Discussion in 'Obedience Training' started by froix, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. froix New Member

    You probably know this now famous dog and his master. I've seen this pair a couple of times on different shows now and my first reaction at the time was 'Wow That's fantastic!' An odd reaction I've heard from a friend was, 'Wow That's cruel' He was of course joking about it looking more like a slave and master relationship rather than the man and best friend kind and it got me wondering... How much obedience do you expect or want to get from your dog?

  2. snooks Experienced Member

    if the dog is enjoying it it's not cruel. kids will run and play until they puke at a bday party for example but they are having a spectacular time. i'll stay up too late or wear myself out doing something wildly fun. tho we need to know when to stop since dogs and kids don't tell us i think it's very cruel not to provide exercise and mental stimulation for a dog. human's deprived of mental stimulation go nuts and so do dogs. they need full lives too.

    Some dogs love retrieving, pulling, and playing. Just because that guy didn’t think the training was fun did not mean the dog didn’t think it was heaven.
  3. tazman New Member

    What the Dog whispering is as bad or what I not see his show.
  4. tazman New Member

    Most Obedient Dog Video Link now that funny nice find great dog
  5. snooks Experienced Member

    Tazman I personally don't care for Cesar Milan though he has some talent for a limited number of things I wouldn't let him near my dog. The main reason is learned helplessness...sort of a new term I heard that resonated. See this vid link about it. http://www.komonews.com/home/video/37440019.html?video=pop&t=a and there is a facebook group about the topic someone just told me about.

    The Dog Whisperer is my idea of charisma defeating common sense. He uses shock collars and other apalling techniques--but you'll see it in the video without me having to describe it. Most people that watch don't have a clue that what he's doing is damaging to the dogs and abusive. This show alone has set the world of dog training back 20 years IMO.

    I've read both his books which are mostly anecdotal and do watch the show out of morbid curiosity so I can explain to all the people that ask me. You have dogs don't you LOVE the Dog Whisperer. NO! and here's why. It's often distrurbing and should have a Mature rating.
  6. snooks Experienced Member

    Oh hey great link to the DTA library about the whole dog whisperer myth.

    Bipa has some GREAT links in there that are right up your alley.
  7. tazman New Member

    I hope you did not think I like Cesar Millan I don't know him not seen any of his work yet but after reading what you said I not so sure I want to. It sound like he a sick man I never believe in pain to work a dog ever though my father did. Just to be clear I never even hit hit my ex- girl meaning any ONE that haves live with me haves never been hit by me. I think of shock collars as hitting or pain put on by the bigger one I don't do that.
  8. CollieMan Experienced Member

    Steering clear of the, by now, done to death debates over Cesar Milan and his methods, I'm sorry I missed this thread when it was first posted.

    I like to think that what success I have comes from the fact that I *expect* nothing. I respect that Ellie is a dog first and foremost.

    I love spending time with my dog, far more than I enjoy spending time with people in fact. As far as I can tell, my dog enjoys spending time with me too. Somehow, because of that simple thing, I am able to get her to do x, y, and z.

    However, if she forgot all of it tomorrow, then there is no harm done as she'll still be my dog that I just happen to love spending time with.

    I think it's a dangerous thing to try to judge the relationship and training of other people and their dog(s). Look at my own dog, she looks absolutely miserable most of the time and if you didn't know us, you'd think she is beaten half to death. She just happens to look like that and there is nothing anyone can do about it. So appearances can be deceptive.

    Relax, have fun, and expect nothing, and be elated at every little thing your dog does for you, because he does it for no other reason than to try to please.
  9. maven New Member




    I love this site! :msngiggle:
  10. snooks Experienced Member

    Tazman I just knew you were intrested in general training topics and had not seen his show. I came across the Cesar reference and the term learned helplessness was new to me and interesting. I thought other people might be interested in the ideas/controversy.

    I didn't think from what you've said that you would like him. I just keep up with all of these training methods so I'll know what's out there and how it works. That's also what I like about this forum, all the different ideas, opinions, and information sources. So many people here in the states love Cesar just because he's on TV so I keep up with him mainly to be able to intelligently discuss why they shouldn't be Cesar at home with their dogs.

  11. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I don't think that Cesar is admired because of any real talent or knowledge, but more because of ignorance and lack of education. I mean really, how many dog "behaviorists" are on TV? The general public doesn't have much of an option. If every "behaviorist"/trainer on TV advocated positive reinforcement, the general public would probably look down their nose at Cesar types. As for Cesar himself, I think he is well-intentioned...but he's so deep in it now that I don't think he could change his ways. And I don't think he'd want to. He does help many many people, but the dogs are not entirely as fortunate.
  12. snooks Experienced Member

    I agree he is well intentioned and clearly loves dogs. He's also talented and helps many dogs that would otherwise be dead. It's one of those ongoing differences of philosophy that will probably be around for 20 more years as the traditional/positive debate has already been.

