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What the experts say about "The Dog Whisperer" (Cesar Millan)
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8584
    Thanks for reposting that @violet_in_seville. It seems like every few months we get a few members on the forum that think using his skills or techniques is okay and that because he offers an occasional tidbit of useful knowledge that he is a reputable source of training and behaviour information.

    I shudder to think of all the poor dogs that have had to suffer through amateur aversive training by people who have watched this idiot's show... :(
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • I'm not trying to make waves or give the impression that I'm a huge fan or anything because I'm not. But I don't think this is as black and white as people are making it out to be.

    Yes some of the methods are over the top and counterproductive. I'm not denying that. I don't support that. There's no question that jerking dogs, kicking them (no matter how softly) or using aggressive dominance exercises is harmful to a dog. I would never physically harm my animals. Never. But I don't feel like that's all this guy is about.

    Any handling of aggressive dogs is accompanied by the whole "don't attempt these techniques" disclaimer. The fact that people are using them incorrectly is not solely on him. That's like saying an ER show is responsible for the people who try to do medical stuff at home, or that the guy who lives with bears is responsible for the people who go out trying to do the same thing.

    The show is entertainment. A show. No a how to. The things he encourages people to do at home with their own dogs are sound pieces of advice like exercise your dog and focus on body language because dogs speak to each other that way. He tries to shoot down the negative stereotypes associated with pitbull. He encourages people working with their dogs rather than putting them down or doping them up on meds. He tells people to not treat their pets like dolls or toys or tiny English speaking beings.

    Yeah the guy is selftaught and a bunch of his methods are not scientifically sound. I'm not defending that. Personally I think he should broaden his style by expanding his schooling and studying with real behaviorists. We are always learning new things about dogs and canine psychology. Even the most well respected people in this field don't have all the answers because we aren't dogs and we never will be so there will always be different schools of thought on certain subjects.

    In more recent shows I've seen, it seems like he is using more classic conditioning which takes time, is positive, and doesn't create instant results that people expect from the 47 minute show. I've also seen him use more and more food rewards as both distractions and incentive. Are these not the positive training methods that other trainer use?

    I don't love the guy. I don't base even close to 20% of my training on his work, but I don't think he is all bad or is responsible for the majority of bad dog ownership. I have known far worse dog trainers than him. Men and women who use nothing positive in their training and encourage poor diets, constant fear and the idea that dogs are no more sentient than a shoe.

    I'm not trying to make enemies. In not promoting the guy. But I don't feel that all this intense hate is truly warranted. I'm not trolling for an argument. I just don't think this is as black and white as this thread makes it out to be.
  • @ramen_noodle_puppy - here's the thing: all the aspects of his methodology that are helpful can be found elsewhere from people who have a solid foundation in animal behavior. What's the point of taking anything away from him?

    No one here says that he's a terrible person. But he is a terrible trainer. He's an entertainer as you said above. While his place in culture and the broad understanding of animal behavior is not wholly his fault, he does nothing to dispel the notion that he is nothing more than an entertainer. He brands himself as an expert on animal behavior and because he's an effective entertainer a lot of folks take it to be the truth.

    Also, for what it's worth, encouraging people to learn how to read body language when you demonstrate an inability to do it properly yourself (often misreading body language) is in my opinion actively harmful, epecially when you have a broad reach. That crosses the line from entertainment to spreading misinformation. While he is entitled to make a living, I don't have to take the active spreading of misinformation as responsible. For me (and I suspect some others as well) that's not really a grey area. To make an analogy, just because he's like a byb that keeps his dogs clean and fed doesn't make what he's doing ok.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8584

    The things he encourages people to do at home with their own dogs are sound pieces of advice like exercise your dog and focus on body language because dogs speak to each other that way.



    Dogs know we are not other dogs. It has been completely dis-proven that trying to act like dogs helps our dogs understand us.

    I think @violet_in_seville has stated things in a very well written way, and I do not feel the need to repeat what she said. But basically, the guy is an entertainer that has absolutely no credible sources of authority on dog training and behaviour. He spouts mis-information that can be quite dangerous to dog owners that take his methods to heart. Not to mention how dangerous his methods are to dogs.

