Cesar Millan

plantphreak_caOctober 17, 2006

Some people love this guy. Some people think he's a showman whose methods are are at best ineffective and at worst harmful to dogs. Any opinions? For the record, I'm inclined towards the latter opinion. I don't think that physical correction is a good training method. I much prefer the "ignore the dog until it's doing what you want" approach, although in a desperate situation like a bad fight I would probably resort to physical intervention.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ignore the dog until its doing what you want is a good approach for most well behaved dogs.... however use that approach on a hyper or aggressive dog and it will get you no where....

The technique one uses on their dogs depends upon the personality of the dog... I've had dogs where I had to use physical correction ... but I've probably had many more dogs where positive reinforcement and voice was all that was necessary.

Each and every dog is different and so is each and every dog owner - the training needs to match the dog.

I was a bit pissy with one of the adoptive groups because they refuse to training collars on a particular dog. Their approach to postive reinforcement is to be commended, except for some dogs, they need to make an exception. And when they refuse to make an exception, they now have a dog who will be harder to adopt because they could never get him to walk nice on a leash. I think after several weeks of failed leash training, they should have switched to a training collar on this one particular dog - and they didn't. To this day, I don't know if he ever got adopted or if he was euthanized.
My perception of that shelter totally changed. They were too stubborn to switch training methods rather than to do what was best for that dog.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 8:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The methods I have tried with my dogs have worked. All the information I can give you is through personal experience. I have used Ceasar's way of letting you go out the door first, and my dog was afraid of wood floors. They worked, so I believe in him. I know I haven't used alot of his training methods, but I bought his book and would not hesitate to use it. I just don't have aggressive dogs, they are way laid back, thank God, so are my husband and I.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 10:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think some of his ideas are interesting.As joepyeweed said no one method is going to work for every dog and a lot of the dogs I've seen on his show leave me with the impression that the aggression and just plain bad behavior has been allowed to go on for so long that kinder gentler methods are just not going to have much effect on the dogs. With some dogs you just have to let them know the rules have changed and it's MY WAY now.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 10:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"I don't think that physical correction is a good training method". Pack animals use "physical correction" naturally in the wild.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 1:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Depends on what you mean by physical correction. Physical correction to some means beating the sh** out of the dog out of frustration. Accomplished nothing except a good beating and a sore hand for the person handing out the correction. Also, naturally in the wild the physical correction is not between humans and animals it is animals amongst animals.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 3:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Physical correction in dog training language can range anywhere between a quick jerk on a training collar to an alpha dog roll.

Beating the sh*t out of a dog is NOT any part of physical correction, nor is it ever recommended.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 3:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Please do not take what I said out of context. Physical correction and abuse are two different scenarios. I do not believe in abuse and I believe the laws are not strict enough when it comes to animal abuse.

I like the method of training Cesar Millan uses coupled with the fact he genuinely loves dogs. His idea of using a backpack worked wonders on my St.Bernard/Lab. I don't consider the physcial corrections he's used, on the episodes I've watched, as constituting any type of abuse.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 4:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

joepyeweed - not at all familiar with Ceasar Milan nor his training specifics. I was wondering what the physical correction was. Thanks for clarifying. Also, what's an alpha dog roll?

todancewithwolves - what does he do with the backpack?

Is this the guy on tv who trains the celeb dogs like Oprah and Will Smith's dogs?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 4:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I wouldn't recommend an Alpha Roll. I've never had to use it.

Generally a good trainer should be able to (not that they would need to) get a dog into a submissive position without physically forcing the animal over.

Wikepedia has a good discussion of the tecnique. I do reccomend reading the discussion tab.

Here is a link that might be useful: Alpha Roll

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 6:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I disagree with the OP... Cesar's "methods are are at best ineffective and at worst harmful to dogs." As a dog trainer (25+ yrs) I have the utmost respect for Cesar. Actually he is much less physical than most trainers are when dealing with "red zone" agressive dogs. Hands down he is the fairest and most respectful trainer I have personally seen.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 9:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have never had a dog trained by a professional trainer, I have always worked with the dogs I had/have, all different. But my thought is that I *don't want to be Alpha in a dog-pack*, I am the human care-giver, I demand respect and manners. That doesn't have to do anything with going out of the door first, eating first or anything like that.
I like my dog to go out the door first - there may be a skunk, a montain lion or a bear out there, if I am Alpha, do I have to deal with them to protect my pack?
Eating first - I go and eat out, dog doesn't know that, so I come home and feed the dog - dog thinks it got fed first - unless I breathe restaurant breath on them?
I say this with a bit of tongue in cheek, but those methods are just a bit too dog-matic IMHO
My dogs do want to please me, so they do what I ask.
I never has aggressive dogs and choose not to have them, so I am not an expert on that.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 11:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Labmomma, By your screen name I assume you must have Labs :-) I have a Labrenard, his father was a Lab, mom a St. Bernard. Both breeds are classified as working dogs. My boy is difficult to walk because of his huge size. Cesar suggested placing a backpack on working breeds as it gives them a sense of doing a job. When I put the backpack on him he became a calmer dog instantly and so much easier to walk. I put a few books in the backpack for weight. He loves his new job :-)

This is the monster I'm speaking of

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 12:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OMG! I love him. He could probably carry a set of encyclopedias!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 1:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"ignore the dog until it's doing what you want"

Yikes, a certain formula for an uncontrollable dog. That is exactly how most problem dogs developed their ingrained bad habits.

