Dog Files Opinion: Cesar Millan Gets Grilled In Interview

Alan Vs. Cesar

I don’t think Cesar is evil or a monster as some have stated. I just think he is wrong. And I believe that millions of folks that don’t know better could be putting themselves or their dogs in harm’s way by following his example.

The Dog Files believes that positive, rewards driven training is the best way to teach your dog and to create a bond of trust between both of you. One that cements the friendship that every dog deserves with their owner/guardian.

Showing your dog “who’s boss” and trying to dominate them? Not for me. Not for my family, whom Max and Remy (my dogs) are a part of. They look to me for friendship and trust and I give that to them. In return, they let me call the everyday shots of life. They understand I’m the leader, without me ever telling them or demanding it from them. They trust me.

Are they perfect dogs? To me they are, but hey, I’m supposed to think that. But realistically speaking they’ve got bad habits like we all do. Over the years, I’ve made the decisions as to when I ask them to behave and when I let them be crazy doggies. I think I’ve found a happy medium and by being positive and rewarding them when they do good, I’ve found them to be exceptionally well-behaved and happy dogs.

Do I think Cesar Millan done some good? Sure. His push to get folks to be relax and be calm? His message to get folks outside walking their pups? His stance on helping Pit Bulls? All great things. I just wished he’d couple that with positive training and I’d be fine with him.

To tell you the truth, recently Cesar has been mellowing on his show and adding in more positive training. That’s probably because many famous dog trainers such as Dr. Ian Dunbar have been communicating with him lately and trying to help him employ more methods from science-based positive training.

I was excited that this was happening until I saw this first video here, from the most recent season of The Dog Whisperer. Cesar’s behavior here is really disappointing. There is no excuse for what he is doing to this dog. Check out the video below.

Truly unacceptable behaviour. Could you imagine a person watching this and trying it with their dog? A recipe for disaster.

Okay, so for years people against Cesar Millan’s dominance-based dog training have been waiting for the day when someone finally asks him the hard questions.

That day is here.

Alan Titchmarsh starts out mellow enough and then begins hitting Millan with hard-hitting questions, one after the other. Titchmarsh is tough but respectful and Cesar is clearly trying very hard to keep calm and answer the questions leveled at him. But just by asking straight, simple and fair questions, Titchmarsh attack is devastating.

As an aside, Dog Files Friend Steve Dale, one of the only other people to ever ask tough questions of Millan, mentions on his site that the, “Don’t do this at home” disclaimer on The Dog Whisperer show was negotiated by the American Humane Association. It wasn’t NatGeo or Millan’s production company’s idea.

Here’s the interview.

Please let us know what you think in the comments section and please be respectful of others. Crude, lude and disrespectful talk will be deleted. The Dog Files goal is to educate, not attack.

Thanks!
Kenn, Max & Remy

And yes, positive training is based on science. If you don’t believe me, check out this story about the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior’s position on it.

Or maybe peruse this site called Beyond Cesar Millan, that has tons of links to professionals against the out-dated dominance theory.

Comments

  1. dogsNwine says

    I wonder if anyone considers that Cesar is usually dealing with extreme cases where other trainers have given up because their more positive methods did not work? In several of the episodes I have watched him use these more controversial methods, it has been with cases where these other trainers have suggested that the dogs can not be helped and should be considered to be put down because they pose too high a risk. Wouldn’t one argue that extreme cases may require more extreme measures? I hope before someone condemns his methods, they take the time to recognize that he has saved hundreds of high risk or red zone dogs from euthanasia with his intervention and training methods. That said, I don’t believe there is one way to train a dog, each dog is different and their temperament as well as life experience in combination with the owners contribution can sway a dog’s response or reaction to life scenarios. I think before such harsh judgement is cast, that one needs to fully understand the entire situation and appreciate that different methods will work for different dogs.

    • says

      Training, behavior, and Vet organizations have all come out against dominance training. Tens of thousands of professionals believe there is a better way than dominance training. I’ve met and talked to many. 5 years ago I didn’t see the problem with it. I educated myself and realized I was wrong.