    There is no doubt in my mind that ANY good he does for dogs in rescue situations is completely negated by the amount of harm he and his show do to the dog population at large. And despite the fact that you stated
    Yes some of the methods are over the top and counterproductive. I'm not denying that. I don't support that. There's no question that jerking dogs, kicking them (no matter how softly) or using aggressive dominance exercises is harmful to a dog. I would never physically harm my animals. Never. But I don't feel like that's all this guy is about.
    , He DOES do those things, so even if that is not ALL that he is about, he is definitely about using aversive techniques and dominance theory.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1587
    http://dcsir.org/resources/training/

    SIR groups don't like him much either. The link includes many excellent resources to positive reinforcement trainers, books, articles, videos.
    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • To me it seems closed minded to shoot him down or people who use him as an idea into dealing with animals. The point is that no one should be completely written off or scolded for TRYING to learn something. It's counterproductive to put down someone's attempt at understanding their dog. Personally I think that the key to understanding dogs is in part learning as much as you can and taking a little something from different trainers. It goes against nature to classify someone as either good or bad. Not everything that comes out of this man's mouth is utter rubbish, yet the first thing out of most members' mouths is about how bad he is. There is just this super negativity surrounding him on here and I just don't think he deserves all this hate. It doesn't change anything. Educating others with training you believe in and with names of trainers you like is helpful, but piling on hate on this guy isn't helping anyone. I'd say the same thing about anyone. I just don't like seeing people be shot down for mentioning him when their hearts are in the right place. Sometimes I just think we could be a bit easier on those who don't know as much about training and drop his name because he is what's available to the general public. It's easy to hate someone for doing some things you don't agree with and push them to the side with a label but it's not realistic. I just wish everyone could try to take a more dialectical approach to this.
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    Sometimes I just think we could be a bit easier on those who don't know as much about training and drop his name because he is what's available to the general public.


    Lol, no.
    image
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1587
    I think that RNP needs to remember that a lot of these members who criticize Millan are very experienced Shiba/NK owners who have walked the walk and have a very strong grasp on what sort of training works, and what doesn't work, with Shibas/NK's.

    Many of the behaviourists and CPDT's who also criticize him are 'crossovers' who began their careers teaching dominance based training, yet woke up to a better and more positive way of training. Pat Miller is one that comes to mind. These people know better than anyone.

    I don't think anybody was being written off or scolded for trying to learn. I just think its important to get off on the right foot, and trying to steer people in the right direction(positive reinforcement), will make life easier for not only the Shiba(or any dog), and it's owner.
    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8584

    The point is that no one should be completely written off or scolded for TRYING to learn something. It's counterproductive to put down someone's attempt at understanding their dog.



    No one is writing off or scolding anyone for trying to learn something. The problem comes about when CM passes on his attempts at learning to others as fact.

    As a forum that is here to educate members and share experiences, it is our responsibility to point people in the right direction when it comes to training Shibas and dealing with behaviour issues. So if someone mentions CM, it is our duty to point them away from his incorrect and potentially very harmful techniques and in the direction of more positive training and behaviour techniques and trainers.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    Overall I do not support CM, but I also understand a small bit of what RNP is probably trying to express about how they view the debate surrounding CM.

    I understand why it is important not to support CM's methods and I understand why it is very important to challenge those who may only have been exposed to CM methods to rethink their knowledge.

    At the end of the day CM is prevalent force in driving discussions when his name comes up and provides an opportunity to educate ourselves through understanding both sides of the debate.

    I thought I would share this link related to discussing the good and the bad of CM from the Shiba Shake as I think this is probably what RNP is trying to express ... http://shibashake.com/dog/cesar-millan-the-good-and-the-bad-of-the-dog-whisperer
  • It's not "close minded" to reject CM. It would be if I knew nothing about him or his training methods, but once I do, through watching some of his videos and looking at this books, then if I reject his training methods because of his unscientific and often abusive methods, then I am not "close minded," but I am saying that I simply reject his methods. And I do. Nor it is particularly "negative." I'm making a value judgement based on years of training experience and on reading and research. We all make judgements all the time, and should. We don't need to be "open minded" and accept things that run counter to what we know and believe.

    I feel perfectly fine about rejecting CM entirely, because even the things he does well, are done by other people better, people who do not use his aversive methods. Plus, the guy's just an ass. He's said incredibly sexist things about women, too, and so in addition the fact that he's abusive to dogs, I see no reason to bother talking about his "good" side. I'm sure he must have one, but I haven't seen it, particularly. There are many more much better trainers out there. And many very good trainers (and vet organizations) have rejected him, with good reason. That's enough for me. (see earlier in thread for more links).

    Most people who try to defend CM either 1) are aversive trainers or 2) don't know enough of about up to date dog training. I assume, though, that with further research most people will find out that there are much better methods out there (unless of course they are invested in the dominance based training methods). Therefore, when someone mentions CM, I suggest they learn more.

  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    Like Redcattoo I do understand where ramen_noodle_puppy is coming from.

    "are sound pieces of advice like exercise your dog and focus on body language because dogs speak to each other that way"

    I think what RNP meant was look at the dog's body language to see if the dog is happy, stressed, or whatever. Sadly Cesar doesn't do this as he'll push the dog way over it's threshold.

    Though I don't agree with how Cesar pushes the dogs and set them up. Holly was a sad example. He should have taken a break and re worked with her, but he kept pushing her till she got to the fence.

