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

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

  1. jackienmutts Honored Member

    A & C, I loved your whole post - but that summed it up for me. Yes, I'm glad he stresses exercise - but that's the only good I see coming out of this guy.

    For years, I had three large dogs (all gone to The Bridge now) ... an 80 lbs GSD, and two GSD/Golden mixes, brothers, one 80 lbs, one 60 lbs. I used to walk them all together each day. I was lucky, I had THE BEST dogs, it took work, but we were a team of four, team I'll never forget. We all went to the park, the beach, we went everywhere together. Three big dogs, three LOOSE leashes, one hand. I literally used to walk them with the leashes each draped over one finger in my right hand. Yes, this was the confidence I had in my dogs. They walked beautifully, were unreactive, and didn't need leashes - we had them because there is a leash law. Ok fine. They walked in front of me when in the neighborhood on the sidewalk, we'd always stop if they found something to stop and sniff - or pee on, and of course, I always have bags in my pocket. Hang on - there's a point to this. One day - after years of walking like this - a car pulled over (no one I knew) and asked if I had ever heard of Cesar Milan? Who? Cesar Milan. No. This total stranger (and passenger) started going on and on about how I was walking my dogs "wrong", how they were pulling me (HUH?), how they should be walking behind me (WHY?), how they were most likely trying to dominate me since they were leading me, and on and on it went. I stood there totally baffled. They strongly suggested I watch the show to straighten out all the dog problems I undoubtedly had at home. I told them I didn't have any problems. They found that very hard to believe. (I kept wondering who these people were???) They finally drove on - and we continued our walk. A few days later, someone else pulled over - and we had almost the same conversation. WTH?? I had to watch this guy to find out who he was, and why everyone was suddenly a dog expert. I found it so sad that total strangers were suddenly taking it upon themselves to pull their cars over and instruct dog owners on the "proper art of dog walking" ... even tho I asked, and neither person had a dog at that time, they just watched his show (which was brand new at that time). I believe during that "new" time, 4 different people stopped to discuss my dog-walking habits. I lost it with the last one. I refuse to have my dogs follow me, and I cannot share a sidewalk side-by-side with 3 large dogs, we won't fit. :LOL: When I saw the methods he uses to "correct" dog behavior, I couldn't imagine why I would want to do any of those things. Never have used physical punishment, don't intend to start now.

    I'm constantly amazed when I look at the dogs I live with. I love German Sheps, always have. Have had rescues my whole life - rescue sheps for 25 yrs. I look at these powerful dogs, and I sometimes am in awe when I think of what they're capable of - both good and bad. Why would I want to do anything - ANYTHING - that might bring out the worst in them? The thing is tho, dogs will usually use biting as the absolutely last resort, but I don't ever EVER want to betray that trust and respect I've worked so hard to build -- not only because they have powerful jaws and teeth, but because I feel about them the way I want them to feel about me.

    I couldn't watch any of the videos again, I remember them all too well, had a hard enough time the first time. Sadly, there is one of Cesar's biggest mentor's who has a big ranch/complex near where I live (maybe 50 miles away). She's been featured on his show several times, working with dogs, blah blah blah. She had a show on local cable here, and the first time I saw her, I was appalled - what I saw her doing was nothing short of cruel. If anyone came even close to doing what she did to my dog, the police would have probably been called - on me!! I haven't watched his show in years, I can't. I find it sad that his fan base is still so huge. I also find it sad that people's first reaction to so many situations is "call Cesar", as if he's the only and almighty resource. Sadly, he's a self-proclaimed rescource. In what other body of work can one proclaim oneself an authority with only self-teaching, and have a huge tv following and become a celebrity? He's dealing with a living, breathing, thinking, feeling being - and yet, to so many, including some on this forum, it doesn't matter. He smiles, he charms, and because it works, it must be true. If you knock a person around enough times, they too will become too scared to continue doing a particular something. That works too. And if you smile while you do it - I guess it makes it right. No - it does not.

    Again - science has proven his methods are detrimental. But as long as advertisers are paying, people are buying, and the dogs keep on coming (and paying with their lives), then Cesar's bank account can keep growing, he can keep smiling for the cameras, and traveling, and showing the world how to ssshhhh their dominant dogs. Sad.

