Tagsarticlesdog-trainingaversive-methodscesar-millan
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Tismon
2021-12-04, 04:41

What's wrong with Cesar Millan?

Whenever the topic of dog trainers is brought up, Cesar Millan is the name who is constantly mentioned. His television show called "The dog Whisperer" is the most famous tv show there is about dog training and it is being broadcasted world wide. I have previously made threads discussing why aversives are bad and the myth of the alpha leader. In this text we're going to talk about the famous Millan, why so many people love him and why all of his training and dog philosophy is wrong and even harmful to adopt.

Who is Cesar Millan?

Cesar Millan is a self taught dog trainer who grew up in Culiacán, Mexico. He became famous when National Geographic started casting his tv show called The Dog Whisperer. In the show he trains and rehabillitates dogs with all kinds of problematic behaviours, ranging anywhere from mild to severe.

His likeable personality made it easier for the show to catch traction but what really made him stand out was his ability to train every dog, even dogs who were deemed untrainable - dogs that would otherwise be euthanized. It's heartwarming to save dogs, it's heartwarming to reunite dogs with their humans into a functional and harmonious life full of love and balance. His message of love and that all dogs can be trained gave many hope.

There are things Cesar brings up that are actually helpful and correct. Those things are general statements that are shared by all dog trainers, such as:

  • Dogs need exercise
  • Don't give up on difficult dogs
  • Often it is the "Human" who needs to be taught
  • Dogs needs clear communication, boundaries and directions.
  • Your body language matters a lot
  • Dogs need structure in their every day life - as they are creatures of habits

What's wrong with him then?

Cesar Millan has been met with criticism, rightfully so, for his training methods. He has an outdated philisophy about packs and alpha leaders which we have discussed already. He uses force, intimidation and punishment - aversives, which we also already have discussed. And to top it all - he is a self-taught dog trainer. Emphasis on Self. He has no education or credibility to anything he ever says. His words are based on his own observation from dogs. What makes it even worse is his unwillingness to keep up with modern dog training and actually learn the science behind dog psychology, he rather keeps his old ways. There is no use for him to actually educate himself, his methods are working on tv behind the heavily edited footage.

Remember - it's a TV show

Something to keep in mind in his work is what he actually is doing - he is participating in a TV show where ratings and the number of viewers matter. The footage is heavily edited, some things that might have taken hours "gets done" in a couple of minutes. It is easy to cut something that is less desirable to show the viewers and only broadcast the narrative of success. But most importantly - it's more fun to watch a man physically battle against a "wild and aggressive dog" than it is to watch stillfull clips of someone Clicker training a dog.

Any and all trainers promoting harmful advices such as CM will always be questioned in Dogs. In worst cases, these comments might get deleted. We hope you understand since our canine friends deserve to be treated with kindness and compassion.

Some clips where dogs get abused by CM (trigger warning)

Read more:


Correlation does not equal causation.

Host of Dogs and Art Savvity

While dealing with Holly's food aggression, Cesar gets bitten on the hand.➡ Subscribe: http://bit.ly/NatGeoWILDSubscribe➡ Get More Dog Whisperer: https://on....
  • Edited by Niklas 2021-12-08, 18:37
  • Edited by Tismon 2021-12-08, 20:52
JayCricket
2021-12-09, 23:39
#1

Interesting reading, and very informative.
Have never watched the show personally, but have heard of some of the criticism against Millan.


"We're All Mad Here"
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Tismon
2021-12-09, 23:54
#2

#1: I'm happy you found the article interesting and that you learned something :)

I used to watch a lot of his TV shows and believe it what he said, I was young and all the adults also agree'd with his views. I think it's really important to discredit his work so that people don't do something that might hurt their dogs by mimicking his beliefs and methods.


Correlation does not equal causation.

Host of Dogs and Art Savvity

JayCricket
2021-12-10, 00:43
#3

#2: well, it wasn't very long ago people believed cats should drink milk/cream or used (some still do!) spray water on them to deter bad behavior, so it's not such a wonder you used to believe what he said.
When it's shown on tv, by what appears to be a trained professional, what are you supposed to think?
It's not always what's being said, but rather how it is said, their conviction, that makes one believe it.
Is what I think, at least.

Totally agree with you on that.


"We're All Mad Here"
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Tismon
2021-12-10, 01:10
#4

#3: Yes exactly! Especially if it's a very charismatic person, they can convince you of many things. And if you don't know better, you believe it more!

Yeah it's sad how much damaging advice is being shared when it comes to animal care and animal psychology. Unfortunally the market isn't regulated and anyone can claim to be a dog trainer. We should have regulations just like we have regulations with real psychologists, doctors, teachers and so on. If I want my car fixed I go to an educated car mechanic and not a person claiming to know stuff about cars. I imagine it's similar with cats and cat behaviourists?


Correlation does not equal causation.

Host of Dogs and Art Savvity

JayCricket
2021-12-10, 01:25
#5

#4: yeah, totally.

I don't use fb nowadays, but on cat communities there you see a lot of people who claims this and that, whether it's true or not.
Sad, really.


"We're All Mad Here"
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Tismon
2021-12-10, 13:51
#6

#5: that's so true. I remember when I had fb and I was a member of a cat group. People were so quick to jump to conclusions and tell people what they have to do etc


Correlation does not equal causation.

Host of Dogs and Art Savvity

JayCricket
2021-12-10, 14:03
#7

#6: yeah, something that really bugged me was the matter of breeding cats when there's still so many who have no homes, and some that does have no insight in whether their cats are having any "defects"/bad genes that will be passed along to next generation and so on.
A major issue with this is that in some of those groups, people will actually defend this which makes no sense to me.


"We're All Mad Here"
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

  • Edited by JayCricket 2021-12-10, 14:04
Tismon
2021-12-10, 14:23
#8

#7: They think you hate housecats if you aren't "allowed" to breed housecats. I understand the double standard since pure bred cats are encouraged to breed. But the difference is pure breed cats have pedigree and a history of work and dedication behind them, if everyone were to stop breeding pure breed cats, all of that work would go to waste. There are no benefits to breeding housecats, as you said yourself, there are so many homeless cats so adopting one is better.


Correlation does not equal causation.

Host of Dogs and Art Savvity

  • Edited by Tismon 2021-12-10, 14:25
JayCricket
2021-12-10, 14:29
#9

#8: yes, that is true.
In one of those discussions I observed but did not personally engage in, one argument was made that if you can't breed housecats, then there won't be any left in the end.
Ehm, no.
Do they not know how many there are in Sweden alone?


"We're All Mad Here"
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

  • Edited by JayCricket 2021-12-10, 14:29
Tismon
2021-12-10, 14:45
#10

#9: I think those people have no clue of the amount of homeless cats. To fathom the sheer number, like actually understand it, can be quite hard. To them they either don't know the amount or it's just a number on a paper. But they haven't been out there and observed cat colonies and all of the homeless cats existing in numbers.


Correlation does not equal causation.

Host of Dogs and Art Savvity

JayCricket
2021-12-10, 14:48
#11

#10: yeah, and they also haven't considered that cats (most animals actually) will breed even without human interference/"help".


"We're All Mad Here"
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

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