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thoughts on Cesar Milan?!?!

June 14th, 2006, 06:02 PM
What are people's thoughts on the training methods of the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan??

June 14th, 2006, 06:14 PM
I don't like him...

Basically, his training is borderline brutal and he gets away with it because the people he teaches don't know anything at all about dogs and dog behavior. He uses very physical training when he's alone with the dog and then teaches the owners completely different techniques. I find that the little text at the bottom of the screen is for the most part great, but he doesn't follow his little rules himself. He just doesn't apply anything he says (instead he teaches with fear). Just don't like him.

For example, in one show I watched, he was hired to help an incredibly fearful german shep mix- the shep would hide under the desk all day and wouldn't come out. So what he did to "solve" this problem was put a choker on the dog and DRAG him out. Literally! The dog was sitting, with the choker as tight as it gets being dragged out from under the desk. Then, once the dog was out, Mr Milan put him back under the desk and did it again! He repeated the "exercise" like 5 or 6 times and said "See how much easier it is now? It's because I'm holding the leash with confidence" or some crap. Just horrible. In the follow up, the dog still has his tail firmly between his legs, terrified as sin. Didn't fix anything. He just taught a woman how to drag her unwilling dog out from under a desk.

And then there was a bulldog who attacked skateboards and he's like "you just need a redirection" and then he goes off to work with the dog on his own, and chokes with no results so then he chokes AND kicks him in the a**. Like the dog was walking on his left and his right foot went behind the left to kick the dog in the a**. Then he goes to the owners all proud saying "Just redirect" and he teaches them to do it JUST with the choker, but even as he's explaining it, it's not working, so he ends up booting the dog again. Then you hear the owners saying "oh, you see? He gives him a tap on the hip," and then there they are doing it. KICKING their own dog.

Here are a couple of threads about him here:

June 14th, 2006, 07:58 PM
he's not perfect, but he does have some good advice. his preachings of Exercise, Discipline, Affection (in that order) works wonders for many problem dogs. I like his shows. :o

June 14th, 2006, 09:32 PM
I am with Prin...the word that comes immediately to mind is yuck. He really is very old school in his methods - I personally wouldn't want him anywhere near my dog.

He gets immediate results at the expense of the dog - I haven't seen a show where the dog looks happy, comfortable or even calm enough to learn/work with the handler. So IMO, he has not permanently modified a dog's behaviour - if the owners don't follow his physical approach to a "T" their dogs will quickly sense that they are not true alpha's and be worse than when they started (assuming that the dog isn't too traumatized from the physical handling)...Basically, they know that Ceasar is the alpha but what happens when he's not around anymore?

Ceasar Milan has the right idea about dog's needing to have leaders but seeing him force dogs into submission makes me sick. He isn't doing the public any favors because they will try and emulate his ideas on their own dog without research or understanding.

His methods achieve fast results and are good for TV ratings...getting out a clicker and shaping a dog's behaviour over a period of days (sometimes longer) is not going to sell. I think its awful that dogs are having to suffer through Milan's training when its the owner's that need(ed) the training, not the dog.

I know the argument is that he deals with the worst cases and "last chance dogs" but #1 look at how they got that bad to begin with and #2 I believe that aggression (*fear) and dominance challenges respond far better to calm leadership and positive redirection (as opposed to an alpha role or leash correction with a GL).

June 14th, 2006, 09:48 PM
I think he's very knowledgable and have tried some of his methods myself which have worked really well.

June 15th, 2006, 08:20 AM
I'm with Prin and Lissa.

This guy scares me! I was once going to buy his book but then I saw him on CityPulse. He went out with the news lady and her dog for a walk and said it was "bad" she let her dog walk in front of her and he got the dog to stop real fast ... by scaring the crap out of it with his body language. I thought ... thats really great you know how to scare a dog :eek: I wonder how many more problems the dogs come home with after being through his "training"???

He might have some good ideas or whatever but I would never support him in any way and I have less faith in what he says after seeing him in action.