    This has a good explanation on the Holly event.
    http://canineaggression.blogspot.com/2012/09/food-aggression-and-famous-trainer.html


    Photobucket
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    Generally speaking….The sad fact is much of the C.M. "tipster stuff" is unrecognized as problematic because it is peppered with actions that appear to make sense on the surface, and are reinforcing for humans to carry out. Many behavior elements in media are difficult to discern simply because of the heavily edited footage.

    Unfortunately, after skimming the surface in viewing the show many people will try to branch to trainer/expert level with tools akin to a hand full of magic beans to get their dogs to behave. i.e. if you, chant his mantra six times a day and do x, y, z your dog will become what you want. ( Ummm…...Not so fast, take a step back… Be aware of magic beans! )

    "There is no special pill, no magic leash/collar/pack/harness, or method that will train your dog instantly or extinguish behavior problems immediately. It takes time, effort, and some sound education to do anything well, whether it is playing the piano or painting a picture. The trouble with "magical thinking" or "command central" dog training is that those methods almost always involve fear, pain and a load of misinformation" or half truths (Catalano, 2013). Generally it's advisable to avoid the free beans and arm chair advice.


    @ Ramen Noodle: If it makes you feel any better I don't think C.M.s intentions are necessarily bad, just misplaced….. but looking objectively I know there is a better humane way for many of the cases C.M. espouses to "rehabilitate". What you see on T.V. is not necessarily what one wants as an outcome (similar to a hydra, you may chop off one head of one issue only to have two more nasty problems sprout up in its place when training is inappropriate).


    @ Violet: These topics also speak to a point you mentioned as far as bigger "broad culture on canine behavior", currently prolific (pack leader idiom). To pinpoint the issue I think it requires grasping the notion or subculture of "sticky ideas" (Heath and Heath, 2008).

    "Sticky ideas" are urban legends or stories/myths, and antiquated methods that persist over long durations regardless of scientific proof to the contrary. (For example, past practice of bleeding to cure the common cold, or today in canines, the popular notion that dogs are essentially domesticated wolves who view their human companions as members of a pack competing for dominance and therefore require rigid one end of the spectrum methods such as rank reduction, doggie boot camps, and no free lunch programs"(Sdao, 2012)…. Essentially choke and poke to get teaching/training done.


    @ Ramen Noodle: In the case of CM, media and performance often overshadow understanding/communication of canine behavior for what it is or isn't, and more importantly that "myths" can blot out more appropriate humane practices for particular contexts and individuals. So yes, it's all too easy to mix reality T.V. with teaching that's way off the mark. Some people simply are not able to differentiate, and there in lies the danger.

    One must question any teacher/trainer that turns away from leaders in their field to merely work through old world practices ("sticky ideas"), thus avoiding questioning their own ideology (I am assuming to make producers happy and not shake up the money tree). Great educators grow through their mentoring communities. (I have yet to see a significant mentor in the training field stand side by side in backing what CM espouses).

    I do know growth in the field does not happen in a vacuum, from a T.V. channel, or pre-paid media contract. Understanding the science behind behavior and separating it from myth is one step in educating oneself as trainer and providing humane education. It should not be predominately about media scripts and camera smiles. I find it questionable when teachers or so called trainers can not diverge from myth or tend to overlap them with made up lingo to market their branded goods.


    Snf


    Refs


    Catalano, E. (2013, July). Magic Beans. Tip of the Week. The Coventry School for Dogs and Their People.

    Heath, C. & Heath, D. (2008) Made to Stick : Why some ideas survive and other die.

    Sado, K. (2012) Plenty in life is free. Dogwise publishing


    [Edited to include ref]
    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2013-08-23 10:24:44
  • Great post, SnF!
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    @StaticNFuzz The "like" function doesn't seem to be working for me at the moment, so I just wanted to say, great metaphors, and very well written response -- makes the issues super clear to me.
    image
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • Wasn't sure where to put this link but I know posative vs. negative reinforcement is discussed in here, and I can't search cause I'm on my phone.

    Even though this is somewhat directed towards pit bulls it's still a good read.
    http://stubbydog.org/2013/08/animal-learning-is-not-breed-specific/
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1587
    Good article reinforcing the impact of positive reinforcement training. I agree that this form of training is not breed specific. I'm sure there will be individual exceptions, but as a whole, I think all breeds will respond well.

    I'm pretty excited that some of the cognition/behaviour labs are beginning to do breed specific research. I know it will take many years to get any meaningful results, as there are so many different breeds. But I'm hoping, at some point, this research will help trainers/behaviourists to understand breed specific concerns, and will be able to tailor methods to the specific breed.
    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • "The show is entertainment. A show. No a how to. The things he encourages people to do at home with their own dogs are sound pieces of advice like exercise your dog and focus on body language because dogs speak to each other that way."

