMG!  I see people - every minute of every day - with maladjusted, isolated house dogs, who are vicious, dangerous, and insane, due to their ingnorant treatment.  At least they can turn on the TV and get an idea that there is a better way out there, to manage their dogs!  People should stop being pompous purists, and see that this is a bigger picture, and stop berating Milan for doing his best to change IGNORANT people's thinking!!!!

Julia
Said this on 21/08/2015 At 12:27 am

As a Licensed Veterinary Technician, I was a bit insulted to see you label Milan as a former veterinary technician. To most people it may not be a big deal, and it is simple to group all the veterinary support staff under the term of "technician." However, to me and many others, we had to work hard to earn that title including the requirements of additional schooling and examinations. In our schooling we were taught about basic animal behaviour and how to respond to these behaviors in a safe mannor for both the animal and ourselves. It is quite obvious by watching Milan, that he has never received such training.

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