Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cesar Millan Admits To Using Electric Shocks And Punching Dogs To Get Them To Behave

Cesar Millan was on a television show in the UK earlier this week and somehow I missed what he said until today. Apparently the host, Alan Titchmarsh got Cesar to admit that Cesar uses electric shocks on dogs and spiked collars and that Alan has witnessed Cesar punching dogs in the throat to get them to behave. Cesar says he only uses those treatments when other things don't work and that he does them because it is better to try those therapies then putting a dog down. I don't know. When you adopt a dog from an agency they generally make you agree to never use a bark collar so it must be pretty bad, so I'm not sure why Cesar is such a big fan of them. If he is using all these cruel treatments to dogs is he that great of a trainer or just really good at being sneaky about being cruel?

95 comments:

Lissette said...

What a pig! Here's a thought. Let's put one on him and punch him and see if he likes it. These dogs can probably sniff out his cruel tactics.

shiny_special_one said...

Whaaa? Oh, no. :-(

parissucksliterally said...

WHAT????

Snarkarella said...

Thank goodness this is coming out, now his career can go in the pooper where it belongs. Sure a dog will obey you if you punch it, it will be too scared to do anything.

Tuxedo Cat said...

I've watched his show lots of times, and it's like any other short-term therapy...how do you really know the results are going to last?

I see that he uses electric collars and punching as a last resort, but I don't know how a person who claims to love animals could do that. Maybe euthanasia would be kinder. The animal doesn't understand behaviour interventions or whatever they call them now.

smashbash said...

I use a pinch collar on my 85 pound dog. She pulls. Gets corrected. Then walks good. The key is routine.

Hitting a dog is never the answer, but I have been attacked by a pitbull and hitting it in the nose or throat is the only way to make them stop.

Electric shock is in no way harming the dog. It is a short pulse. Like everyother method of training it can be used the wrong way or the right way.

Ceaser has done a lot of good. I think it is really hard to judge unless you see some of these redline cases.

Call me yndy... said...

Yes, if you hurt, shock, beat, and terrorize a dog it will "obey" you out of fear and confusion. But if you love it, you don't want it to be afraid of you.
The words I have about that kind of 'training' are ones I don't like thinking, let alone typing.
If he has to resort to that? He's no trainer.

smashbash said...

I own every season of his show. Him hitting them in the throat is not hitting. It is like a mother biting their disobeying child. When you always obey your animal and give them what they want you are going to have a spoiled child who misbehaves.

Raleigh James said...

Let me preface this by saying I don't even kill bugs; I shoo flies out the door and catch and release spiders; I could never use shock or spike collars and I darn sure would never punch a dog.


But it's all about asserting dominance and I'm sure he wasn't punching little wee dogs.

I grew up on a farm, and we had large dogs who occasionally bloodied each other to determine Alpha status.


I think euthenasia would be better in the long run, because as someone said upthread, how do you know the owners are going to be able to keep up the training? If the owners could control the dog in the first place they wouldn't have needed Caesar. I doubt they'd be able to punch the poor dog, so if it's aggressive, I think it'd be better to just put it down.

old ;ady said...

@smashbash, I agree we need to see how the dogs are behaving and the treatment of the dogs.

Personally, I have been attacked by a Mastiff and lost the use of my left arm for a year. (nerves in arm severed) I also have found a great trainer who is gentle and works wonders with Dogs.

smashbash said...

Tuxedo- it is not supposed to be short term. The owners need to fallow through and provide a consistent stable home. When you praise bad behavior one day then punish it the next that is confusion. Saying no a million times doesn't solve anything either. Short Term solutions are what people are looking for, but it is the long term thearphy that will help. :)

Del Riser said...

Ceaser got his start dealing with vicious out of control dogs that everyone else had given up trying to train.
He does seem to have an innate understanding of dogs.
I would have to know the circumstances surrounding the use of the things mentioned to make a judgement. I've seem him attacked by dogs, you do what you have to do.
He doesn't do sit, stay, classes, he works with dogs that for the most part are out of control.
I'm having trouble thinking that violence is a standard tool of his in working with these dogs.

smashbash said...

Thank you old ;ady and I hope you are doing well.
I also doubt he would do the same treatment with a Pomeranian as he would with a Great Dane or Mastiff. Large dogs are tough and can also be scary.

redfishbluefish said...

Ironically I am typing this from my hotel room as I'm attending an animal welfare conference. I don't watch Caesar's show, but I have followed him and read his blog/magazines. I am a huge animal lover, and I would never ever advocate these methods be used on 99% of dogs out there. But..and it's a big but, Cesar doesn't usually work with the average dog. He is taking cases where the dog has flunked the standard temperament testing. There is a standard, and for most shelters across the country, if the dog fails, it is euthanized. This is especially true for city and municipal shelters. Sometimes these dogs are just out of chances. He is not training the average lab or golden retriever. It's almost like Cesar's methods are fringe, and far from the mainstream or what we are pet guardians and animal lovers can accept or understand. But as smashbash said, the pinch collars are effective if used properly as are the shock collars.

I would NEVER use either tool with my own dogs--but my dogs are not aggressive nor require behavior modification. If he can save a dog's life by applying a methodology that is unconventional, but there are no other options, then it's better than euthanizing. Again to echo smashbash, it is really hard to judge without seeing the specific cases he has taken on.

artemis said...

My issue is the untrained people who watch his show and then hit their dogs thinking its okay because they saw it on t.v.

I have watched his show and I understand that he is using dog psychology to help the animal and its owners. I haven't decided how I feel about resorting to such extremes however.

Unfortunately this might encourage dickheads to physically abuse their dogs under the guise of behavioural improvement.

Gtzisshe said...

I don't want to believe this one.
I have seen him on his show using his hands in a manner that do not look like punching.
He also rehabs dogs that would otherwise be euthanized. He gives some hard to train dogs a chance.
But, he could also be beating the shit out of these dogs as well. I need proof.

Lola said...

I started to write a long post about training methods and lost causes but then decided @redfishbluefish said it better.

I will point out that when you watch him, whether on his shows or in interviews, his dogs clearly adore him and look to him as their leader. They don't have the beaten down demeanor of abused animals and they don't shrink from his presence...in fact they eagerly seek his attention.