    This dude is SO bad at reading a dog's body language - that he attempts to train others is laughable, or would be if the dogs weren't the ones suffering. Here, watch this video. Turn the sound off and just watch what happens. Can you read the dog? I sure could.

    http://youtu.be/9ihXq_WwiWM

    ETA: Dogs can send tiny little signals to each other that we can't even pick up on. They can lift a whisker that sends a message to another dog. I watch my dogs interacting and what they do is so subtle that all I see are the "shouts".
    Post edited by orangedoggie at 2013-08-30 00:25:03
  • @SnF - yes. That was my thought behind the comment. It's sort of like the persistence ofthe idea of trickledown economics. I'm surprised that no one has written the canine behavior version of say, Zombie Economics, which does a pretty good job of explaining both the stickiness and why these ideas are just flat out wrong. Then again, for centuries beire Copernicus people thought that the planets (and sun) rotated around the earth.

    @orangedoggie - I agree. As mentioned earlier, the positive aspect of telling people of the importance of reading your dog's body language is completely negated when you show them how to incorrectly read that language. It will still do more harm than good.
  • I posted this in the dominance thread, but it also belongs here, since Dr Yin talks about Millan specifically, esp. at the end, and includes plenty of links to what others have to say about him. And some links to some pretty funny parodies.

    http://drsophiayin.com/philosophy/dominance
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    @orangedoggie, I see that Milan video and then I think about how Tatonka is.

    A couple days back Tatonka went up to the backyard door to go out (he sits to be let out). At the same moment my mom spotted a fly sitting on the glass and wanted to kill it because she's been trying to for days. So she takes the swatter and BAM. A foot from Tatonka's head. Tatonka loves my mom to death but for that morning he thought she was possessed and would put his tail down and slink away from her, very butthurt.

    Shibas are incredibly intelligent and they spend a lot of time interpreting things - no kind of scare or violence or aggression is received IN ANY GOOD WAY by Tatonka, and I suspect it's true for Shibas and to a larger extent all dogs as well.

    It's hard for me to understand how Cesar can think he's somehow effective.
    Monkey!
  • Ugh. This is the worst case scenario, I think, for Millan. His new show, Cesar 911, is about bringing him for problem dogs in the neighborhood, and yes, apparently one of the first episodes features a Shiba. :(

    http://tv.yahoo.com/news/cesar-millan-gets-nat-geo-wild-dog-whispering-173913204.html
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2014-01-10 15:31:15
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1587

    Ugh. This is the worst case scenario, I think, for Millan. His new show, Cesar 911, is about bringing him for problem dogs in the neighborhood, and yes, apparently one of the first episodes features a Shiba. :(

    http://tv.yahoo.com/news/cesar-millan-gets-nat-geo-wild-dog-whispering-173913204.html



    This is pretty sad indeed. He's spreading his BS like a wildfire, and people are too ignorant and lazy to do their own research to figure out that his methods are old school, and there are better, more positive and productive ways to train and modify behaviour.

    Sorry, but I hope the Shiba mix bites his a**!!
    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    Love the comments..

    Lesley, he does not use shock collars. They have a device on the collar that vibrates.


    This is what shocks me about E collars half of Americans don't seem to know how they freaking work!
    E collars do vibrate, but they also have shock feature.. some have beep feature..

    I had this issue with a person on dog park FB group.

    photo youdontsay_zps6c471e09.png umm beeping won't work for a dog really into prey!

    I'm not into e collars, but not really against them if person knows what he/she is doing. for hunting at least I'm fine with helps keep dogs off deer and trash game a dog chasing deer or livestock can be deadly deer might fight back or farmer, hunter or someone might shoot the dog for harassing deer/live stock.. E collar for all kinds of training can make the dog too dependent on the collar I think.

    I know someone who's dog life is saved as it doesn't chase live stock due to training with e collar, but saying these collars only beeps or vibrate is bit off..

    Saya recalls off rabbits and squirrels fine without e collar and recalls fine so I have no reason to use such item. She even leaves horses and goats alone she has met horses in person before as puppy to adult, but these goats are new animal she never met before. I worked with her on leash just in case, but now she will leave them alone off leash she'll watch them and listen to their baaing, but won't go to them.

    I never will I had such bad experience with it from my grandma I'll try everything, but that.

    She used e collar for barking and it never work dog kept barking despite being shocked multiple times.. She would laugh at the dog. Coarse she done some mean things to her own kids so no wonder she treats her pets like this.

    She had her dog in a wire crate once she was barking at us she lift the crate up on front end and dropped it. She didn't pick it up too high, but still the noise from the crate would freak me out if I was a dog..

    coarse the dog still barked despite that. She had take her into a room to keep her from barking.

    She never socialized her dog so it barked and was afraid of everything. doesn't help she gets shocked whenever guests are over due to barking so my guess she associates guests with shocks.