      • dogsNwine says

        So I guess you would side with the other trainers who only employ positive methods that those dogs should have been put down because they did not respond rather than face Cesar’s methods that have proven successful in extreme cases? Trust me, I do not condone abusive tactics but have witnessed first hand that some dogs are beyond treats and positive reinforcement. Instead they require more primal methods to snap them out of their state in order for the to eventually be in the mental shape so that they can eventually accept the positive reinforcement.

        • says

          I listen to people who know way more than I do. I’ve run a dog site for five years full time and I am dedicated to helping dogs. Because of what I do, I know dog experts across the world. Folks that I can call up and talk to. That is how I’ve learned that Cesar’s methods are wrong. Five years ago I said the same things you just said. You are free to believe whatever you want. I was quite respectful of Cesar in my article and said plenty of positive things. And lastly, I have no idea if anyone other than myself is educated about dogs. How would I know? What I do know is it is the Dog Files job is to educate people and that’s what I do. In fact, I’ve dedicated my life to it. Thanks for talking!

          • dogsNwine says

            I have been working with dogs in person for over 10 years. Although I can respect your opinion, I’m sorry but I find this more of a biased blog entry based on an interview that focuses solely on one unfortunate instance in a trainers long career of rehabilitating and saving animals. I don’t find it to be an education regarding training methods. To say that others agree with you doesn’t stand weight for someone like me who has experienced things first hand. As I said previously, each dog is different and in turn may require different tactics to work through their issues. I just believe we should keep our minds open to every kind of training method to ensure we are able to give every animal a chance rather than give up after the positive methods don’t work which is done too many times. I don’t see how euthanizing a dog because it won’t respond to your positive training technique is superior over Cesar taking the risk and employing more primal methods to rehabilitate it and in the end, save it’s life. It has been a good talk and I hope you can respect that a topic and forum like this is going to bring up objection or alternative experiences. I do not mean any offense, I just don’t agree with your point of view.

          • MOMOF2NJS says

            Thank you. I think the blogger is biased and prejudice against Cesar and what he has achieved and frankly has too much time on his hands…. We are talking about dogs not kids they are a different species and need to be treated and respected and approached differently. I believe there is a dog psychology that we humans should learn to respect..

          • says

            Just because SOME trainers disagree with Cesar’s methods doesn’t make him wrong. There is always more than one way to accomplish the same goal. I too specialize in training DIFFICULT dogs, dogs that do not respond to your “sweetness and light”method. I get that you don’t agree with the way Cesar does things and that is your right, however, just because you are too stupid to see that SOME dogs do need to be dominated doesn’t make him wrong! You need to grow up and learn to agree to disagree.

    • says

      The jealous argument has no weight. The professionals that I know care deeply for dogs. Training, behavior, and Vet organizations have all come out against dominance training. Tens of thousands of professionals believe there is a better way than dominance training. I’ve met and talked to many. 5 years ago I didn’t see the problem with it. I educated myself and realized I was wrong.

    • says

      It is not jealousy, it’s science. Methods of training change in every field according to new information tested over time, and training dogs is no exception. I was at first pleased to see that after talks with leaders in the positive training profession he started using some of the language of positive trainers. However, when I realized he was co-opting most of it and not actually applying the principles, I was disappointed.

  2. LuckyM says

    From what I saw, ( I could not watch the whole thing) he was putting way too much pressure on the dog and I think a more aproach and retreat method would have worked better. The stance that he used would have scared me and put me on the defensive. I have seen many dogs ruined by using dominance training. Not a fan

  3. nhmtnbkr says

    Kenn

    I appreciate your feelings that Cesar’s methods aren’t the best means to use, which I believe you call inappropriate, but do you realize that so is your comment in calling Cesar’s action in the video as a punch? You’ve weighted that statement with your bias against Cesar – that wasn’t a punch, it was a touch…which is VERY different. A punch has significantly more force and malice behind it than a touch does – it is intended to harm, Cesar’s touch is not.