  2. rouen Experienced Member

    Many of CM's techniques are not safe for long term well being of any dog, but particularly puppies. There is scientific data showing that early use of choke chains or even prolonged pulling on a flat buckle collar can cause long term tracheal damage, this is why it's often recommended that puppies be walked in a harness. I recall one episode where CM put a loaded back pack on a 4-5 month old rottie puppy. This sort of activity is not advocated by anyone (except CM) for dogs under 12-18 months old due to that fact that their skeleton is not mature enough to handle the load.
    It's one thing to advocate being active with your dog, it's something entirely different to advocate activities that promote life long damage for the sake of bullying your dog. I'd rather have a partnership based on trust and understanding than a slave/master relationship.

    As for walking, I think anyone who cannot get a puppy to walk on a leash shouldn't have a dog, seriously. I got Dasy at 3 months old, she had never been on a leash prior. After 2 days she was a walking champ, she generally walks ahead of me, she checks in and she never pulls. Her training was entirely verbal, no treats, no corrections, just praise and direction. She is walked in a step in harness and prances tail high, head up and happy. We are a team I dont make her to obey me, we work together to get it done.
  3. milesfullofsmiles Well-Known Member

    Yes, I agree. I think positive reinforcement is the way to go. Cesar is overbearing sometimes. I think its just to put on a show, like how one time he kept putting a tennis racket all up in the dogs face. But I think some people went a little to far when they were talking about Cesar hitting dogs and stuff. I don't like the way he handles some aggressive dog situations either. But yes, his dog imitations are super funny, lol!:ROFLMAO:
    southerngirl likes this.
  4. milesfullofsmiles Well-Known Member

    Sorry, can't see the video. It's not showing up for some reason... :( But yes, that is a horrible thing to do that to a dog if they are scared of loud noises, especially since dogs can hear sounds 4x louder than humans. That's got to hurt their ears, not to mention the stress and fear factor. I have to confess, I haven't seen that episode though.
    Dogster likes this.
  5. milesfullofsmiles Well-Known Member

    LOVE your post. Exactly what I saw in my head.
    Pawbla likes this.
  6. milesfullofsmiles Well-Known Member

    Yeah, very sad.. :(. I HATE choke chains and such, similar collars, etc. I always try to be very careful with mile's delicate neck, he's still a puppy. And even when he's grown I should still be cautious! I use a simple nylon collar (so it will be comfortable; nylon is soft and won't give him any discomfort) with a pretty sizable lead, also of nylon. In the future I kinda wanna get him an engraved leather collar though.
    MaryK likes this.
  7. milesfullofsmiles Well-Known Member

    Wow...who are they to tell you what to do??? Maybe they didn't even have dogs of their OWN. Seriously, if they want to torment dogs they can do that on their own; not tell YOU to mistreat your own dogs!:mad:
    MaryK likes this.
  8. milesfullofsmiles Well-Known Member

    Congrats on your pup! :)

    If cesar is an "expert", then why doesn't he know about the canines bone-development system? Cruel. I hope that poor pup didn't get back problems. I've always been REALLY scared about back problems in my dog since he's a corgi. All he has to do is walk down the stairs too fast, and BAM, he has a slipped disk.
    MaryK likes this.
  9. milesfullofsmiles Well-Known Member

    Great post. I agree. And there's no wonder that Cesar's wife divorced him. He was probably too dominant and stubborn as you said. :cautious:
    MaryK and Pawbla like this.
  10. Anneke Honored Member

    I recall two shows where he DID use the SHOCK. Three actually. One was when he moved to his new facility and where he used a shock to teach Daddy to stay away from rattlesnakes. He said in that show he was using the shock, not the vibration.
    One show I saw him use the shock in, was when a lady wanted her dog to stop chasing her cat around the house. He used the shock to break off the chase. I remember him putting a bandana rond the dogs neck to hide the shock collar.
    And one show was set on a farm, where the dog would chase the farm machines, putting himself in danger of getting run over.