    I'll probably watch the shiba mix episode and that would be it. same people who does hell kitchen is doing this. I'm not fan of these types of shows too much drama. Coarse the dog world is full of dumb drama.. haha
    Photobucket
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • bump
  • poltergeistpoltergeist
    Posts: 426
    That video of Milan choking the Shiba half to death has really upset me. So much so I feel like crying :'(

    If a dog doesn't want to do it, don't force it. Relax and find another approach, I speak as an owner of a timid dog.

    Just really hate the guy now. What a bastard to do that to a dog (and the shock collar dog!) - If he ever touched my dogs like that it isn't my dogs he should worry about, it will be me he will have to worry about X( X(
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  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    Another good critique of Millan, which is very detailed. It is not as "scientific" as the title suggests, because of lot of the sources are actually websites of other people critiquing him, but it does have some primary sources as well, and a good source of information for those who might want to go and look at some of the other sources regarding the debunked dominance theory. I found it interesting the parts about Konrad Lorenz (and his supposed Nazi backing for research) interesting, but I'd like to see a source for that information before I'm willing to believe it (it may be true--I've just not come across it before).

    http://yodogcast.tumblr.com/post/55504306960/the-damage-of-the-dog-whisperer-a-scientific-critique
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    I've heard about Lorenz' nazi connections before, I looked it up on Wikipedia (obviously not the most reliable source of course) and he was active in Germany and Austria during that time so it would be more surprising if he wasn't I think.
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3664
    LoL, so Cesar Millan failed a dog training proficiency test in Germany, which he needed to take in order to tour the country. Apparently, many have been waiting to take the test, but he managed to cut the line and pushed to have the test done at the airport, with a translator, and it seems that he took the test results to court and lost the case. He blaims the fact that he doesn't speak German for the reason he failed. Now in order to do the tour, he must be accompanied by a licensed dog training coach.

    Articles (in German):

    http://www.t-online.de/unterhaltung/tv/id_71061842/-hundefluesterer-cesar-millan-auflagen-fuer-show-in-deutschland.html

    http://www.bild.de/regional/hannover/hundeerziehung/so-rasselte-der-hunde-fluesterer-beim-hunde-test-fuer-seine-deutschland-tournee-durch-37693754.bild.html

    Google translate works pretty good, but here's a translation I found elsewhere:

    "The animal trainer known as the "Dog Whisperer" Cesar Millan has been legally muzzled. Millan, trainer to hollywood stars such as Jennifer Aniston and Charlize Theron needs an animal health permit in Lower Saxony to train dogs. According to media reports, Millan failed on September 10 despite having an interpreter, the exam which is required for dog trainers.

    On Wednesday, the judges of the higher administrative court Lüneburg rejected a last minute urgent application. Millan wants to show his controversial methods on a tour in Germany, which should begin on Wednesday in Hanover, Germany.

    Cesar would demonstrate his training methods on dogs at the show before their owners which meant he needed the permit. The decision is final.


    "The event in Hanover will take place as planned", said Millan's spokesman Florian Wastl after the decision. The seven other scheduled shows will also go ahead. Millan will adhere to the requirements of the authorities. "The animal protection Act applies nationwide," said the Court spokeswoman. The city of Hannover had relied on this Act. A coach, with the appropriate permits/certificates will take over the role now not able to be performed by Cesar.

    Millan once an illegal immigrant from from Mexico is a star with his own show in the United States. In Germany his show "The Dog Whisperer" (Der Hundeflüsterer) is shown on the channel Sixx. The so-called "Super nanny" helps families with problem dogs but he also has opponents who call him an animal torturer. His principle: dog owners must not only love their animals, but also lead. Man must be the leader of the Pack - quiet, but firm and resolute.

    Millans drastic measures towards problem dogs is based on punishment, submission and the animal welfare organization (Vier Pfoten) have criticised this. "That doesn't correspond to our present scientific knowledge in any way", criticised the Association for the German kennel and accused Millan of "violence-weighted techniques such as: strikes, kicks, shock collars and electric stimuli".

    Millan rejected that: "You do not understand who Cesar Millar is. I am the biggest fan of dogs on this planet", he announced in the spring. "
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  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    I love it, go Germany!
  • I wish all European countries adapted Germany's dog trainer laws!!
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  • That's awesome
  • jarvizjarviz
    Posts: 69
    just playing devil's advocate here. what's with all the CM hate on this thread?

    I also like to keep in mind that ALL the dogs on his show are adults and extremely problematic. They are not puppies going through a training stage. It makes sense his techniques are a little more harsh than usual, especially when the dogs have 0% trust in humans/dogs.

    I just started watching his show on netflix and I don't think I remember seeing anything too physical or abusive on the show at all, besides the kick/foot tap, which most probably don't agree with. However, he even explained that he doesn't do it hard enough to hurt the animal, just enough to snap them out of their state of mind - he also doesn't even use choke chains or prong collars on the dogs, and these are pits and great danes, gsd, etc. How do some of you recommend holding back an 85lb dog who's only focus is to attack a person/dog with all its might? Please tell me that if you know because I've had to walk a full grown GSD and a choke/prong collar had minimal effect.