IMHO Cesar is a showman. That doesn't mean some of his methods won't work sometimes. In the end it all boils down to this: some owners cannot communicate with their animals. Cesar can communicate with the animal but the minute he's gone, the poor dog is back to being at the mercy of ignorant owner. Is the problem fixed? NO. Some people should own goldfish. Fish seldom have obedience issues.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 3:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

todancewithwolves - your dog is adorable. Yes, I have 3 yellow labradors, 2 male, 1 female, ages 3,5 and 12 respectively.

I had a St. Bernard mix growing up. Love all animals.

I wish I could figure out how to post pictures of my guys, maybe my DD could show me. BTW, what is it with the leather? I can't keep my guys off the sofa either. All that yellow hair on black leather. Then they look at you like you are crazy when you ask who's been on the couch, duh the hair is a dead giveaway.

How much does your dog weigh and what's his name he's beautiful. Great idea about the back pack. Did it work right away? Thanks for posting his picture!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 3:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Monsters' real name is Quinton, he's 4, a big drooley lap dog. Although he looks much larger he only weights a 145 lbs . The backpack worked immediately. He's hyper like a Lab but has the endurance of a Saint. He just about yanks my arm out when we go for walks. The backpack slowed him down and he proudly walks right along side me now. I added the site below in case you were interested.

As for posting pics, it's so simple. Set up a free photobucket account at photobucket.com. Download pictures from your digital camera into photobucket. Copy and paste the 'TAG' text into your posts. I'd love to see your Labs.


Here is a link that might be useful: Backpacks for dogs

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 6:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Edna, you were right. With my daughter coaching me I put four pictures in a photobucket.com account. First pic is of Lowell,

photobucket.com/" target="_blank"> This is Lowell looking like he has "middle child" syndrome. He is 5 born on Flag Day!
Chester is next. He's the youngest, age 3.

Martha, my old girl who will be 12 Nov. 18th.

The gang!

All of these pictures were taken last year when we celebrated Martha's 11th birthday.

Sorry, but I didn't know how to reduce these pictures.

Thanks for the photobucket.com heads up.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 7:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Aaawwwwwwwwww! They are beautiful! That Chester is a stud :-) I love Martha's lips and Lowell looks like a big softy.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 8:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the nice comments. These guys are truly like my kids. We only have one child, but with 3 dogs and 3 cats I really have 7 children, oh and the husband makes 8 total :-)

We rescued Martha at 3 mos., Lowell was my 40th b-day present and he and I share a special relationship. Chett wasn't planned and came after the let down after the holidays a couple of years ago. He is by far the "best" looking specimen of the three. Chester and Lowell, are in fact, half brothers. They have the same mom, but look different.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 8:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Cesar rehabilitates dogs and trains people. However, his total focus is on the handling of the dog, almost to the point an owner has little other free time. I have raised and trained my own dogs for 50 years. Most of his methods are solidly based in normal dog behavior and work just fine. Most of my dogs were hand picked as pups and did not require exceptional training techniques. I now have two young dogs which have tested me and my abilities. A 2 year old Rottweiler/German Shepherd mix I rescued is the oldest and was what Cesar called a red zone dog. He was part of a mom/3 daughter family who loved Max, but had no control at all over him. He got so excited so quickly, he would bite himself. He would not come near a man, and treated women as subserviant pack members.

Using Cesar's methods of reprogramming a dog, Max is now much better. He and I had several sessions where I made him do something---like get off the couch---and he would ignore me, then snap when I touched him. I never touched the dog in anger and never punished him by hitting----simply used my superior size to get him to submit---all without touching mor speaking to the dog.

Louie is the second dog---I always keep two---helps the pack concept. I got Louie at 6 weeks---his mom is a chocolate lab and I was told by the moms owner his dad was a Border collie. As Louie grew, it was evident dad was not a collie of any kind, but a pit bull. Turned out to be another unusual challenge---Louie is the kind of dog that has no middle ground---he is either full on or off. And when he gets 'on' it is quite difficult to get his attention or divert his focus. That is scary as if that sort of behavior is not directed ptoperly, the result can be and usually is the kind of dog that makes headlines.

I also have five grandchildren who come and stay weekends and love dogs. The dogs have rules---and the kids have rules---no chasing games allowed. Too much like hunting---both dogs get too aggressive. The dogs know the kids are pack leaders---even the one year old. She can put a dog down just by pointing and grunting. Or curl up beside either dog and sleep.

Pack mentality and treating the dog as it needs to be treated. Just like in nature. I play tug of war with Louie---he can actually hurt me when he shakes the tug rope. But, he stops immediately on command. Any time. And we play that way---I always stop the game once or twice. He gets to win as well---he always immediately asks for more play---never takes the rope off by himself.

I cannot walk the dogs as much as necessary, so I train them to exercise themselves while I am with them---as the pack leader.