I have worked in shelters and seen many abused dogs; his just don't appear that way. At all.

Lola said...

And one note on pinch collars...they may look like medieval torture devices but they are no more painful than "choke" collars and unless used as a choking device, are not at all inhumane. I've actually put one on my throat. They don't at all "gouge" they "squeeze".

dogspeaksf said...

I am so glad to see that the truth of Cesar's methods are coming to light.

I am a certified professional dog trainer and behavior consultant who routinely works with dogs that are fearful, reactive, aggressive - and I work with all breeds. I currently have a Rottweiler that I'm working with that has food aggression, a mini-Aussie that becomes frustrated and lunges at whoever he perceives as withholding what he wants as well as pit bulls and German Shepherds that are reactive (barking, lunging, growling) toward other dogs. I saw a Taiwanese dog yesterday that bit her dog walker. And these are just a few of my cases.

And before I began working privately with owners, I worked for several years in animal shelters - assessing the behavior of dogs, maintaining their wellbeing and providing behavior modification.

I can tell you that my profession that are interested in how dogs learn and think and perceive the world, do NOT subscribe to his methods. Dominance theory is so outdated (the guy that brought about that theory with wolves has since retracted it - and dogs are not wolves, just like we're not chimpanzees), and Cesar's popularity really set our field back as it encouraged people to bully and often times physical punish their dogs.

I look forward to the day he is no longer popular, and we can move make progress to find new ways and refine our current humane methods to work with dogs. You don't have to use force or physical correction to work with dogs. I don't, and I'm plenty successful.

belle said...

I have seen almost every episode of his show and followed cesars training since he first came on the scene. If you have not seen the show you will not understand what Cesar does. As smashbash said, it's isn't "punching" - that is the word Ticthmarsh used to describe what he thinks he is seeing from a perspective of someone who doesnt understand what Cesar is doing - he is using dog psy. and mimicking a bite with his hand - which is what a bigger or more dominant dog would do to get the other dog in line. And again, the use of shock collars - which Titchmarsh fails to point out of course - are used so infrequently in cesars retraining because Cesar himself only uses them as a last resort for extremely violent or uncontrollable dogs. And even when he has incorporated them it has been within a very specific short term rehab plan to get to a point where they can stop using them as soon as possible with the dog. And the spiked collars - which are not actually sharp spikes - are actually made to do the same thing that Cesar is doing with his hand, mimick the bite of a more dominant dog to get that dog in line. Because dogs function naturally in packs based on levels of dominance. I am the biggest animal lover around - I want to kill people who abuse animals and I cry at the slightest sign any animal is in pain. I'm a total baby about that. But even I get what he is doing and even I understand he isn't trying to rehab and communicate with dogs from a humans perspective, he is doing it by trying to communicate from a dogs natural perspective of pack leadership. This is the kind of thing where people will read the headline and flip out and crucify him because they don't take the time to see what is really going on.

Renoblondee said...

I'm with @Smash on this one.

Tuxedo Cat said...

@smashbash If I recall correctly, Cesar does go back after a few wks doesn't he? Sorry I was wrong about that....
It must be heartbreaking to work with the results of bad training of former guard dogs etc.

Off Topic:
A chihuahua was put on the dangerous animals list in a city in Ontario (there was already one on it!). The dog bit the mail carrier on the leg. (BTW The mail carrier thought it was a stupid thing for the government to do).

jennifer hansen said...

what moms do you know that bite their children? i have never heard of that.

jennifer hansen said...

what moms do you know that bite their children? i have never heard of that.

Ingrid Superstar said...

I think the same thing happened to Lou Reed when he was a teen.

smashbash said...

Tuxedo- he does go back. Sometimes the owner has kept up with training and routine. Almost all others slide back into old habits.
Little dogs can also be very aggressive, their owners don't think it's harmful because they are small. I wonder how people would feel sometimes if my two Doberman Pinchers acted like their little dogs. Barking, snarling, pulling the owner. There are also German Shephards and labs in my area that act fools. The owner just tries to hold back their animal or stands still in fear of MY dogs. Haha. Please people. Your little chihuahua or Pom is going apeshit, not my dogs.

Dogspeaksf- there was a lady at my local dog park, I don't normal go because a lot of owners are not aware of their animals misbehavior, she had a pit bull with a muzzle on. First of all. Why are you bringing a dog to an area with other good behaving dogs when you know the animal has issues. Her dog attacked my shy male. Attacked. With the muzzle on. That got his buddy, another pit, riled up. They both were on top of my dog. She yelled at me and said my dog was the issue. She then cuddled her dog. She didn't step in to stop them or punish them. I would have had those dogs on leashes so damn fast if they were mine. They would have both been on pinch collars. What would you have done?

Lola said...

Smash, I am amazed at the people who bring their dogs to our local dog parks and seem to be completely unaware of their dog's behavior issues...even when their dog is constantly in the middle of something.

We used to have two Italian Greyhounds that came to our park that were nicknamed "the humpers". Those things humped on any dog in their vicinity from the moment they entered until the moment they left and the owner was always SHOCKED when some dog would finally have enough and turn around and bite. You couldn't even take your kid in there because those dogs would hump on your kid and the owner would say, "oh, they're just playing."

distracted said...

Cesar has always been horrible when the cameras aren't rolling. A few years back, he had a dog on a treadmill and forgot about it for HOURS and it's hips were destroyed and the family was suing. I don't know what came of the case. but Cesar is no dog whisperer. I am glad he's been exposed!

distracted said...

and whoever in this thread that is badmouthing 'pit bulls' and spreading misinformation just needs to STOP.

I have a rescued pit bull who is a doll.

I recommend visiting pit bull rescue central's website if you need accurate information about pit bull breeds.

Lies and fabrications to make yourself sound more educated or experienced just makes you sound like an ass.

Lola said...

@distracted...If you are talking about the lawsuit with Flody Suarez, Caesar wasn't even at the facility when the incident happened and the trainer that left the dog unsupervised was Suarez's own trainer (not one of Milan's) who, as a favor, had been granted the use of the training center's facilities free of charge. I believe the lawsuit was dismissed.

