In Defence of Cesar

This Sunday I had the opportunity to briefly meet and attend a seminar by the Grand Poobah of Dog Training.  The Almighty Alpha.  The Crusader of Calm-Assertive.  The King of Canine Rehabilitation.  His Highness of Hounds.  The Sultan of “Shhhht”.  The Emperor of Energy.  The Patriarch of Pack Leaders.

You get the point – who doesn’t love some hyperbole and alliteration?

I, of course, am referring to the one and only Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, who was in town on his Pack Leader Tour.

My review of the seminar is brief: the guy can entertain.  Enthusiastic and motivating are the descriptors that come to mind first.  Cesar did a good job of highlighting his notion of calm/assertive and illustrating what it means to be pack leader/guardian/resource controller for your dog.  He’s very charismatic on stage and it was interesting to see him in action live in real-time, rather than on TV.

However, and as I’m sure you know, not everyone has a postivie opinion of Mr. Millan.

Shocking, right? It shouldn’t be.

In fact, some of his critics charge Cesar with some pretty serious accusations, and I am going to take this opportunity to discuss some.

There is no such thing as Alpha, and to teach otherwise is ridiculous

Frankly, I somewhat disagree, and I think it has a lot to do with semantics.  The average person doesn’t know about canine biology or behaviour – they just know they had a dog when they were a kid and they have one now.  Domestic dogs are so commonplace that, to their detriment, the average person doesn’t feel the need to do a lot of research.  

So whether or not Cesar literally means “alpha”, the important part is what is heard when he says that. And the average layman listener doesn’t hear facts about wolves. What they think is about responsibility and leadership (I hope). Arguments about alpha and the potential responsibilities of anything like a dog parent, guardian, or “pack leader” is an industry-specific semantic debate which detracts from the pragmatic uses of such terms when it comes to our relationship with our dogs and actually trying to teach them something. People in the pet industry can get all riled up debating the specifics of these terms, but the general, TV-watching public is actually in the dark here, and I think the term might actually retain some valuable use when teaching average dog owners how to interact with their pets.

I interpret that Cesar’s main point is about leadership; “calm and assertive leadership”, as you’ve heard, and I actually don’t think there is anything wrong with that on the face of it. When the focus is relationship-building, bonding, and trust, you build a good foundation in any training regimen. And when he repeats “calm” over and over, I sincerely hope it teaches people not to be angry, but patient, when working through challenges with their dogs.

No, our dogs aren’t furry little soldiers hell bent on world domination, but they will test the boundaries of your household rules and they will not pay attention or respond to cues if you haven’t given them a good reason to trust you or focus on you.  And by “rules”, I mean things as simple as not chewing on shoes, sitting before meals, not jumping on you when you’re all dressed up, and not pulling on the leash during walks.

Basically, you can rant, rave, lecture and roll eyes when someone talks about “alpha”, or you can recognise that it has a meaning and definition that may just convey something useful – especially if you decide to take ownership of these terms rather than blacklist them. Because if it’s just the word you are opposed to, those using it can simply bait-and-switch until your fight is now against the word “guardian”, or whatever else disguises the actual meaning and action you are against.

Cesar’s methods are dangerous

Since Cesar was coming to town, our local news organizations decided to perform their due diligence and interviewed some local critics on this very issue.  One example is Ms. Kirsten Rose, who was quoted by CTV saying the following: “you know a child flipping a dog on its back is going to get nipped.”

For Ms. Rose’s sake, I certainly hope this was a sound bite taken completely out of context, because this accusation is – I’m sorry – outrageous.  Who in his or her right mind would teach a child to “alpha roll” a dog?  Any dog?  Well, hopefully no one. I mean, c’mon. When critics take arguments in that direction I have trouble taking them seriously.

It’s one thing to draw legitimate complaints, but it’s another to build up an exaggerated straw man to get a news interview.  And it’s hard to legitimately consider a position when the message isn’t logical.  A lot of people out there really like Cesar, and I suspect these kinds of messages just outright alienate rather than educate.  

