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Cesar Millan?
Who's a fan and who's not?

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41 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:23 PM

My brother has been spending a lot of time with us lately. He is a massive Cesar fan and keeps using his techniques on Bickie, which is really confusing her as we don't. He also keeps giving me advice although he has no pets and never has, other than our childhood dogs and fish.

So I'm curious about who here is a Cesar fan and who isn't. I don't really like the physical punishments but I can see some value in his teachings (in the really basic "person before dog" stuff that I already knew).

So anyone willing to fess up either way?

#2 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 19 January 2013 - 11:16 PM

Oh, I have nothing major against Cesar. I think a lot of "his" techniques have been around for a very long time and have a lot of merit. Edited now to say I DO have something major against him.

But I have a 4 month old Lab pup who sits, drops, stays, comes, gives, fetches, shakes, waits for her food on command (with a food reward). She is also learning to (and doing really well with) eliminate on command, walk beside me on the lead etc. For 4 months I think she is doing brilliantly although she doesn't defer to me for every single thing.

I'm not sure she needs the full "Cesar treatment" my bro is so keen on.

Edited by ~Karla~, 20 January 2013 - 02:21 PM.

#3 Miss S

Posted 19 January 2013 - 11:34 PM

I would be telling your brother to back off and leave the dog alone mad.gif People like that know just enough to be dangerous.

#4 la di dah

Posted 19 January 2013 - 11:34 PM

I think Cesar himself relies on a tremendous amount of exercise/interaction (which is good!) but he says "do this, and also run with your dog twelve km a day!" and a lot of people just do the growly macho alpha thing and don't do the running, and half a loaf in this case is not necessarily better than none.

The dog doesn't get all the exercise to be a good (i.e. tired! laughing2.gif) dog naturally, and the positive interaction that he does do, and they do get the relatively harsh style that can have temperment side-effects.

And I think a lot of family pets would be better if they got the exercise he gives and that's half the issue he solves.

#5 FiveAus

Posted 19 January 2013 - 11:43 PM

I like him, but you need to take his whole philosophy into account, not just cherry pick what you do and don't like, and criticise the bits you don't like. And remember he works with real core cases, some whose next step is the green dream.
Mostly I like his philosophy of interaction, discipline, affection and making the dog part of your life, not just a sometime interest.

#6 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:42 AM

NOT a fan at all. In fact, downright disagree with some of his methods. They're bloody dangerous and have resulted in the deaths of animals. His own. mad.gif

#7 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 20 January 2013 - 09:30 AM

Thanks for the opinions. original.gif

I don't really know much about Cesar tbh. I watched a few episodes of "Dog Whisperer" years and years ago and while I agreed with some of the basics, I didn't like the physical punishments. I haven't really had anything to do with him since - haven't watched his shows or read his books but my brother has always been a huge fan. Everything is "Cesar does...." and now he keeps trying to work his magic on my puppy. I'm not sure who's getting more annoyed - me or the dog. ph34r.gif I know he means well but I'm just not convinced Cesar's way is the way I want to do things IYKWIM.

#8 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:09 AM

Cesar's way is not in line with the code of ethics of the Australian Pet Dog Trainers association. As in, many of his methods involve physical punishment which is an outright no-no, or negative reinforcement, again, a no-no if used as the main method. Obviously, when it comes to the 'exercise your dog sufficiently' theme, well that's a no-brainer. Its hardly Cesar's way, its the bleeding obvious.

It is not well published, but he was sued at least once for killing a dog in his care. His "choking" method crushed a windpipe and the dog (owned by a lawyer) had to be euthanized. That's when his "don't try this at home" warnings started.
From here: BeyondCesarMillanWeekly

If I were you, I'd buy my brother "Clicker training for dummies", and suggest that he look into a proper and ethical training method instead.

Also point out that its made for TV. They only show the success stories. They don't show the ones that fail because that would be bad for ratings.

I'd be mighty (faux) cranky with my brother and tell him that if he wants to help train my dog, that he use my methods or I'll be separating him from my dog.

Positive reinforcement is what the professional animal trainers use - from zoos, to theme parks, horses, camels, livestock and pets.

If these work for the animal, there is absolutely no need whatsover to fix what isn't broken.