Lola said...

@distracted. Who was badmouthing pitbulls? Sharing personal experiences that happen to involve pitbulls is not spreading lies and untruths.

My mom used to breed show quality rotties and if you own and love "bully breeds" you need to get over the fact that they inspire fear in many people. You also need to understand that precisely because they inspire fear, many unscrupulous people breed poorly and encourage aggression in these breeds. The fear people have can be legitimate.

It is not the dog's fault and I'm sure that your particular dog is a total sweetie but many pits are not.

I consider myself to be highly experienced with dogs (I'm no Caesar Milan but I have several generations of show breeding and showing along with rescue work and training) and feel very comfortable (and have owned) with "advanced" breeds I would never own a pit of unknown parentage and background with my child in the house (that applies to several other breeds as well).

And let me clear, it is PEOPLE who have allowed these dogs to become what they are...unscrupulous or stupid people...but it is the dogs who pay the unfortunate price.

auntliddy said...

There is just something hincky about this guy . M

smashbash said...

Lola- some dog parks around here are called thunder domes. I don't know why people think that is funny.
I wasn't trying to bad mouth pit bulls. I said even little dogs can be crazy. As Lola said it is the OWNER not the animal. Which in my story the owner or handler was the problem, the dog was circumstantial.

Lola said...

Smash, some of my worst experiences have been with little dogs (their bites hurt like hell, btw). Owners carry their little babies around and don't treat them like dogs or require acceptable behavior and they turn into little assholes. My dad and step mother's little shi tzu is like that...my daughter, who adores just about every living thing can't stand their dog.

SaintsFan said...

As most people said here, he works with the worst of the worst dog cases. If he were really punching a dog that was that out of control, he would have been dog chow. Some dog would have eaten him alive by now. I do not believe he is actually punching any dog. However, he does mimic the nips that animals give each other which I think is fine. I think fame may have gone to his head but I believe he started out with a good heart.

goes in circles said...

Most humane societies, animal rescues, as well as vets strongly disagree with his methods.
Google it.
Besides dogspeak, who here is a veterinarian, dog trainer, etc.?

feraltart said...

I agree that the problem is with owners. I am sick to death of people not keeping their dogs on leashes & making excuses for bad behaviour. Three times I have been in someone's home where a dog has growled at me & they haven't done anything until they have gone to attack. I will no longer stay I a house with an aggressive dog.

misspeg86 said...

I'm not being aggressive...I'm being dominant (read in Cesar's voice)

On a more serious note, I support Cesar. I'm no expert on dog behaviour but I've watched at least 50 episodes of his show and know that he truly cares about animals from the bottom of his heart and that he wants the best for every single animal out there. I trust Cesar and what he's doing and I think that what happened was taken out of context.

dia papaya said...

I have an excitable 85lb German Shepherd. And we have been through the ringer with him. Our first one was really mellow. This guy not so much.

We started training him the Ceasar way and he got worse. He got more aggressive, more anxious, more bitey. We were so desperate (ie, ready to get rid of the dog) that we hired a professional dog behaviorist / trainer to come work with us. Completely different methodology and it worked wonders. Probably similar to what dogspeaksf does.

I don't want to debate right or wrong bc I don't know enough about fog training, but I know that my dog did not respond well to negative reinforcement. It pissed him off and made him more aggressive. Now we train his too smart brain to do nose work (police dog stuff) and agility courses - and he is thriving. But never any negative reinforcement. Only positive interaction and time outs when he gets too excited.

anon said...

Let me start by saying that I rescue and train dogs and have for many years. As others have said, the reason he is usually called is that he is their last resort - I have seen many owners on his show say I had 2 or 3 trainers out here and they finally told me to put the dog down. The only time I have seen him use a "shock" collar is as a last resort. He demonstrated it on the dogs owner and it vibrated, like a cell phone. One dog he used it on was a farm dog who kept running after the owners tractors and trucks and had already been accidentally run over. They were - rightfully - afraid they would run over and kill their own dog. I'm not exactly sure what other method would have worked with a free-running dog like that but Cesar worked with the dog and the owners and probably saved the dogs life. There is a disclaimer at the beginning of each show that says don't try these techniques yourself. But much of it is common sense, like blocking unwanted behavior. Not for a second to I believe he is "punching" or "electrocuting" dogs and the only dogs I've ever seen him use spike collars on is dogs whose owners have been using that kind of collar. I've seen every episode of his show probably 3 times and I don't remember him every putting a pinch collar on a dog.

Brenda L said...

Hey Lola, I have an Italian Greyhound and I loves that little bugger. I've never been able to completely get him trained in any capacity. They are very impulsive dogs and there's pretty much not any way to get them completely under your control unless they are afraid of you, and I'm not going there. I would never attempt to take Crillie to the dog park, that's just ASKING for trouble IMHO

It's not an extremely popular breed because of these issues. The balancing factor is this dog does not have a mean bone in his body and WORSHIPS every move I make. They are so sweet, but I wouldn't recommend one to the average dog owner. It's been quite a challenge.

Brenda L said...

p.s. if those IGs were humping that much, obviously the owner never got them neutered/spayed. Crillie almost drove me insane until The Snip.

Lola said...

@Brenda...you are correct, they were intact. I hope you don't think I'm disparaging IGs; I would not own one but that is not a stain on them, they just don't fit my lifestyle (if everyone owned dogs they were tempermentally suited to, there would be far fewer surrenders). Having said that, I am not personally a fan of terriers (insofar as owning them goes) but I currently find myself the owner of a neurotic, mentally challenged rat terrier (a puppy mill rescue) who we were unable to place because of his issues... I truly believe he has brain damage (he's the one I've previously written about that LOVES the cone of shame). Because of the inability to place him, I'm out of the rescue/foster business (no more room). I love him but good god, the terrier behaviors drive me more bonkers than the psychological ones.

Lola said...

@Smash...Have you ever tried the haltis (head harnesses)? I had a 80lb dob/lab mix rescue who literally dragged me the first couple of times on a leash; within 5 minutes he was a total gentleman. I used it regularly for about a month and then just had to reinforce once every 6 months or so.

