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Cesar Millan Dog Whisperer

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Pets & Pet Care
183 replies 21.2K views
lynn44lynn44 Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Pets & Pet Care
Can I have some views please on Cesar why do pepole think he's cruel ?
I have watched and cant see what he is doing wrong ?
I enjoy the program and also watch Dog Borstal which have different training methods ?

Thank You
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  • ~cleo~~cleo~ Forumite
    583 Posts
    i think he uses a few adverse methods as apposed to positive training methods - i dont like his methods tho, i do like Dog Borstal and Its Me Or The Dog

    theres quite a good article here
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  • I have to say, i would use any of the methods on tv on your own dog. Id get advise from a specially trained dog trainer. We did and we use the water method. So when our doggie is naughty she gets a little bit of water sprayed on her back and she soon calms down.

    I do enjoy dog borstal and only just started watching it and ive seen them use the water method a couple of times. So i suppose its what works best with your doggie. I dont find the methods on dog borstal cruel. I thinks its a great idea to be all happy when the dog has done something right and be all low when the dog does something wrong.
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  • ameliarateameliarate Forumite
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    I don't find Cesar Millan's methods to be cruel, I really enjoy the programme.I think sometimes people don't like it when he forces a dog to confront a fear, such as the toaster popping up episode. I wish I could get him to come and see my dog who is scared of just about everything (carrier bags, umberellas, cushions, newspapers.............) She is also not to be trusted around other dogs as she attacks (out of fear).
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  • pboaepboae Forumite
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    Cesar Milan doesn't force them to confront their fears, he just frightens them more than then thing they are scared of.

    To give you a human example. I am scared of spiders. When I see a spider I react to it, I might scream or try to get away from it. To stop me doing this, you force me to confront a spider. Everytime I react you jab me in the neck, yank me on a collar, or even give me an electric shock. Eventually I will stop reacting to the spider, because I know that if I do react you will hurt me.

    Next time I saw a spider when you were there, I would probably stay extremely still and quiet. Somebody else seeing that might congratulate on on how well you had done. I am still and quiet, therefore I am calm and no longer scared. But actually I would still be absolutely terrified, and my stillness would be a fear of reacting, not a lack of fear. In dogs that is called 'shutting down' and you see it all the time on CM's show.

    Then you need to consider the spider's point of view. Before I was shouting, waving my arms arouns, and trying to get away from the spider. Spiders usually take the hint and get away from me as quickly as they can. It's still a hysterical over reaction on my part, but in the end no harm is done.

    Now I don't react anymore. The spider is there, it's getting nearer, I'm scared to move, scared to shout, eventually the spider reaches me. What happens then? Well, it depends a lot on the individual. In my case I'd probably be sick and pass out (which has happened in the past when I was 'trapped' with a spider). Or if I was a bit braver I'd probably kill it, especially if it was something I had a reason to be scared of (e.g. a black widow) rather than just an irrational fear.

    With the above in mind, these are the reasons I dislike CM

    1) his training methods involve hurting the dog. I find this completely unacceptable.
    2) his training methods are potentially dangerous to the dog (he has been sued for the physical damage done to dogs at his centre).
    3) his training methods are dangerous to the trainers
    4) his training methods create dogs that are walking time bombs. A dog that has been trained not show fear is an accident waiting to happen. If something scared them and they are not allowed to run away, not allowed to scare it off, not allowed to look to their owner for protection, then they only option they have left is to kill it. When the dog finally snaps and goes for someone or another dog the owners are completely shocked, because they thought the dog had been 'cured'.

    There are far kinder, more effective and less potentially dangerous training methods available. Why pick the one that's bad for the dog and bad for the owner?

    You might also be interested in Ian Dunbar's thoughts on it

    Also, watch a CM showith the sound turned off. Watch the dog's body language, it's signs of stress (averting gaze, muzzle licking, ears flat, etc) and how hard he jabs them, the sly kicks he gives them. When you ignore the nonsense he waffles over the top it's a very different show.
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  • I have watched plenty of Cesar Milan programmes and i have never seem him use violence towards a dog. I have never seen a dog 'frightened' by him.
    Exercise, discipline and affection sound like good common sense to me - and not just for dogs!
  • I have never seen CM use a shock collar, which I personally believe is cruel.