#9 caninestorm

Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:18 AM

Not a fan at all. I think it's a miracle he doesn't get bitten more than he does (and he still does quite often).

My dogs are trained through positive reinforcement and are wonderful (one has a number of obedience titles).

I'm not against the use of punishment entirely but it needs to be used in only the right circumstances, for the right dog, with the right handler. Unfortunately most people (including myself) are terrible with timing so don't do the dog any favours. At least when you make mistakes with rewards you are not harming the dog in any way.

#10 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:20 AM

Here's another one for you:

The American Humane Society actually begs the public not to train their dogs the way Cesar does, because not only is it dangerous; but it can hurt the dog.
In one episode, a crazy dog (I think it was a terrier) wouldn't calm down; so he put it on the floor and used pressed knee against its neck to stop blood flow. This caused the dog to pass out... and therefore, calming down and solving the problem.

I later heard that this impaced the dog's brain after the show ended, much to the thrill of the dog's owners.

Also... his methods have been used for years. The only reason hes so big is because he has turned it into a show. The big picture hes trying to put down? That you're the alpha. Thats it. All Cesar tries to show is that if you show you're dog who is in charge, he will listen. Sometimes this includes inhumane ways of staking your authority and even animal abuse (such as hitting a dog if he doesn't listen, punishing him for retaliating, etc.)
Possitive reinforcement works MUCH better and is in no way abusive. Eventually the dog will learn to love you as a best friend instead of an alpha, which will create a much better relationship for years to come.

People who have attempted Cesar's training methods have injured their dogs or injured themselves since some of the crazier, more aggressive dogs retaliated. I don't know if I can trust Cesar... especially since its TV. I mean, how long does it REALLY take for him to train devils into angels? Also, how do you know for sure if its the same dog? What happens to the family after he leaves?

Keep in mind that the American Humane Society, a wonderful organization, is telling people NOT to listen to this Dog Whisperer fellow. Why on earth would they tell people that if there was nothing to worry about?

Basically, anyone at all in the dog industry steers well clear of Cesar's methods. There are better alternatives, Karen Pryor, Ian Dunbar and Turid Rugaas are a couple that spring to mind.

#11 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:24 AM

I've been googling all morning and I really really don't like Cesar Millan now. sad.gif I'll definitely be having a good chat with my brother about it.

That's not the only dog that was severely injured or died under Cesar's care, which I find incredibly disturbing. I actually feel sick after everything I read today. sad.gif

#12 againagain

Posted 20 January 2013 - 12:35 PM

He's not really well liked in the animal industry.

I don't like his methods at all.

ETA somewhere on YouTube (if it hasn't been pulled already) is a clip of him terrorising a labrador. He then thinks he has "cracked" the poor dog, and stands there pointing and explaining to the camera how the dog has now relaxed. He goes to point and the dog lunges and bites his arm. Yeah real relaxed. Anyone who has worked with dogs could see the dog was NOT relaxed by his threatening behaviour. It's really sad actually.

Edited by againagain, 20 January 2013 - 12:39 PM.

#13 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:04 PM

I just watched that clip againagain. I also watched a few others. I don't recommend watching the clip about "Shadow". He repeatedly chokes the dog and pins him down and you can actually see the dogs gums and tongue are blue. Horrible stuff.

No frigging way am I supporting this lunatic. mad.gif

#14 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:14 PM

Actually, I think our animal cruelty laws would have some application to a few of his 'methods'.

My dogs (and most of my training clients) all defer to me, and I have never needed to physically injure an animal to gain their respect (well, I'll call it respect, its a bit different from dogs, but YKWIM). Positive methods and firm commands do the job perfectly well.

#15 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:25 PM

QUOTE (*Spikey* @ 20/01/2013, 03:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Actually, I think our animal cruelty laws would have some application to a few of his 'methods'.

Absolutely! Back in my pre-kids life, I used to be a vet nurse. I reported the last vet I worked for for similar "methods". (He became the first vet in QLD ever to be criminally charged in court with animal cruelty.) I should add that he did a lot of other really bad stuff too, not just the CM sort of stuff.

Edited by ~Karla~, 20 January 2013 - 03:39 PM.