Lola said...

@goes...I am not a professional trainer but I have trained my own show dogs, had a parent (and grandparent) who raised show dogs (and was, by extension, raised with them) , have a mother and sister that raise and train nationally ranked herding/agility dogs, have been involved in rescue/foster for years and often work closely with a nationally respected animal behaviorist. But no, professionally, I do not train dogs, so my extensive experience aside, everyone should take what I (and really anyone) has to say with a grain of salt.

smashbash said...

Totally understand Dia! My girl is very sensitive and doesn't do well with a hard hand, unless on the leash (if I am not running just walking. She needs lots of stimulus and tasks. Our male is different, he has a cat staring issue that we address with a more Cesar method. He was raised on the farm until he was 1 so being indoors is new to him. He now sleeps next to our tiny 2 year old kitten. Adorbs! Without knowing how to handle a little more anxious dog I would have lost it! Darby (my girl) was a dream and I did hire a professional who taught me I was really the problem :)
Now 2 years later I can handle my tough dog calming but assertive.

dia papaya said...

Smash - I used a pinch collar with my first shepherd (and i loved it) but we use a body harness for new guy. The new trainer said it would probably have made him even more aggressive. So who knows? I've discovered that dogs like people can have very differencing personalities. And training needs to be adjusted.

I just picked him up from the groomer and the young girl was like "he is my favorite dog! how did you make him so special!" I was like, if you only knew how much work he is!!! He's my special needs boy. I'm always worried he will freak out and bite one of them and instead he rolls around on his back and wants pets. For the longest time he would bite you on the hand or foot to get your attention. He's just different! Crazy boy :)

smashbash said...

Lola- she loved the head harness :) it make her seem stronger. Our male we walk with a regular leash and occasional correction like a tap on the hip. He was so easy to leash train even though he had mainly been a farm dog, he did perform in a few dog shows but they use a chock collar which I didn't like. When we run or jog she is fine with a normal collar.

smashbash said...

Dia- boys are funny. He is the biggest baby when we walk by dogs barking he just looks away. The girl wants to say hello to everyone. She is a doll. :)

smashbash said...

A little OT- I have been watching YouTube videos of dogs&babies and dog reuniting with owner videos. Ohmygosh! So much sweetness.

katsm0711 said...

I plan to adopt my first dog ever in a few months after only having cats. At first I'm reading all your comments going oh no can I handle all that? And then I'm like at least I know who to ask if I have a problem! I'm hoping for a small dog with zero health problems lol, obviously not a biter or a barker. And mellow. Maybe one with a narcolepsy issue. Actually, can you throw out books a first time dog owner should read? I'm actually excited about the training, I do everything by the book and I see that as fun, I just don't know what methods are correct. Someone told me to get a bark collar but that sounds like a lazy non-solution right? I prefer to teach the dog rather than override its tendencies with a magic collar. I feel like method makes the dog/human just explode like SERENITY NOW!!!

AmandaRed said...

Dog trainers and spiked collars are NOT cruel. As the owner of a very strong pit bull, I need a collar and training system that will have an impact. Don't automatically assume that you know these items are "bad" or "cruel."

katsm0711 said...

I don't know how bark collars work, but that has to be cruel right? Since its a non aggressive behavior it seems like if a dog's barking he's trying to communicate something harmlessly so there should be a kind way to teach the dog not to bark all the time?

Lola said...

Kat, I use a bark collar on my rat terrier but it is not a shock collar. It sprays citronella in his face when he barks. It still lets him whine and grumble, but not bark. I don't use it inside (where he's quiet "enough") but I have to use it if he's outside more than about 10 minutes because he will sit and bark...and bark...and bark....

I've recommended it to friends and for some, it is magic...for others, not so much.

Lola said...

And even though in general, most barking problems are behavioral (often linked to not enough exercise or things to do), I believe that some dogs (like mine) are like some people and just like to hear the sound of their own voices.

katsm0711 said...

What breed is your dog @lola? A citronella spray sounds pretty cool! I mean, I assumed it shocked or hurt the dog in some way. I just want a small mutt that won't be expensive to care for, not a constant barker and not hyper since I'm low energy.

Lola said...

@Kats, honestly, despite how some here feel, Caesar Milan has a great book about picking the perfect dog. Please don't discount larger dogs just because you may think you don't have enough space. Many large dogs (like mine) are super laid back and much calmer than many (most?) small dogs. They are very active outside, but when inside, they lay around like big logs. Many apartments have started to recognize this and now accept large dogs. You might also consider an adult dog where puppy behaviors are nonexistent and personality is more apparent. As a first time owner, you might try finding a rescue group that fosters its animals...the foster generally has a very good idea of individual dogs' personalities. Shelters are fabulous but it is such a stressful environment for dogs that it is very difficult sometimes to see a dog's true personality.

Lol. I have totally comment bombed this post.

katsm0711 said...

Yeah @lola but your comments are interesting and helpful!
I don't have a problem with Caesar even after reading what's here. I feel like he does work with the most troubled dogs and I'm looking at the opposite end. I will start at the humane Society like I got my last cat. I think personality wise as you said, I'd be prefect with a lazy large dog like the yellow dog in Funny Farm. Remember? He just laid and slept all day lol. But I think the food would cost too much. It sucks bc I have a good sized house and almost an acre but the food worries me.

Lola said...

The dog with the collar is a rat terrier. He is a very high maintenance dog (I would highly recommend you NOT getting a terrier/terrier mix, they can be great dogs but they are VERY high energy and generally need jobs of some sort to be happy). We also have a standard poodle and a setter mix. Until this summer, we had 4 dogs but I lost my baby, a Doberman/lab mix this summer to bone cancer. All are (were) rescues.

Honestly, of all the dogs, pure bred and mixed, that I have owned, I would HIGHLY recommend a large miniature (which would be about the size of a beagle-- I believe 11" to 15") or small standard (over 15") poodle. Other than the grooming requirements, our poodle is an absolutely awesome dog. He is chill, friendly, great with kids, smart, healthy...I know dogs are individuals but just about anyone who owns a miniature/standard poodle will tell you the same. The main reason I wouldn't recommend a toy poodle is that they have become so popular that inbreeding issues (health/behavior problems) are beginning to become fairly common.