    One good result is that he's gotten a lot more positive training people more involved publicly who otherwise might not have spoken up and fueled a bunch of research. His story is compelling, and the two books I read were interesting.
  13. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Indeed he has. I own two of his books and did really enjoy them. I did learn a lot, and turned down a lot, but still thought the books were worth owning.
  14. jazzycat New Member

    I'm sorry but I have to comment on the debate about Cesar Milan. I will probably get reamed for this, but oh well.

    I think people get confused about Cesar and what he does. He is NOT a dog trainer, he is a dog behaviorist/psychologist. I know many trainers don't agree with his techniques and say they are cruel, but he isn't cruel. He never hits a dog. He uses touch, which sometimes people confuse with a hit. He doesn't do anything that is mean. He defeats agressive/dominate/fearful/etc. behavior by defeating the dog's mind and making them submissive to him. That is what another dog would do. He uses dog psychology, not human psychology. Dogs are not human, they are dogs. Anthropomorphizing them isn't really helpful.

    He also uses ENERGY, which most people do not understand the concept of energy and how it works, and how we use it without even knowing it. Personally, I think he is brilliant. That is not to say that positive training techniques or trainers are wrong, they are simply different, and those techniques work very well also. But he is not training dogs. He is training people how to become pack leaders, or the alpha dog, which is what dogs need. Many of the people he sees, they don't even walk their dogs. So much of the time he is teaching people how to walk their dogs.

    Many of the dogs he helps would have otherwise been put down, but now they are balanced, if the owners continued working with them. He gives a second chance to those dogs. He also educates about the differences in breeds, mostly the power breeds, and that it isn't the breed that is bad but the owners, and that people need to research the breed before getting a dog. They need to match the energy of the breed to the person, or it might not work out and the dog will be dumped somewhere. At any one time, he has around 40 dogs in his pack, many of them pit bulls or other power breeds, and those dogs are submissive. They never attack each other. That is pretty amazing, especially when some of them were previously agressive.

    Someone mentioned something about shock collars. I have seen him use them on the vibrate control, which is not cruel, it feels like a cell phone on vibrate, and is meant to redirect the attention of the dog. Only once have I seen him use it on the shock control, and it was with a dog that the owner had already used it on. (He always works with things the owner uses. If the owner has a choke collar, he uses that because it's what the dog is used to.) That dog was in the habit of running in front of the tractor (it was a farm dog), and that was a very dangerous situation for the dog. So he used the shock collar because the owner had already used it previously.

    In speaking with the trainer at Petsmart, he told me he met Cesar years ago, before he even had a TV show, and he said he learned things from him that have been extremely beneficial in his years training dogs. He acknowledged the difference in what Cesar does, and what he does, and how helpful one was to the other. I only wish people would try to understand what he does instead of just being critical.
  15. fickla Experienced Member

    When I first started watching Cesar I would have agreed with you on almost everything you said. At that time I was a new dog trainer and was reading/watching everything I could get my hands on (and still am!). I would watch his show and just couldn't see the criticisms I had read about. What changed that is when I started reading Turid's "Calming Signals" and personally worked with hundreds of dogs through doggy daycare and training. I was/am able to witness a lot of doggy behavior, including dogs who are scared, or defensive or assertive, etc. Now when I watch Cesar's show I usually watch it on "mute" first so I can really observe and try to decipher what I'm seeing, and then I watch it with the narrator and Cesar's perspective.

    I agree with you that Cesar is not a dog trainer, nor has he ever claimed to be one. I wouldn't call him a behaviorist since he does not have a phd nor has he ever studdied animal behavior, but I can understand why you would call him one- he works with dogs "with issues." I also agree with you that we do not need to anthropomorphize our animals, dogs do not have the same needs that people do. I may call my dogs my "babies" and love them a ton, but need to treat them very differently or they would not get the exercise and mental stimulation they need. I also agree that he has great "energy" or whatever you want to call it. He is a natural leader and I am sure that if he walks into a room everyone takes notice. And finally I agree that he has helped a lot of dogs and prevented a ton of dogs from being euthanized.

    Now I am going to disagree with you :) There is a ton of research now showing that wolves do not live in heirarchial packs! It is mom, dad, some older children, and babies. So the term "alpha" is only accurate if dad is alpha over children. What we used to think we knew about wolves was based on captive wolf studies, a whole bunch of unrelated wolves thrown together equalled a ton of dominant displays. So basically the whole being dominant over your dog thing has been thrown out the window. I suggest reading a very wonderful article written by a member of DTA :

    I highly believe in being a leader for your dogs, but never through intimidation. I have a lot of rules and I may have my dogs wait before going out of doors, but I could care less if they went before me. Waiting is just could practice in impulse control and safety. My dogs have to earn their meals by doing stuff for me to, mainly tricks since I like tricks :) And as a trainer I have worked with "dogs with issues" but I have found that I personally have never needed to bully a dog into giving up a resource, or choke one because it lunges on the leash at other dogs. Granted I have not worked with most of the serious cases cesar has, but a ton of positive trainer have successfuly done it without alpha roles, or stringing the dog up.