#16 shelly1

Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:38 PM

Not a fan and his shows are favourably edited to show a "great" outcome.

I feel sorry for some dogs when their owners try to "Cesar" their dogs. It's like watching a few episodes make them a dog training expert

#17 Z-girls rock

Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:42 PM

I dont like him at all.
I think it is weird that he seems to blame the dog when clearly it is the owner who is the one not behaiving.
I think he is a bully to dogs.

I prefer Victoria from 'its me or the dog'. because she ends up telling the dog owner that THEY need to change because they are confusing the dog, or not walking it enough etc etc. ie: the owner realises usually that it is not that they have a 'naughty dog' but that they have been a 'naughty owner'.
which is usually the case.

#18 Marchioness Flea

Posted 20 January 2013 - 04:37 PM

i had NO idea he was so horrible. All i know of him was by watching the odd TV show a few years ago.
What a horrible horrible man.
I actually had more words, but I think I'd be edited so much it wasn't worth typing them. I'm sure you all get my meaning anyway.

#19 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 20 January 2013 - 06:54 PM

Freaky, the stuff that works is all stuff that he's co-opted from others.

There is a place for some negative reinforcers when it comes to extinguishing some behaviours (like barking and pulling clothes off the line while you're not there), but it should never be the main training method. And nor should it involve pain or injury to a dog.

All the research shows positive reinforcers have greater and longer effectiveness as a training method, and more so with animals who have been abused.

I'd encourage you to explore Victoria Stillwell, Karen Pryor and others who regularly deal with difficult dogs. They're honest about their successes and failures - and they don't abuse/injure their clients.

#20 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:17 PM

Spikey, I wish we were closer because I'd so enrol in your classes with Bickie. wub.gif

#21 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:25 PM

It would be nice - Bickie sounds like a lovely young dog. I always enjoy an 'easy' client every now and then!

#22 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:46 PM

She really is a sweetheart. wub.gif Possibly a bit too clever though... wink.gif

But so eager to please and so desperate to be part of the family, I couldn't imagine kicking her or any of that stuff Cesar does.

Edited by ~Karla~, 20 January 2013 - 07:47 PM.

#23 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 20 January 2013 - 09:12 PM

QUOTE (Freakypet @ 20/01/2013, 08:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
For those dogs, it takes more than food treats and gentle praise and regular exercise. And I guess that's why I liked CM. Pity that he, like so many others, turned out to be tarnished as well sad.gif

One of the pieces I read in my "research" about CM today mentioned that there is a very small subset of dogs who do benefit from his sort of training. But to try and use his techniques on the average pet dog is like taking the disciplinary actions of a high security juvenile detention centre and trying to apply them in an average primary school - complete and utter overkill that will lead to far problems than it could solve. I've never trained a dog who is that aggressive, so I can't really pass judgment on that specifically. But for a random pet that has just been poorly trained, I don't think there's any need to kick, hit, choke, pin down etc a dog for not waiting for your command to walk through a door.

The clips I watched today seemed incredibly antagonistic too.  Like he was deliberately provoking the dog to get the most extreme reaction, and I can't actually blame many of the dogs for biting him - I sure as hell would if someone kicked me in the guts, whacked me across the head and choked me for doing exactly what I've been allowed to do (rightly or wrongly) for my whole life.

My brother hasn't hurt Bickie and never would, but the "getting in her space" stuff was really annoying me as it was riling her up. I just think that sort of thing sets them up to fail IYKWIM.

#24 Bedge

Posted 20 January 2013 - 09:24 PM

I've watched a few of his shows, and struggled to watch.

A inward 'pronged' check chain? 'Hanging' a dog from its check chain/collar? It was horrible watch. Even scarier, people watch this show and try to mimic these 'techniques' (read; acts of cruelty).

#25 asdf89

Posted 20 January 2013 - 09:37 PM

I've never watched any of his shows... but have heard of Cesar Millan before, and always thought that Dog Whispering would be similar to Horse Whispering (i.e. 'gentling' not breaking a horse, using natural behaviours and no violence) but from reading this post/the links it sounds like the exact opposite.

It's not 'whispering' if you have to choke a dog. How can people think that's an appropriate way to interact with your family pet?

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