Have we seen Cesar “alpha-roll” before? You bet. In fact, his latest book, Cesar’s Rules, surveyed Dog Whisperer episodes and showed that in 27% of episodes Cesar has “pinned” a dog.  So approximately 1 in 4. It’s not the end-all tool for dog whispering, but it does happen often enough. It is something he does himself, but you also don’t see him look at the camera, smile with his pearly whites, and tell us “feel free to try this at home, folks”. 

Those working with dogs in any capacity recognize that potentially getting bit can be a hazard of the job (ask the groomers about this one). Sure, measures are taken to avoid such an occurrence, but it can still happen. As Cesar said in his seminar on the weekend, a dog who bites a human is actually a dog who is “correcting” that human.  He’s not wrong, and close observation of the dog’s actions and body language are the best preventative measures. But things still happen – and they make for “good TV”, thus, if it happens you can bet we will see it on The Dog Whisperer.

And despite putting himself in varying degrees of danger from time to time, Cesar does not advocate attempting these types of techniques at home on your own.  Simple common sense dictates that if you’re dealing with a potentially dangerous dog issue, you should seek professional assistance. 

But you know what they say: common sense isn’t. I’d just have trouble blaming Rachael Ray if I burnt down my house in a horrible flambé accident, that’s all.

Cesar sets the world of dog training back several decades

This brings me to a statement made in the Calgary Herald by Barbara Walmer, head of the behavior department at the Calgary Humane Society, wherein she describes Cesar’s methods as “punishment-based”, as opposed to the training programs at the Humane Society that focus on “positive reinforcement”.  This is when the critics call Cesar “old-fashioned”, subscribing to a “traditional” form of training.

Before you get excited (more excited?), I’m not about to say Cesar doesn’t use punishment. He sure does. Sometimes. Sometimes he teaches dogs that certain actions have negative consequences. Dogs teach each other this very thing with body language, barking, growling, nipping, and even escalate to biting if the situation requires.

However, I feel that calling Cesar Millan (in particular) “punishment-based” pigeon-holes him unnecessarily.  And perhaps unfairly. 

If we look at the aforementioned Dog Whisperer episode statistics, Cesar advocates leadership in 98% of Dog Whisperer episodes, and uses positive reinforcement in 67% of episodes. (See pages 93-94 of Cesar’s Rules.)  Remember the episode with Jody, the feces-eating dog?  He redirected that behaviour by enticing her with bananas. No alpha rolls whatsoever. Cesar’s even been known to use a clicker if he thinks it’s the appropriate tool.

Cesar uses a variety of techniques, acknowledging that one thing isn’t going to work on every dog or for every owner. It’s case-by-case, and he uses the method he deems necessary for that particular dog and environment.  His latest publication also does a good job of detailing how he prefers to take a “balanced approach”, redirecting and interrupting undesired behaviour and rewarding good behaviour.  And his most-used interruption?  The “shhht”, of course, is found in 57% of Dog Whisperer episodes.

For Cesar, reward doesn’t simply mean providing dog treats, either. Especially considering the case of severely stressed or focused dogs, where the nose and appetite are not engaged and a treat – no matter how delicious – will not be enough to get the dog’s attention. Instead, rewards can be in the form of food certainly, but Cesar also uses affection (petting, massage), toys, activities the dog enjoys (play time), or even something as simple as reduced pressure in terms of a more relaxed body language (taking away something they don’t like or that is uncomfortable – “negative reward (R-)” for those in-the-know).

In fact, one of the best things I took from his seminar here was the sentiment “be the cookie”.  Allow me to explain.  Upon spending time exercising and working with your dog, you are building a bond of leadership, trust, respect, and affection.  As your dog bonds with you, time spent with you (working, walking, and just hanging out or receiving affection) becomes a reward in itself.  So the idea is to “be the cookie”, or become the reward ourselves.

So no, I suppose I am not one of those “postive-only” people. In fact, I hazard a guess that while “positive trainers” proudly tout that label and use food treats or clickers regularly, I sincerely doubt they’ve never used any form of punishment – ever.  