    Yes he uses prongcollars only when the owners use it, but... when a dog is already very fearfull(this was a show where a woman had dobermans, her two were pretty ok, but she rescued one that was very fearfull and she had a prongcollar on her) you get rid of that prongcollar! That dog DID NOT need the prong collar.

    Positive reinforcement takes a lot more time in some cases, because it is based on trust and understanding. You train at the speed of what the dog can handle and there is no forcing them into anything. This takes a lot of patience.
    And let's be honest, most people don't have that patience. They want to see results right now!

    I admit, I watch his shows. I don't like the latest shows, because he has become a more like a moviestar.
    But the first series were ok. I like the way he can explain to people where they went wrong and how they need to change.
    I don't like his harsh methods.

    I am not an all positive trainer. I don't use chokechains, shockcollars and that stuff.
    But I do have trainingdiscs. These are metal discs that make a loud noise when thrown on the floor. I don't throw them against my dogs, just near them, so the sounds distracts them from whatever they are doing at the time. I only use them when they ignore my vocal warnings.
    And I do a "nose bite" where I put my hand over top of my dogs nose and hold it there untill they calm down. I don't squeeze, just a little pressure, like a dog performing a nosebite with another dog. Never do I prevent my dog from breathing normally. It is a dominant gesture, but my dogs have been taught this. I have been doing it since they were a puppy and it is just to make them see, that I really mean business!
    The discs and the nose bite are both "last resorts" that I have on hand when all else fails.

    I do believe we can learn a lot from all trainers. Even from people like Millan and some others with very harsh methods. Even if it was how I DON'T want to train.
    I want to have a large range of training techniques and find a way that works best for me.
    I don't have Kikopups patience, but I train similar to her. And that works fine with Jinx.
    But with Cooper I have to be much more firm, as he always challenges my dominance(how I hate that word) He always thinks his way is the best and I have to convince him otherwise. That means standing my ground, no matter what.
    He needs a training that is outside of my comfortzone, so I have to think outside the box.
    I love him to bits though and I would rather accept his dog-agressive behaviour, than to put a prongcollar or a shockcollar on him.;)
  11. Anneke Honored Member

    Sorry, I hadn't read all the replies and just found out, that others have posted about the shows I mentioned:D
    MaryK and milesfullofsmiles like this.
  12. milesfullofsmiles Well-Known Member

    Uhhh, I hate prong collars! I can just see them digging into the poor dog's skin. :(
    I once saw an episode of Animal Cops: Houston where they rescued a dog that had been abandoned. Sure enough, the dog had a prong collar on, and the collar had dug SO deep into his skin that they had to surgically remove it; it was literally locked in his flesh.:sick:
    Even then, he still had scars on his neck for the rest of his life from it. The poor dog would whimper every time someone touched his neck.:cry:
    MaryK likes this.
  13. southerngirl Honored Member

    I've seen Victoria Stilwell do something like this. When the dogs barked when someone knocked on the door she used a pan and spoon(I think) and banged the spoon on the pan when the dogs looked at her she hid them so the dogs wouldn't associate something bad with her.
    Anneke and milesfullofsmiles like this.
  14. Anneke Honored Member

    Yes, the dog should not see you make the noise. That way the dog has to figure it out himself. Every time I do this, the noise happens. I don't like the noise, so I don't do it anymore. Kind of like self rewarding behaviour.
    But it is not for every dog. It can't be used on sound sensetive or fearfull dogs. I have seen dogs completely shut down, by even the slightest tinkle of the discs.
    MaryK and southerngirl like this.
  15. Pawbla Experienced Member

    It's sort of a positive punishment, but the "less harmless" kind of positive punishment.

    Kinda like hiding balloons in the plants so the dog avoids chewing them.