Lola said...

HAHA...at 18 pounds, my rat terrier eats 1 1/2 cups of food a day and my 2 60lb dogs each eat 2 cups. The rat terrier is a calorie furnace!

katsm0711 said...

EVERYONE tells me poodles are awesome! I don't want to have to take it to the groomer though. And is it true dogs with adorable pushed in snouts like pugs have more health problems? I just want some ideas in my head but I plan to adopt whoever I fall in love with at the shelter. It's months away so I still have time to research. And read!

deree said...

I'm in my late 30's and this was huge when I was a child. I had a cousin who bit so bad it made the victims bleed. We know several moms who did this when my kids were little. Even pediatricans used to tell moms this was the only way to break a biter. Now,most moms are afraid to smack their hands.

Bloggertobenamedlater said...

I feel compelled to say something. I founded a very large dog rescue years ago and we place around 1000 dogs a year now. We deal particularly with giant breed dogs, many of which have working dog backgrounds. Cesar Millan is extremely controversial in animal rescue circles. Some of his methods I am down with, and certainly his philosophy on energy and commanding respect has merit. That said, it is absolutely NOT acceptable to hit a dog in the throat. I don't care what bullshit reason is given, it's not OK. If a dog is at the point where your only alternative is to punch it in the throat, then it is time to let that dog go. Any dog in that state is neither safe nor happy and it's a disservice to torture the dog in the name of saving it. There are frankly things worse than death and I've seem them.

As for the comments about electric shocks. Before you go on about how little they hurt and how they are just designed to get the dog's attention, try it on for size and see how you feel when you get zapped. I have and it's painful. Pain has no place in training a dog. It's bullshit.

Do not get me started on electric fences which are dangerous to dogs. Not because of the shock, but because they leave the dog dangerously unable to go anywhere when a threat is posed by something not subject to the electrical shock.

Lola said...

My grandpa used to breed pugs..they are awesome dogs! But yes, dogs with pushed in snouts tend to have more breathing problems, problems with having malformed upper palates, and enlarged hearts (among other things). If you want a small, calm dog, I would start by looking at toy breeds on the AKC website. I know you don't necessarily want a pure bred (and even though I have 2, I prefer mixed breeds) but this will give you an idea of what's out there. Many of the toy breeds were originally bred as lap and pet dogs (rather than dogs with a specific purpose) and are therefore often content without a job. Some (but not all) of the non-sporting group also fall into this category (this is a group who's members don't fit neatly into any other category). Once you have an idea of the breed of dog that fits you, you can extrapolate that to mixed breeds. For instance, based on what you have said, a Maltese (or Maltese mix) might be something to look at. Even though they have to be trimmed, it is quite easy to do at home. They tend to be fairly laid back, easy to train, friendly and enjoy laying around in your lap. There are may other dogs that would also qualify, but that popped into my head.

Lola said...

I have to say that I have never seen CM "punch" a dog in the throat. I'm not saying it hasn't happened but I have never seen it. I HAVE seen him grab a dogs throat; not grab as in choking the dog, but applying pressure like a mother or dominant dog will. I have also seen him firmly poke a dog as a tool to divert a dog's fixation behavior.

As to the shock collar, there are many different settings. The lowest settings are generally not painful (I don't use shock collars but I actually have shocked myself with one) but yes, the higher settings are quite painful and can be inhumane (especially in a small dog).

I have more of a problem with a dog getting frightened out of an electronic fence rather than being restricted inside one (after all, a regular fence doesn't generally allow escape either); the fences also shock if a dog tries to reenter the yard. There is also the occasional dog that figures out the shock is fleeting and is willing to take the shock when it means you get to be free. Electronic fences can be very helpful, in conjunction with a regular fence, to keep "jumpers" contained.

Monica said...

I stand behind Cesar. He's not cruel. He just needs to dominate the dogs so they know he's the Alpha Male.

katsm0711 said...

I agree. I'm not willing to paint Caesar as bad after one story without details that he punched a dog. As with most Enty stories (not a complaint) I need more details to form an opinion.
I had the sweetest angelic kitten until she was neutered. She turned into the devil and it broke my heart. She would bite my arm and lock her jaw on my bleeding broken skin and not let go! I'd yell, tap her head, then I had to hit harder and harder until I felt BAD but she wouldn't let go otherwise! I always will of course, but now I'm paranoid about neutering/spaying. Oh, any reccomendations on male or females? And how about jack russels? A client had one and I taught it to not catch the ball in her mouth but to kick it back to me as I did to her! I'm obsessed with soccer so that would be my perfect dog lol

Lola said...

Jack Russells are terriers and are VERY VERY high energy. They are smart and that can translate into destructiveness if not well directed. Based on what you mentioned before, I would say no. Based on what you want, you should stay away from any terrier.

Dogs should always be spayed/neutered unless you are going to breed. They are happier in the long run and it prevents many bad health problems such as mammary, cervical and uterine cancer in females and testicular cancer and kidney problems in males. Also, female dogs are much,much messier than female cats when they are in heat. (I wonder if your cat had some unknown complication which you weren't aware of because your experience is strange and definitely not the norm. I totally believe you though)

As to males vs. females; very generally, prefer males. In my experience they tend to be lower maintenance and generally calmer (when neutered). That said, one of my very favorite dogs was a female as one one of my very sweetest (she had the most gentle soul of any creature I've ever had he privileged to know).

katsm0711 said...

U don't have to convince me to spay, I know it's mandatory. I guess u answered my next question on how to prevent personality changes bc it sounds like a freak accident. I believe my cat was feral and part Persian if that breed has anything to do with her craziness. She also had the wrong number of toes and I'm told that's a sign of a feral cat which can be crazy.i also question the vet who did it. He was a strange old man who I swear was hitting on me in front of my mom when I was just a teenager. Someone suggested that something traumatic happened during the operation.

katsm0711 said...

Oh and you're right about me and the jack russel! I forgot that she never stopped moving and needing constant attention. It would get on my nerves and I was never there more than 2 hours.

Lola said...

