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What the experts say about "The Dog Whisperer" (Cesar Millan)
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    Taken from this source: http://www.urbandawgs.com/divided_profession.html

    Dr. Nicholas Dodman - Professor and Head, Section of Animal Behavior
    Director of Behavior Clinic, Tufts University - Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

    "Cesar Millan's methods are based on flooding and punishment. The results, though immediate, will be only transitory. His methods are misguided, outmoded, in some cases dangerous, and often inhumane. You would not want to be a dog under his sphere of influence. The sad thing is that the public does not recognize the error of his ways. My college thinks it is a travesty. We’ve written to National Geographic Channel and told them they have put dog training back 20 years."

    Jean Donaldson, The San Francisco SPCA-Director of The Academy for Dog Trainers
    "Practices such as physically confronting aggressive dogs and using of choke collars for fearful dogs are outrageous by even the most diluted dog training standards. A profession that has been making steady gains in its professionalism, technical sophistication and humane standards has been greatly set back. I have long been deeply troubled by the popularity of Mr. Millan as so many will emulate him. To co-opt a word like ‘whispering’ for arcane, violent and technically unsound practice is unconscionable."

    Dr. Suzanne Hetts, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist
    Co-owner of Animal Behavior Associates, Inc., Littleton, Colorado

    "A number of qualified professionals have voiced concern for the welfare of pet dogs that experience the strong corrections administered by Mr. Millan. My concerns are based on his inappropriateness, inaccurate statements, and complete fabrications of explanations for dog behavior. His ideas, especially those about "dominance", are completely disconnected from the sciences of ethology and animal learning, which are our best hope for understanding and training our dogs and meeting their behavioral needs. Many of the techniques he encourages the public to try are dangerous, and not good for dogs or our relationships with them ."

    Vyolet Michaels, CTC, CPDT (Certified Dog Trainer and Behavior Counselor)
    Owner of Urban Dawgs, LLC of Red Bank, NJ

    "Cesar Millan employs outdated methods that are dangerous and inhumane. Using a choke chain and treadmill to treat fear of strangers and dogs is completely inappropriate. Hopefully the National Geographic Channel will listen to the scientific community and discontinue production of The Dog Whisperer."

    Janis Bradley, Instructor at The San Franciso SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers
    Author of the book, "Dogs Bite"

    "On his TV show, the main method Millan uses for aggression is aversives (leash jerks, kicks, snaps of the hand against the neck, and restraint, among others) applied non contingently. The aversives are non contingent because they are so frequent that they're not connected to any particular behavior on the part of the dog—the dog gets popped pretty much constantly. This results in a state called learned helplessness, which means the animal hunkers down and tries to do as little as possible. This is what Millan calls "calm submission." It's exactly the same thing you see in a rat in a Skinner box that is subjected to intermittent shocks it can do nothing to avoid. This can happen quite fast, by the way, shall we say in ten minutes? The dangers to the dog are obvious, ranging from chronic stress to exacerbating the aggression, i.e., some dogs fight back when attacked. This latter is the simplest reason that aversives are a bad idea in treating aggression. Even used technically correctly as positive punishment for specific behaviors like growling and snarling, aversives do nothing to change the underlying fear or hostility, so the best you can hope for, in the words of famed vet and behaviorist, Ian Dunbar, is "removing the ticker from the time bomb." Thus such methods substantially increase the risk to humans of getting bitten."

    Excerpt of letter from Lisa Laney, Dip. DTBC, CPDT, CBC
    to National Geographic before airing "The Dog Whisperer":

    "The intended program depicts aversive and abusive training methods - treatment for some serious anxiety and fear based issues - being administered by an individual with no formal education whatsoever in canine behavioral sciences. The "results" that are shown are more than likely not long lasting changes, but the result of learned helplessness, or fatigue, neither of which impact behavior to any significant long term degree - at least not in a good way. For those of us who are pioneering the effort to end the ignorance that drives the cruel treatment administered upon our canine companions, it is disappointing to see that this programming will reach the masses - especially on the NG Channel. The ignorance that this program perpetuates will give equally ignorant people the green light to subject their dogs to abuse. In turn these dogs will react even more defensively, will bite more people - and end up dead."

    http://www.urbandawgs.com/divided_profession.html

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  • INU RYUUINU RYUU
    Posts: 1507
    It should also be mentioned that aversive conditioning does not work well with primative breeds eg: Shibas due to their feral nature and survival strategies in the wild. There are many negative situations in the wild and the dog would not survive if every little negative would make them freeze up and avoidant. Positive reinforcement is the way to go.
    犬竜
  • I've seen that list before, and kind of wish that the quotes were dated, because I wonder if there's some quoting out of context...

    But it's a helpful list nonetheless.

    I also like this presentation from Dr. Sophia Yin's site (she's a DVM with an MS in Animal Science). It's got great video comparisons and concrete suggestions for alternative training methods:
    http://drsophiayin.com/philosophy/dominance/
    image
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
    Post edited by curlytails at 2010-12-31 20:32:07
  • @ Brad: Thanks for the info and keeping it clearly in the forefront with all the activities here.

    @ Curly: Dr. Yin and the info she has on her blog is super as well. Thanks for posting her site. As far as the varied sources that Brad posted and your question about the dates, they range from 2006 through last year I believe. Yeah, I also wish the quotes were properly cited. It would make it a whole lot easier when researching and writing.

    Generally, I can not say enough for the advancements by those in the field that have made such a difference in training humanely and challenging the old school assumptions in behavior...... Ian Dunbar, Karen Pryor, Patricia McConnell, Pat Miller to name a few. There is a resources section if one is interested that can be accessed via the search tab under "More Books on behavior, training and care".

    I will say "CM/Dog whispering" has put training on the map for millions that view television. However, it also is a good idea to switch off the sound and nonsensical speak to really analyze the events and note the out takes. Making a mental note of the visual info and comparing and contrasting with methods used by actual behaviorists can help in gaining a better understanding of the problems.

    Happy new year! May everyone have a joyful year training with their dogs : )

    Snf
  • MyloMylo
    Posts: 879
    Eff yes! I was just telling a friend of mine how much of a tool he is. I'm sooooo pumped that you posted that!
  • eluneelune
    Posts: 5
    I took an animal behavior class with Sophia Yin at UC Davis in 2005, she definitely knows a lot about animals and how to interact with them. To this day that class has had a huge impact on the way I interact with my pets and also my interest in animals and training. I definitely recommend her book "How to behave so your dog behaves", I still have it from when I took her class.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8584
    Elune, I have never read that book, but I love the quote in the title: "How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves". It says a lot... :)
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • small side experience... My brother and his wife have two pugs and they are really into Cesar Milan. They came over for Thanksgiving and while playing with Jack his wife rolled him over and held him down. Jack screeched his displeasure and ran away to me. My brother told us we needed to show Jack who was boss because he was mouthing. What-ever... Jack is a teething puppy and mouthing is annoying, but what does pinning him down for the count do? I told them nicely that if they man-handled my puppy again when he's just playing, I'd man-handle them. Later at Xmas, they brought their pugs to my parents house. We left Jack at home since we didn't want mayhem to ensue in my retired parents quiet home. At one point my brother was yelling at one of his pugs to get him to come out from under the table. My mom (who is afraid of dogs generally) scolded him as though he was a little kid in her broken English - "Big man yelling at little dog, tsk tsk. Who'd want to come out from under the table for that!?!" Then she told his dog, don't come out because her son was too mean. I got a treat and lured him out without the fear tactics.
  • AraksAraks
    Posts: 399
    @JacksMom13: I would have been really angry and frustrated if someone did that to Sevuk. Something similar happened when I went to home depot with Sevuk one time. I went looking for hooks and got an employee to help me find them. When we got over there and I was picking them out, the employee decided to stick around and starting asking me little questions about my dog. A minute later, one of the equipment in the back made a loud noise and unusually, Sevuk gave out a bark, and I just calmly said "no" which got Sevuk's attention right away. Well, this stupid employee decides to start lecturing me on how I should punish my dog for barking where he shouldn't, blah blah blah. He told me to alpha roll my dog whenever he gets out of line. After I told him, "no thank you," he went on to say that I have a spoiled, misbehaved dog because I don't *discipline* him correctly. That was my cue to leave. I don't go to that store anymore knowing there is a imbecile like that working there.
  • RorsRors
    Posts: 165
    @ Araks, The employee griped about one bark that was raised as an alarm then stopped when you asked. What did he train a plush toy? Sevuk sounds perfectly trained.