    95% of his advice and training is giving the dog exercise and exposing them to his pack, which helps the dog learn its place and socialization skills. The other 5% is him teaching the owners to give off a strong energy like any leader/alpha dog would. He does his 'tsch' sound and finger snap also which gets there attention pretty effectively. It makes sense that the dog should see the human as the more dominant one. I'm sure we've all seen what happens when a dog thinks it runs the house. And CM does this without beating the dog, or choking the daylights out of them.

    I don't know what he does during the 'rehab' sessions but I highly doubt he breaks out the e-collars and whips. He most likely introduces the dogs slowly back into the real world one step at a time to get them accustomed to whatever it was they feared before.

    So unless his techniques have completely changed since his older shows, I don't see why CM is so hated on here. Somebody please enlighten me.
    Post edited by jarviz at 2015-02-10 12:38:15
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    I don't see why CM is so hated on here. Somebody please enlighten me.


    I guess you just avoided four entire pages with links and opinions of why people dislike him.
    image
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
  • jarvizjarviz
    Posts: 69
    Rikka said:

    I don't see why CM is so hated on here. Somebody please enlighten me.


    I guess you just avoided four entire pages with links and opinions of why people dislike him.


    I read everybody's opinion. I can understand why his techniques might be frowned upon, especially with puppies or dogs that are somewhat obedient, but how do you do that with problematic dogs, and dogs that would rather bite and pull and choke themselves first than eat a piece of food.

    Maybe you should have read my post first.
  • We don't beat children with ADHD until they calm down and concentrate. We don't kick teens who are rebellious. We don't physically punish criminals in our criminal system regardless of the crime they've committed, no matter how severe. If we don't do that to humans, because we consider it inhumane, then why should we treat dogs any differently? They feel emotion and pain just as much, if not more, than we do.

    So take your problem child with ADHD... they're not listening... your screaming, coaxing, negotiating tactics all aren't working... do you now result to putting your hands on the kid to bend him to your will? No, because it doesn't work. If what you're doing isn't working, then you need to find another way to do it - one that doesn't involve negative associations. The reason so many people encourage positive reinforcement is that not only has it been proven to work, but to me personally, it's the kindest way to do it. I want my dog to enjoy training, to enjoy learning, and to enjoy me. How is he supposed to do that if I'm constantly snapping a lead or kicking his rear end? I don't care how "lightly" they say they're doing it; if I can find another way to do it that isn't damaging, then I'm going to try it. It may take days, weeks, or months... but I'm not risking my dog's trust in me just to make him sit.

    "Problematic dogs", as you put it, are a result of their environment and treatment. It is incredibly unfair to them to blame their behaviour on them. Again, equate it to a human: you have a person who was physically and mentally abused, and now, as an adult, they're antagonistic towards others. Is that their fault, or is that learned behaviour? Also keep in mind that dogs don't speak English.

    While everybody is entitled to their opinion, the goal here, I think, is to educate people that there are alternative methods to negative reinforcement.
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    @jarviz, if you read this thread from the beginning, there are many links to critiques by professionally trained behaviorists. Cesar is not a behaviorist or a psychologist, he does not follow established scientific methods. His show is entertainment, and even has a disclaimer to "not try this at home." It has been known that the dogs on the show are baited to show aggression so that Cesar can confront them. Exciting entertainment.

    There is no difference between a puppy with behavior problems and an adult. Both can be rehabilitated without harsh confrontational methods. The key is avoiding putting the dog in that state of anxiety over their threshold, and counter conditioning their response to stressors with acceptable alternatives. Anyone pushed enough will snap.

    The following PDF has results from a behavior study documenting what methods produced aggressive responses in owner-to-dog interactions. The concluding discussion is worth a read, it touches on the dominance theory techniques and their lack of support. Some results:

    The following percentages saw aggressive responses from their dogs:

    31% of owners who performed an “alpha roll” on their dog
    43% of owners who hit or kicked their dog
    15% of owners who yelled “NO!” at their dog
    20% of owners who sprayed their dog with a spray bottle
    30% of owners who stared their dogs in the eye until the dog broke eye contact

    By contrast:

    2% of owners who used a food reward for good behavior; and
    0% of owners who used a “look” / “watch me” command
  • jarvizjarviz
    Posts: 69
    Thanks for your input guys.

    @SushiShiba you said "How is he supposed to do that if I'm constantly snapping a lead or kicking his rear end? I don't care how "lightly" they say they're doing it; if I can find another way to do it that isn't damaging, then I'm going to try it."