Some old vets will remove the uterus and not the ovaries. They still have hormones and still go into heat. Many female cats become total bitches when they are in heat. Did she act the way you described every few months r was t continuous?

Extra toes are called polydactyl and as far as I know don't reference any behavior changes. Many Maine Coons have polydactylism. (Ernest Hemingway was known to love polydactyls)

dogspeaksf said...

Hey smashbash, I wanted to answer your question about the dog on the muzzle at the dog part - but I'm in agreement with you that a dog on a muzzle (presumably for dog issues although some folks do use them for pica or coprophagia issues (random stuff and poop eating) probably shouldn't be in a dog park. Enclosed dog parks, especially, are notoriously not great places to go with dogs. Stranger dogs, often with unmet exercise needs, getting amped up and over the top, often with owners that are not engaged with them or unsure what's appropriate or inappropriate behavior. Your description of them as thunderdomes is not far off!

So in my opinion, a dog with issues with other dogs shouldn't be interacting with unknown dogs of unknown interaction skills. Instead, that dog should be learning how to interact and communicate appropriately with known dogs that it can develop relationships with and build skills in that manner. I think we can all agree that we usually learn more from friends and family than random people out on the street.

But once your dog has made unfriendly contact with another dog as you described, honestly, you need to get that dog out of the situation as quickly as possible. If it's off-leash, get it on leash and get it out of there. The possibility of another aggressive incident occurring is much higher due to the flood of adrenaline and other hormones coursing through the body. But if the dog comes to you when called or you finally apprehend the dog, you certainly don't want to punish it for something it's done a couple minutes ago. Without getting into a ton of learning specifics, suffice it to say, that a properly applied punishment or reinforcement should occur within a second or less after the behavior for the animal to understand that that consequence is for that behavior. Anything after that, and it probably won't be effective. Furthermore, punishing the dog for a whole chain of ugly behaviors too long after the fact doesn't sound particularly effective to me if the dog isn't set up to succeed in the first place.

Lastly, I don't want to get into an argument about pinch collars, but there's a ton of reasons why I don't use them. If you want to have a discussion off the comment board, I'm happy to. But, one thing I will say, is that I work with pit bulls (in fact I just completed research and recently presented it at a conference last weekend) and German Shepherds and Rottweilers on a regular basis, and if you truly want ultimate control, head halters and/or head halter/harness combos with a double-ended leash allow way more control and safety than a prong or choke ever will. Having multiple points of contact on the body is just more effective, just from the physics point of view, not to mention how the punishment from a prong can really mess with dogs' feelings about things they're uncomfortable about.

Lola said...

@dogspeak. I actually agree with you about pinch collars, in general. My sister uses them and swears by them to help train her dogs. Personally, I don't think they work well (if at all) in dogs that are very hard to control (my dob/lab mix would have just strangled himself...assuming I could have remained upright to pull against him). I am a big advocate of the head harnesses and think they an work miracles with most difficult to control dogs. Having said that, I can't say I wouldn't ever use a pinch collar; I think for some dogs, that have minor control issues and respond quickly and well to correction, they probably work well.

No argument here.

dia papaya said...

Smash! I can't wait to meet your doggies! Yes, I know I was (am) part of the problem. Haha! But this stinker is so different than our last dog. Wired to GO! And he needs so much more exercise than last dog ever did.

Gotta love him though. He's my fur baby!

Zeeky_Boogy_Doog said...

Not a big fan of the domination or alpha male training techniques. Hitting or otherwise causing pain may give some good results, but there's better ways.

Dogs generally are smart and they want your approval. You just gotta speak the same language. Imagine if a friend gets you a job in his wife's office, but doesn't say what the job is. You show up Monday, and they all speak Latvian, and only Latvian. You don't. You decide "maybe I should file these papers" and start. Someone comes along and smacks you upside the head. This continues all day, no matter what you do.

There are ways to tell the dog yes or no without hurting him. Removing him from the exciting area works wonders: For example, if he jumps up on visitors, the second he does it, you say NO! and take him out of the room. When he calms down, bring him back. He does it again, "NO!" and out again. He'll learn quickly, because he wants to be with you guys, not sequestered.

"It's Me or the Dog" is a great example. The woman on there uses techniques like that, uses clickers, treats, taking the dog away when being bad. But owners have to meet in the middle. A lot will do terrible things -- putting the dog on a chain outside and only seeing it at feeding time, crating it too often, considering bad behavior funny or denying it's a problem, being inconsistent. Dogs want to please their owners and aren't bad on purpose, most of the time they just don't know they're being bad.

Sandy said...

Sneaky at being cruel. Look, I'm Hispanic, and in my experience Latinos are totally unsentimental and basically uncaring when it comes to the welfare of animals. To them, dogs are owned to protect houses and other property. They're not fixed, are routinely tied up and left outside in all weather, and are never allowed to come into the house. For Milian to use any method to subdue and train dogs is entirely in keeping with the Latino way with animals. He's trying to make money and animals are disposable and replaceable.

astrogirl said...

Just want to agree that your dog ADORES you. Patience and remembering you are the one who needs to understand how your dog thinks, not the other way round, will speed the training process.

Positive reinforcement trumps correction any day.

Stephanie said...

Thanks for explaining this!! I thought everyone knew that he used those tools in really bad cases (although not the punching, but did the specify more about the punch? Cos if one's being attacked by a dog I can see them punching to stop it) cos they show the collars on the show. Some of those dogs are so freaking aggressive, it is use the tool or put the dog down. In the end, he has saved many dogs from certain death.

Lori Wilson said...

NOT something I wanted to hear about a guy who's show I've watched from the get-go! Well, at lease most of us learned something from him and my dogs are better for it!

babo said...

Thank you everyone for the info !!
I picked a few interesting tricks for Benr Benr (aka Dumb Dumb in English), my Pekinese.

elspeth said...

God, i love this site! Read the posts, use your intelligence and filtering systems, and learn from it.

Oh, and by the way, trolls, some racism showed up here [if you want to interpret it that way]. Want to try to blow it up and ruin the post? Have at it while the rest of the normal people read the great responsive posts, and we scroll past yours.