    The info on CM was very reassuring, I felt unconvinced the time I watched an episode of his show that it was the best solution to problems.
    Thoroughly loving all the Dogstars Daily training tips.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    @JacksMom13 and Araks. Similar thing happened to me today. I took my 4 month puppy to the vet today. The one vet tech who is a very big Dog Whisperer fan because she feels a personal satisfaction in discipling a dog to show the owners how it should be done, told me puppy was aggressive (she gave a dramatic scream/bark for her vaccine, poor baby), and because she was doing the puppy teething/mouthing and whined when I walked away. Her tail and body were wiggling the entire time and she is overjoyed to meet people, which she often shows with extra vocalizing (I call her Growly Pants), with her little baby teeth and by grabbing pant legs.

    The Tech asked me if I was going to allow a dominant behavior like that, as if puppy mouthing and playing with a persons hair or shoe strings was somehow an abberant behavior in a puppy, or that extra vocalizing in a Shiba ment it was showing aggression. She said some other things too that were fairly insulting and basically implied that I was collaborating to breed "dominant aggressive" dogs. I tried explaining drive, being hands off, and not wanting to own a robot, and how temperments have generally improved so much over the last few decades, but it was obvious she has a well formed opinion about how a good dog should be, and obviously pure breds, dog shows and reputable breeders don't fit into her schema. Nothing I had to say was going to change her mind, and that to me is one of the most frustrating things about Milan fans.

    What people really seem to cling to in the pro-Milan camp, and one of the staff at this clinic especially, is the belief that all breeds and all dogs should all act the same (as in no independent action of their own) if they see you as "dominant" and any behavior outside of being quiet, ears back, and acting helpless is dominant and has nothing to do with breed specific behavior, which I completely disagree with.

    I do believe that some behaviors like leash pulling or food guarding should not be dismissed with "oh, that's how the breed is", but the behaviors should be taken in context of the dogs age, it's breed, and it's training and not simplified into terms of dominance and submission. Seriously, do people really believe that age and breed have nothing to do with behavior??? When someone on the tube, or from the Vet, or even a trainer who has poor or no experience with the breed tells people to follow the alpha theory, I can't help but think that this is a big reason why Shibas end up in shelters. I am happy that we don't work the same days as we have completely different views on behavior, food, and training. It makes me sad that she pushes this on pet owners.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3664
    LoL, there have been tons of times where people tell me that I should CM my dogs, that they are being dominant. Go through the whole "CM isn't god" "but your dog is going to be dominant if you don't do it that way", and I basically say "Well then if this is being dominant, I guess I enjoy having dominant dogs" as I'm smooshing their faces and kissing their noses
    image
  • LaRen616LaRen616
    Posts: 221
    There was a Petco trainer that was big into Cesar Millan

    She hounded me when I brought my GSD Sinister in when he was a puppy, he was very well behaved and the lady kept telling me that he needed work and that he would grow up and become extremely aggressive and unmanagable if I didn't dominate him and use physical force to get him to do things.

    My ex and I trained Sinister, we took it very seriously, we socialized the wazoo out of him and we made sure he has excellent recall. He knows lots of tricks and he knows hand signals. He will not wander from me, he will not leave my yard (it's not fenced in) he loves people, kids, cats and other dogs, he is very well behaved in public places like my mom's salon, my cancer hospital, Petco/Petsmart, parades and birthday parties. He listens extremely well, he always wants to please me, he always wants to do something for me, he's eager to learn and catches on quick.

    We used positive training only and I think we did a pretty good job with him.

    No Cesar Millan BS going on in my house.Lauren

    Sinister ~ 5.5 yr old black male GSD 3.11.09
    Draven ~ 16 month old male Dalmatian 6.20.13

    Cats: Chaos, Mayhem, Monster, Wicked
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    @JacksMom13 - I'm love'n your mother's wisdom.
  • I love the name Sinister!

    I also love Jacksmom's mom's wisdom!

    I said it somewhere else on this forum at some point, but I called a training place in town once that insisted they were positive trainers, but then said I needed to put either a prong collar or electric collar on my FOUR MONTH OLD Akita puppy, my sweet and soft boy! I was furious!

    Lindsay, I laughed at the thing about not dismissing some things, like food guarding. Not because I think you're wrong at all, just because for me it's one of the battles I'm not interested in working on, since I can manage it so easily--I just feed the dogs separately. I would probably feel differently if it were really hard to handle, though, or if they ever showed resource guarding towards humans (Toby does a tiny bit, but very very rarely). I do tend to think the Japanese breeds are more likely to be resource guarders than not, but I'm sure it can be trained out of them...I just don't because it's not been a huge issue in our house (now I hope writing that down doesn't jinx me!).

    Anyway, yes, Millan makes me crazy. I got in an argument on another forum about him, and it was kind of sad on a couple of levels, because the person was so clearly pissed off that she doesn't really talk to me much anymore, but I also thought it was super sad that she uses CM methods for dog sports--luring, etc. To me, that seems such an awful way to participate in something that should be fun for dog and human.
  • RorsRors
    Posts: 165
    From reading all of your training experiences and my new obsession in smoothing any training techniques I used, Ian Dunbar has become my hero - so simple it hurts my head.

    One video summed it up for me, someone had a Huskie adolecent in his Sirius class, they were waiting for the Huskie to check in with the owner by looking at him - the Huskie didnt, instead of some brutal action Ian just walked past and said thats ok you wanted a Huskie you've got a Huskie.

    I bet its more fun with Shibas - cant wait
    Post edited by Rors at 2011-01-07 08:02:59
  • yay Rors! Dunbar is great, and I'm sure you'll find the methods work well with Shibas, for when you get your Shiba! :)
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3664
    "One video summed it up for me, someone had a Huskie adolecent in his Sirius class, they were waiting for the Huskie to check in with the owner by looking at him - the Huskie didnt, instead of some brutal action Ian just walked past and said thats ok you wanted a Huskie you've got a Huskie."


    LoL Rors, that is so true, it takes a lot of work and patience to get a huskies attention. I really wished they had Sirius classes here, most places don't even let the puppies play much less train them off leash.

    EDIT: I would love to see that video, btw
    image
    Post edited by Calia at 2011-01-06 00:54:56
  • RorsRors
    Posts: 165
    YouTube is Great So is Dogstars Daily for treating a dogs well being is more important than controlling every $$$

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-vAVPMjGc0
  • jujeejujee
    Posts: 882
    I love the training place I go to. They understand shibas. I would never ever take my dogs to a place who supports CM. Although there are ppl in my group of friends & family who sometimes mention his name n tell me I'm not being "dominant" enough for Mika. I just shrug them off. At my training class, Mika decided to totally ignore me after the first 10 minutes. She simply didn't want to train anymore, was not interested in treats. Just sat there staring at me like "I don't want to do this, lets just go home!" The trainer just simply said to me "oh that shiba! she wants to do things on her terms. It's okay, let's just wait a few minutes and see if she will want to try some training in a bit".

    I'm seeing a lot more positive reinforcement training facilities/classes offered around me, which makes me really happy. I just hope my friends & family will lay off on me.
  • quezoxxquezoxx
    Posts: 25
    Why does everyone hate this guy? Whenever I watch the show it appears that its actually more about the humans taking control of the situations rather than the dogs. Most of the time hes just telling the owners to set rules and excersise the animals.