    Positive reinforcement is a great way to train dogs, but not all dogs respond to such methods. Invariably even rewards based training also uses ‘negative reinforcement’ techniques as well, such as withholding treats when the dog doesn’t do as intended. And there are many instances where even the best rewards-based trainers fail to rehabilitate the worst dog cases and those dogs get euthanized – to say otherwise is a fallacy.

    You call Cesar’s methods dominance, but you either cannot or will not understand that Cesar’s methodologies for touch and body language are exactly the mannerisms and behaviors that both dogs and wolves use to maintain pack order and don’t represent the brutality that you would seem to be alleging he utilizes.

    Watch a dog that reacts to a unbalanced dog and you will see they use the same body language and methods being used. For example, the pack leader in a dog or wolf pack would stare a low-order pack member down just as Cesar did, and if necessary used it’s teeth in a touch on the other dog’s neck to make it back down from it’s aberrant behavior, including to the point where that dog/wolf is laying on the ground with the pack leaders teeth on it’s neck. Similarly, just as Cesar’s foot tap on the rump of a dog mimics the body bumps they will give each other as corrective methods.

    I too am a big believer in positive techniques, but there are also dogs that never will respond to the reward-only techniques, where Cesar’s methods, when used as they should be, do work for helping those dogs become balanced and saves them from being euthanized. Arguing that they shouldn’t ever be used become some have used them inappropriately, is an example of transference of guilt as a means of demeaning his methods.

    I have seen many dogs of friends and neighbors that have also initially responded or partially responded to reward-based training, but the owners still lack sufficient control of the dog and end up having the dog rule the house. This belies the fact that an owner should be able to have their dog be a balanced and polite member of the household pack. Some of these dogs end up becoming so bad again, with the owners going through trainer after trainer that cannot help them correct the dog, that they end up being given up to shelters or euthanized.

    Until you’ve had firsthand experience dealing with severe dog cases, I would encourage you to try to be more open-minded about it.

  4. julie mahoney says

    I watch Ceser Milan every night, and for the most part, he is very respectful of the dogs. There are cases however, where he needs to be in control and I am amazed at his understanding of the dogs. I have learned a lot from him just about learning how to read dogs and understand the different behaviors. He is not perfect and I am sure he makes his own mistakes, but never have I seen him put a dog in harm’s way or mistreat them for that matter. Let’s face it, most of the time when people seek his help is when the owner’s are faced with possibly having to put their dog down. I believe everyone can take something away from Cesar as well has Victoria Stillwell and other dog trainers. I don’t believe there is one right way…also depends on the dog.

  5. kathy says

    cesar is suppose to be a good trainer but after what i saw i dont think so.why would he punch that poor dog.or hit it.there no need to do either to a dog.if you corner a dog of course hes going to bite thats all the dogs have to protect themselves and hes a trainer and he didnt see that bite coming then he needs to go back to school.i seen it coming and im not a trainer.wow he will never train my dog ever.YOU DONT NEED TO HIT.KICK.OR CORNER A DOG IN ORDER TO TRAIN HIM NOT EVER.if you hit,kick,or corner a dog its going to protect itself come one cesar thats animal cruelty.

    • says

      No it isn’t animal cruelty you moron! He did not punch the dog he used touch control, a very effective method when dealing with dogs that show aggression. You people are pathetic, you know NOTHING about dogs yourselves yet dare to denigrate someone who has dedicated their life to understanding and working with them. Grow up!