Confession time:  I work with my dog using both punishment and reward.  And by punishment I don’t mean brutal beatings or alpha rolls.  I mean a stern verbal “No!” or increased body pressure or ignoring them.  And yes, a leash correction on a martingale collar – though I admit I don’t remember the last time I needed to use one, because they are just not required anymore. Those are punishments because my dog doesn’t like them. And by reward I don’t mean treats (usually); I mean praise in the form of petting or massage most of the time, and occassionally toys and play time, as well.

Perpetuating a dictomy of “punishment” vs. “positive” is unhelpful to the average, confused dog owner who just wants to train his or her dog to come when called, and is devisive and determintal to the training community as a whole, in my opinion.   Are there awful people out there who punish and hurt their dogs? Sure. And they should be reported and punished themselves.  But I don’t see Cesar Millan beating dogs or sticking up for those who do.

Cesar puts dogs in extremely stressful situations

Often cited examples for this argument are the episodes of the Great Dane who was afraid of shiny floors and the St. Bernard who was afraid of going up the stairs. Both dogs had pretty serious phobias, and Cesar was called in to help them get over it.

So what did he do?  Well, effectively he performed exposure therapy on the dogs; he forced them to face their fears.  Did he make them do something they didn’t want to? Yep. Left to their own devices, both dogs would have avoided those obstacles indefinitely, maintaining – or possibly even escalating – their phobia.  Instead, Cesar lead the Dane onto the kitchen floor and the St. Bernard up the stairs. Did they want to go? Nope. They both exhibited many signs of anxiety, and put on the breaks.  But you know what?  It was something like 12 minutes of exposure to stairs and the St. Bernard learned that going up and down the stairs was not a fatal enterprise, and was able to do it on his own without any hesitation.  Problem solved.  Similar results for the Great Dane.  Sure, there was some short-term stress, but the elimination of a phobia and the long-term benefit makes it worth it for both the dog and the owners (in my humble opinion).

This is where the subject of “flooding” comes in.  Flooding is overwhelming the dog with that which it is afraid of, causing undue stress and physical and psychological harm in the process  Instead of flooding, the appropriate technique is to gradually build up exposure to the fear.  Did Cesar use flooding with the Dane and the St. Bernard – pushing them too far too fast?  Many say yes.  Because both of these dogs discussed – yes, while very stressed – overcame their fears in a short amount of time and did not “shut down” (the St. Bernard was going up and down the stairs on his own, stress-free after 12 minutes), I would say neither of these dogs in particular were flooded.  Cesar forced the Great Dane to face its fear of the shiny floor, and once the Dane realised the sky would not fall, the dog was fine. 

Is there a danger that the exact same exercise could flood a different dog?  Absolutely.  Which is why you seek professional help if your dog has a phobia to work through, and who can gauge the appropriate technique to try.

The “don’t try this at home” warning at the beginning of each episode of The Dog Whisperer is telling of both the dangers posed to the people and the dogs when using these methods

That this is a legitimate criticism – posed by many, actually – is both hilarious and ridiculous.  Even minivan commercials have disclaimers about professional drivers on closed courses, so the existence of a TV warning is indicative of nothing but the thoroughness of Cesar’s legal team and the litigiousness of the American public.  I mean, does Windex really need to tell us not to spray it in the eyes?  Does the chainsaw really need to warn you not to stop the chain with your hand?  But you just know that if they didn’t, someone would try to sue for crazy damages from a freak accident/moment of severe stupidity.

And while Cesar is definitely trying to reduce the amount of times he’s named as a defendant because someone thought they could “dog whisper” to a reactive canine, the effect of Cesar’s warning should also be to encourage people to consult a professional when seeking help with their dogs.  

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: common sense isn’t.  It’s hard to blame one person for the stupid actions of others – especially those he’s never even met. 

That’s not to say some have inappropriately or incorrectly interpreted or copied the Dog Whisperer; there are all kinds out there.  And I’m sure Cesar himself would be mortified to see them.

Cesar is “aggressive”

I’m sure you could take a screen shot of every televised dog trainer and put an outrageous caption on it.  I won’t, but check out this Victoria Stilwell clip “Socializing Stains”, where I see leash tension and corrections, physical force, and body pressure all being used – in addition to treats.  Some of those images could also be taken out of context and plastered online.  (I’m just sayin’ – I’m a Victoria Stilwell fan, too, and wish Animal Planet in Canada aired her show.)