My last dogs did not need this level of attention. That is an individual thing. Cesar recommends each dog be treated as an individual. His methods are more natural and they work---as long as owners understand the reasons and the program. He does not train for Sit, Stay, or Fetch. He trains for acceptable behavior.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 12:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just to be fair, Cesar only uses the alpha roll on agressive dominant dogs. As he says only equal or greater energy will be able to break through to a dog's mind when it is in the "Red Zone". The problem with the Alpha Roll is that it is often used improperly (when the animal is not in a super-agressive state) and can put great amounts of fear into the animal. Cesar defends his methods as instinctual rather than intellectual and this makes sense. In wild packs the alpha roll is not used haphazardly but is used to essentially bring a pack-member back in line when they step over the boundary. It is akin to demoting a soldier who disobeys his commander.

On animals that are not in an agressive state of mind such as dogs with hyperactive minds or obsessive minds he will use a tap to the rear of the dog (not a kick, kicking a dog is wrong) to snap them out of their current target and back onto the will of you, their Pack Leader. Also he uses the association of sound "TSST" and what he calls "dominant" or "calm assertive energy" to bring the dog into submission.

I personally have had to use the Alpha Roll on hyper-agressive dogs and if done properly they will snap out of that state and it is rare that they ever return to that state around you. If done improperly people can do it over and over because it "didnt work" and this will cause many mental problems with the dog because they dont associate your roll as a correction anymore but rather as an attempt to kill them. In agressive dogs this causes them to be MORE agressive and in passive dogs it can cause them to urinate uncontrollably when they see you.

As with any corrective measure you should always consult a professional before attempting it. And remember that the dog is your best friend and should be treated with respect but should always remember that you the human are Pack Leader.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 6:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Millan knows dog psychology. I learned the hard way that dogs are animals and not furry humans.

My mixed Scotty, who is 18 yrs. old now, taught me a hard lesson when he was a pup. I rescued him from the animal shelter at 6 mo. old. I brought him home and my husband and I made sure to spoil him rotten. We didn't realize he was a "terrier." He ate my shoes, the remote control, the plants, ran out the front door every time it opened, etc., etc. I brought him to obedience school and learned he thought he was the pack leader. He went through obedience school and graduated an entirely different dog. I am a firm believer that all dogs needs training. Unfortunately 99% of dogs turned into animal shelters are done so because people do not train their dog.

A happy dog is one who knows his place. In the wild they have a place in their pack and that's what they need, guidance and training. Ceasar is wonderful!! I know he is helping thousands of dogs and humans that means less might end up in shelters.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 10:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am glad that he has brought the importance of dog obedience training out into public conversation.

I have to say, though...most of his methods have been taught for decades. When I was a teenager, that is how the classes were taught...When I taught dog obedience, we also taught these same methods.

His theories are not new or even original...but I am glad the methods are becoming commonplace.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 3:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am a dog trainer and use some of Cesar methods and other methods depending on the dog and the problem. I do have to use an Alpha Roll on occasion with my Golden/Bermese Mountain dog mix. Unfortunatley she was not socialized much in her first couple of years due to repeated major hip surgeries. She will start to get so hyper and aggressive sometimes on walks that I just tell her down and over, which means lay flat on your side. She hates it
and people probably think my dog just got hit by a car but I have spinal fusion and it's easier than using the choke correction to bring her back in line sometimes.
Of course if my husband didn't get her so excited all of the time on purpose I wouldn't have this much trouble either, but that's a whole other story!
Choke chains used properly are humane, much better than letting a dog keep pulling and choking itself on a regular collar! There are also "act of GOD" corrections that work great, make the trash can correct the dog by balancing a bowl of water on it. This way they dog gets soaked with water and corrected when you are not there so the dog doesn't keep spreading trash all over the house. OF course doesn't work on all dogs, just like people they are all a bit different. But the pack does use force and aggression for correction all of the time, we are the dogs pack leaders. I don't mean hit your dog, just the types of correction that Cesar advocates.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 10:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"Choke chains used properly are humane, much better than letting a dog keep pulling and choking itself on a regular collar! There are also "act of GOD" corrections that work great, make the trash can correct the dog by balancing a bowl of water on it. This way they dog gets soaked with water and corrected when you are not there so the dog doesn't keep spreading trash all over the house."

Would never train my dogs with a choke chain, just my own opinion.

I am not sure what you are meaning by the act of God corrections, regarding the trash.

Trash cans were a big issue in our house of 3 dogs for a long time. In finally invested in all stainless Can Works trash cans. I have the large in the kitchen and small in both baths. Never have had a trash issue since. Granted, they are an investment, but I have had them for years now and they are well worth every cent I paid for them. They also look nice as well.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 10:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Everyone has there one training method. An "Act of God" correction is basically setting a safe bobby trap to startle a dog, nothing that could hurt them. Another example is for the counter thief dog. You set up two soda cans with small pebbles in them and a fishing line wrapped around them. Place this on top of your kitchen counter where your dog is jumping up. Dog trips the "booby trap" is CORRECTED by the COUNTER for his unwanted behavior not
by you. This way it doesn't do this when no one is around. Of course not leaving food in reach is the obvious choice but I have known dogs to go after ANYTHING on a counter because of getting good food off of it one time. It starts to become about the dogs safety too in that case.
The cans are not heavy enough to hurt the dog, although I only recommend doing this when your home in another room so that your dog doesn't get tangled up in the fishing line.