  6. Lori Mecca says

    I will give you my reaction to watching “Show down with Holly”.
    First, before I support why I respectfully disagree with you on this page, I will say how much I LOVE when people show concern for animals, so I am not in disagreement at all with your apparent intent to advocate for animal welfare.
    My support for Cesar is based on all of the Dog Whisperer programs that I have watched, including the one on Holly above. I am a Dog lover in the extreme, & I would NEVER approve of any level of mistreatment toward any species, & definitely not a beloved Dog.
    I know that from a certain perspective that Cesar’s “touch” appears to be & is described as being a “punch”. However, several times on DW, Cesar has used this “bite” hand shape as another dog would bite as a warning (remember, Cesar is “being the Dog”). I have never seen Cesar do anything to harm a dog, ever. I have always seen him use his mind, body, & energy to help a dog adjust their learned (from human) behavior that has gotten the dog into trouble. Cesar gets these dogs out of “the doghouse” with their humans by educating people about how they make their dogs anxious/tense with their own anxious/tense energies & postures. I believe that Cesar combines his techniques with his own special knowledge & understanding of dogs & with his personality & devotion to helping dogs to produce positive results. He has even prevented “red zone” dogs from being put down by understanding and addressing the dogs’ fears and insecurities.
    Cesar’s disclaimer is always to “never attempt techniques without a professional” because interspecies communication is complicated & involves intuition, patience, compassion, self-control, skill, & being in a calm state. Using common sense, someone could be inspired by Cesar’s work & then maybe hire a skilled & compassionate trainer, or maybe just gain awareness of their negative influence on their pets.
    It is my belief that Cesar is a friend to Dogs. The dogs in his dog psychology center seem well-adjusted & happy, even though they live in a huge pack. I do not believe that Cesar is harming dogs. I believe that he is helping.

  7. Su says

    I am a pet sitter and have come across many dogs that dont accept my presence right away. I always let them come to me. I have never ever had a dog show any type of aggression towards me. I think his training is more of a “power trip” for his own self. WHY was he pulling this training on a dog that was eating? I didnt listen to the interview yet, was so aggravated by the video I had to voice my opinion. I have never been into his methods therefore not watched more than 6-7 of his shows, So many people have commented on him that I tried to give his method the benefit of the doubt. But this video just tipped the scale for me!!! UNBELIEVABLE ! This was on tape it makes one really wonder what goes on behind closed doors. Grrrr!

    • says

      Exactly Su, when I film Dog Files episodes I have to go into stranger’s houses and meet dogs I have never met. I take my time, ignore them if they growl or are scared, and throw them a few treats. It’s always a matter of minutes before the pup is sleeping on my lap.

    • Su says

      OK listened to the interview and to be fair I guess I can say some of his “ideas” mean well, for instance using the “pss” sound to change the dogs thought pattern at that moment to get the dog to listen to Cesars command etc. I truly dont believe in ever hitting a dog for any reason. Almost like hitting a child and the child hits back, you then have a ‘power trip’ on your hands. I do think that ‘packs’ whether in the wild or feral dogs, do fight for that “alpha” position. My experiences with dogs have never given me the need to exhibit any negative physical behavior towards them. His dealings with more aggressive breeds arent anything I have yet to deal with. As for the interview, I think he handle the questions very well. As for his upbringing in his homeland I think the human-canine relationship is much different then here in the states. ,

