Cesar Millan: Love Him, Hate Him, And Why?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by milesfullofsmiles, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. milesfullofsmiles Well-Known Member

    Over the past couple of years there has been a lot of controversy surrounding National Geographic’s series called the Dog Whisperer starring Cesar Millan.

    Pros: On the one hand, the guy has show that a Latino can bust out and take the lead. (LOL, no pun was intended—but hey, why not?!) The Dog Whisperer has actually shown people that they need to train their dogs, something that was once not really prioritized but that now is considered a requirement instead of an option. Dog trainer phones are ringing more frequently since people who catch the show are motivated to change their dog’s behavior and know they need help.
    Cons: The drawback to the Dog Whisperer show is that the methods being shown are considered archaic (and harsh) in comparison to other methods that are available today. Not everyone can safely emulate the techniques shown in the Dog Whisperer series. Hence the need for the numerous disclaimers that seemed to appear after a lawsuit against Millan. People mistakenly believe they are seeing real time training accomplishments and think they can get the same results quickly. They fail to understand that they are viewing edited clips of events that happen over time.

    What I like about Millan’s message: exercise, calmness, and leadership. I absolutely agree that a huge portion of the behavioral issues people see in their dogs can be ameliorated through increased exercise and mental stimulation. Canids evolved to spend a large portion of their lives active and challenged, and sticking them in a room all day with rich foods and little exercise leads to many problems. I also agree that canids thrive in an environment with clear boundaries and a calm and strong leader. This allows them to be relaxed and confident and know how to behave. I also recognize that many average pet homes want a dog that is as “shut-down” as possible: they do not want a happy, curious, and confident pet, they want a pet that just lies quietly in the corner, and Cesar’s techniques are in many instances an effective path to that end.
    Millan sometimes uses different tools, but his basic range of techniques is very narrow. So when he happens to get a dog that needs those techniques he will be very effective, when he happens to get a dog that needs something different he will be very destructive. I would have the same problem if he were purely positive and gave treats for everything—one technique does not work across the board. Good trainers are fabulous problem solvers. They come up with brilliant ways to induce behaviors, change attitudes, and mold responses. They have a remarkable range of techniques that they use to work with different dogs. They can be very positive when needed, very harsh when needed, supportive, quiet, loud, calm, exuberant, etc.
    I have used many of Cesar Millan's techniques and find them quite helpful. They work fine with my puppy. But I do believe that Cesar has been "Hollywoodized". Many situations and ideas are not shown as they truly are.
    But, what I don't get is when people say things like this (I found this on a dog trainer's blog, who is against Cesar Millan):
    "Millan chokes dogs till they pass out and he electrocutes them repeatedly until they are biting and terrified. The American Humane Association who monitors animal use on set has requested that Nat. Geo not air some Dog Whisperer episodes because the treatment of the animals is so inhumane. Good training is never cruel."
    "Millan often keeps the dogs on such a short leash (literally and figuratively) that they do not learn accountability. They do not learn to make the right choices and respect the rules, they simply learn to give up and shut down. They learn to do and try nothing because they will get attacked if they move. Good training allows dogs to feel empowered and instructed; to clearly understand what behaviors are not allowed, and be responsible for making the right choices."
    I don't see this. Call me blind, but I don't. Someone's a little jealous...:cautious:
    Cesar Millan's walking techniques are excellent in my opinion.They are the reason that when Miles was 4 months old he could already walk better than most grown dogs I saw; right next to me, no pulling, glancing up at me occasionally for direction and to make sure I approved of the way he was walking.
    Don't get me wrong. There are some faults in Cesar's training sometimes, and like I said, he has been hollywoodized quite a bit. But, I don't understand why grown adults are bashing him immaturely this harshly. I don't see the "hitting" and "electrocuting" (????O_o) that they talk about....
    In my opinion, gleaned from the school of hard knocks, the best way to implement change is to be the change you want to see.
    The bottom line for me:
    -We might not agree on our methodologies but most of us have the same goal of helping animals stay in the home and of getting them to behave well.-
    I have to say that I am 50/50 with Cesar Millan.
    Where do you stand?
    Oh, and sorry for the long post. I wanted to get that all out, and I'm STILL not really done. Lol!:D Thank you for reading!
    Dice Smith likes this.