Cesar’s version of leadership is all about being calm, deliberate, and confident.  It is not about being physically dominant, intimidating, or aggressive towards dogs, and Cesar emphasizes a calm state of mind whenever possible – keeping yourself from getting nervous, anxious, or angry when working with your dog, and sending the clearest message possible about our rules and expectations of our dogs. This is not bad advice.

The Positive Impact for Pooches

And while I’ve just spent some time defending Cesar (and doubtlessly enraging people), if you’re still with me I’d now like to fill even more space pointing out the aspects of his philosophy and methodology that should be viewed as positive by any dog lover.  Because while fans of the Dog Whisperer believe he does great things for dogs and the dog community, I think there are specific aspects of his work that anyone can and should appreciate.  And I think the “two camp” training dichotomy specifically neglects these points that benefit the dog owning community as a whole.  There are some bonuses to the success of The Dog Whisperer.

1.  He focuses on the people; Cesar draws attention to the human source of a lot of dog behaviours and insecurities.  As he says in every episode, he rehabilitates dogs and trains people. This is accurate and obvious. Anyone with experience helping people with their dogs knows success is directly related to the dedication of the human owners, both in terms of time and mental commitments, as well as their consistency.

2.  He emphasizes that dogs are dogs, not furry little humans. Dogs are animals we’ve brought into our homes, and to treat them as such – as they actually are – is to respect them for what they actually are. As we all know, this is forgotten or ignored by many dog owners, often to the detriment of their canine companions.

3.  Not only are dogs dogs, Cesar also points out that breed is not a good way to characterize or stereotype any individual dog.  He speaks out against the bad, inaccurate reputations of breeds such as Rottweilers and pitbulls, and argues against breed-specific legislation since it is misguided and ineffective.  He is completely correct and is a champion of pitbulls (and to read more on why BSL is wrong and ineffective, check this out: To Ban the Breed?).

4.  He emphasizes the importance of exercise.  This is key, since so many urban dogs are both under-exercised and overweight.  All dogs, regardless of breed, need to be walked daily.  As dog owners, this is our responsibility. 

5.  Cesar will help any dog – any size, any age, any breed. The large-scale acknowledgement that any dog with any “problem” can be helped, and at any stage of life, is great for people who may believe it’s too late for them and their dog.  To encourage these types of cases to seek professional assistance can both salvage a relationship and help keep a dog from being surrendered to a rescue organization – or worse.

6.  In addition to giving optimism to previously hopeless cases, the popularity of the Dog Whisperer has also created a new mainstream interest in seeking training and being a more conscious dog owner. Dogs (or perhaps dog owners) do need training to help them become well-behaved members of our families and representatives of the pet community.

7.  He talks about giving dogs jobs. The variety of dog breeds out there is a result of our selective breeding over the centuries to create dogs best suited certain jobs. Even if it’s just a daily walk, Cesar emphasizes the importance of giving every dog a job to perform to fulfill both his or her physical needs and instincts.  If you spend time training for activities such as agility, tracking, herding, or drafting with your dog, all the better.

8.  He promotes responsible spaying and neutering.  This issue is self-explanatory considering the populations of rescue dogs out there and the number of domestic dogs euthanized each year in Canada and the US.

9.  He promotes rescue organizations, and a proper, thorough consideration of breed, temperament, and energy levels before adding a new dog to the family.  He also deters fans from buying animals from pet stores and other potential puppy mill sources.

10.  He promotes better pet nutrition.  In fact, his current tour is sponsored by Red Moon Custom Petfood, a brand that is grain-, rice-, gluten-, wheat-, and soy-free.  To bring a more main-stream focus on proper pet nutrition for both dogs and cats is great!

So, in conclusion, yes, I’ll say it: On the whole, I’m a Cesar fan. 

While I loathe the idea that anyone can watch the Dog Whisperer and think they can train their dog, I do like the attention it has given to more conscious and responsible dog ownership and training.  If the weekend Dog Whisperer marathons on National Geographic can prompt more people to get training (of any kind) for their canine companions, great! 