  8. Rachel says

    The video posted with Holly accurately describes her body language. It’s true. But they assume as soon as the dog starts to give in Cesar needs to back away from this aggressive dog. If you have a child throwing a tantrum in a store over wanting a candy, that as soon as the child pauses, you should give them the candy? You taught them nothing but how to manipulate you. Let me break this down.
    Cesar sets down the food. He pressures Holly by sitting close to her, and even challenging her with eye contact. He’s letting her know early on he’s not going to back down – he’s in charge here. He MEANT to challenge her (Cesar is fully aware of how intense eye contact is, he repeatedly says “No look, no touch, no eye contact” to untrained people on how to handle territorial dogs. He keeps others from getting hurt. But he’s willing to risk himself here to snap Holly out of this aggression.)
    He slowly moves in, trying to pressure her into relenting her food bowl. A submissive dog would step away. He KNOWS she’s an aggressive and dominant dog, and know’s there will be a struggle. When she snaps, he simulates the motion of a bite by touching her neck and pushing her away from the food. It does not hurt the dog. The point he “bites” dogs is a large muscle on the neck with no vital blood vessels.
    Holly moves away, but that’s not enough for an extreme case like this. Cesar needs to claim the entire area of her food. He pushes her back more, wanting complete respect and his total control over her bowl.
    I’m impressed with the diagnosis of her behavior, it’s all true. The blinking, licking, and even when she smooths her face. She’s trying to appease him. She knows she can’t take him on, he’s already given himself credit as to his dominance. She’s hoping to soften him up and move him away. Cesar holds his ground until she completely lays down and looks away, then he relaxes. That’s real submission.
    Cesar then makes a mistake by touching the top of her muzzle. She’s an aggressive dog, and she is still stressed by what happened. When Cesar explains to owner that she’s “in a relaxed state” he doesn’t mean she’s going to doze off. He means she’s stopped showing aggressive body language. Her body is relaxed. He was right in that aspect. But he touched her too early. Every dog is an individual and different, and any other dog probably would have let him. She happened to bite back. Hence he “didn’t expect that”. It’s no reflection on his techniques. It’s a wonderful insight into how every animal has their own personality, and there is no ‘handbook’ on behavior that 100% right.
    Once she bites he has to start again. He asks for much more space, and uses the fence to his advantage. He doesn’t want avoidance, he wants her to recognize and confront him and give over power to him. The video editor says he’s pressuring her, as if it’s a bad thing. But this dog needs to recognize him as the leader here, and needs to do it soon. No amount of treats or “positive” training will make her give anyone respect.
    Cesar’s method require very great insight into dog behavior, body language, and even anatomy. I feel like this is why he gets so much critiques is because your average joe FAILS at reading a dog. And unfortunately your average joe is who owns the most dogs. When they try to use his techniques, they get bitten and back down, or they use too much force and hurt the dog, or worse case is they make the problem worse. His methods aren’t meant to be used by just anyone, but rather meant to show a new and more primal technique to communicate with dogs in a longer lasting fashion. He doesn’t redirect their aggression or anxiety, but helps them overcome it – which no matter what will be stressful, but in the animal’s best interest for their entire life.
    What I think the average viewer can take away from Cesar’s lessons is to open our eyes and watch our pets more closely, and to stop babying the animal and treating it like an infant. Cuddling, cooing, awing, feeling bad for, and constantly giving in to your pet will not make a healthy nor balanced animal. Just like humans, dogs need discipline and structure in their lives.
    I’m not saying positive re-enforcement doesn’t work. It can. I’m not saying Cesar is the god of dog behavior. He’s not. But he is open to other’s critiques and suggestions. He’s worked with Dr. Ian Dunbar a LOT (try reading Cesar’s books). He works with a method he’s developed and it works best for him. There’s is no straight answer to the problems we see in the dog world, and to call anyone “right” or “wrong” is so black and white it’s disgusting. Instead of calling him a monster, try learning from him and use some aspects of his you like. I mostly agree with Cesar’s methods. It’s helps a lot in the veterinarian offices I’ve worked in. But I do change some tactics, and use other methods as well based on the dog. Dogs that are scared need a completely different approach than anything I’ve learned from Cesar.
    So try being a bit more open minded and less judgmental. Instead of calling everything he does a mistake, try understanding WHY he did the things he did. And if you don’t agree, then don’t use his technique. It’s as simple as that. But for a man that’s changed so many people’s lives around, and rehabilitated so many “lost causes”, and donates so much money towards foundations and causes for animals, just be glad he’s out there trying to help.

    • Sue says

      could not have said it better!!! Where there is any successful person..there will be people who try to bring them down. I am grateful to Cesar for opening peoples eyes, making them realize that some behaviours are unacceptable..taking a look at how they helped to create those bad behaviours and looking for a way to help their beloved pet change..

    • su says

      I believe wolves, coyotes etc reprimand their young by grabbing them by their necks and pulling them down towards the ground. When Cesar does this I think it is to imitate the mothers actions.

  9. says

    Positive food REWARD training is not the answer. It causes a great problem when you are caught without the “reward”. Respect, positive habit re-enforcement with praise and love gives you the power, NOT bribery! Open your eyes and see that what he does WORKS and it WORKS as there is mutual respect and trust in the relationship.

    • says

      Kim, you are taking the food component too literally. Any good positive food trainer slowly takes the dog off food after they get the hang of doing what the trainer wants them to do.
      This isn’t a one way or the other way kind of thing.