  2. southerngirl Honored Member

    I don't hate him, it's just that I'm don't like his methods I don't like I actually used to watch the show all the time don't anymore I'm All Positive
    Pros- He promotes exercise, calmness and leadership. When I say leadership I mean the dog waits for you to say it's okay to eat and looks at you while waiting. Doesn't go outside without your permission, walks beside you. Not Pack leader, Alpha roll, dominating. He promotes training your dog. Promotes the pitbull breed. Dogs are not kids. Umm that's all I got right now may add more later. His immatations of dogs can be really funny.:giggle:

    Cons- he uses shock collars, choke chains, and other things like that. Alpha rolls. Sometimes chokes the dog by holding their leash up to pull the dog upward. The dogs show stress when he is alpha rolling them. No he does not beat dogs but he is too rough with them. Hated his storm room he made for a dog who had post dramatic stress(I think that's what it's called.) Most of all most of his methods harm dogs:( Don't like the dominating thing. Can make your dog scared of you. make them worse than they already are.

    I say Positive Reinforcement is the best training method out their and I will Never use anything else. Look at Tigerlily and Buddy they have came so far and the use only Positive Reinforcement. (y)
  3. Dogster Honored Member

    I agree with southerngirl.(y) I do not like Cesar Millan.

    pros: He promotes spending more time with your dog, and excercising with them, which is a very important to a dog.

    cons: He kicks and phisically hurts dogs, he uses prong and shock collars, and chokes dogs, alpha rolls, intimidation.... the list goes on. I think the dogs turn out worse than they were, they are intimidated by him, then by the owners who continue the training. He weakens the bond in between owner and dog, he doesn't strengthen it. I hated it when he brought a dog that was terrified of loud noises to a shooting range.:cautious: Everybody was wearing ear protection and he just exposed the dog to such loud noise, hurting his ears. Aside from that, the dog was terrified. He kicks and "corrects" dogs before they react. A lot of the dogs rect after Cesar "corrects" them. I wouldn't blame him. I wouldn't want him touching me either.:cautious::mad:

    And yes, he does kick dogs:
  4. Pawbla Experienced Member

    As I see him:

    Promotes training.
    Emphasizes on leadership, and treating your dog, like, well, a dog.
    Be calm, hold the leash correctly.
    Loves pitbulls (I had definitely forgot that one, southerngirl!).
    Emphasis on walking your dog daily and getting him enough exercise.
    Very charismatic dude.
    Educates on what kind of behaviours are normal in a dog, and what kind of behaviours are not.
    Motivates people showing that dogs change.

    Promotes BAD training. Coercive methods, inundation as a method of fear conquering even in phobias, choke collars, shock collars (after this episode, NEVER AGAIN!), etc.
    They can damage and worsen a dog, mentally and physically.
    Emphasis on physical stimulation rather than mental.
    Creates unrealistic expectations on how fast a dog can revert its behaviour problem. In the show, it is shown as a couple of days.
    Shows a kind of alpha nobody really wants to be.
    Scares people away from training. Really, this might seem contradictory to the rest of what I said, but I know a few people who thought a trainer was going to try to make them cry and feel guilty if they saw their dogs.
    People expect you to use coercive methods on their dogs and they do not take you seriously if you don't. "How do you expect to handle my 60kg dog with treats?!". Until the results come, obviously.

    This, is not his fault, but people try to imitate him and end up horribly wrong. The way he speaks to people is kind of "if this happens, do this". Even with all the disclaimers.

    Overall, I feel there are other shows and there may be other trainers who could do his job better than him. If Victoria Stilwell was as charismatic as him, she'd be way more famous to the "common folk".

    I don't feel he's a bad dude. He's just not very knowledgeable considering we live in the 21st century.
  5. rouen Experienced Member

    I dont like him at all. And it seems dogs dont care much for him either.
    Notice all of the dogs in this photo are uncomfortable. This is what he says a dog should look like, head and tail low, ears back(in other words a dog that's fearful because he never knows when you're going to attack him).