As for the trash can example. Of course you can buy trash cans that close, this was something I learned years ago before the new stainless ones were available. It was something that I used on one of my dogs and worked great. The water bowl is just balanced on the edge of the can, metal or plastic not large enough to hurt the dog. The dog tries to get in the can and gets some water on it's head. Of course only good in areas where you have tile, etc. on the floor.

Or for keeping cats off of counters you put aluminum foil on it for a few days. They jump up and don't like the sound or feeling. Personally my cats pretty much rule the roost!!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 4:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think these are good ideas.

We are having trouble with one of my guys stealing food left on the counter. We usually clear the counters. Unfortunately, every now and then something is forgotten and he gets something. Yesterday it was a whole batch of banana muffins DD baked the nite before.

The cans and fishing line sound like a great idea for pets who just want to get anything off the counter.

I am trying to teach the human animals that they have to be careful to put their food where the food thief can't get to it LOL. Any suggestion???

The two youngest have "broken" into my daughter's bedroom which is cordoned off by a baby gate in order to get to Halloween candy that they know is in there. I could just scream at times, but it seems like DD is usually the one doing the screaming.

Thanks for the explanations. I am going to get out the aluminum foil tomorrow morning and train those darn cats...

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 6:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your welcome, hope it helps.
The dogs don't see the fishing line because it's placed back just out of site. So maybe it would save some muffins in the future:)
Another one I love to use is a spray bottle when the dog doesn't see, you have to be REAL sneaky! I was pet sitting a friends large dog and it was over interested in my parrot so I sprayed it once like it was coming from the parrot. The dog gave that cage a WIDE birth from then on! It probably thought the parrot spit at it or something.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 6:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like the little tiny squirt guns that can be cancealed in the palm of your hand. Unfortunately, I've yet to find a good one. The cheap ones leak and are usually empty when I need them. Needless to say, I still have cats getting on the counters. My dogs are good though. They just wait for the cats to drop something if they find anything.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 6:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

All of my friends and family who are moms, feel the same about the dogs. Whatever the kids drop, we call the dogs over. For the longest time, I thought I was the only one, then I was visiting someone's home and low and behold, they were doing the exact thing. I always love things that serve a multi-purpose:)

I am going to get one of those mini squirt guns. beenanne, have you checked Toys-R-Us?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 7:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've yet to find a small squirt gun that doesn't leak either! I use the the spray bottles that are about 4-5 inches tall.
My dogs are the best floor vacs in the world, why else have dogs!! They come running to the kitchen when ever they hear me say oh "S@*T" meaning something good just fell on the floor. I think they come better to that swear word sometimes than just being called to come!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 7:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The spray bottle works in a way because as soon as I reach for it, the cat takes off. He just doesn't seem to learn from it. I think the sneak attack with the gun is more effective if the cat doesn't know where it's coming from and I actually get him wet. This one particular cat seems to be getting worse in his old age. I thought when we moved he might change if I kept on him right from the start, but it didn't take long for him to revert to his old habits. It's not that I leave leftovers or scraps out very often to tempt him. The counters can be sparkling clean and he still has to jump up there and check things out.
I'm going to look around again for a good squirt gun next time I'm out shopping. I also may try the aluminum foil trick, but with him I think I would have to have it on there permanently. I'm not sure if there is a Toys-R-Us around here, but we have Wal-Mart.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 5:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I been raising, training & showing several breeds of dogs for over thirty years. One so called easy breed (Golden Retriever) and two tough ones (Siberians & Shibas).

I have watched all of Cesars shows with my husband , bought his book for my husbands birthday and took my husband to see Cesar in Pleasanton, CA recently.
We are very impressed with most of his methods and have adopted numerous ones that work at home, in class and out in public. In obedience school we are trained totally differently too. Hard nose. That's won't work with a Shiba. All Shibas are different from each other even.

You need to study & try all the methods and see what works for you & your dog & situation. We make sure all Shiba pups go through clicker puppy kindergarten and then on to conformation & obedience classes ever week for life. Yes every week for life. They love it. We never have serious issues with our dogs (while at work they are in the house)because we are disciplined on taking them for walks or to the park every single day.
I think what he has done is great & what he is continuing to do is super. No one is perfect and we learn as we go along.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 6:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I understand Cesar's the man when it comes to misbehaved dogs, but don't you think he's got like a monopoly now... Wanted to let forum know I found this cool site on craigslist... Let's see Cesar train these dogs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Things My Dog Ate

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 11:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey, I was on Rock the Vote's website today, and saw one of my faves Caesar Millan had a video on there! I had no idea he was sponsoring Rock the Vote.

Anyway, just thought I'd share!

Here is a link that might be useful: Caesar Millan Rocks the Vote

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 12:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think he's great! I've never seen him hurt a dog. I love to watch his show because I'm a little afraid of dogs, and I like to see them properly trained. After watching his show, I'm amazed at how many badly behaved dogs I see, including my neighbor's giant Golden Retriever who jumps on me and frisks like a puppy when he weighs probably 150. Yikes.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 9:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Training dogs means teaching non traditiuonal tricks and obedience.