      I trained my dog with treats when he was one year old. He’s eleven now and does what I ask of him and I haven’t given him treats since he was one.

  10. ahhgoosh says

    I personally think he’s terrific, but just like anyone who spent thousands of hours becoming exceptionally good at something, he makes it look easy. I don’t have the kind of confidence he does to tackle ANY situation, but I’ve definitely used some of his techniques to keep my own dogs behaved (the TSST! is particularly effective). If animal lovers want to be outraged by something, focus on the Michael Vicks of the world, and not the Cesar Milans.

  11. says

    Positive Reinforcement is the way to do it without a doubt. Why using aversive methods when there are much better ways. I do not like Milan’s abusive methods at all. I trained my 5 dogs with PR and it works great and my dogs do what I asked them to please me and cause as a team we’re having fun and we love each other, not because they fear me. Finally Milan’s been confronted…Alan Titchmarsh is my idol ! :)

  12. Su says

    I still wonder how he gets all those dogs of different breeds to get along in his ‘compound’. Especially at feeding time. THAT does amaze me unless the dogs all fight it out to see who the alpha is. Hard to believe a human could teach or regulate a group like there is to not fight.

  13. Andrea says

    Guys, I’m sorry, but is so simple: Cesar doesn’t have any professional or formal training, he just claims to be an expert in dog training. Does anybody here can explain why he makes the participants sign an agreement where they compromise to do not reveal whatever happens during the video recording? Try to raise your kids based on fear and see what kind adult you are going to have in the future, the same with dogs.

      • dogsNwine says

        This has nothing to do with the power of television or celebrity. You have provided absolutely no concrete information/evidence to found your argument against Cesar’s techniques, or what other techniques would work better. You haven’t even provided the entire story of Holly, her problems and all that was done to rehabilitate her. You don’t have to have professional or formal training to be a successful trainer of dogs. What Cesar has is insight, instinct, experience and years of research with dog behavior as well as the passion to go beyond standard methods to creatively work with dogs that no other “trained” trainer will take on. And he actually saves these dogs that those “trained” trainers give up on such as Holly! It is about the fact that not all dogs respond to the same training methods as others. It is important that we all keep our minds open to taking on each dog individually. I’m actually quite disappointed by all of this and your site. Using what is an obviously edited tape that ends up promoting certain trainers all of which I’m sure National Geographic has not approved. Considering your background, I would think you would found your bias on some ethics here before you attack another person’s character or put into question training techniques and profession, when you have no actual experience in training yourself other than speaking with other self considered experts. This is preposterous and this site as well as your credibility has been lost on me.

  14. Sarah says

    I really didn’t enjoy this interview. CM is a huge advocate and always approaches dogs & owners with respect. This interview could have been more interesting and less tabloid style. Very biased.

  15. Kathy says

    Kenn, I’ve always liked you, but I have to set a couple things straight after reading this. Cesar isn’t a dog trainer. He rehabilitates dogs who are extreme cases where the owners have tried everything. I wish people would stop calling him a dog trainer, because he is not. I’ve met the man, and he is a very kind, gentle person who gets a REALLY bad rap. Thank you for listening.

  16. Su says

    I still wonder exactly what goes on behind closed doors. Remember we are watching T.V., they can cut out anything they feel is unappropriate.

  17. MOMOF2NJS says

    Cesar is my hero, he’s wonderful and I have never EVER…seen anyone who has such a love and respect for dogs as he does….I think people are jealous and petty and ALWAYS like to take someone who has taken his passion and made it into a way to help others ( and make money I am not denying that–however i believe Cesar gives back) and knock them down a peg or two esp. if they have made money off of what they do. I’m so sick of people trying to take make it an issue where there is none. Is Cesar’s way the only way NO, is it the correct way , maybe for some maybe not for others. He believes in what he does and is dedicated to helping others and helping dog…I say leave the man ALONE!

  18. Clinton says

    I do not use lame positive reinforcement techniques with my children, so I’m certainly not going to start with my dog.