    Yes it's easy to just pull our shibas and walk in another direction, but how do you do this with a 70lb pit bull who's showing teeth to another dog or person. Do you just keep saying his name until he quiets down? What if you're walking through a park with your dog and she's barking at every thing that moves from another dog to a person to a squirrel; Name calling and food usually doesn't work at this point. Or do you just stand there and be that owner and let the dog pull and bark. I think this is when a light jerk on the leash comes into play for CM. I'm not arguing with you here, I am genuinely curious as to what you guys suggest at this point.

    Also "Problematic dogs", as you put it, are a result of their environment and treatment. It is incredibly unfair to them to blame their behaviour on them." Just to clarify, nobody is putting the blame on the dog. We all understand a dog's personality is a result of their upbringing, just like kids. I'm only addressing how CM corrects the behavior the first time he encounters the dogs.
  • I honestly wouldn't bring my dog to a park or public place he reacted like that to the myriad of stimuli. I'd start small, like my backyard, or around my block... acclimatize him to that first. For me personally, I have a huge backyard, so I have tons of wildlife running around. So, that would be my first step. If he's scared or anxious, then we'd take a slow... maybe a couple minutes at a time, with lots of treats and a calm, happy tone. Essentially you're doing exposure therapy at that point. And it could take weeks for him to be comfortable, but I'm ok with investing that time.

    This may be just my take on it, but I think that as soon as you think that it's okay to correct negative behaviour with light kicks or snaps of a lead, then you're somehow blaming the dog, like he ought to know better. When Sushi was a puppy, he chewed my shoe... and I loved those chunky heels. AND they were on sale. But I can't blame him for that, because I didn't supervise him properly. Had I gone and put his nose in the shoe and said "NO", that wouldn't serve any productive purpose. Even with an example of taking him on walks, and he wants to eat garbage... if I get angry or snarky, and snap on the lead, that's not productive - I've never taught him not to do that before, so how is he supposed to know that? I find tons of ways to teach him what's okay and what's not okay, and a lot of the time it comes down to redirecting.

    Anyway, sorry, to address your statement about CM correcting behaviour the first time he meets dogs... and I will preface this by saying that I am by no means any type of expert... but I feel that you can't really judge a dog's behaviour or personality as quick as he does. Granted, it's television, so who knows how long he actually has... but I imagine it isn't that long. I'm sure you've noticed that I equate a lot of my stuff with humans... it's easiest for me. If I have a psych patient with a long history of whatever, I know I'm not going to get the whole story in 2 hours. I'll be lucky if I get it in 2 weeks. I need to take the time to talk to them, get to know them, interact with them, and then work on rehabilitation.
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    @jarviz, if it gets to the point where the dog you are walking is flipping out, you have failed. You cannot successfully teach them any proper behavior in that situation. You need to be aware of your dog's issues and plan accordingly. If you cannot walk through the park right away, so be it. You must find a safe distance where the dog is not over threshold and work from there. Where food or sqeaky toys (or whatever is rewarding to your dog) works, and you can shape positive behavior.

    It's not about your ego and supressing an aggressive dog, it's about helping your dog overcome irrational reactions so the problem no longer exists.

    When a dog aggresses, he surpasses his stress threshold, causing his limbic system (the emotional brain) to take over as he prepares for flight or fight. When this occurs, the cerebral cortex (the learning brain) is inhibited, explaining why it is so hard to get a dog’s attention and encourage him to learn when he is reacting, as he is at that moment incapable of rational thought. To overcome this situation, a punitive trainer would try to suppress the aggressive outburst with punishment, whereas a positive trainer would immediately remove the dog from the stressor by quickly walking him away or creating some distraction to cut through the reaction. Only when the dog is in a calmer state can he begin to learn again. The secret to successfully treating aggression is to never put your dog in a situation where he goes over his stress threshold. Achieving this requires sensitive, compassionate handling and the manipulation of his environment to set him up for success while working on ways to change the way he feels about a particular stressor.
    https://positively.com/victorias-blog/why-are-dogs-aggressive/
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1587
    I'm going to repost this and truly hope people will take the time to read it, consider it, and apply it...
    http://www.examiner.com/article/dog-whispering-the-21st-century

    CM's methods are old school, and cause more harm than good. This has been proven again and again.

    Interesting that PRT techniques are being used on captive wolves, with great success. And there is an entire wave of 'crossover' trainers who started with adversive training, but now preach PRT. These are the trainers/behaviourist you should listen to. They have been there and done it!

    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • I'm going to add on that an acquaintance of mine adopted all of CM's training techniques on his JRT.

    That dog is now one of the saddest and most aggressive dog I've come across. It's extremely depressing also because he has a shock collar on him 24/7. Even worse that the owner is very defensive and gives the "It's my dog, I can do whatever I want!" response.