I think Cesar’s fame is beneficial to both dogs and owners alike.  And I also think may of his opponents have built up a straw-man version of Cesar to critique, and don’t take a thorough look before crying wolf in many respects.  Or they take a one-dimension take on a season one episode and don’t give the man any opportunity to learn and grow – as everyone does throughout their careers.  

I’m not convinced by those reciting the same old complaints, or those who go so far as to incite physical harm on the guy; though I doubt they are at all swayed by what I’ve just written, either.  But I know angry vitriol doesn’t often change minds or attract people to a position, so I’d really like to see less dichotomy on the issue.

But, really, if I can spur thought-provoking debate, I’m happy.

About ThatJenK
Writing from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 90% pictures of my dogs; 10% miscellaneous opinions nobody asked for.

35 Responses to In Defence of Cesar

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention In Defence of Cesar « Back Alley Soapbox --

    • Steffen Schmidt says:

      Hi Jen. Not even “us” ignorants can and will argue, that Mr. Millan’s methods are working, and that they are lightning fast. In fact, the only faster way to treat an aggressive dog, is to shot it.

      I also don’t disagree that some of the things coming out of his mouth makes sense. Maybe he has read some books written by other authors with knowledge to the problems concerning dog behavioural issues and solutions.

      In my opinion, Mr. Millan’s work only in symptoms, and not the cause of the problems. That is in fact one of my biggest concerns.
      My ultimate concern is his methods. My experience is, that lifting up the dog in his collar till he gasps for breath, dragging him up the stairs, dragging him into the pool, pressing him down to surrender are methods belonging to the middle ages, before we started observing the dogs to learn to “understand and speak their language.
      I don’t know which dogs Mr. Millan observed using the methods he uses today. If you look at wolves, yes they have a hierarchy with an alpha couple, who are the only in the pack to bread, next their cobs from last year and last this years cobs. They hardly ever use muscles and force to act as leaders. How come Mr. Millan and his true patriots find this necessary?

      If Mr. Millan’s methods are that good, how come all the other well-known and world known dog trainers use other methods?

      In the start of your post, you make Mr. Millan look, as if you think his status is pretty much on same level as Jesus. That makes me sick. I hope that it’s just a provocation to all people that doesn’t share your opinion. The only thing I agree on, is your miss spell “The Sultan of Shit”. Hope I spelled it right.
      You also mentioned The word “crusader”. Last I heard it, it was related to King Richard of England, when he left his country to learn the ignorants about Christianity and the bible.

      This ignorant will fight anyone trying to attach my bible and learning, written by Anders Hallgren – psychologist and animal behaviourist. Compared to This man, Cesar Millan is only a product of the American dream, but not the best example.

      Kind Regards

      Steffen Schmidt, Denmark

      P.S.: I send a question to Mr. Millan, and awaits the answer:

      “Mr. Millan – As you probably know by now, your visit to Denmark and your presence on Danish TV2 has aroused some turmoil. As far as I know, there are not a lot trainers practising dog training the way that you do, and therefore I should very much like to know what and where you have achieved your skills and knowledge, courses education etc.

      It seems, that you know a lot about him, so maybe you can help me out here, if he doesn’t answer.

      • thatjenk says:


        Thank you for taking the time to comment. I see I have once again attracted the attention of the BCM group, and it appears I have Troy’s comment to thank for that. C’est la vie.

        Before I respond to your comment directly, I would like to take the opportunity to clarify something that it appears has been missed. I originally wrote the above for two specific reasons, when taking into consideration the very serious CM critics out there:

        (1) I do not think Cesar Millan is as bad as some say. I (dangerously, it seems) admit above that I am a fan, and I am. I enjoy the show; I enjoy the books; I enjoyed the seminar. I do not think that painting him as a one-dimensional animal abuser is fair or accurate.

        (2) Regardless of your training philosophies and methodology, I believe there are some undeniable positives that Cesar Millan can be credited with. Oddly enough, I do not believe any critics even read this section, because there have been many comments, but none on this part. I’d like to hear some (even negative ones).

        Now, moving on to what you have said, I would like to respond with the following.