Caesar is a behaviorist, he simply corrects bad behavior by using the same methods the wild pack would use.

I rescued a dog his system considers a 'Red Zone' dog. Max does not do tricks---he does sit as part of his rehabilitation and understands corrections by voice or gesture. I have not trained him, I corrected his antisocial behavior.

I now have a rescue with the opposite problem---too scared and timid. This dog is actually more difficult to rehabilitate---she shuts down when stressed just a little. It took me three weeks to teach 'sit' and I still cannot get too happy---too much excitement shuts her down. I have to correct her psyche before I can do anything else---like training.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 10:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree timid is harder to work with than aggressive.

Lots of patience to just get to a point of acceptance...

    Bookmark   November 4, 2008 at 3:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As with anything else we do moderation is the best answer. take some of his tips which you like and discard the others. The most important thing I think he teaches is that a trained dog is more fun to be around than an untrained dog. I have lucked out with my last shelter rescue, he came to us fully trained. I should say incredibly trained. He is a hunting dog who someone put many hours or spent many dollars into his training before discovering his fear of loud noises and then abandoning him. Our dog came to us boundary trained, will go on a sit stay at any spot on command, will drop anything on command and on and on. All we needed to learn is the command he knew. This dog is a dream to have in the home and on our many travels. I will never have a dog which is not trained this well again.

Here is a link that might be useful: traveling and cooking with grandpa

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 12:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Different dogs need different methods I have found. I really like him in that he does most of his training on the people - and getting them to change their psychology towards their dogs. REALLY helpful in that he gets them to think like their dog. I like him a lot.

Personally when we were training our doggie we used "barbara wodehouse" remember her? The brit - it worked well on our dog.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 11:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


My DH does the BEST Barbara Wodehouse impersonation.

Remember how she believed that dogs like hearing the "w" sound? "WHat a good dog!"

I am finding that if I take a little from one trainer, a bit from another, and stick to WHAT MAKES SENSE for each dog, things work best. There is a Detroit dog trainer named "Vladdy" who trained a bunch of local celebrities' dogs (in Detroit, a celeb is often a Red Wing player). He has a business here and sells DVDs. He is similar to Caesar (just with a different accent!). He calls his system Leadership training. I used some ideas like body blocking with success. It is showing that you are the leader by controlling the dog's space. I think Cesar may use this too, I have not seen him lately, The part of Vladdy's system that I have disregarded is the use of a prong collar. With my problem dog, I don't want to aggravate his neck pain by using it.

I also try to remember to use Nothing In Life Is Free - the dog has to DO something to get food, attention, etc.

I also am having success with controlling where he is. I have found that if I allow him in the kitchen only after I tell him it is okay, he thinks I am in control and it is easier to get him to listen if he jumps up on the counter. I can tell by the sounds that he has jumped up, without even looking. I tell him "off!" and he thinks I have eyes in the back of my head. It does work most of the time. Now if I could only train DH to do these things, too. That is the hardest part!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 12:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I went to the Wikipedia site that Joepyeweed recommended (two years ago!) and found it very interesting. I liked the discussion side, too, and want to link to this page that someone linked to.

In this article, Dr. Dunbar describes what I see in my small dog pack. I present it as another way of interpreting the behavior we see with our dogs.

Any comments?

Here is a link that might be useful: From an interview with Dr. Ian Dunbar

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 12:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"Choke chains used properly are humane, much better than letting a dog keep pulling and choking itself on a regular collar!

20 years ago, I had a golden that we'd gotten as a 6 week old pup. She was a sweet girl, but she had a spirit that just wouldn't quit. A choke collar had absolutely no effect on her. We used to chain her up to a huge oak tree in the back yard with the choke collar, and she'd get up tight to the tree, and then run full bore to the end of it, time after time after time until she'd snap it. In order to keep her tied up, I practically had to put a towing chain on her! At her vet's recommendation, we let her have one litter, and it calmed her right down, But the point is her neck was literally raw from lunging against that collar. It didn't phase her in the least. That's the last time I every used a choke collar, and I've had 4 dogs since, including the rescue tricolor collie I have now.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 9:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Labs and goldens have really big necks (compared to their body) and they have a lot of fat tissue in their neck (so they can break through icy water to retrieve a duck)... choke collars aren't really effective on them - especially when used incorrectly.

A choke collar should be held up high against the back of the ears, not down low where you generally see them...and they shouldn't be used to tie a dog out.

Of course 20 years ago, people thought of pets a lot differently than they do now. I don't think a modern vet would give you that same advice today.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 7:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

To Nancy---that article is exactly how I train/handle my dogs. I am Alpha, but it is by demonstration, I never saw any productiveness in 'rolling/downing a dog. All the training of aggressive dogs I have done is done without touching the dog at all during correction---all done by posture---even voice correction is not needed initially.

Fear training is counterproductive.

I am finding out there really is a difference between pack 'rules' between males and females. Almost all of my training in aggressive dogs has been with males. I now have a very submissive female and have to toss out most of my procedures used with aggressive males. Luckily, I worked with a vet years ago who taught me some basic techniques for this type of dog---and I can extrapolate much of what I need to do from watching her progress and using the things thyat work.