I have never watched the show ... my dogs can't handle shows with live dogs! They'll be trying to get into the tv ;)

June 15th, 2006, 08:37 AM
All flash and very little substance.

June 15th, 2006, 09:14 AM
I'm very unimpressed with him for the reasons Prin cited. I wouldn't let him near any animal of mine. He's not a dog trainer, he's a TV personality.


June 15th, 2006, 09:20 AM
his bio is pretty interesting:

Criticism and controversy
Some professional trainers and behaviorists claim that Millan's methods are inhumane and "heavy-handed", referring to the use of alpha roles that are discussed in his book, and techniques such as pulling dogs off the ground by tugging on their leash. [1] Critics state that Millan's training methods focus on dominance theory, and positive punishment and negative reinforcement to suppress problem behaviors, without first considering that there might be other medical factors at work which are influencing a "problem" dog's behavior. In addition, dominance theory is, in and of itself, controversial, and is rejected by some animal behaviorists who study canine behavior. It has also been pointed out that though Millan is referred to as an animal behaviorist, that this is a casual use of the term, as he is not a certified by The Animal Behavior Society, the professionally recognized certification organization for applied animal behaviorists.

interesting... i still like his shows though, find them fascinating. but then again I also love Desperate Housewives :crazy:

June 15th, 2006, 09:47 AM
My hubbie thinks he's a genious! I, on the other hand, am with Prin and Lissa...luckily for Buster, I'm the one who does all the training, walking etc.

The only clip of his show that I thought was pretty good advice was the one with the terrified Vizsla. This dog had just recently moved to a new city (downtown) and was afraid of EVERYTHING, and could barely walk. He had had his tail so far between his legs that it almost disapeared.

Ceasar put a leash on the dog, and put on his rollerblades and let the dog RUN. Just a full out RUN. I think this was a good move to help the dog get out his anxiety...especially a hunting dog, that needs alot of exercise. After that, he tied the leash to the dogs tail and held his tail up in the air while he walked him. Stopping the dog from having a nervous and scared body language (he couldn't put his tail between his legs anymore) seemed to give a BIT more confidence...

I also like that he encourages people to WALK their dog and not to just let them in the backyard and exercise themselves.

Other than that, he's a little koookooo!!

Lucky Rescue
June 15th, 2006, 09:47 AM
I think he has a lot of common-sense advice for truly clueless owners and I'm sure he's saved a lot of dogs from being dumped due to ignorance e.g. - dogs who are too "hyper" because the owners had no idea that a 1 year old Bouvier needs to get out of the backyard once in awhile....spoiled rotten dogs who have taken over the house with owners who let them....leash pullers...nuisance barkers...dogs who have neurotic behaviors (tail chasing, spinning) again due to no exercise, etc.

I do not like the way he handles unsocialized and fear aggressive dogs and think it's dangerous.

June 17th, 2006, 08:08 AM
I have never read his book or watched the shows on TV, my first learning of what his training methods were like came from someone who posted on a another forum who was having problems with her dog after suing his training methods outlined in his book, I can't remember the details now but as I read what she was doing it had me asking "WTF" and no wonder she is having so much problems, it took a quite bit of effort and time to convince her that the training methods she was using were not suitable for a sensitive non dominant dog as she was so wrapped with his fame and thoughts that he was the only one that understood how to train a dog properly. So his method may save some dogs they also have the ability to destroy others.
That incident left a very foul taste in my mouth and left me with interest in this guy as a trainer.