    As for your quote about him choking dogs out, I can recall 3 dogs of the shows I have seen that he intentionally choked out and called it "relaxing." Jonbee(who was put down after the show), Shadow, and Emily.
    A few dogs that he's used to film have been euthanized because of his methods. One such dog was Ruby, a fear biter, Cesar provoked her on his show, even got bit by her. His methods to instigate her resulted in a child being bit and Ruby being euthanized.

    There have been a few dogs that were euthanized before the final airing of the show, and it was mentioned on the show. Not to mention the thousands of dogs that have been put down, or have severe behavioral problems due to people imitating him.
    All this plus the physical abuse and on going mental anguish he puts the dogs through, no I dont like him at all, I'd rather watch Stilwell, and I find her rather annoying.
  6. rouen Experienced Member

    Oh, I also forgot, there's a woman who brings her two dogs into the store periodically. She uses his collars, the ones that looks like a neck brace. You should hear those dogs wheeze cause their trachea's are so damaged. One of them is borderline fear biter, and both are DA.
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  7. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Cesar is using methods that have been proven by science to be detrimental to dogs. And yet, he doesn't seem to care. Repeat: methods that have been proven by science to be detrimental to dogs, and yet, he insists they work. If you watch his show with no sound, without all that ridiculous music they've added ... the build-up to the dog behaving badly, and then the soft happy orchestra that plays once the dog is acting as Cesar says it should .. you'd see a dog who often appears confused, and more often, shut down and/or fearful. Only speaking for the dog I want - I prefer my dogs to be able to think. Will they always do everything right? Nah. But then, I don't either. Do I enjoy working with them and beside them and teaching them and learning from them? Absolutely.

    As for dogs walking immediately beside/behind their owners, as Cesar insists is the proper way, I disagree. What's wrong with beside us? Or even a bit in front of us, as long as the leash is loose? As we experience the world mainly thru our eyes, the dog uses it's nose. It needs to be able to sniff it's way along a walk, not just walk in a proper heel a few inches behind it's owner at all times. True, many walk their dogs that way, and honestly, I feel sorry for the dogs, they're missing so much of their world. Their nose is they're most powerful organ, and according to Cesar's rules, they might as well pack it up and put it away.

    As for Cesar's jerking, hanging, choking, shocking, kicking, strangling, etc - don't get me started. Rouen is correct. Dogs have lost their lives as a result of Cesar's "rehabilitation". If anyone doubts it, it's documented, and can be researched. I also have a reactive dog. She's wonderful with people, but for a long time she would lunge, snarl, bark etc when passing a strange dog. A short visit with a "Cesaresque" trainer contributed immensely to her issues. Thankfully positive reinforcement has helped turn her around over a long period of time. I can guarantee anyone that no kind of collar cutting off her air, no amount of kicking her side, poking her, sssshhhhh'ing her, jerking her, or flooding her (another favorite tactic) would have "cured" her of her fear of other dogs. Only lots of time, patience, rewards for calm behavior, etc has been able to get thru to her, to literally change the way she feels.

    It's interesting you'd start this thread. We were discussing a similar topic unrelated to Cesar however, in a different thread. We were discussing the fact that dogs love us unconditionally and in some cases will lay down their lives for us, they guide the blind, they act as service dogs, and they live side by side with us daily - and yet we do things to them we wouldn't dream of doing to any other animal on this planet. We'd never put choke, prong, or shock collars on a cat or a horse, we'd never dream of alpha rolling a cat, it would never occur to us to use some kind of collar that might cut off the airway of a cat or horse, and yet - we do all these things (and worse!) to our precious dogs. And Cesar has put his seal of approval on all of it! Shock 'em, choke 'em, kick 'em, jerk 'em, roll 'em, cut off their air, scare them til they submit - because they're trying to dominate us!! Not.