My male has looked at ne oddly on occasion as I interacted with the female---as I have never used that tone of voice with him. (LOL)

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 10:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This thread is old but I now just came across it.

See the link posted to see what the REAL experts at the top of the dog psychology and behavior fields say about Cesar Millan. Experts backed by not only experience but education and training in this field, science, research and much more.

I have seen MANY a dog ruined by dominance, flooding, aversive and other harsh methods in my years of working with dogs. Ask any veterinary behaviorist, NOT self proclaimed behaviorists, about the dogs they've seen who have been dominated and flooded and bullied.

Cesar Millan interacted with dogs on his grandfather's farm as a CHILD, came over here and groomed dogs for a while and then started on his mission to dominate nearly every dog that he comes across. Somewhere along the way, he started calling himself an expert, a behaviorist and a dog psychologist. Why? Because he legally can, but not because he is qualified to do so.

Dogs are not wolves, they have had thousands of years of domestication and there are significant differences between them. Yet Cesar bases how he believes dogs behave on a faulty study done on wolves. The very person who conducted this study, Dr. David Mech came out and said that this study was faulty and not a basis for wolf behavior. Being that it's not a basis for wolf behavior and also since it needs to be factored in that dogs are not wolves, this study is NO basis for dog behavior at all.

To add to the list, research on feral dog populations around the world suggest that dogs do NOT form packs. If this is proven true, then it's further evidence that Millan is basing what he knows on fantasy, not fact.

I work with pit bulls. I work with dogs with severe behavorial issues. I keep dogs from being euthanized and I've never had to dominate, flood, bully or "whisper" to turn these dogs around and have them become good canine citizens.

A dog that is forced into shutting down is not an acceptable alternative to their having different behavior issues. No competent trainer or "rehabilitor" would seek to cause this.

Here is a link that might be useful: What the REAL experts say about Cesar Millan and

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 4:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've trained/rehabilitated dogs all my life. That is 50 years of experience.

I found myself , through trial and error, using many of Cesar's techniques.

If you want to train a dog to do tricks, the praise/reward system is almost mandatory.

However, to get a dogs behavior from unacceptable to acceptable, much of what Cesar advocates is the only way. Dogs are still very much pack animals. Where I live(Kansas City) experiences wild dog packs all the time.

I picked an extremely dominant/aggressive dog several years ago---what Cesar calls a Red Zone dog. Very dangerous. In six months, without hitting/touching the dog, without yelling or raising my voice, and without any reward/praise, changed his behavior from scary/uncontrolled/dangerous to obedient/happy/reliable. All done by body language/grunts(to indicate correction---NO! can be confusing to a dog, especially when NO! is used for children) and waiting for total submission before relaxing. Remember, I never touched the dog during those corrections. No rolling/etc. No leash---NO physical contact.

Then, I rescued his exact opposite---a female who was so scared/confused/starved she would literally not move. By using the same techniques---and with the males help---he and I brought her to the level she is now---fiercely protecting our house from all trash trucks, school buses, and certain motorcycles. She walks on a leash, I can actually make verbal corrections without her dissolving in a quaking mess on the floor. She got verbal praise for good actions and her bad habits were ignored. No treats, just verbal praise and affection.

My dogs act well because I show them, through my actions, what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.

Exactly how pack leaders do.

Oh, Max(the male) is not a pet. He is an employee. He is a well trained watch/protection dog. He gets affection and exercise. He is way too dominant to be treated as a pet.

Molly(the female) is a pet. She gets to sit on the couch, on my lap, and occasionally on the bed. But, she is submissive to Max.

Many of those 'experts' are only experts because they got formal training. Kinda like Dr. Spock---he was a trained 'expert' who totally screwed up an entire generation of kids.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 12:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A. Studies of feral dog populations around the world are showing that dogs don't form packs. Forcing dogs to live together in a home and the dogs having no choice but to coexist does NOT mean you have a pack.

B. If you need to jab a dog in the throat with a clawed hand, kick them in the groin or stomach (look up the definition for kick before you argue that it's not a kick), throw them to the ground and pin them there, lift them off the ground with a choke collar, choke them until their tongue turns blue from lack of oxygen, and all the other abusive nonsense (and that is JUST the physical abuse and none of the psychological abuse), then you don't know what you're doing AND you shouldn't be allowed around animals.

C. Aggression begets aggression. Study shows that confrontational and aggressive methods (such as those employed by Millan) lead to aggressive behavior in dogs:

Some videos to showcase the brillance that is Cesar Millan's "rehabilitation".

Strangulation until the dog's tongue turns blue:

Throwing a bunch of dogs together with behavioral issues and hoping for the best. Not being able to read dog body language to anticipate that a fight was obviously (to anyone who CAN read dog body language) going to occur or he would have been able to stop it as soon as the dogs started signaling their intent, which was WAY before Millan stepped in, he only stepped in once he hear the low growling:

Kicking of dogs: (Also features him placing a rabbit in a VERY high stress situation which can cause shock or a heart attack and sudden death in such sensitive animals)
(There are more kicking videos, just search for them.)