    A lot of his methods are different but seem to work. And I see no difference between what he does and what happens on dog borstal, how is shaking a can of dried peas different to CM's 'Shh!' ?? I have also seen Dog Borstal forcing dog's to 'confront their fears' in similar ways to CM.

    The only criticism I have is to the kicks, fine if as he says they are only touches, but it's a TV programme so we don't know.

    And I have to say I agree with the 'Pack leader thing'. I am my dogs leader, he will obey me, he will do as I tell him. Exactly the same as when I am on my horse, I lead her to the left and she will go to the left, when I am in the stable she will behave, she will let me touch her feet whether she likes it or not. And I fend that horses and dogs can both pick up on what you want by the simplest body language. I love them but they will do as I say. Oh and, you would never get a horse to come in from a field on a sunny day unless you did have your mind fully set on it coming in. If you went in 'asking' it would play a nice game of 'catch me if you can'.

    As with almost everything else it's a case of do what you feel is right for you and your dog.
  • pboaepboae Forumite
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    heccus, I can't imagine what shows you've been watching then. That is pretty much the only techinque CM has. Here's a a random youtube link for you. Watch it WITHOUT the sound first.

    He holds the dog off the ground by a choke collar, and pins her down by her neck. Watch it closely and you will see she isn't jumping up (which is how many people see it initially) he is hauling her up by the choker around her neck. At the very least she is going to have a bruised neck and throat after this, at worse he could break her neck.

    When he pins her, don't be under any illusion as to how hard he is pressing to keep her down either. He makes it look like it's barely a touch, but you can see him press his whole weight on her. By the time she's still her eyes are rolling and she's frothing, both indicators of severe stress.

    Yes it's true that other dogs do do this (roll a dog and pin it on it's back) but only if they intend to kill it. So it's like holding a gun to a person's head if they don't do as they are told.

    On top of all that, the dog wasn't even being aggressive in the first place, she's showing frustration, but also showing signs that she wants to greet the other dog, not kill it. What she needs is the chance to learn some meet and greet manners, not to be yanked around and pinned to the floor.

    He also set the situation up by having the other dog walk straight up head on. He could have avoided that and gone straight into parallel walking, starting at a distance and then closing the gap. But then he wouldn't have had a chance to manhandle the dog, and that would have made for a boring TV show.

    It's a pity it finishes when it does as well. I'd like to have seen more of the walking afterwards. As always 'Daddy' is being very submissive, avoiding eye contact with the other dog, ears back, etc. All CMs talk about Daddy being a dominant dog is BS, everything about his posture and body language says appeasement.

    But say you did decide to follow this training route with this dog, it would mean the owner keeping up this regime. Aside from the obvious risk that an owner less experienced than CM is likely to end up bitten if they roll a dog like that. All the dog is learning is not to react. In the meantime, everytime it sees another dog something nasty happens to it (it gets pinned to the ground). She now has a good reason to start being scared of dogs, and will quickly move from frustration at not being able to interact appropriately, to fear aggression. Which is a much harder problem to work on.

    tiamai_d: I don't agree with many of the techniques used on dog borstal either, for the same reasons as I don't agree with CMs. Rattle bottles can work, but they can also make things much much worse. Why risk it, when you can get the same results from say, clicker training, without the risk? I also know several trainers who have been left to pick up the pieces of dogs who were left in a worse state by dog borstal than when they started. Of course you won't see that on television.

    The pack leader and dominance stuff was discredited long ago. The original science it was based on was so flawed that the theories derived from it were nonsense. Even some of it's greatest supporters (e.g. John Fisher) have since done a u-turn on it.

    I am not my dog's leader, I do not dominate him in anyway. I have trained him to be obedient with positive training. Everything I do goes against the rules of pack theory, yet he still does as I ask. He will let me do things he dislikes, even let me hurt him (e.g. when he has sore ears that need cleaning). If pack theory were correct, that shouldn't be possible.