        I do not believe I charged anyone with being “ignorant”.

        I still assert that leadership and guidance work. Even exposing a dog to it’s fear, while stressful, can provide long-term results and cure the fear (not just the symptom). I have not advocated flooding any or all situations, but I did note how Cesar’s method worked on the dogs with stair/floor phobias, and to the best of my knowledge, the results were permanent.

        I’d like to take this opportunity to digress into an anecdotal story of a local anti-Cesar seminar. During a break, the speaker herself was overheard telling a colleague how she actually used flooding during an agility class. The dog refused to get on the equipment (a ramp), so she essentially was forced to “drag” it up there. She reported success, and that the dog no longer had a problem once it was forced up there, and she did not seem distraught about putting the dog under the inevitable stress that would have occurred. I cannot say whether the results were long term or not.

        I agree that a confrontational approach to dog training is wrong and dangerous. And yes, sometimes Cesar – more especially some followers – may be charged with crossing a boundary. However, my argument is that he is not some hell-bent tyrant focused on physically dominating dogs. He uses a number of techniques, and I think the other side of his approach is being intentionally neglected or forgotten. I mention above that in 67% of Dog Whisperer episodes, Cesar uses some form of positive reinforcement. That is much more often than the 25% of the time you see him “alpha roll” a dog.

        And while some would like to blame Cesar every time they see someone “alpha-rolling” a dog because it barked or something ridiculous, I will repeat that he does not advocate trying this at home, and always suggests seeking professional help with your dog. The monkey-see-monkey-do result is a risk of anything televised, and this type of blame seems akin to those in the US currently blaming various politicians (both left and right) for the recent Arizona shooting.

        I agree that successful dog training is always a result of technique and not physical force, but I also think Cesar would agree, too, and would be horrified to see how some have come to interpret him. Hence the latest publication, I believe, and the emphasis on the word “balanced”.

        I do not think it is accurate to argue that “all other well-known and world known dog trainers use other methods”, because Cesar uses many different methods based on the situation at hand, including treats, and clickers, and yes, also some of the more intense tools such as prong collars. While the objections to the latter – when reasoned, rationed, and logically represented – can be fair, the complete disregard to the former is where my complaint lies.

        Yes, I am a Cesar fan. I walk my dog daily; I do not allow him to pull me around (unless he is drafting) and we practice loose-leash walks; I only allow him on the furniture when invited; I do not allow him to race me up and down the stairs; I do not baby talk to my dog; I feed him after he has been exercised and make him exhibit calmness before giving him permission to eat… I could go on.

        On the other hand, I do not use choke or shock collars (okay, we did use a slip/choke collar in the show ring the couple of times we did show our dog – that was unavoidable), and I do not “hang” or pin my dog. I use techniques I am comfortable with and I feel are necessary and appropriate. I also do not use treats or clickers (okay, treat exception again for the brief stint in the show ring). The jab/poke/simulated-hand-as-mouth, yes, I use that. I’ve also required my dog to finish crossing a bridge when he got spooked half way across by looking over the edge and put on the breaks. I suppose this would be considered flooding, and I would like to know what you’d suggest in the alternative.

        Also, a note on my introductory paragraph: I am quite tickled by how literal it has been interpreted and how offensive it apparently is. “Provocation” may be a good word for it, but I was going more for hyperbole and light amusement. To think I can be viewed as putting Mr. Millan amongst the ranks of Jesus is hilarious to me personally, and a little ridiculous. Does no one have a sense of humour anymore? (Now that you mention it, I can’t believe I didn’t think of the “Messiah of Mutts”. Next time.)

        Lastly, I believe you know the answer to the question you posed to Cesar, and he says himself quite often that he has no formal education or training – there are no letters behind his name. He has developed his skill set based on personal experience and watching others. That is no secret, and I don’t believe you think it is either. But I do expect some sort of “ah-ha” coming from this acknowledgement.

        I thank you again for taking the time to read and respond.

        – Jen

        Oh, and one more thing. The BCM quotes I copied and pasted below were not “carefully chosen” by any means. They are were all the comments made by the group to the date I posted them and they were copied verbatim. I invite any skeptic to confirm this simply by checking out the post itself on the BCM group’s page – you will just have to look back to November 11, 2010.