    Thank you, but I'll pass on Cesar. I'd rather live in a house of mutual respect with my dogs, in a give/take relationship. Yes, I pay the bills and have control of resources, but my dogs are allowed to think and act and play and sniff and explore - and in turn, they do pretty much whatever I ask of them. Any issue we've had to resolve, we've been able to conquer using positive reinforcement, no negative punishment needed. Sad that Cesar doesn't see things that way. Seems he's just being dominant and stubborn - same accusation he uses on the dogs. :oops:
  8. Dice Smith Well-Known Member

    Well everyone here knows my opinion. :giggle: I like the Dog Whisperer a lot. I understand that his methods are controversial and are not for everyone. I am an avid fan and I watched his show obsessively when we had cable. I'd like to point out that he uses prong collars and choke collars if that's the tool the dog owners are already using, he doesn't push those tools on them. I don't have a problem with him using a vibrating setting on a shock collar either, so long as it isn't the shock (and NEVER on an episode has he ever used an actual shock). I don't believe anyone should use these methods for trick training AT ALL and I don't think these methods are appropriate for all dogs either.
    I do completely disagree with the foot tap, because it is so easy for someone to be rough and actually hurt the dog. I would never use it and wouldn't like to see anyone using it either. I think that anyone who is having behavioral issues with their dogs should try other methods first and see how they work, then go on from there. And always under the guidance of a professional.
    Now Victoria Stillwell....Ugh! :eek: Don't even get me started on her lol. I find her completely annoying. I like that she's positive but I have tried tons of her methods and they have never worked for my boy. :rolleyes: I think her methods actually annoy him lol. Now Zak George is awesome. I admire him. (y)
    That said I know many people will disagree with me. I believe that as owners we are the most fit trainers there are for our dogs. If we would all take the time to listen to our dogs, meet their needs and show them how to live happily in our world there would be way less dogs in shelters. And whether you like or dislike Millan, I think that's something we all as dog lovers can agree on. :D
    milesfullofsmiles and collie23 like this.
  9. MaryK Honored Member

    I don't like him either, watched a few shows of his, didn't see, fortunately some of the ones mentioned here. His methods of training make me feel literally sick. I always think how I would feel if someone tried to put a prong collar of me, or any of the other tactics he uses. Sure, I'm not a dog but DOGS HAVE FEELINGS TOO and he insults that factor!

    Shocked to read that some of the dogs he has 'trained' have been put down. But not surprised.:cry:

    His 'charisma' guess that is very subjective but I personally feel he's smarmy, and NO I don't dislike Latino people at all, actually love them. He's had a darned good pr/marketing department and the drive to succeed. Anyone with that combination will succeed.

    My partner become a fan and actually dared to alpha roll Ra Kismet. It took me forever to get Ra Kismet to over come fear of being touched around the throat, especially with a collar etc. as he though I was going to alpha roll him - NO WAY!!!!!!!! (Partner is still recovering from the verbal he got from me:mad:).

    Not one of those dogs in the picture look happy, every single one is exhibiting signs of stress. Is that how people want their dogs to feel/look/be?

    I too have found people who follow his methods and their dogs, well I don't like my guys being around them, and it's NOT the dogs fault that they are nervous, over reactive etc.

    And I've said it before else where, never once does he mention love, care, or anything like that, when he's 'training' the dogs. No rewards when the dog does the right thing, or rather is forced into the 'right' behavior.

    No don't like the man or his training methods at all!
  10. MaryK Honored Member

    Jackiemutts you've made me cry, you expressed it all so beautifully and correctly and the dogs of this world would ALL thank you! I too love my dogs to be the same as your guys, am not going to say any more, you've said it all!(y):love:
  11. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member

    Actually, I've seen an episode in which he uses a shock collar. IIRC, it is a dog new to the household who is chasing the family cat. The cat is put in a cage and the dog is shocked for looking at the cat. The dog ends up cowering under a chair, hiding his head in an effort to not see the cat and avoid further shock. Cesar thinks this is a successful training session.

    It doesn't pay to use euphemisms .... He does not tap anyone with his foot -- he delivers a groin or flank kick, often hard enough that the dog cries out, cowers, or snaps back in pain. It is not a tap, it is a kick, and to increase its 'efficacy' it is done to an area of the body unprotected by ribs or other bones.

    I have seen two episodes that aired in which a dog was choked until he was cyanotic (blue) and faint. These weren't corrections, the dogs were deliberately choked until they were weak and then Cesar patted their prone bodies (avoiding where one dog had urinated on himself in terror) and said that the dogs had relaxed and accepted his leadership. One of those dogs, BTW, had his 'mom' present who started crying to see her dog struggle and panic and Cesar had her sent out of the room because she was disturbing his energy.