    It's not a cute when you go to a dog park and a full grown dog is nipping at your 4 month old and the owner does nothing about it. After about an 30 minutes and some yelps I had to step in between the two dogs. I didnt touch them, or even say anything but my posture and placing myself between the two let the other dog know that it was not wanted...I learned that much from watching the show. It worked as well! Is that bad?
    Post edited by quezoxx at 2011-01-17 19:16:42
  • tomotomo
    Posts: 15
    > "His ideas, especially those about "dominance", are completely disconnected from the sciences of ethology and animal learning..."

    This is 100% untrue. Wolves are a strong interest of mine, and I've enjoyed reading about them in my spare time since I was a kid. The foremost experts in ethology have been studying wolves in the wild for decades. These studies have shown that domestic dogs behave much like a wolf pups for their entire lives. Milan's ideas about dominance stem directly from these studies. Almost everything I read in his book about pack dominance matches up perfectly with what I've read about wolves, particularly about the way wolf pups are raised and integrated into the pack.

    It seems like these people aren't willing to understand and accept Cesar Milan's methods. I don't like him, and I'll agree with the poster above who said the guy's a complete tool by human standards, but he seems to mean well and his methods are backed up by years of studies and his own personal experience. You'd have a hard time proving he's less than competent given his track record actually working in the field, and I wouldn't be so quick to judge.
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3664
    The issue with CM is that not only are his methods out dated, but the physical "techniques" he uses to "Rehabilitate" dogs are pretty cruel. Even though his techniques appear to work, why do them if there are better and more humane methods out there.

    Plus many studies are showing more and more that dogs no longer think like wolves, so basing them off of wolves is no longer correct. It's like saying that we should raise and treat our children and other people based off of how chimpanzees, gorillas or other primates act. Imagine how much more poop flinging would go on had we done that.

    Two great documentaries that show how much dogs have evolved from their primitive ancestors is "Nova: Dogs Decoded" and "National Geographic Explorer: The Science of Dogs" (Both are available to watch on Netflix over the web). Both documentaries show that dogs have evolved to not only perceive humans differently than other dogs, animals or objects but shows that they have gained a desire to communicate with us. They want to "talk" to us, they want us to show them what to do. There's no need to shove the answer down their throat when they are willing to listen and learn.
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  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Well said Beth.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • quezoxxquezoxx
    Posts: 25
    I'm gonna watch that video right now, thanks!
  • Having worked with dogs (in a very positive only setting) for seven years, including working with various dog trainers, I would never allow Cesar Milan near my dogs. I have had good results with positive reinforcement with my girls, and with dogs I have worked with at my job. The only thing I will give Cesar credit for is the fact that he suggests more exercise for most dogs. I do not think most dogs get enough exercise and mental stimulation.

    I think Cesar himself is a bully towards dogs, overpowering them and scaring them rather than working to reinforce good behavior and gain the trust of dogs who often have very little confidence. His techniques would break my dogs, plain and simple. I love my dogs and would never subject them to that. I think people should have a relationship with their dogs that is based on trust, not based on overpowering and controlling the dog.
  • PupChowPupChow
    Posts: 100
    Has anybody tried both Cesar Millan's method and later converted to Positive Reinforcement? I'm curious to hear from personal experience with both methods and how the dog reacted during those time. Are the two methods completely black & white or is there anything CM teaches that can be incorporated into Positive Reinforcement? (eg: more exercise) Mac's Action Adventure Stories
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    @ pupchow, I just did a little blog post about what it was like raising my first Shiba, and using CM technique (http://2naughtyshibas.blogspot.com/2011/01/where-beebe-came-from.html). It has taken me years to get her even close to normal after the many, many negative CM training sessions I forced her into, thinking I was doing the right thing. The worst thing to do with an unconfident spooky dog is to force them into a scary situation. They just shut down, or worse, bite unpredictably (which she did and I totally deserved it). I do not think most pet owners are informed or savvy enough to distinguish fear and avoiding behavior from what they have been told on TV must be dominance. This is where the danger is with "unprovoked" biting. I agree that exercise is super important in helping to relieve stress and boredom and it's the one (1) good thing I take out of the CM experience, but it is not a solution to a fearful dog. You can't exercise fear out of a dog. You can exhaust a dog so it has no energy to try and escape or "be dominant and aggressive", but that's so unrealistic as a long term solution. I guarantee that most pet owners will not give a dog an exhausting amount of exercise whenever there is an issue. It's unrealastic to expect treadmills and long jogs to change how the dog perceives the situation. That takes long term development of positive associations and not the use of force, so in that respect, I do feel it is very black and white.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    @tomo - I think you may be missing the real point of the line of text you quoted in your post above.

    The full quote is: "His ideas, especially those about "dominance", are completely disconnected from the sciences of ethology and animal learning, which are our best hope for understanding and training our dogs and meeting their behavioral needs."

    By pulling the line out of it's context you circumvent the core point. The statement is saying that ethology is the best way for "understanding and training our dogs and meeting their behavioral needs", therefore Dr. Hetts is agreeing with you that ethology is a good place to find meaning behind our dog's behaviors (ie dogs may behave similarly to wild canine). The mention of dominance in the statement is in the context of learning, as in the science of Learning Theory, which focuses on the individual and therefore dominance (hierarchy) plays no role (as it is said to be a trait of social politics and not part of individual learning).

    Furthermore, most of the more recent studies on wild canine and/or wolves now debunk the use of terms like "dominance", "submissive", "alpha". Leading researchers agree that a wolf "pack" is really a "Nuclear Family Unit" and not a dominance-based social hierarchy made up of loosely-related individuals.

    Quoting Mech once again on this forum...
    "Labeling a high-ranking wolf alpha emphasizes its rank in a dominance hierarchy. However, in natural wolf packs, the alpha male or female are merely the breeding animals, the parents of the pack, and dominance contests with other wolves are rare, if they exist at all. During my 13 summers observing the Ellesmere Island pack, I saw none."
    Source: http://www.mnforsustain.org/wolf_mech_dominance_alpha_status.htm

    Also, there is thread on this forum dedicated to this very subject. I invite you to continue the discussion of dominance-based hierarchies there, if you like. Link: http://www.shibainuforum.org/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=6867

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    Post edited by BradA1878 at 2011-01-18 05:09:10
  • Brad answered the way I would have in terms of the wolf issues. The theory has been debunked.

    @Lindsay--I think that's really valuable that you've written about switching training methods. I am really interested in seeing how people have done different types of training can see the difference.

    I guess that I used CM methods with my GSD when he was young. It was well before CM, but his methods are simply old school, and used to be the way dogs are trained. (That's another reason I find him so annoying: it's not like he's doing anything new. He's just doing the same old aversive training methods many people hoped we were getting away from). Anyway, the training class I took him to--this was 10+ years ago--still did leash jerks, alpha rolls, etc. It didn't help my soft GSD at all. He was not a fearful dog, so it didn't ruin him as it could, but it did make him nervous and take all the joy out of working with him, and it did make also make him bite me--and the bites were very clearly a "pay attention, I'm not comfortable with this" sort of thing.

    Someone else on the forum has a thread called "who knew leash jerks could be so expensive" and talks about her little Shiba girl just shut down in fear and now pees when she sees the trainer. That kind of stuff is inexcusable in my mind. And there are videos where CM drags dogs, kicks dogs, hangs dogs from choke collars, etc. All abuse, in my mind, and I don't understand why anyone tolerate in the name of "training."
  • tomotomo
    Posts: 15
    @ Brad - I didn't miss the point unless the person who's being quoted has failed to use the English language properly. The prior sentence clearly indicates that they're declaring his ideas as unfounded, with no basis in behavioral science/ethology. Milan's most criticized methods are most appropriately geared at the very small minority of dogs which do have extreme dominance issues. These are dogs which may be otherwise euthanized because none of the more "humane" methods have worked on them. He's saved more than his share of dogs using these methods after all others have failed. I think it's distasteful to be so judgmental of someone who clearly means well and has done so much good.