        I thank you for finding me “funny”, but I assure you I am not that “scary”.

        Thanks again,

      • Rafael C. says:

        I love your blog! it’s in my favorites now!
        very well writing thatjenk!

        Negative Punishment trainers uses “science” as a drunken man uses lampposts… for Support rather than Illumination. ” – Andrew Lang… and me

        “Millan’s work only in symptoms, and not the cause of the problems.”

        That is a blatant LIE and thus LIBEL and SLANDER

        One of the principal focus in Cesar methodology and Philosophy is precisely on correct the cause of the problem.

        Is not just Interruption of the behaviour.

        He address the cause of the msibehavior i.e. leadership, lack of Excercise, socialization, very permissible owners etc.

        Most causes of misbehaviours in dogs are caused by the behaviours of the owners, the lack of rules, bundaries and limitations, the lack of structure in the household, Dogs are Pack animals Social Hierarchical oriented Animals and they need Leadership, when there is not a clear estable leader they tend to develop those Impulse Control misbehaviours or calling it by it name, Dominance problems.

        “They hardly ever use muscles and force to act as leaders.”

        This statement is based in misleading misinterpretations of a study made by David L Mech

        When those ‘pure positive’ Pigeons make the Reference of D. Mech Work they are talking about the results from a field study examining a Solitary Pack of Wolves in the wild completed by David Mech on 13 Summers on Ellesmere Island (1999).

        The Observations show that, at least in Summer on Ellesmere Island the Wolfs displayed the behaviour Described by D. Mech…. allegadly, the Very Convenient Misinterpretation of those Pigeons is based on Mech’s OWN Anthropomorphized point of view, very convenient for your Dogma isn’t?…

        “Such an approach is analogous to trying to draw inferences about human family dynamics by studying humans in refugee camps.” – Mech

        ( The Same goes for his study, Such an Interpretation is analogous to trying to draw inferences about human family dynamics by studying humans in… Mormon Compounds. )

        “In the start of your post, you make Mr. Millan look, as if you think his status is pretty much on same level as Jesus. That makes me sick”

        Yeah! how you DARE, thatjenk!

        The ONLY ONES, those who follow the path of the Almighty Dog training “science” can earn the right to call themselves GOD!

        Victoria Stillwell calling herself “GOD”

        Only the anointed by the spiritual leaders can achieve the status of Apostles and their Word is Sacred!

        Karen Pryor Book is considered the “BIBLE” of the Negative Punishment training.

        The GOSPEL of Jean Donaldson— cheerful training with profuse praise and gentle correction—has happily permeated the world of co-pilots like water on a spong

        Ian Dunbar: Advocating hands-off, reward-based approach at his Sirius Dog Training centers, the behavior – ist and vet first promulgated
        the NOW-ACEPTED-AS-GOSPEL now-accepted-as-gospel notion that teaching….

        Karen Overall has been an authoritative voice of reason and research for more than a decade. Dr. Overall’s bestselling textbook, Clinical
        Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals, was among the first to provide techniques for the prevention and treatment of behavior problems; some
        consider it the BIBLE for vets and behavior consultants.


        “One of the most magically powerful training techniques is to ignore all unwanted behavior..” – Negative Punishment trainers…

        “IIt’s Not Magic, it’s the Power of the Pack” – Cesar Millan.

        “In fact, the only faster way to treat an aggressive dog, is to shot it.”

        You are right!
        Dead dogs tell no tales.

        As any one can confirm that simply watch the ‘positive’ training of Victoria Stillwell
        -It’s the dog or me- season 3 ep.2 and season 2 ep. 1
        on a clear case of Dominance and Pack Behaviour a dog Benji, recibe Swift and Expedite Sentence of “positive training” BY PHONE…


  2. BowDog says:

    Seriously thinking you need to start submitting as a freelancer to the Herald.

    Great read Jen, re-posting.