  19. lovemydogs says

    my dog is not a child ..not human.. my dog is an animal.. and just like an undisciplined child can become a dangerous person an undisciplined dog is a dangerous animal I love my dogs all 5 of them and I belive in Cesar Milans s method of training and as much as i love to hug and love on my dogs they must obey me at all times and that means I am the boss pay attention to me or there will be consequences and that does not include a cookie

  20. says

    I don’t think Cesar is wicked or a fiend as some has declared.
    I unmistakably think he is off beam. I suppose that millions of people that
    don’t recognize better options may be putting themselves or their canines in
    mischief’s direction by taking after his sample.

  21. Guest says

    I am so utterly disappointed in your view of Cesar, I feel I must say a few things. All I can surmise about those who think Cesar Millan is mean or cruel to dogs hasn’t been paying attention. Maybe they heard something negative and then looked for verification so they could agree.

    An example is that if I hadn’t watched the Dog Whisperer for 3 years I would have seen that excerpt (taken out of context) the same way it was meant for me to take it.
    If you’ve seen Cesar work, you would know he did not punch the dog in the neck. He simulates a bite with the tips of his fingers so he is speaking like a mother dog to would to her pup for misbehaving. It is not harsh or cruel.

    What Cesar really teaches for those who stick around and pay attention is “talking dog” which is mostly through body language and energy. No matter what we say, dogs ‘hear’ us more through our feelings, actions and the way we carry ourselves than our words.

    If you have an issue with his “dominance” stance, let me put it in perspective. Could you be thinking of the word in a context other than what is meant? Dominance does not mean fear. If you did what your parents told you to do, it was because they were dominant.

    When we see Cesar work with a dog, it’s usually a dog who’s failed every other attempt at help. I haven’t watched his new show yet, but from what I surmise, he was trying to get away from that and maybe didn’t (?)

    I owned dogs for over 30 years before I had a dog with a behavioral problem that the reward system didn’t help at all. In fact, she taught our other dogs her same behavior. Cesar has helped my entire family understand and help those four legged members of our family to be much happier.

    If you think Cesar is mean, wrong or cruel, perhaps you think all Pit Bulls are vicous and should be euthanized as well.

    I know you don’t. That was just a poor human example of the simulated neck bite ;)
    Now go watch a half dozen old episodes of the dog whisperer and tell me what you think.

  22. says

    I am so utterly disappointed in your view of Cesar, I feel I must say
    a few things. All I can surmise about those who think Cesar Millan is
    mean or cruel to dogs hasn’t been paying attention. Maybe they heard
    something negative and then looked for verification so they could agree.

    An example is that if I hadn’t watched the Dog Whisperer for 3 years I
    would have seen that excerpt (taken out of context) the same way it was
    meant for me to take it.

    If you’ve seen Cesar work, you would know he did not punch the dog in the neck. He simulates a bite with the tips of his fingers so he is speaking like a mother dog to would to her pup for misbehaving. It is not harsh or cruel.

    What Cesar really
    teaches for those who stick around and pay attention is “talking dog”
    which is mostly through body language and energy. No matter what we say,
    dogs ‘hear’ us more through our feelings, actions and the way we carry
    ourselves than our words.

    If you have an issue with his
    “dominance” stance, let me put it in perspective. Could you be thinking
    of the word in a context other than what is meant? Dominance does not
    mean fear. If you did what your parents told you to do, it was because
    they were dominant.

    When we see Cesar work with a dog, it’s
    usually a dog who’s failed every other attempt at help. I haven’t
    watched his new show yet, but from what I surmise, he was trying to get
    away from helping red zone dogs and help in other ways -maybe didn’t (?)

    I owned dogs for
    over 30 years before I had a dog with a behavioral problem that the
    reward system didn’t help at all. In fact, she taught our other dogs her
    same behavior. Cesar has helped my entire family understand and help
    those four legged members of our family to be much happier.

    If you think Cesar is mean, wrong or cruel, perhaps you think all Pit Bulls are vicous and should be euthanized as well.

    I know you don’t. That was just a poor human example of the simulated neck bite ;)

    Now go watch a half dozen old episodes of the dog whisperer and tell me what you think.