    What else have I seen? Oh, a Dachshund who had recently been attacked and injured by a larger dog was forced in close proximity to her attacker so that she didn't 'reinforce' the bad behavior of the bigger dog through showing fear. You know, like a rabbit should go hang out by a coyote so it doesn't reinforce the coyote's rabbit-chasing. Coyotes wouldn't chase rabbits if the darn rabbits wouldn't reinforce their bad behavior. (The Dachsie was absolutely terrified, as you can imagine.)

    In his wisdom, Cesar also confidently told a family with a new terrier that when the cat swatted at the terrier (who had been video'd leaping up and snapping at the cat as he sat in a chair), the cat was trying to assert his dominance over the dog. Sure, or he doesn't like/feels incredibly threatened by having a dog leap into his face and bark and snap. One of those must be it.

    Re: Cesar's Pros:
    See, once I see you choking dogs, kicking dogs, dragging traumatized dogs into situations they find abjectly terrifying, and laughing at dog's fearful reactions, you lose, buddy. Game over, any good message you may bring has been swallowed up by the harm you have done to both those individual dogs and to the nameless, countless dogs under the care of those who follow you.
  12. rouen Experienced Member

    I can't recall an episode featuring an ecollar that he only used a vibration setting. The one eye farm dog got shocked hard enough that she jumped backward. As I recall he showed it on a low level shocking his hand trying to say is was safe and humane.
    Here's the GSD and cat episode, if you watch the dog you can see when he receives a shock, thats not a reaction you'd get from a vibration.
  13. MaryK Honored Member

    OMG!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!! I hadn't seen that episode, words fail me, that poor, poor dog:cry:If My dog reacted like that when someone was supposed to be 'training' him, I could a NOT be responsible for my actions:mad::mad: Yes can clearly see the shock transmitter and receive on the dogs collar. Did see the warning not to attempt this blah blah blah and the dog almost bit millan it was in so much stress.

    Was the woman 'scripted'? No-one in their right minds would think that situation was right!!!!!!!!! Dominance, Millan should be had up for animal cruelty, not held up as a 'dog whisperer'. Sorry but that vid has really upset me:cry::mad::mad::mad::mad:
  14. Mutt Experienced Member

    I also am no fan of him and the cons given above speak for themselfs.
    And I have to say it makes me sad that people need someone else to tell that dogs are dogs and need exercise and training. Whenever someone buys a laptop they search on the internet for the best store/model etc. But with a dog most people don't even bother to learn about the breed they want...

    Something I would also like to add: people who are pro CM usually say that because some dogs he gets to train are last chance dogs (if doesn't work they get put down), the end justifies the means (his training methods). Other than that most dogs are still euthenized, I don't agree on that. We should NEVER EVER force or dog in a situation in which it 'surrenders' itself (in other words has a total break down) in order to stop pain!

    This video shows how he litteraly breaks a dog and you know why? Not because the dog is aggressive, not because it even behaves bad, but because a st. Bernard doesn't want to go upstairs with a very narrow, Steep winding staircase...
    Does it matter that walking stairs is bad for the hips of larger dogs, would it matter that the dog only stays on ground level? But hey since the daughter wants the dog upstairs it should happen, so lets put a choke collar on and litteraly drag the dog upstairs! But before we do that we almost cause the dog to have a heatstroke by walking it 2 blocks In LA midday heat! Because thats what a loving dog owner does....
  15. MaryK Honored Member

    I had to go over to YouTube to bring up the vid and read some of the comments. One was millan is bordering on cruelty, imo not bordering but IS cruel! Millan was puffing pretty hard, so how did he think the dog felt? More I see of this 'man' the more I dislike him,:mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:I don't walk my dogs in the heat here and it's very hot here too, I wait until after dark at times. The owners of Riley were a 'little nervous' I would be FURIOUS, millan would have had a VERY embarrassing video if that were my dog he was 'training', and I had some very 'bad' thoughts about what I would like to have seen happen on those stairs - must rid myself of those:eek: I have to go cool down!
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  16. MaryK Honored Member

    The man is sick and should be charged with animal cruelty. I am not sure if all episodes were shown here, I certainly only watched about two and was too disgusted and upset to watch more. Totally agree with you on the Pros - lost me too! I couldn't sit by and watch my dog treated as he treats dogs, what's wrong with the owners? I question if THEY should be allowed to have a dog at all!