Either ignoring or not knowing how to read the appeasement signals the poor dog is desperately trying to give him and frightening the chicken to the point where she suddenly lays an egg due to stress:

Dragging a dog up the stairs by a choke chain without first advising owners to see if a medical issue is to blame for the dog not wanting to conquer the stairs (He NEVER advises owners to get a dog medically checked for aggression or other behavior problems, such as wanting to avoid slippery floors or stairs, which dogs with arthritis or dysplasia are prone to doing):

Forcing rough grooming on an obviously terrified dog without doing any counter conditioning because he'd rather force the dog to emotionally shut down and "submit" so he can claim "dominance":

Here he is teaching a dog redirected aggression with the aid of a shock collar:

His dangerous collar invention is designed to place the most force right at the location where the fragile hyoid bone is, posing huge potential for breaking the bone. He can't even teach simple loose leash walking without resorting to choking a dog:

Here he is full on smacking a dog with the heel of his hand, grabbing at the dog, wrestling the terrified dog to the ground and pinning him there, boasting about how this will made the dog "calm submissive" when the dog starts hyperventilating:

Here he is placing himself in huge danger due to his own incompetence. If he was able to read dog body language, then he would have seen the dog clearly warning him that he was about to attack. Anyone who knows what they're doing would have been able to avoid and redirect the attack:

Swinging dogs around by the skin of their necks. This is NOT how mother dogs pick up pups, they wrap their mouth around the entire neck, back or even place the head in their mouths. Adult dogs have a lot more weight bearing down on them than puppies do. This is NOT appropriate for adult dogs.

Here he is provoking dogs and laughing about it, also using a bait dog to help rile up dog aggressive dogs. The more he can work up these dogs into a fit, the worse they'll look and the more he can swoop in and pretend to be the hero:

Here he is placing a dog in danger by forcing him to stay close to a running lawnmower (that he is clearly, to anyone who can read dog body language, terrified of). If the lawnmower it's self doesn't harm the dog, then projectiles turned up from the mower's blade can severely injure or even kill a dog:

Not abuse but just proclaiming his ignorance on a ridiculous scale:

Claims that a dog is trying to "dominate" a cat when all he's trying to do is engage the cat in play. But Millan can't read dog body language so he doesn't know this. Then he says that the cat is trying to dominate the dog. Neither domestic cats, nor even their wild ancestors are pack animals and they don't "dominate":

Claims that a dog is trying to "dominate" a light of all things:

Uses very harsh handling with a Jindo, couldn't fix his behavior problems, actually made the dog worse and the owners later gave up the dog after working with Millan:

Millan never fails, or so his fans say, yet he has a "pack" of about 40 failures that he has to keep at his "psychology" center because he couldn't cure them of their behavior problems and they're unsuitable in a home.

Millan pulled some dogs out of a high kill shelter, couldn't fix their behavior problems (or find their owners which is neither here nor there) and so he returned them back to the high kill shelter to face possible euthanasia:

MANY dogs are euthanized every year because people take his advice and use his confrontational and aggressive methods on their dogs and their dogs' aggression becomes so bad that they become too dangerous for their owners. Many dogs become aggressive after people follow his advice and they get abandoned at shelters, returned to rescues and passed off to other people. I SEE IT FIRST HAND EVERY DAY.

Speak to ANY veterinary behaviorist or certified applied animal behaviorist and ask them about the many dogs they've had to work with after their owners Cesar Millaned them.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 1:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm not a professional trainer. I don't use all of his methods.

But, I have used many of his methods before he came along.

I have rehabilitated several dogs that were throwaways. Super aggressive dogs and almost completely scared dogs. I did not use the same techniques for any of them.

The biggest problem with animals is people. Most people have no idea of how to handle a dog and should not be allowed to own one. People treat a dog like a person and that is guaranteed failure.

Cesar is a huckster---he has found a way to make money.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 11:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Re using weights to tire a dog out - use different 'weights' for different dogs, of course. If you don't really know what purpose your dog was bred for way back when, do your research and find out so the amount of weight and the attachment method are appropriate for the breed and size of the dog. Some weights for some dogs can be as small as a filled 20-ounce water or soda bottle; other dogs need to pull a cart to tire them out and get them to settle down. 'Think' sled dogs, who pull tremendous weights at speed.

Cats, by nature need to be up high. It's their security. If you don't want them on certain things, you need to provide an alternative, such as a cat tree. They are expensive to buy, but if you are a DIY'er you can build one fairly inexpensively using recyclables.

A trick you can use on a cat to keep them off certain areas is to put a few pennies or nuts and bolts into an empty soda can and tape it shut. Then when they are in a prohibited area, toss the can near them. The noise will startle them and shoo them away. Or in the spray bottle you might add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to the full bottle of water.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 8:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

All you need to do to find out how inhumane and ineffective he is is educate yourself on how to CORRECTLY read dog body language from a valid source, then educate yourself on Martin Seligman's Learned Helplessness experiment and then watch his show with the sound off. Every single dog he works with is constantly throwing off consistant stress and appeasement signals. When he bullies them into what he calls "calm submission" it's nothing but a state of learned helplessness, just like Seligman's learned helplessness dogs. You wrestle a dog to the ground and pin them there for a length of time, the dog learns that escape attempts are futile and they shut down. They are NOT calm. Heavy panting, whale eyes, darting glances, lip licking and other signals are NOT the signs of a calm dog.