    And no, you can't just throw out the word "dominance," and Mech never said you should. Dominance and hierarchy can exist in almost ANY even moderately-advanced social system, even with the human nuclear family. What Mech has said is that rigid social structures are not common and that because they were what he initially observed, his original attempt at understanding and explaining wolf dominance was unsuccessful. Still, he has observed such things in the past and he does not deny that dominance can be a strong trait in wolves. For example, there are packs where the more dominant wolves will not allow the other wolves to eat until they are done. There are other packs where that's not the case. Just because it's now been established that highly dominant behavior is not the norm doesn't mean that it can't or doesn't exist at all.

    That said, a lot of people out there seem to think that it's a good idea to use his methods on a dog showing no signs of dominance issues, which is kind of like giving a person Oxycontin every day in case they develop a minor headache. A lot of the quotes above are statements which were probably made out of fear that more people might jump on that bandwagon. Starting another "Cesar Sucks" bandwagon is not a good solution.


    > "I do not think most pet owners are informed or savvy enough to distinguish fear and avoiding behavior from what they have been told on TV must be dominance."

    This is 100% true, and there's a great difference between making this point and saying Cesar Milan himself is a poor trainer. Where are the quotes expressing that CM's methods aren't right for every dog? That would be far more appropriate if you intend to nurture an environment that supports education and understanding.


    > "Plus many studies are showing more and more that dogs no longer think like wolves, so basing them off of wolves is no longer correct... Plus many studies are showing more and more that dogs no longer think like wolves, so basing them off of wolves is no longer correct. It's like saying that we should raise and treat our children and other people based off of how chimpanzees, gorillas or other primates act."

    Humans did not evolve from modern-day primate species. Chimps are not our ancestors, and it's been about 40 million years since we shared a common ancestor. Dogs, on the other hand, did likely evolve from the grey wolf. When the feral dog and grey wolf diverged is unknown, but domestication probably began in the past 15,000 years. Feral dog packs currently behave much like (but not identically to) modern grey wolf packs. No one's saying they're exactly the same, but 15,000 years is not enough time for there to be a fundamental difference in how an animal thinks. You can use selective breeding to encourage certain traits, including submissiveness, but you can't expect an animal's actual thought process to evolve in such a short period.
  • tomotomo
    Posts: 15
    > "And there are videos where CM drags dogs, kicks dogs, hangs dogs from choke collars, etc. All abuse, in my mind, and I don't understand why anyone tolerate in the name of "training."

    From my perspective, true abuse requires a sadistic intent on the part of the individual committing the act, whether it be out of anger or general malice. We're quick to throw the word abuse around instead of simply admitting that we don't like corporal punishment and that we find it cruel. Still, dogs don't seem to learn from corporal punishment from humans. They don't understand why they suffer because we lack the tools to fully communicate our meaning. If it's not really a dominance issue, any sort of violence towards the dog will be wasted energy and will only be harmful in the end. I can understand his doing that if it's a last resort and the dog hasn't responded to other methods, but otherwise it just adds points to why I think he's a jackass.

    > "Someone else on the forum has a thread called "who knew leash jerks could be so expensive" and talks about her little Shiba girl just shut down in fear and now pees when she sees the trainer. That kind of stuff is inexcusable in my mind."

    That's not a trainer, that's a case of "idiot parading as a trainer." There are far too many of those in the world. Far too many! The worst part is that so many of them actually believe they know what they're doing when they don't have a clue.
  • maxwellsmaxwells
    Posts: 347
    My input on this conversation is anecdotal at best… Much like Lindsey, I thought the way to go about ‘training’ my shiba pup was via a strong leader personality ala CM. Boy was I wrong! Many years and an additional shiba later I know a heck of a lot more on how to motivate and encourage a savvy dog like a shiba.

    First, I will admit that when we got Ichiro at age 5mos, it was January and incredibly cold out, so the amount of people out and about to socialize with were VERY limited – mistake one. Ichiro came from a breeder in RURAL Iowa to downtown Chicago – complete with garbage trucks, buses, pavement, alleys, etc. All things that a rural dog could be frightened of; so in comes the thinking ‘desensitize via massive exposure and a firm hand’ ala CM.

    So after tromping our poor little 5mo pup back and forth down the alley to get his ‘used to’ various scary items on what was going to be the area we walked him most, we found it didn’t really work. Actually, the exact opposite of working -- he started becoming scared of going on walks, then scared of these people who drug him past all these scary things. The final straw came when he showed visible fear (he COWERED) towards my husband and I in the house. It just broke my heart to see.

    So we spent the next YEAR rebuilding his confidence with our amazing trainer, who focused on positive reinforcement. (We did a lot of “Brave Ichiro” exercises, nice and slow with lots of treats involved.) I remember lots of walks with treats in my pocket to randomly dole out when he was trotting alongside me. After a lot of work, we had a dog that didn’t cower before us. However he did cower at new experiences. We thought we had done the best we could to recoup from the CM techniques.

    Later we added another shiba, Akira who helped bring Ichiro out of his shell even more. Of course he’s still the ninny of the two, letting Akira go first into a new situation. But he’s tons better.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I do agree with the CM axiom that you can project your energy and use that in helping your dog(s). For instance there’s no WAY we could ever come near Ichiro with say… nail clippers if we weren’t in a very good place mentally. He hides if I argue with my husband too loud and am acting too angry, even if in jest. So that’s the bit of CM I do agree with – dogs are great at picking up our emotions.

    In fact, earlier in this thread the PBS Nova program – Dogs Decoded was mentioned. I think has some very compelling ideas around the fact that dogs evolved to watch our emotions and benefited from tuning into human moods. I’m doing a terrible job of summing that program up, but I would really recommend anyone with a dog watch it for themselves. I’m sure there’s something for everyone to learn from it!
    Jenn & Stephen (humans), Ichiro & Akira (shibas), Abraham & Anya (cats)
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    @tomo - First off, no need to get defensive, this is meant to be an intellectual discussion.

    Also, you may find this thread distasteful, which I apologize for, but I assure you the intent of the thread is to steer the average or new dog owner away from potentially harmful techniques used by CM on his show and not to judge CM as a person. Perhaps you are taking this topic too personally?

    Personally, I find it distasteful that a show like "The Dog Whisperer" is televised to the general public. A show which teaches people harmful training methods based on a incorrect understanding of the canine social system and inaccurate assumptions, as well as the incorrect definition and understanding of terms like "dominance", "submissive", "alpha", and "pack".

    Unfortunately, threads like these are necessary as CM (and NatGeo) fail to see the danger in teaching new dog owners (and the general public) to abuse their dogs with alpha rolls, shock collars, and painful leash jerks.

    Anyway, what proof do we have that CM has "saved more than his share of dogs using these methods after all others have failed"? A TV show? One of his books?

    In regards to dominance, certainly dominance plays a role in social systems, it was not suggested that it doesn't. Nor was it suggested (by me or Mech) that the term be removed completely from the language of ethology. What was suggest, was that CM's use (and many other people's uses) of the term "dominance" is mostly inaccurate.

    Also, I think it worth noting that just because dominance may a be a factor in a social system it doesn't mean the social system is based on dominance hierarchy. Dominance and social hierarchy is NOT the only, or even the primary, motivator in all wolf pack, a nuclear family unit, or a individual dog's behavior and, therefore, it is ridiculous to weight dominance/hierarchy as heavily as CM does when "rehabilitating" a dog. That applies 1000 fold when (CM is) simply training a dog to do a simple behavior (like walk on leash) - a dog's social status and/or dominance should have NOTHING to do with training that dog to do any behavior when Learning Theory is properly applied (which therefore, in dog training, renders the term "dominance" moot).

    Can you please define for me "extreme dominance issues"?