  23. says

    Ken, I just caught one of your posts on this and I apologize for something. I read your original post, watched the two videos and was thinking that you said he punched the dog. I made an incorrect association in my brain by lumping everything together.Darn humans. I want to be more like my dogs.

  24. SouthernAfrica says

    I think he does amazing work, each dog is different so is each owner. Thank your stars for your good dogs. Other people don’t have that. The main thing is. Cesars way is the dog way so to you as a human it will look harsh. But infact it is not. Look at a pack of wolfs, this is how they operate and they are the ansisters of our dogs. Whatever your opinion, just do your best with your dog. Thats the main thing Cesar wants, that people look after thier animals and try and understand how to make life beter for them. I agree with dogNwine. Its really not what we think it’s what our dogs feel and think.

  25. Gerald Martin says

    Several years ago I was a volunteer trainer and dog walker for a local city animal shelter. I taught and used Dunbar’s positive training attitude towards handling our charges. At no time did I have a dog who wouldn’t respond positively to this approach.
    One of the female employees at the shelter disagreed and instead followed Milan’s domination approach.
    Eventually, she had a confrontation with my favorite 70 pound pit bull. Her bullying attitude backfired and she was bitten three times.
    No skin was broken, but the manager sentenced the dog to death without a formal investigation. He was basically a calm, friendly and loving animal.
    Although I offered to adopt an send the dog to a highly respected local trainer – at my own expense – my offer was turned down and the dog was destroyed.
    So I am thankful to see such as this video interview that there are more people who are turning away from archaic methods of dominance and turning more to positive reinforcement.

  26. Desiree Wallis says

    Fantastic article, thank you!

    Most of my private client base is made up of “second hand” dogs -
    meaning fearful or aggressive dogs that have been made worse by aversive
    training tactics. I’m strictly positive reinforcement. It works every
    time.

    Desiree Wallis – CPDT, APDT, CAPPDT

  27. Desiree Wallis says

    Oh. I just watched the first bit of the video. I had to stop. Who sucker punches a resource guarding dog in the neck and expects a positive result? *Being nice and not saying bad things that are in my mind except if I ever see him eating a cheeseburger I’ma punch him in the neck without warning and see what happens…*

  28. K Russell says

    There are a lot of really interesting comments here! I truly believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion so I’m certainly not knocking anyone here, just want to share my opinion as well. I can’t speak for every dog or situation Cesar has been involved with, of course, BUT in this case – from what the video shows…. This dog could have been worked through her food guarding issues with a well-thought out positive reinforcement-based training plan. Cesar is less than a foot away from the dog when she is initially munching away, she only reacts when he encroaches even more on her space. By teaching her, over time, that a human’s presence is not a bad thing, and that humans bring even more yummy treats, and are not there to take away her possessions, you can completely re-program their brain’s current associations. Of course it takes time and patience, but wouldn’t you rather teach your dog to wag his tail and look forward to/be happy to see you walking towards his food bowl, than to slink away submissively when you come toward him? There are lots of people (Cesar-advocates included) that will disagree. I’m not saying that his methods won’t eventually work, because they mostly do. I just truly believe there is a better, less damaging way.

  29. says

    Keep up the GREAT work Cesar! The old guy interviewing you obviously doesn’t understand dogs as pack animals or Den animals. You work has been awesome and helpful to many canines and owners!!! Thanks so much again, you work has saved many lives!

  30. Megan says

    Kenn – Like you, I used to think this kind of training was acceptable, but you know what? It didn’t work and I’ve educated myself. I was lucky enough to win a contest and have Victoria Stilwell come to my home to help me with my dogs who had become fearful after aggressive neighbor dogs were being chained next door (& fighting at the fence). I saw results INSTANTLY with Victoria’s positive training methods. Look at all the dogs that come through horrible circumstances and are able to trust humans again after positive training (e.g. the VIck dogs). I wish Mr. Milan would work with positive reinforcement trainers to see how to get results in a better, humane way. Thanks for sharing this video, I’m glad he was asked the fair, yet hard questions.




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