    So in one way I would agree with doing whatever works for your dog, because for most dogs it doesn't matter what approach you follow. As long as you are consistent and clear about what you want from them, they will learn, and they will behave as you ask.

    On the other hand I disagree with that approach, because it allows people to continue to abuse dogs and call it 'training'. I also disagree with it because it doesn't address what happens if it doesn't work. With positive training the worst that will happen is that the dog either doesn't learn or learns something irrelevant. Which is the owner's cue that they need to make their instructions clearer.

    With punishment based training when things go wrong they can go very wrong indeed, and there's a good chance someone one (or another dog) will end up bitten as a result. And if that training involves hurting a dog or terrifying them into submission, then as far as I am concerned that's abuse not training.
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  • sarah*asarah*a Forumite
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    pboae wrote: »
    When he pins her, don't be under any illusion as to how hard he is pressing to keep her down either. He makes it look like it's barely a touch, but you can see him press his whole weight on her. By the time she's still her eyes are rolling and she's frothing, both indicators of severe stress.

    Yes it's true that other dogs do do this (roll a dog and pin it on it's back) but only if they intend to kill it.

    Is this right? One of my dogs does this to the other - rolls him over and pins him for a few seconds - but only when he's being a PITA and won't leave her alone. She lets him straight up again, puts her paw on his head ( we says she pats him to say 'there there, no hard feelings :p ) and then he toddles off and she can go back to sleep/chew her bone etc etc.

    Not a CM fan myself either - his 'illusion' collars speak volumes :mad:
  • supermezzosupermezzo Forumite
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    That made me cry actually...poor dog.
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  • MrsTinksMrsTinks Forumite
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    Sorry but I don't think CM is cruel in the least little bit - and I've spent a lot of time working with rescues.
    What IS cruel in my view is dogs dressed in pink frills, carried in glorified handbags and never walked. What is irresponcible is people who let their dogs be incharge of them and their property because this will end in tears and very likely a bite!
    The only episode I have seen him use an electronic collar for was a VERY extreem case - and it was tested on not only CM but also the dogs owner to demonstrate the intensity of the collar. I thinkthe owner was shocked that ti was nothing more than a vibrating sense, he thought it would be a full out ZZAP.
    The dog in question had what I can only call a tyre fetish... and had already been run over once loosing one eye. It carried on chasing tyres and this was a potential lifethreatening situation. It took him 2 welltimes buzzes and the dog decided it didn't like tyres no more... I think that's more than justified the use of the collar?
    Does he scare the dogs? Haven't yet seen an episode where he has and I think I've seen most of them. Does leader of the pack theories work?
    They do for me - but then I guess I believed they could work and therefor they do. I've walked my dog who's not very canine friendly (but better) in a field where we met 2 collies loose with no sight of owners - she hates these 2 with a passion! - I simply made her lie down and then confronted the dogs and basically didn't accept disruptive behaviour from them. I ended up walking all 3 dogs through the field in a calm pack behind me with everyone getting on famously... Never had to touch ANY of the dogs to acchieve it either.
    Remember as he says it's not dog TRAINING it's dog rehabilitation - this isn't teqniques for training your dog, it's for dealing with problems, and 99% of the time they are caused by humans.
    Should his methods be applied if you are unsure? I'd say no - because you are trying to say one thing and you're projecting something entirely different, nightmare for your hound!
    Dog Borstal... I've met 2 of the trainers that have been on the series and I think they do a grand job with some of the dogs. Some of them though are redline cases which cannot be corrected in a week and often certainly not with the present owners!

    And yes dogs will place their jaws round other dogs throats when the dogs are on their back - it's a dominance thing. Think of it as a friendly way of saying "I'm boss!"and the submissive dog saying "yeah no worries boss - i'm no threat to you!"

    Should training ANY potentially dangerous dog be undertaken by Joe Bloggs? NO!!!! Categorically not! Pick a training method you feel you can handle and cope with and find a trainer that uses that method and you feel you can learn from. If you don't know what you're doing get someone in who does - Dog training programs on TV are just that... Entertainment. Yes I agree with CMs methods but they do also clearly state that you shouldn't do pretty much any of it without a professional dog trainer...
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