    You write:
    "What Mech has said is that rigid social structures are not common and that because they were what he initially observed, his original attempt at understanding and explaining wolf dominance was unsuccessful. Still, he has observed such things in the past and he does not deny that dominance can be a strong trait in wolves. For example, there are packs where the more dominant wolves will not allow the other wolves to eat until they are done. There are other packs where that's not the case. Just because it's now been established that highly dominant behavior is not the norm doesn't mean that it can't or doesn't exist at all."
    >> If dominance-based rigid social hierarchies don't always exist in dogs and wolves, does it make sense for a "dog physiologist", as CM calls himself, to almost exclusively subscribe to that system when training a dog? More importantly, since dominance is a factor in a social hierarchy, what role does dominance play in training an individual dog? And with that point, per the text you wrote and I quoted above, how is "dominance" a wolf trait and not a behavior acted out by wolves in a social hierarchy?

    You wrote:
    "That said, a lot of people out there seem to think that it's a good idea to use his methods on a dog showing no signs of dominance issues, which is kind of like giving a person Oxycontin every day in case they develop a minor headache. A lot of the quotes above are statements which were probably made out of fear that more people might jump on that bandwagon."
    >> Yes, that is exactly why this thread was started.

    Then you wrote:
    " Starting another "Cesar Sucks" bandwagon is not a good solution. "
    >> With the exception of what you wrote above, I don't recall anyone writing "Cesar Sucks" in this thread (other than yourself).

    ----
    Post edited by BradA1878 at 2011-01-18 22:40:10
  • quezoxxquezoxx
    Posts: 25
    I think there is a bit of sensationalism and generalization going on here. CM approaches each situation different. Its not like he sees a dog that is afraid of strollers and noises then proceeds to kick them, make that PSHHHH noise and ALPHA SUPLEX them from the top rope haha.

    I didn't mean to resurrect a heated topic. I just never knew that "dog people" hated CM so much calling him a tool and such names and yes if you read every post there are in fact comments made about him and people who subscribe to his methods. He seems to me, like a nice guy who helps people with issues that cause there dogs to be unbalanced. Hes not a dog trainer, you never see him teach dogs how to jump through hoops. He deals with behavior issues. Mostly its the people who enable the dogs to continue a certain habit, or encourage behaviors through lack of assertion and direction.

    I dont know about you all but I want my dog to know that we share a domain but I am the master. There are a lot of mixed signals going on here. Many of the points being made can go for either side depending on how you look at them. I hear that dogs look to us for direction. Without that direction the dogs will take over. I love my dog he is my companion but not my equal. I love my nephew, he is not my equal. There are rules, there are consequence. This is life. This is human life, this is life in the wild only with that the stakes are much higher. Animals are supposed to bring us closer to nature, I think its a give and take. I don't think that we should exactly build a world for our animals that involves positive all the time. I don't think thats real. That being said don't be alarmed people, I don't kick my dog or ALPHA KARATE CHOP him when he misbehaves. I do snap my fingers to get his attention and when he is really bad I may yell a little loud. I walk out of the door first, but I move when he needs me to, I try not to let him drag the heck outta me, I eat first or pretend to, I stand in between object that he tries to claim for his when they are clearly not, I dont let him on the furniture uninvited. I also kiss him, and hug him, give him tons of treats, and have a big dorky baby picture as my desktop at work which I get teased about hahaha. I dont care!

    The experts have their own techniques. Tons of time and effort spent on a topic tends to make the experts and the followers get emotional about what side to take. CM deals with dogs with horrible issues because thats what makes good TV. Dogs that are already on the brink of hurting themselves or the owners. Not dogs who dont sit on command or 2 month old puppys who are chewing up shoes. Anyways, we all have to find our way so I like to learn from all and not discredit without seeing if they have something, even if in part, to offer.
    Post edited by quezoxx at 2011-01-19 00:37:28
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    "Its not like he sees a dog that is afraid of strollers and noises then proceeds to kick them, make that PSHHHH noise and ALPHA SUPLEX them from the top rope haha."
    >> No, he would walk the dog until it was triad and then force the dog to "deal with" it's fear of the stroller by forcing exposure. This is called "flooding" and can lead to what is called "learned helplessness" as well as intensify the dog's fear. This method can work great on a dog with strong nerves, but, unfortunately, the majority of the dogs, especially in Shiba, do not have strong enough nerves to make it through a technique like that.

    These techniques, like "flooding", are not new to the training world, people have been doing them for many many years (40+ years), but through the refinement and growth of the training and behavioral community (over those 40+ years) techniques like those have been abandoned by most credible (educated) trainers and behaviorist. They have been abandoned because, in most cases, they do damage to the dog and/or the dog's relationship with the owner. This has been proven.

    Those techniques have been replaced with non-aversive versions that are based on the science of learning - also know as Learning Theory. CM's methods are not new and are actually also based on (a misunderstood view of) Learning Theory, the difference is that the new techniques are the product of collaboration and evolution within the training community and behavioral sciences community (again, for 40+ years), while CM's are the product of an outmoded understanding of dog behavior and learning theory (and how it applies to training).

    You can use CM's methods, that's your choice, but the point of this thread was/is to steer people away from those potentially harmful (and outmoded) methods so that they do not ruin their dog's relationship and/or their dog.

    You say "This is life", I say "This is simple science". When we break from science and follow an ill-informed non-scientific approach to training, the dogs are the ones who get hurt. For you it may be "life", for the dog it is confusing and abusive. Dogs don't understand the rules your are describing in the same way we (humans) do, we need science to help us understand how to communicate with them.

    Whether CM is a good person, has helped dogs, or is nuts is really irrelevant to this thread. What is being discussed here are his "methods" and the potential damage they can cause.

    ----
  • @Tomo:

    > "And there are videos where CM drags dogs, kicks dogs, hangs dogs from choke collars, etc. All abuse, in my mind, and I don't understand why anyone tolerate in the name of "training."

    From my perspective, true abuse requires a sadistic intent on the part of the individual committing the act, whether it be out of anger or general malice. We're quick to throw the word abuse around instead of simply admitting that we don't like corporal punishment and that we find it cruel. Still, dogs don't seem to learn from corporal punishment from humans. They don't understand why they suffer because we lack the tools to fully communicate our meaning. If it's not really a dominance issue, any sort of violence towards the dog will be wasted energy and will only be harmful in the end. I can understand his doing that if it's a last resort and the dog hasn't responded to other methods, but otherwise it just adds points to why I think he's a jackass.

    So...you think abuse has to be proved by sadistic intent? I find that definition really limiting, and I wasn't just "throwing around" the word abuse: I meant it. I don't know what CM's intent is: probably, like many people I think are misguided, he really does think he's doing better by the dogs. But I still say, regardless what his intent is, that hanging a dog from a choke collar, or kicking a dog, is abusive. And I'm frankly surprised you find the leash jerk example problematic, because these are, in fact, the kind of methods CM uses. You even say you don't believe dogs learn from corporal punishment, so I'm not sure why you're agreeing with CM's methods?

    I would also like to know what you mean by serious dominance issues.

    Tomo, I don't even really understand what you don't like about CM, because as far as I can see, you're defending his methods. I'm confused by your arguments....

    There are a number of things I find reprehensible about CM's methods (and actually,yes, I'm happy to say I think he sucks as a trainer. I don't think anyone has said that here yet, though we've been accused of it, so there we go: I'll say it). They are outdated. They are harmful to dogs. But one of my big issues is that this kind of training is being put forth by CM and National Geo as a good example of dog training, when there are way, way less aversive ways to train dogs. While I've found positive training to work almost all the time, even with my Shiba who was labled as having "dominance issues" (actually he's fearful and displays his fear as offensive aggression). The biggest thing is, say positive training methods really didn't work on an individual dog, for whatever reason. The thing is, the dog WAS NOT HURT by trying it. You may not get the kind of success you want, but it won't hurt the dog. But CM's dominance based training methods can and do hurt dogs. I find that really unacceptable.
  • quezoxxquezoxx
    Posts: 25
    Then what do you suggest? I don't feel the need to dominate my dog 24/7 or push him around. If I don't want my dog to do something then what do I do? Do I offer him a treat to get off of the couch? Or do I say get off the couch! I know you are passionate about what you say, I can tell by the tone of your words. I don't mean to offend you. I also don't abuse my dog. And I am not above learning from others. How do I establish what's right from wrong behavior? Is time out ruled out? If dogs don't understand our rules then do they not know that doing something will displease us?