And with what I just read here, it confirms my thoughts and put him a couple notches over William Koehler who is a sadistic SOB when it comes to training dogs with problems. As an example of what Koehler is like, when it come to dealing with a dog with SA who howls and barks when left alone, he thinks people are stupid for using dog sitters and giving in to the dogs neurosis, Instead one should tie a rope to the dogs collar so theyu can easily catch the dog, then step out the door, when the dog starts howling and cry , you should run inside grab hold of the dog quickly and then whale away hard on the dog with a leather belt and keep repeating until the dog shuts up. This is just one example, he also has all shorts of sadistic punishments like throw chains at the dog, semi-drowning, shooting them with BB's fired from a slingshot, tying concrete blocks and 2 X4's to the dog so that if it runs it gets with these object, and his popular electric shock treatments using 6 volts batterieslike these

All described in how to so in this book

An people said he was a good trainer as well because he helped save dogs from being destroyed :mad: I'd like to know how many were destroyed emotional as a result of using his methods or killed in the training process

June 17th, 2006, 08:49 AM
My thoughts on Cesar Milan are pretty mixed.

He's really modelled his 'plan' on the highly successful 'natual horsemanship' movement in the riding world. When I say highly successful I'm referring to the financial rewards reaped by the 'Natural Horsemanship' trainers and the 'Horse Whisperers' (a term primarily associated with Monty Roberts) In both spheres inexperienced owners with out of control animals flock to them because of the supposed 'magic bullet' So far it sounds like CM's methods are most similar to MR's methods.

There's little doubt in my mind that some of his advice is sound. Dogs are not people and cannot be treated as such. Much of training is also about changing your way of thinking and behaviour so that the dog will correspondingly change his/hers.

There are alot of people out there being dominated by their dogs who can benefit from his advice.

Although I believe in an prefer positive reinforcement methods I do believe negative reinforcement methods are also occasionally appropriate. Dog society does not purely function on positive reinforcement. Training typically does not either.

Many people who would gravitate to him are people who have mistakenly confused 'positive' methods with weak and ineffective methods.


Hs style is not for every dog and it is the responsibility of the owner/handler to study:
- not only CM's methods but other trainers as well.
- the type of animal each trainer style chooses to work with most often. The type of animal to which they gravitate is one for whom that trainer has had the most success. Trainers who work successfully with similar tempermants to the owner/handlers dog are one to be emulates
- to learn as much as possible about their type of dog including breed(s) temperment.

It is also the responsibility of the owner/handler to understand there ARE NO QUICK FIXES. That's the hard lesson

If CM's visibility and presence encourages over-whelmed owner/handlers to work smarter with their dogs, then great. He isn't the be all end all though ... and as I learned a long time ago there's nothing new under the sun in training just flashier gimmicks and shinier packaging.

June 17th, 2006, 12:45 PM
He says some good things but he does not teach in a manner that the average person should even begin to try. He is far too heavy handed for my taste.
We had a client come out from LA who knows Cesar and his entourage and calls him names I won't repeat. From what I understand he is very good at PR and spinning his own rep. - it makes me wonder how much his heart is into the dogs.
Do you know he is being sued for animal cruelty? The producer of '8 Simple Rules' took his lab to him and 2 hours later his dog was in the emergency room fighting for his life. The man spent $25K to save this dog (insane amount of $). The dog was bleeding from the nose and mouth (damaged trachea) and had road rash on his inner thighs. One of Cesars proteges had put the dog on a tread mill on a choke chain and things went very wrong.
He is also accussed of punishing a dog by putting him on a tread mill for 4 hours.
He talks a lot about exercise and its great that he is able to go skate boarding being pulled by 5 dogs - I am not that lithe and I certainly don't want my dog to behave because he is exhausted. They behave out of respect for me - it is so much easier.
Some people say that they have learned a lot from the show and that is great - but I worry that his methods teach people that the 'alpha' roll should be used for any infraction. Don't like his use of choke collars either, and that he talks about placing the collar so high on the neck and holding the dog in that position - sounds like the first step to hanging a dog.
I don't mean to totally bash the guy - anyone held in a celebrity status is going to be idolized and just as quickly torn down. I just think he has to be so careful to what he is teaching the general public, and I am just not comfortable with his methods.

June 17th, 2006, 12:56 PM
First time I saw him I was impressed and that was the only time. I think he is much to aggressive and I think abusive to a point. I want my dog to listen to me because he respects me not fears me. I think you teach more with love than fear. He does sound good on paper and somethings he says are true but I do not agree with his methods.