But Millan's fans consist of people who don't know how to read dog body language so of course they'd think that he's some kind of miracle worker. But anyone educated in dog body language and dog behavioral science sees through him and his methods.

He doesn't even understand dominance: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201202/social-dominance-is-not-myth-wolves-dogs-and-other-animals

Either you accept this or you don't. For your dog's sake, I hope you accept it and move on to more humane and kinder methods.

And the excuse that "tough" dogs needs tough methods is nonsense perpetrated by people who just can't train well enough so they have to resort to aversives. http://paws4udogs.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/myth-tough-dogs-need-tough-training/

You can tell the mark of a good trainer and behaviorist by how they work. If they can't get a dog to comply with what they ask unless they resort to force, fear, intimidation and pain, then they don't know what they're doing because you can accomplish ANYTHING, with even the most aggressive or misbehaved dogs, by positive reinforcement and redirecting or ignoring (when suitable) unwanted behaviors.

Confrontational methods such as his lead to increased aggression: http://companionanimalsolutions.com/blogs/confrontational-behavior-modification-techniques-and-the-risk-to-owners/

Punitive based methods don't teach the dog an alternative, acceptable behavior. All they do is they suppress a behavior and since the dog isn't taught a new way to deal with the issue, it often results in a brand new unwanted behavior. It's psychology 101.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 3:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here's a perfect example. He doesn't know the first thing about dog body language. And he's always ready to flood and abuse a dog.

He ACTUALLY says that "after he passes the psychological challenge, he sees that nothing bad is happening and all is great" WHILE the dog is panting like a freight train and is hunched down, trying to appear as small as possible. It also looks like he might be shaking but he's panting so hard that I can't tell for sure. Panting like this is a huge stress signal. It looks like the dog may also be hyperventilating.

Then he says that the leash is slack and the dog appears to come in while the leash is slack. I wonder why they cut scenes. What did they just hide? Of course they edited out further leash pulling because there's no way the dog got in on his own or Millan would look even more like the failure that he is.

Yet again, while there are major stress signals being given, Millan claims that the dog isn't sure but that he's enjoying it.

He tells the owner that if he wants to stop the forward motion (the dog trying to swim away), you just tilt him up. Well then why didn't it "stop the forward motion" like Millan said it would?

And then, this just takes the cake. He actually tells the owner to pretty much do an alpha roll IN THE POOL. He tells the owner to put the dog on his back when they're IN THE POOL. He says it's total trust. How is forcing the dog onto his back total trust??? That would take any remaining trust right out of a dog. Look at the huge whale eyes and tense face.

Here is a link that might be useful: Millan abusing a great dane

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 1:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dr. L. David Mech talks about the terms "alpha" and "beta" wolves and why they are no longer scientifically accurate.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dr. L. David Mech talks about the terms

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 5:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Why Millan fans still follow Millan despite all the scientific evidence showing why his advice is unsound and counterproductive.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Milgram Experiment and how it relates to dog training

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 5:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Exposed for the fraud that he is. Millan buckles under television host that sticks real questions to him and doesn't kiss up for once.

Here is a link that might be useful: Alan Titchmarsh Takes On Cesar Millan

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 5:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Being exposed again for a huckster. He tries to drown out the host's voice in this one. Interview starts at 34:29.

Here is a link that might be useful: BBC Radio 4

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 5:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Last one. Learn about domestic dog body language from this series from Dr. Jean Donaldson and see how much of what Millan claims is true. Are the dogs really enjoying being hauled around by choke collars? Do they really enjoy being jabbed in the throat? Do they really love and respect him? Or are they just frightened, stressed and suppressed?

Here is a link that might be useful: Dog Body Language Part 1

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 5:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry, MS Minnamouse, but folks like yourself who repeately state 'I'm right and Milian is wrong' do not greatly influence me.

It would be nice if you could find one nice thing to say about the guy.

1) He introduces his methods to a national TV audience, not everyone reads books.
2) He stresses that people -- more than dogs -- need to change their behavior.
3) He has never -- at least on the first season of Dog Whisperer -- said that anyone else's methods of dog training were wrong. This contrasts with your frequent comments that he is wrong (and cruel?).

Since I don't wish to be entirely negative, I will note that you have links to a number of sites. But I cannot agree with your comments about CM on the BBC 4 interview. You call him a 'huckster'. I might suggest his comments are no more self-serving or evasive than the average interviewee.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 5:02PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Would You Pull the Wings Off a Butterfly...
for a million dollars? This was a Scruples question...
Advice needed regarding choosing a dog breed
We presently have a Beagle, who is very good with people...
A neeed for caution..
Approximately 60 percent of all human pathogens could...
Why are some animals okay to eat and others are taboo?
I'm not really trying to cause the fur to fly, so to...
Is it harmful for a big dog to be crated 9 hrs on a hard surface?
I understand that my kids have to work, and they do...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™