    NVM: I found some other posts with your link in this post which I am reading now.

    Behavior / Training: Let's discuss the role of dominance in the social hierarchy & training of domestic and wild canine.
    Post edited by quezoxx at 2011-01-19 03:34:36
  • And I would suggest you read the threads on positive training. Look at positve trainers like Ian Dunbar, Pat Miller, et. al. There ARE options to aversive training. The basic premise of positive training is simple: you reward a dog for behavior you want them to continue and ignore behavior you don't want them to continue. You want them off the couch? Yes, you lure the dog off the couch with a treat, then reward when they are off the couch. Keep wandering around on the forum....you'll find lots of stuff about positive training to help you! :)
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    @ Shibamistress: Another anecdote, sorry it's a bit lengthy. I am in the process of training a Shiba puppy to show. I've had 6 Shibas live with me over the last few years with the gracious assistance of my breeder, to help develop my method. 5 of them were/are/have been shown, all young dogs. My training style is continually evolving based on what is working best with the least amount of stress to the dog and me. I admit I am not an assertive "dominant" owner or a particularly good trainer, yet I am experiencing greater success with very strong willed breeds when I am most hands off with their training regarding corrections. In fact, it's easier for me and the dog to train to prevent having to use any type of correction at all by keeping it positive and fun for them. That's almost a complete 180 from 4 years ago when I was first starting out with 1 Shiba using CM as a training guideline.

    It makes me uncomfortable (and exhausted) to try and force any of them to stop something that is part of who they are, so I don't really care any more if my dogs squeal, chirp, howl, bark, growl, hump each other, chase birds or make nests in my laundry or on my pillows as long as they redirect if I ask. I don't care if that means giving them treats, it works better than punishment. I do use time outs, and I have agreed to try and use compressed air to interupt any excess barking for my neighbors sake, but it scares Ike, so I feel bad for even using that. With the exception of the emergency scruff or tail grab to keep them out of trouble, (and some naughty words from me), that's about as aversive as I get now.

    I don't have the desire to micromanage those behaviors anymore after the epic battles of will with my first Shiba using CM training, which were easily resolved later on with clicker training and marking desired behaviors with treats/praise/play.

    If my hard headed Shiba can earn Flyball titles using play/praise and treats, then there is no excuse for physical force to teach my mild mannered dogs to do something simple like get off the couch or walk politely. And frankly, I'm not at all interested or capable of trying to physically man handle my CO, a breed well known for it's independance and strength. They don't run amuck and they have learned that there are some things they just have to endure like standing still for grooming and they will get lots of treats and praise for being patient.

    Back to puppy, she is a grumbler, as in, she growls often just because, which I have learned is not unusual in Shibas. Mostly she does it if I'm too in her face by trying to make her do something that she is not comfortable with (handler error), but she also does it when she is giving kisses, meeting people she really likes, and especially when playing. She's just a vocal, outgoing gal who is learning to curb her enthusiasm.

    I was told in handling class a while back to give puppy a little whack under the chin or leash pop her when she growls to get her to stop. She continued to growl when this was done to her in class, and progessed to shrieking like she was being murdered. I should have not allowed that negative training technique as it is soo important to me and her breeder/auntie breeders for her to have fun with whatever we do, but at the same time to learn boundaries.

    When visiting the shows last weekend, I reported to her auntie breeder who is a big fan of Karen Pryor clicker training and sweet talking (all my dogs LOVE her and work beautifully for her). She told me to just ignore it or time out, and treat/praise her when she's good, and to keep up with handling her all over to help get her used to it. Guess what, it works, no struggle, no growls and she's happy and looks darn good doing it.

    @ Tomo,

    You quoted me "I do not think most pet owners are informed or savvy enough to distinguish fear and avoiding behavior from what they have been told on TV must be dominance."

    You wrote "This is 100% true, and there's a great difference between making this point and saying Cesar Milan himself is a poor trainer. Where are the quotes expressing that CM's methods aren't right for every dog? That would be far more appropriate if you intend to nurture an environment that supports education and understanding."

    My response: Cesar Milan's methods aren't right for ANY dog, and he is a poor trainer. I share these stories of my prior training experiences specifically to enhance other's education so they hopefully won't repeat my many mistakes.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    @quezoxx - I know you found some information in many of the other posts on the forum. In an effort to help cut-through some of the extraneous linked info (data overload), I'll point out this article published by the APDT: http://www.apdt.com/petowners/articles/docs/DominanceArticle.pdf

    I think that article does a nice job summarizing many of the points being made here. I hope it helps.

    ----
  • tomotomo
    Posts: 15
    This is getting a bit long-winded. I'll be blunt and to the point. I don't like Cesar Milan because I find him to be very full of himself. Still, I respect him. Too many people think they can read a book or see a TV show and then just mimic the behavior they see or read about and that the results they get say something about the person they mimic. That's simply not the case. People seem to want to suggest that they're more intelligent and that they understand dogs better than he does, but all of the evidence from his personal history of training actually suggests that's not true. He has been extremely successful with the methods he uses, and I think he knows exactly what he's doing. It's more likely that other peoples' failures attempting the same methods are due to an inability to fully understand the subtleties involved and when and why they work for him.

    As was said above, I think there's a lot of generalization and exaggeration here. If you watch his show, you'll see that the methods criticized are rarely used. He uses gentler methods and even positive reinforcement when appropriate. He doesn't treat all dogs the same and he doesn't look at every problem as a dominance issue. He doesn't use aversive training for every dog.

    If the message you're trying to send is that people should not try his methods at home, I think you should say that and not post a bunch of quoted opinion on whether or not he may be a competent individual. What I see here is people making the assumption that he's not, and then basing their criticism of his methods on their own failures, not his. Besides, as long as Oprah likes him you're fighting a losing battle.
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    @tomo - To me it seem you are making assumptions too. You write: "He has been extremely successful with the methods he uses, and I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

    Again I ask: Other than what can be seen on HIS tv show and read in HIS books, what proof do you have of this?

    Unless you judge his success in dogs simply based on the fact he has a TV show, which would be ridiculous. I know many many very skilled and impressive veterinary behaviorists that do not have their own TV show and have mos def helped more dogs over the course of their career than CM has. I can prove that statement too, can you prove yours?

    Also, I ask again, can you please explain or describe what "extreme dominance issues" are?

    ----

    "If you watch his show, you'll see that the methods criticized are rarely used. He uses gentler methods and even positive reinforcement when appropriate. He doesn't treat all dogs the same and he doesn't look at every problem as a dominance issue. He doesn't use aversive training for every dog. "

    I do agree with this, but it's a NEW development in his programing. He has started to use less-harsh methods now in his show. These less-harsh methods just happen to start appearing in his show just after the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) and the European Society for Veterinary Clinical Ethology (ESVCE) sent NatGeo this letter in November 2009 condemning CM's show.
    src: http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Media/Press_Releases/nat_geog_dog_whispererus.pdf

    Here are a few more official position statements and letters condemning CM and companies who support his methods...

    AVSAB
    http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Media/Press_Releases/acvb merialmilanletter09.pdf
    http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Media/Press_Releases/merialletter6-10.pdf
    http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Media/Press_Releases/avsab-rspca press release 12-15-09.pdf

    ESVCE
    http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Media/Press_Releases/bayer_uk_dog_whisperer.pdf
    http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Media/Press_Releases/nat_geog_dog_whispererus.pdf
    http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Media/Press_Releases/merial_us_dog_whisperer.pdf

    CCPDT
    http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Media/Press_Releases/09-06-24merial letter ccpdt.doc

    SVBT
    http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Media/Press_Releases/svbt letter to merial.doc

    Take note of the influential people (and their credentials) who signed those letters...
    E. Kathryn Meyer, VMD
    John Ciribassi, DVM, DACVB
    Karen Sueda, DVM, DACVB
    Kari Krause, DVM
    Kelly Morgan, DVM
    Valli Parthasarathy, PhD, DVM
    Sophia Yin, DVM MS
    Laurie Bergman, VMD, DACVB
    Miranda K. Workman, CPDT
    Cara Shannon, JD, CPDT
    Marilyn Wolf, CPDT
    Nicole Johnston, CPDT
    Barbara Long, CPDT
    Marjie Alonso, CDBC
    Julie Shaw, RVT
    Amanda Eick-Miller, RVT, CPDT

    @tomo - You state the following:
    "People seem to want to suggest that they're more intelligent and that they understand dogs better than he does, but all of the evidence from his personal history of training actually suggests that's not true."