    As to the kicks, yes they ARE kicks, one of my boys (Zeus) managed to get himself twiddled up with a chair and although the pressure on his flank wasn't nearly as bad as that delivered by millan's kicks, he was in pain! It doesn't take much to cause pain to a dog in that unprotected area.
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  17. madeleine Experienced Member

    jackiemutts: I totally agree with you about the dogs walking beside humans part. Nobody has been able to explain to me what this has to do with dominance. In packs 'the alpha' doen't always walk in front, so why should i?

    Next to that i think that most pros of Cesar are already written down.
    An other con that's not yet mentioned (i believe) is something based on repeating and how dogs learn.

    We like to train potitive. Meaning for a approved behaviour the dog gets a reward. So we want to learn the dog to sit, we give a treat when he does sit down. if he learned this trick we still sometimes give him a reward. This we do so that the behaviour will not extint.

    Sadly this also counts for punishments.. Once in a while you have to repeat the punishment or the behaviour can come back (offcourse this depends on the level of motivation why the dog has that behaviour. Then again how higher the level of motivation is, how higher the punishment must be in order to stop his behaviour...
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  18. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member

    Hi MFOS
    I think those arguments are sound. As you can see in this thread, he does shock dogs and choke them until they are literally blue in the face.

    I am a big fan of the training camp that discusses the 'choices' that dogs make. It is a revolutionary way of considering behavior modification -- that the goal is for the dog to make good choices. Years ago, at a Thanksgiving dinner with my late dog, my uncle was cutting a ham and part of it slid off the plate and hit the floor. There was a collective gasp as my dog raced to the scene. Since he'd learned that not snatching the food often lead to a greater reward than a desperately fast scarfing of the food, he made a choice based on experience: he skidded to a 'sit' in front of the ham and looked at me :) He was right, he got a nice chunk of ham amid cheers for his 'good choice.'

    Personally my goal is always to teach the dog what works, rather than play whack-a-mole with all of the behaviors that I don't want. Everyone wants to do things in the most successful way, whether it's something like opening a plastic container or something complex like driving a stick shift without stripping the gears. Teaching it from the outset allows the dog to learn the most rewarding way of doing things.

    Though the plural of anecdote is not data :) , I'm glad for your success. I had a very easy time of it with my current dog, he's a natural born leash-walker. A lot of smaller and short-legged dogs keep a nice pace with us humans and that helps a lot. Many dogs don't, and many dogs require more than the leash-jerking, high-collaring, and shhhh! noise to learn. Again, I'd prefer to teach my dog what I want than to 'correct' him for doing what I don't want. Also, the whole 'alpha' nonsense he applies to dogs who walk ahead or walk through the door first is total nonsense. Dogs pull because they want to go forward, and that's precisely what makes it hard for some dogs to learn, especially if the pace of the human requires them to walk more slowly than would be natural for them.

    This post addresses many of your concerns in the "anti-Cesar" argument, including the jealousy :rolleyes: bit: http://www.4pawsu.com/cesarfans.htm
  19. Dogster Honored Member

    I agree with EVERYTHING said about Cesar. Fantastic points!!!:D He should be banned from dog training, or "dog rehabilitating" whatever he calls it.:)

    EDIT (my post) : I can't see any pros to him or his training anymore.:mad: After reading and watching, I feel sick. :sick:

    :sick::sick::sick::mad: I coudn't even watch that.:sick:
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  20. MaryK Honored Member

    Totally agree Dogster and charged with animal cruelty. I had to make myself watch that video just so I KNEW what went on and could speak out to any "millan fans' and tell them EXACTLY what happened but it made me feel sick that's for sure:sick::sick::sick::mad::mad: Had to go hug my boys, my two cats, and scratch my bird.
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