    If you read Temple Grandin's new book (amazing!), she believes that Cesar is right about dealing with his big group of abandoned dogs at the Dog Psychology Center as that might be comparable to the captive wolves. However she believes that dogs in the home see us humans as more "mom" and "Dad" and therefore our dog families are more like the wild wolf families. Dogs need a "parent" more than a "pack leader." Someone could just say this is a difference in words, but I believe that it really gets at a difference in methods. Parents have rules and enforce them, but they don't use physical force and intimidation (at least not anymore!). I also believe that if you have to use positive reinforcement on wild animals for training, or you'd get eaten!, then it should be no different with our dogs.

    I don't think Cesar physically hurts most of the dogs on the show. A quick "touch" should startle a dog, but I don't think it hurts them. I do however believe he scares the crap out of most dogs on the show. When he forces them to the ground, when he holds the leash tight in the air so the dog is on it's hind legs choking, etc. I don't see submissive dogs, but I see very scared dogs with tons of stress signals (tounge flicks, whale eye, head turns, etc).

    I still watch Cesar since I believe I can learn a lot. He does have a natural way with dogs and I love his philosphies of exercise, discipline, affection and rules, boundries, limitations.

    So that's my view. I know that this arguement on Cesar can go round and round forever so I probabally won't say much more. I usually don't go on about him anyway, it's just been a long time since I have so I had the energy this time :)
  16. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Very well said Fickla. I'm not going to join this argument this time....tired of beating it to death, lol. :)
  17. Jean Cote Administrator

    I agree, I enjoyed reading your post. :dogsmile:
  18. jazzycat New Member

    That is a really smart thing to do. I admit I've never tried it, but I know that actors will use this technique when watching another actor for research. That way they see nuances that they otherwise might miss. I will have to try it on his show. :)

    I will check it out. Thanks bunches! I am very interested in wolves, and I did know that they lived in family units, and only the alpha male/female mate. I believe that is true of various wild pack animals. Possibly for order?

    hmmm. I have been watching the show for a while, and it sounds like you have too. It's interesting to see things from another perspective. When I watch him, I don't see him bullying or using intimidation. I see someone who seems to intimately know dogs and dog behavior, and who also understands the use of energy. As someone who has worked extensively with energy, I completely understand what he is saying when he talks about it. I have not, however, worked with dogs a lot, so maybe my perspective will change over time. I have never seen him "string a dog up" or choke a dog either. I have seen him hold the leash high in the air in order to keep from being bitten. In a situation like that, I don't what else one would do.

    I will have to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation. :) I will say, Cesar does say there are other methods, and the show always has the warning not to use these methods on your own, and to consult a professional if you're having problems. He also asks people all the time if they have rules they enforce with their children, and why do they not with their dogs. I also think in situations where a child is completely out of control, a parent might need to use more drastic measures than just positive reinforcement. (I say that, because when I was a teenager, I was COMPLETELY out of control! :D) For instance, you might have to physically restrain a child if they are causing harm to themselves or others, or if they are bullies, or if they are aggressive or abusive. In cases like that, a parent would have to use something more, shall we say controversial, in order to help the child, and also to help the people he is focusing his rage/anger/whatever on. Some people even send their kids to military school because of bad behavior. Military school certainly uses intimidation.

    I have no idea how wild animals are trained. I did have horses when I was younger though, and in dealing with horses, like when you break them, or even when you're riding, some of the techniques are similar.

    I had never seen anyone put a dog on the floor like he does. He seems to only do it in really bad aggression cases, like the ones he calls "red zones," or in dominance cases. It does seem to calm the dog down though when he does it, once they relax. I believe he is using pressure points, like in accupunture or accupressure. There is a lot of scientific evidence of the meridian points on the body, and how they affect the flow of energy. Of course, I could be completely wrong, but that is what it looks like to me. Sometimes the dogs do look unhappy, but I believe that may be because they are used to having their way, and now they aren't. It reminds me of a sulking child. In episodes where he goes back and revisits cases a year or two later, the dogs do seem much happier to me.

    I am new here, and I haven't really had the discussion about Cesar before. So thanks very much for giving me your point of view! I am here to learn, and I welcome different points of view, because I believe every animal is different, and what works on one may not necessarily work on another one. Since I am a new dog owner, and I have chosen to have what some consider a difficult breed, I will need all the information I can get my hands on. So thanks again!
  19. jazzycat New Member

    I would always choose positive reinforcement over physical punishment. I will check out the sites you listed, and I am very much interested in the other videos you mentioned. I do want to be open-minded about this. All I have to go on is what I see on his show. From what I've seen so far, I haven't seen him using punishment. (Maybe the problem is defining punishment.) And I have to say, most of the dogs where I've seen him use the more controversial things (like alpha rolls), it is in cases where other trainers, vets, etc. have told the owners to put the dogs down, and/or where the dogs have already bitten people.

    Thanks for the links. I promise I will check them out. I really do want to learn as much as I can about being a good, responsible dog owner.

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