    By the way, I totally get you people when you say Stilwell is annoying. My boyfriend watched an episode with me and he was like OH MY GOD SO ANNOYING. She's so uncharismatic, if that's a word. But her methods are good, and I think that's what matters.
    milesfullofsmiles likes this.
  16. Dice Smith Well-Known Member

    Oh :( I've never seen those episodes (and I thought I've seen every one). I don't like shock collars, prong collars or choke chains either. I don't believe they do anything but make problems worse. My parents got me a choke chain when Kodi was a year old and tole me to at least try it. I'd seen them in tons of training books (even supposed "positive reinforcemnt only" ones, so I agreed to try it. I put it on Kodi, took him for a short walk around the yard to get him used to it and when he pulled I tugged at it like all the books said. Kodi looked horrified and gazed at me like "Why did you do that mom?" I started to cry and immediately took it off of him. I felt so horrible and never used it again. I think it's laying in the bottom of my closet somewhere.

    I am not an all positive trainer either. I do believe that dogs need positive punishment (maybe not all dogs, but mine do). Positive punishment for my dogs is like not going out the door if he's pulling or waiting for dinner until he relaxes and doesn't whine. I also use several sound techniques when a vocal correction just won't cut it (although they never know it's coming from me). I have used an empty soda can filled with some pennies before to. I have used the "nose bite" twice before and it did work. My sister uses it on her lab sometimes and it works great for her. It may not be all for all dogs and their owners but it has worked for us.

    I also strongly believe that we can learn a lot from all trainers, even if we may not like all their techniques. My favorite trainer is Kyra Sundance. I think her dogs are amazingly well trained and I think she is wonderful with them and has taught them extremely well. She is extremely positive, and yet in several books of her's that I have read she has talked about how she does agree with some of Cesar's methods. She agrees that dogs need discipline and that body language, walking up to a dog and looking at them in a stern way can discourage bad behaviors. And you don't even have to use your voice or touch to accomplish it. I have gotten stern looks from my parents and I know to cut whatever I'm doing out. It doesn't wound me or make me sad. It's the same with Kodi. If I give him the "stop that" eye he quits what he shouldn't be doing and busies himself with an appropriate activity.

    As dog owners we need to listen to our dogs and do what's appropriate for them and what feels right to us. I to would rather have a dog aggressive dog than one who wears medevil torture devices (which in my opinion is what they are!). That's why I took my clicker and a pocket full of treats with me on walk. I can proudly say that it does take awhile, but my boy is now getting better and less aggressive with each excursion. And that is something we celebrate dearly, because we've been working so hard and for so long towards it. :D
  17. sara Moderator

    Wow!! I am so seriously impressed that this discussion has 36 replies and nothing needs moderation!!! Normally, CM discussions get NASTY on other forums!

    GREAT JOB everyone! Thank you for keeping it clean, polite and very informative!

    This is why I LOVE this forum! :)

    I very much dislike CM, I HATE most of his methods... and decided that I could no longer watch his show after he used bark collars and Scat Mats on a German Shorthaired Pointer named (Ironically) Sarah with severe separation anxiety. My Mom even said "why do you hate it? it worked didn't it?" Well yeah, it did, but only because the house was suddenly attacking her and she was too terrified to do anything but shut down... I was in tears watching that.

    I used to watch his show everytime I caught it, because you can learn something from every experienced trainer... but I decided I no longer wanted to learn anything from him :( I haven't seen a show since.
  18. rouen Experienced Member

    Sara, I too use to watch him, until I educated myself. The real nail in the coffin so to speak was Dasy. Everytime he'd attack a dog and the dog would react Dasy would get nervous. Poor girl couldn't figure out who was fighting or why, she'd always end up looking at us like we'd just yelled at her. :(
    milesfullofsmiles and MaryK like this.
  19. MaryK Honored Member

    That's a co-incidence, I didn't know Millan's wife divorced him but did think, on the two occasion I watched the show, if he treated his wife the same way he did the dogs. She appeared in the episodes I watched.

    Have read domestic violence and animal cruelty are linked.
    milesfullofsmiles and Dogster like this.
  20. bekah1001 Honored Member

    I used to be a fan of DW but now I'm not. When ever some "friends" talk about how great the DW I just ignore them because I know I'll end up yelling and arguing. And I have to admit that on my bad days when I don't get enough sleep or when I dont have patience , I tend to yell a bit or use the "evil" voice but I fell bad afterwards. It's mostly when my brothers dog won't stop barking for 5 minutes and is driving me crazy. My fault though I need to do more training!

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