Also, and i guess this is OT [for the benefit of the OT police: just SCROLL], any suggestions re a very vocal herding dog? Any way to lessen her barking? And i know it's normal for them to bark a LOT. So i'm fine living w/it, but would appreciate anyone's input into how to minimize it. But i'm happy to live w/her the way she is. Talk about sweet as melting butter and honey. So the barking is no big deal if it can't be avoided.

Lola said...

Elsbeth, I mentioned above that I use a citronella collar. When my dog barks, it sprays a burst of citronella. He can still whine and grumble easily. They work great for many dogs, others, not so much. I wouldn't necessarily leave it on all the time and over the long run, it will work better with a verbal reprimand and positive reinforcement. Some dog breeds are just barkers. I had a Keeshond (which were originally bred to guard barges) and he barked all of the time...He was doing his "job". On the other hand, my rat terrier will lay on the bed and bark at the wall...I think he likes the sound of his own voice.

You might also try a Kong toy filled either with yogurt, and then frozen or with peanut butter. The animal behaviorist I work with likens this to a video game for your dog (if you can't fix...distract).

Tuxedo Cat said...

@Elspeth I have a cairn terrier (looks like like Toto in the Wizard of Oz) who also likes to bark at nothing. When he was a puppy, he was very grabby and barky. I read a tip about putting your hand around their muzzle gently immediately after they start barking. He eventually learned to control himself...I love my Cairn, but they seem to bark at nothing. He's 26 pounds and on a diet! I have a rescued chihuahua also. I had sort of thought they were silly dogs before I had one - but my god what a character. He's a retired stud dog that was causing problems with the others (as in worn out, I think).

I'm not a troll, if you are referring to me. I've been posting for quite a while. It hurts me deeply when I see something that hurts another poster. If I don't mention it then I feel as if anyone reading the blog is going to think that no one cares about it and that all the threads are like that.

I am not trying to spoil the thread or the blog. I am just trying to point out when I think someone goes too far.

Panda80 said...

I wanted to comment, but instead I decided to curl up in the corner with a blanket and think of rainbows and baby unicorns.

HudsonJoe said...

I am going to give Cesar the benefit of doubt simply because he does seem to use a spectrum of techniques ending with negative reinforcement.

I am a real fan of poodles. They are a great breed that truly reflect their masters personality. If you know a poodles that is Yippy and neurotic; look to the owner.

In sum I am in the "Their are no bad dogs, only very bad dog owners.

Joe



anon said...

To clarify - I, myself, have never personally used either a shock nor a pincher collar. I have recommended the citronella collars to many people for barking and they've worked very well for the people I've recommended them to. I had next door neighbors whose dogs started barking the second they left in the morning. The one collar worked on both dogs as they used to stand right next to each other. It also worked just when they put it on the dog but it was empty. I have heard of dogs though that learn if they bark long enough with it on, that it will eventually run out of citronella. The smart ones - they're always the hardest to train!

Also, to Sandy who said: "He's trying to make money and animals are disposable and replaceable." THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE. Cesar is ALL ABOUT fixing dogs so they are able to stay in their homes. If you ever watched his show, he has also taken dogs from people who could not or would not change their (the people's) behavior to be the owner their dog needed and most times, he traded them and gave them a stable dog from his pack that was a better fit for them. If you see his pack at the Dog Psychology Center, they run free, interact with each other, there is no barking, the dogs certainly don't seem afraid of Cesar or any of the people who work there. That is a balanced pack - many of those dogs are there because they were dog aggressive or deemed unadoptable but all seem to live to live in harmony. I call BS - the results speak for themselves. That is a balanced pack of balanced dogs.

elspeth said...

L and T/C, Thank you for your suggestions. I'll try them beginning tomorrow :-)

Dogert said...

Can't say it better than I saw it here, so I'm borrowing someone else's words:
"1. He always pushes dogs ‘over threshold’ this is a state in which they are unable to learn, where they will react rather than think. This is a state in which they will not smell food or hear your voice because they are ready for fight or flight. They are using the back of the brain, not the front of the brain. As they are on the lead they can’t flee so they fight, and they fight until exhausted; physically, mentally and emotionally. This is when they shutdown. They aren’t ‘calm submissive’ they are scared and broken. Not only does he force the dogs to work so close to the stimuli they react to, he actually whips them up into frenzy prior to filming…well it makes good telly doesn’t it? Can you imagine the psychological damage just one session with this man must do to a dog?
2. His fanbase always use the ‘but he stops dogs being euthanized’ line. Well so do thousands of positive reinforcement trainers and behaviorists all over world. They do it quietly, with no drama, no aversives, no pain and no fear. They change how the dog feels about the stimulus, they change the emotional response. Change the emotional response and the behavior changes itself. The dog will no longer react not because he is too scared to but because he has no need to anymore. However this does not make good TV, sitting watching a person and a dog watching other dogs from a distance while the dog is reinforced for watching the aforementioned dogs and not reacting, would not get a slot on Nat Geo.
3. He has taken things that do not belong to him, his name for one. The original Dog Whisperer is a man called Paul Owens. http://beyondcesarmillan.weebly.com/paul-owens—dog-whisperer.html
4. His fans justify his violence by stating that some of his methods are fine. NO. The acceptable advice he gives is not ‘his’, it is basic, kindergarten stuff that good trainers have been advising for many years before CM came on the scene. You cannot justify the use of choke, prong and shock collars, hitting kicking and asphyxiating, by advising a dog has plenty of exercise and mental stimulation! If a father beat his children to get the behavior he wanted, you would not say ‘yes I know but they are so well behaved and he does make sure they eat 5 different fruit and vegetables a day so he’s not all bad’ Would you?
5. I have been informed that his clients have to sign a watertight agreement to not discuss with the press etc. any fallout that may occur as a result of his training. He has a huge legal team that protects him from the results of his methods. Ask yourself this. If a surgeon asked you to sign a contract stating that if the surgery goes wrong you will remain quiet, not complain , not seek any compensation and certainly not go to the press, how confident would you be in the surgeons capabilities and would you let them operate on your child?

Dogert said...