    So then you are suggesting, through some proof that you have yet to share with us, that CM is "more intelligent" and "understand[s] dogs better" than this list of professionals above (who have signed the letters condemning CM's methods and his show)?

    ----
    Post edited by BradA1878 at 2011-01-19 22:58:04
  • JessicaRabbit posted this in a similar thread on the NK side, and I thought it was worth adding here. Thanks, Jess.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sophia-yin/experts-say-dominance-bas_b_204482.html?ref=fb&src=sp
  • jujeejujee
    Posts: 882
    I have a few good friends and some family members who have watched Cesar Millan's show. Of course none of my family members or friends would dare try to "train" Mika without me there because she is MY dog. She is not the family dog. She is mine. However, they tell me I should be doing things differently with her or she will misbehave. My parents were shocked to see Mika have some self-control when I put food down right infront of her face and she would not go for it or eat it until I said "ok". So my parents have changed their minds about me training my dog. My friends, that is a different case.

    My very bestfriend has a husky & pom. He used to practice positive reinforcement, but since his partner started using physical methods, so has my bestfriend. On a daily basis the husky & pom are always watching their every move, ready to go run and hide underneath a piece of furniture scared of experiencing "death". Yes, my friend's partner screams and yells "DEATH!" at their dogs to scare them. That word is such a negative word that when they hear it, they cower and run. Luckily there has been no sign of aggression from them, but I wouldn't be surprised if one day the dogs just got so scared and end up biting my bestfriend or his partner. I've seen them hit their dog and even go to lengths of biting their ear to inflict pain on them. I cannot stand the cries they give, but it is a very touchy subject where I cannot say "you shouldn't be doing that". It's one of those things where it would probably ruin the friendship. They truly believe the methods they are using is giving them a well behaved dog. But in actuality these dogs makes the same mistakes over and over again because they are constantly being screamed at, hit, and bit on the ear.

    One evening they asked me to bring Mika over so that their husky could let out some energy cause they didn't exercise her much that day. I agreed. That night, we also had spring rolls for dinner and so we were peeling the shrimp and Mika came over to the table and started to try to counter surf. I corrected Mika by telling her "off!" Which she did, but was still too tempted, new environment doesn't always mean she will listen to commands that she's given at home (yes we are still working on this!). So my friends say to me after Mika continues to try to counter surf for food, "you need to hit her! you need to let her know that you mean it and that you are the BOSS!" I responded with "I don't really like to inflict physical pain on her, I'm just going to give her a time-out in the crate." So it did take me a few trips to the crate and time outs for her to understand that when I say "off" even at someone else's house it really means she needs to get off.

    Their dogs do not counter surf though, which is why they told me to hit Mika to teach her a lesson. But their dogs do stand under the table or right next to them waiting for something to drop off the table/counter so they can get some food. After letting Mika know that that food we were having wasn't for her (after all the crating and time outs) she kind of did her own thing and didn't care to stand by or near the food anymore.

    Most people who seem to mimic Cesar Millan feel their way is the right way. Some are stubborn and do not want to admit what they are doing is wrong or inhumane. I am glad though that my friends have come to me for help or advice on what to do about their husky's jumping on people. They have realized that hitting their husky each time she jumps on people has not stopped her from jumping on people she sees or when ppl come visit their home. I told them that when people come over they need to have their guest ignore the husky and turn their backs to her, not give her any attention whatsoever until she is sitting and calm, or remove the husky from the room if she proceeds to jump up on people. They have been practicing this a bit and each time I come over now the husky sits before I pet her. It might be just me since she knows I will turn my back to her and will not pet her and give her any attention until she is sitting and calm. Consistency is key and I do hope my friends realize soon that physical punishment isn't the way to train their dog before they seriously get hurt. Oh, and yes I have spoken to them that maybe physical punishment might not be right for them, but of course what I said was ignored. :(
    Post edited by jujee at 2011-01-23 23:04:41
  • RorsRors
    Posts: 165
    @ jujee, I had a similar experince with a former friend and their pug. Same deal they would yell and give it a smack (fairly light but a smack still the same) to get the dog from jumping up and licking when anyone sat on the couch. I think I upset them and won a bet - 2 minutes later the darling little pug was sitting next to me calmly getting pats - it only took 2 times withholding a pat and she got it.

    How would someone feel if their best human friend cowered every time they walk in the room or talked to them - that sort of training doesnt make sense.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    @ Jujee- Good grief! Some friends aren't worth having.

    "Most people who seem to mimic Cesar Millan feel their way is the right way. Some are stubborn and do not want to admit what they are doing is wrong or inhumane."

    The "right" training is in part something that you will find you are going to be comfortable using at the moment and long term, in addition to that which is based on humane, current research.

    I admit that when I am confronted by a certain CM advocate friend who is highly critical of my more hands off approach, that I really do have a hard time being firm in advocating for my choice. She's so pushy about using the "tried and true" aversive training, (and that raw feeding is bad, and that dog shows are bad, and that all breeders are scum, etc) and no amount of logic will change her viewpoint. I no longer enjoy her company as she keeps needling me and pointing out the flaws in my dog's behvaior as being either dominant or aggressive. It's getting old fast.

    I have to question intentions like that. Is the person really being a friend (respecting my choices for my dogs that I have spent a long time researching to make the most informed decision), or are they just trying to be right so they can feel better about themselves at my expense by being hyper critical about everything I do for my dogs.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • tuckertucker
    Posts: 14
    This is such an interesting discussion.

    A lot of good points have been brought up. It's most interesting, however, because I noticed a few posts by different users that both dislike CM, but contradict each other. The two that stands out most (I don't want to scroll up and find it after reading all the posts, so i'll paraphrase) was when one user said CM is outdated and that we shouldn't be treating our pets like wolves because todays pet dogs are so different. Then another user made note of how Shiba Inus are more feral than the average dog and more primitive. I thought that was kind of funny - If you've got a primitive breed that is more feral, I would imagine approaching them as one would a pack of wolves would make a lot of sense.

    In any case, I digress.

    Someone asked if anyone has used both techniques - aversive (negative) and positive training. I noticed that a lot of users on here seem to predominantly use positive training, and don't do leash snaps, roll overs, etc.

    I go to a training facility where both techniques are used. The trainer who has been working for 25 years, has phenomenal reviews from clients, and does everything from basic training to training dogs with aggressive issues. Her and her company are awesome and they've been such a great support group. Here is my experience with both techniques:

    I was like a lot of you on this forum. If you showed me a choke collar, I thought you were a scum bag. Leash tugs and snaps? don't get me started. Putting your dog into the ground??? wtf?........well. Jenny, our trainer, over time showed me when to use these methods, how they work, and why they work. On the flip side, she showed me all the positive things I can do. All the ways i can give love, give treats, and not use the leash when I don't have to use it.

    I have had a phenomenal experience using both techniques. Tucker has been on a herm sprenger choke collar since he was about 9 weeks old. Jenny got me to use it after she put it on her leg, and then I put it on my leg. Choke collars have a "live" mode and a "dead" mode. Live will contract the collar when the leash is pulled on. Dead does the same as your leather flat collar, but it has prongs so it gives a bit more of a pressure effect. The prongs look scary. but thats it. If you don't believe me, try it yourself. I put it on my bare thigh and tugged really hard and it wasn't exactly comfortable but it didn't hurt. And dogs have way more tough skin than you do - just look at how rough they can play with one another and be totally fine. So thats that on collars.