    Stillwell > Milan
    img src="http://i.imgur.com/EGMWdKC.png" alt="image">
  • This was also just posted to Shibaholics. CM sets up dogs to fail instead of succeed. The dog gave plenty of warning signs before attacking.

    https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152902693393287

    It's pretty disturbing so please watch at your own discretion.
    image
  • Nikkitine said:

    This was also just posted to Shibaholics. CM sets up dogs to fail instead of succeed. The dog gave plenty of warning signs before attacking.

    https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152902693393287

    It's pretty disturbing so please watch at your own discretion.



    I had just watched that!

    There's this girl that comes to the dog park we frequent, who has had these two beautiful dogs from puppies. I chatted with her once... They're quite aggressive, lashings out at other dogs... I always wondered why... And then I saw her alpha roll them. She did one and it immediately got up and started lashing out at her again... If you're aggressive with your dog, they're going to protect themselves... It's a natural response.

    Maybe I'm a softie, but I don't care, I would never do something to my dog that I wouldn't want to experience myself. There was a study I saw right around the time we got nym that said dogs experience emotions at a greater depth than we do... Wish I could remember where I read it.

  • Since we all went over this through 4 pages of posts, including links to why he is bad, why he is not based in science, etc, I think I'll do what a positive trainer would do with behavior we don't want to encourage in a dog: ignore it.

    Because yeah, it's been said, rather repeatedly in this thread. Should be clear why people dislike him.
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    My opinion on why CM is bad -

    Because his behavior is watched by millions of people that attempt (often incorrectly) to use these techniques themselves without ensuring that the correction is accurate or even necessary in their particular situation.

    I can't begin to tell you how many people that I have interacted with that think that they are "experts" because they have regurgitated information from CM.

    If a person has issues with their dog's behavior and cannot overcome them, they should seriously consider hiring a behaviorist and/or trainer. The trainer can then give an accurate assessment of what issues the dog has and address them (preferably in a positive manner) instead of an owner making a snap judgement of how to fix their problems from watching another scenario that in no way resembles theirs on a television show.
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
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    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
  • natashanatasha
    Posts: 122
    As some of you have probably heard CM is being sued again after releasing a dog from his centre who then went on to attack a woman. She described her wounds as disfiguring. The dog had a history of aggression and should never have been released to an inexperienced owner. The methods CM uses often suppress behaviour they don't resolve the problem.
    In addition, even if you were to buy into the dominance theory it still doesn't make sense for an animal to try and dominate another animal of a different species. Elephants don't dominate giraffe, bears don't dominate Dolphins. As much as our dogs are part of the family they are perfectly aware that we are not dogs, that we are different to them, so them trying to dominate us makes no sense.
  • The following PDF has results from a behavior study documenting what methods produced aggressive responses in owner-to-dog interactions. The concluding discussion is worth a read, it touches on the dominance theory techniques and their lack of support. Some results:

    The following percentages saw aggressive responses from their dogs:

    31% of owners who performed an “alpha roll” on their dog
    43% of owners who hit or kicked their dog
    15% of owners who yelled “NO!” at their dog
    20% of owners who sprayed their dog with a spray bottle
    30% of owners who stared their dogs in the eye until the dog broke eye contact

    By contrast:

    2% of owners who used a food reward for good behavior; and
    0% of owners who used a “look” / “watch me” command


    It is with very much anger/sadness that I learned from my son (who was Quake's previous Pet Parent) that he had used techniques learned from CM on Quake during the one year that Quake lived with him. The result was that when my little boy Quake came to live with me he was a nervous, anxious, and fearful. Quake lost trust and respect for my son due to my son's bullying training techniques and Quake would jump on my son and push my son and would no longer listen to my son's commands. Frankly, my son is very lucky that Quake never bit him!!! I am very much against adversive training methods and I use positive training on Quake. I think the issue with CM is that due to the popularity of his show, certain people like my son for example think they are training their dog correctly by following CM's methods and they think that by bullying a dog into submission; they will have a dog who is a model citizen. By using those archaic methods, they create a "problematic dog" where there was no problem in the first place!!
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1587

    Since we all went over this through 4 pages of posts, including links to why he is bad, why he is not based in science, etc, I think I'll do what a positive trainer would do with behavior we don't want to encourage in a dog: ignore it.

    Because yeah, it's been said, rather repeatedly in this thread. Should be clear why people dislike him.



    While I totally understand and to an extent, agree with you sentiment on the repetitiveness on this topic, I think it's important to continue a dialogue, however exhausting it may be.

    We have well over four pages of puppy mill talk...I certainly hope people don't start ignoring the ill informed in that one!

    The fact is, CM is here, the whole D theory is misunderstood, and there is a legion of people buying into this crap. Insightful responses to the ill informed should be ongoing, encouraged and welcomed.

    JMO

    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • Just a thought, but with all the controversy over his aversive methods, and there are literally hundreds of thousands of people that are against him... why wouldn't the media want to cover the other side of the story? Why won't they do a show about the benefits of positive reinforcement? Surely there would be a huge following for that, and that would help spread the information.

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