6. The fact that he is so successful and on TV means people copy him. They systematically tsst, jerk, kick and choke their dogs with no understanding of the effect it is having. They are waiting until their dogs screw up and then punishing them for it. Worse still they are paying for stamp and jerk shock jock trainers to do this and not questioning it because Cesar does it; it’s on TV, so it must be ok. Even sadder is that it doesn’t occur to them that it isn’t working. If a year down the line you are still jerking on the lead and tsssting your dog to get a ‘leave’ or a ‘quiet’ then your dog has not learned not to steal the cat food or bark at the postman, he has learned it’s safe to do it until you tssst. Tsshhhhttt, how I hate that noise! How would you feel if you whole working life was spent with your boss correcting you with a startling noise but never showing you how to do it properly, never giving you the chance to get it right first?? Would it affect your confidence? Damn skippy it would.
7. I believe the ignorant use of his methods leads to many dogs being given up to rescue with behavioral issues or put to sleep. Kicking or poking a dog in an aroused state is likely to make them snap or bite. Leash snapping, kicking and poking a dog that reacts to others dogs, humans, cars etc. is, over time, going to increase the reactivity and level of response to that particular stimulus. Violence begets violence.
8. Cesar would have you believe that your dog is trying to be dominant when all your dog is doing is being a dog. Dogs’ natural behaviors are all very undesirable in our world. Digging, resource guarding, humping, chewing, barking. They don’t come pre-programmed to live in our world A dog that pulls on a lead is not being dominant it is keen to get where it’s going and has not been taught to walk at our slow and boring pace. A herding dog that is trying to control movement is not being dominant but is showing the behavioral traits we have bred into them over thousands of years. Neither of these dogs needs ‘putting in their place’. This won’t teach them anything. A punishment will subdue the behavior but it isn’t a cure.
9. When discussing CM someone will always say ‘but there are different methods, not all dogs are the same’. ABSOLUTELY, couldn’t agree more… yet Cesar always uses the same method – flooding and positive punishment (positive = adding; punishment=something that stops a behavior). He takes nothing into consideration; he does no preparation and does not even suggest a visit to the vets in aggression cases. The aggression could be a result of pain or hyperthyroidism for example. There are many different ways to train a dog or change a behavior that do not involve pain, fear or coercion.

Dogert said...

10. He has no peer support. Not one qualified animal behaviorist supports his methods, and by qualified I mean properly qualified to degree level at least, not ‘Pete Smith’ who trained as a dog handler for the Met in ’82. In fact many speak out against his methods, quoting them as dangerous and harmful. His supporters consist of people who have no knowledge of dog psychology other than Cesar’s own warped ideas. He watched the dogs round his grandfather’s farm, how is that an education? How does that stand up against years of specific research in different environments?
Hush now, I can hear the Cesar faithful muttering the name Dr Ian Dunbar. I met Ian Dunbar last year. Yes he did contribute to Cesar’s book BUT at the time he believed that as Cesar had such a huge following it would be an opportunity to present the benefits of positive reinforcement training to a wider audience.
11. He doesn’t listen to dogs; he doesn’t allow them to communicate with him. They throw so many signals at him and he ignores every one of them until he makes the dog fail, so he can punish. Here the dog is giving calming signals right left and center and is punished for doing so. The dog is obviously stressed in the extreme and note at the end not only is there a yelp but the dog is wearing a second collar, draw your own conclusions.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps8g86khGFE
12. He talks about dominance and pack leaders. The dominance myth has been debunked. He is scientifically incorrect. He is wrong.
13. And what about the professionals he influences, people you entrust your dog to, dog groomers, dog walkers, vet nurses? Would you truly be happy with a dog walker that kicked your dog to ensure he saw her as the pack leader?"
-Amanda Collins

A punch is a punch. Unless it is a life or death situation (and I'm not talking euthanasia) it is unacceptable.
Are the dogs really that bad? No he works them up for TV which he admits. If he is saving so many lives than why does he require everyone involved to sign such strict non disclosure agreements? Well one person has a story to tell despite this.
http://www.thecrossovertrainer.com/one-persons-experience-with-the-dog-whisperer/
Anyone who still believes in him after all this needs to read some history, you can start here: http://www.examiner.com/article/the-milgram-experiment-and-how-it-relates-to-dog-training

AJW said...

Using a pinch collar is in every way as psychologically damaging as using a shock collar. (www.adogsview.net/typesofcollars) there is not a single scientific independent study done that shows those things are anything but harmful. Not a single one. This is why they've been banned in so many countries. They fit the criteria for abuse.
You know what else fits the criteria for abuse? Hitting a dog. I've trained hundreds of dogs (including aggressive ones) and have never been bit. Why? Because I don't use abusive methods to train them.
Using a shock collar or prong collar on an aggressive dogs shows a lack of understanding about dogs, behaviour or psychology.

AJW said...

Using a pinch collar is in every way as psychologically damaging as using a shock collar. (www.adogsview.net/typesofcollars) there is not a single scientific independent study done that shows those things are anything but harmful. Not a single one. This is why they've been banned in so many countries. They fit the criteria for abuse.
You know what else fits the criteria for abuse? Hitting a dog. I've trained hundreds of dogs (including aggressive ones) and have never been bit. Why? Because I don't use abusive methods to train them.
Using a shock collar or prong collar on an aggressive dogs shows a lack of understanding about dogs, behaviour or psychology.

AJW said...

Sorry for the double post

PattyLou said...

Very well said! Go Cesar, you are my hero!

Martin said...

so its ok for two dogs to tear each other apart with their teeth and claws but not ok for a human to use shock or a pinch to show a dog that the behavior they are showing is not acceptable?...so would it be ok if i bit my dog instead of pinching?...people really dont think sometimes, just because we are mentally stronger than a "animal" doesnt mean we can talk the animal into not doin something negative. Without some kind of negative consequence such as yelling or other method that causes somewhat of pain you can not possibly teach any animal including humans that its not ok to do what they are doing.Even if it is as simple as taking a dogs bone away because he/she would not come when you called, that causes pain (its like me taking your phone away because you did not answer when work called, how are you going to afford a phone if you dont have job?) so depending on the severity of the "crime" should depend on the severity of the punishment weather your human or a dog.