    Rolling the dog or putting them into the ground. Dogs ARE pack animals...leave a few dogs together and see what happens after a few days. There is someone on top and someone on the bottom. Its the same way in EVERY social structure. Find me a communist animal society where everyone is equal...there isnt one. We even tried and couldnt pull it off. When dogs are bad within their own community, they get put in their place. That's what the "alpha roll" achieves. The key is knowing when and how to use it. You dont just alpha roll your dog when he's bad. It's when the dog is obviously trying to assert himself over you, or push the boundaries you set. It's like having a kid. When the kid messes up you don't just walk away and ignore it (which i suppose is one method of parenting), but there is usually a negative repercussion. Parents use to spank. They ground kids, take away privileges, etc. All that is asserting dominance. the alpha roll is the same thing but in a dogs world, you don't ground the pup or take away the car keys, you alpha roll. If it was up to the dogs and no humans were around, trust me it would be a lot more "inhumane".....after all they are not humans...In any case, I've alpha rolled tucker a bunch and he loves me and i love him and there is nothing "abusive" about it. If anything he's learned from it.

    Those are the two techniques I saw criticized most. As for non "aversive" techniques. I love crate training, and obviously giving out treats and love when he is simply doing a good behavior. If tucker is laying down calmly, I make sure to treat him to a lot of tasty things and give him some love - but without getting too excited, because that defeats the purpose. If you get excited, the dog gets excited.

    I think CM realizes that. And before you guys criticize him or take other doctors words for how bad and abusive he is, you should check out his literature. Get in touch with people that he has actually helped. Have any of you ever read one of his books? He openly admits how so many professionals disagree with him. But there are a lot that don't. Or a lot, like my trainer, that have found a balance. He's helped a ton of dogs and dog owners - often times without having to use the choke collar or being abusive. Just because you saw it on TV doesn't mean its true......National Geographic needs a way to catch your attention, and clearly you've all seen the show. But try reading. It's not all correct and you may feel the same way but at least you can say you legitimately checked him out and compared him to other professionals.

    This is long so i'll cut it here. But I do want to leave with this:

    Whoever compared treating a human baby like chimpanzees treat their kids to prove that treating a dog like a wolf is wrong....thats just....i don't know where to begin. They're the same species for goodness sakes...monkeys and apes are not the same species as humans.....sigh.
  • tuckertucker
    Posts: 14
    Also, I'd like to add that every dog that is owned by a human is different, and there is no "universal training method" that will fit that dog. "dominance" and "aversive" methods won't work on a dog that has self confidence issues or doesn't have dominance issues (i think this was already said). But I say this to point out that there are a LOT of trainers out there including CM and all the DVM's mentioned, and none of them are absolutely right, and none are absolutely wrong. You have to take away from each one to find out what works best for your little bundle of fur joy.


    (:
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3664
    "Whoever compared treating a human baby like chimpanzees treat their kids to prove that treating a dog like a wolf is wrong....thats just....i don't know where to begin. They're the same species for goodness sakes...monkeys and apes are not the same species as humans.....sigh."

    Wolves are actually not the same species as dogs, genetically they are close but still very different. Just like humans and apes, wolves and dogs have common ancestry but have "evolved" (evolution including selective breeding by humans) differently. For all we know, the way wolves interact with each other now could be totally different than the way they were back when dogs first came to be. There are little to no records of people actually studying the wolves in those days long ago, beyond the fact that they have sharp teeth and might kill you.

    But the major flaw with these alpha theories, with being "the top dog" is the fact that dogs will never see a human as being a dog. They are smart enough to recognize the fact that humans aren't dogs. Studies are showing more and more that dogs perceive humans differently than other dogs, and they are processing our information way differently than a wolf would. A simple example is the finger point, dogs know to look at where we point, but even wolves raised with humans and treated like a dog don't get this concept. Dogs will also look to us for guidance when they can't solve a puzzle, but a wolf will keep trying to figure the puzzle out even if there is no answer. Heck, dogs have even evolved to be more verbal based than a wolf, with different kinds of barks and sounds that wolves to don't use, which helps them better communicate with us, a verbal species.

    But it just looks like to be that comparing a dog to a wolf is like comparing apples to oranges.



    As for my experience with both styles of training, I have learned my lesson from what my sister's dog has turned into with the use of punishment-based training. Even though he's technically my sisters dog, in actuality he was the family dog, raised by all of us. He had suffered through alpha rolls, yelling, and all those little negative anecdotal stuff they tell you to use on bad behavior (like flicking at the nose for mouthing). He did have a bad trachea so choke chains were not used. besides he's a small dog at 14lbs and choke chains are generally advised not to be used on dogs under 20lbs.

    All this stuff turned him into a nervous wreck, and instead of cowering like most dogs who suffer through this kind of training, he had instead become more aggressive and defensive. Walk past him, he goes after your feet. Pet him, he bites your hand. His threshold to growl was very low, sometimes he would skip growling altogether and go straight to biting. And it wasn't one of those warning bites/snaps but a full out storm of bites. He has become such a liability because of how we treated him, and to this day my sister still treats him as such. I did not want to live through being with another dog like that, so I promised to never use these punishment based training on another dog for as long as I live.

    Working positively with my guys, I have found it less stressful on both me and the dogs and have found quicker results. Using reward on "sensitive" breeds such as my husky and shiba has amazed even the training schools I've taken them. They were amazed how I was able to get these difficult to train breeds to listen so well, so much so that they want me to compete in Obedience competitions and show off how great they are.
    image
    Post edited by Calia at 2011-01-24 10:26:11
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Oops, cross posted with Beth

    @ tucker, most of your points have been addressed in the previous posts already. You mentioned this statement as problematic: "Shiba Inus are more feral than the average dog and and more primitive," and you find this contradictory to previous posts stating that dogs are not wolves and rigid pack theory/rigid hierarchy should not be used to describe their behavior or train them. You are implying, from what I can tell, that if a Shiba is a primitive dog, than it should be treated like a wolf in a pack.

    Firstly, theories of a pack as a rigid heirarchy with a dominant alpha wolf and subordiantes trying to usurp the leader at the top have changed so much in recent years, I don't believe Shibas, as a more primitive domestic dog, should be trained based off of this incorrect model of behavior developed from wild wolves. I do agree, however, that there are very assertive personalities within the breed that can certainly take over a home if boundaries are not enforced. There are safer, and more positive ways to go about it tho.

    In my experience working with MANY Shibas, the breed is more like a feral or wild dog, rather than like a wolf (domestic dogs are a subspecies by the way). Excessive or rough handling like kicking, pinching, rolling, grabbing by the neck, all things that are observable in almost any episode of TDW, will inevitably provoke a more extreme reaction such as biting and screaming, or shutting down.

    The CM method is not endorsed, but condemned, by the professional dog community for good reason. In addition to the many well known certified, credentialed, reputable trainers and behaviorists that Brad listed, I personally do not know of any experienced Shiba persons (breeders, show people, companion events trainers, NSCA rescuers, etc) who advocate for this specific type of heavy handling with the breed. It doesn't reliably or safely work for most Shibas in the long run, especially not for dogs that are expected to perform and look happy doing it (show, agility, flyball, obedience).

    For a little experiment, try putting the prong collar around your neck and giving a quick correction to experience how different it is compared to on an arm or leg. Not that I think prong or bark collars are essentially cruel, it's how they are used. I can't use them however to show or compete in, so my dogs are trained with itty bitty cloth showleads or nothing at all, and their training is far more consistent off lead no collars with out any special devices as we started from scratch to begin with. Prongs are ment to be more of a temporary device until the dog learns to mind without the added correction, the goal being to have the dog on a simple buckle or martingale. As the CGC test states in so many words regarding prongs and chokes, a well trained TEAM in tune with each other does not need special tools to be well behaved in public.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
    Post edited by lindsayt at 2011-01-24 11:58:26

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