  3. Dog Diva says:

    The Google ad at the bottom of your Cesar-idolatry makes more sense than your article. It tells the reader who has an interest in working with dogs to attend Karen Pryor Academy. Good choice – at least there, the reader would learn the genuine science behind canine learning. Incidentally, I’ve had dogs for 50+ years and have never had to drag a dog up a staircase, even the rescues that had never seen stairs. So, the idea that a dog would have avoided stairs for a lifetime lest it be forced to do them is quite ludicrous. There are several other non-confrontational methods.

  4. Shawna says:

    Great article Jen and I thank you for writing it! It’s really unfortunate that people slam Cesar and his methods when clearly they work.

    It seems to me that folks would rather argue over his methods and prove that he’s wrong in order to prove that they’re right. It’s simply a matter of different methods for different people and different dogs. And people have the right to choose whatever method they feel is right for them and their dog. I know his methods make perfect sense to me so I follow them. And I too firmly believe that Cesar is a true advocate for dogs and I appreciate all that he has done and is currently doing to educate dog owners around the world. I also appreciate the fact that he never criticizes other training methods either.

    Cesar has done more good than so-called ‘harm’ for dogs and dog owners alike. Wouldn’t it be great if the naysayers could realize this and stop wasting the air we breathe with unnecessary fault-finding, which is not helping anyone.

  5. thatjenk says:

    Thanks to all for the comments. Even – and perhaps especially – “Dog Diva”, because disagreement is what makes these topics interesting, worth discussing, and can fuel education.

    The personal aspect on this one in particular, however, is unfortunate and often inhibits rational discussion. At the risk of humanizing, for most of us, our dogs are members of our families. This kind of sentiment makes discussions like these emotionally charged, akin to debates about politics and religion, etc., where one side often doesn’t even stop to consider the points of the other before arguing.

    I invite “Dog Diva” to perhaps watch the episode about the St. Bernard and the stairs (I believe the dog nearly outweighed him, so the notion of “dragging” him up the stairs is hyperbole), and also read Cesar’s latest publication Cesar’s Rules, where he has actually collaborated with many other big names in the dog training world (Ian Dunbar, for example). And to the point about Karen Pryor, yes, Cesar does discuss clicker training in his new book, and, as I mentioned, has been known to employ that method before.

    One bottom line that I hope critics to take away is that you cannot (and should not) pigeon-hole the infamous Dog Whisperer as you have – his hypothetical ‘bag of tools’ is extensive and he’s used them all. And in another vein, I’m also arguing for a few undeniably positive impacts Cesar has made for the dog community.

  6. BowDog says:

    I would love to watch an episode right next to someone who doesn’t think they like Cesar. If you visit the sites that pick apart some of his techniques piece by piece, I would love to know how they see things so differently than I do.

  7. Shawna says:

    Jen, you have a way with words (well thought out and poignant) — I admire that!

  8. Jessica says:

    I find it typical of those who take the time to bash Cesar Millan that they focus on one incident (that they likely didn’t observe themselves since they refuse to watch his show or read his material), hyperbolize it, and then use that as a shining example of why Cesar Millan is the epitome of All Things Evil in the World.

    Dog Diva – Comparing rescued dogs that have never seen stairs to a dog with a phobia is simply inaccurate. Teaching a dog a new skill is highly different from helping it to overcome a fear-based phobia, and so this does not reinforce to me at all this belief of yours that “Cesar Is Bad”.

    Dog Diva, I encourage you to open your mind even after your 50+ years of working with dogs – I’m not saying you have to agree with the man but perhaps take a moment to listen to what he has to say without looking for reasons to hate him.

  9. Crysania says:

    “I find it typical of those who take the time to bash Cesar Millan that they focus on one incident (that they likely didn’t observe themselves since they refuse to watch his show or read his material)…”

    Actually, you’re making some pretty wrong assumptions here. Many of us who do not like Cesar’s methods and speak out against them have seen the vast majority of his episodes (I borrowed several seasons from my local library and viewed them all) and have read Cesar’s Way. And I read that book carefully, noting everything I agreed with and did not agree with.

    You may read my review if you wish, just so you can see that many of us who disagree with Cesar take the time to learn what he’s really all about:

    • thatjenk says:


      Thanks for the comments. I read your review, and am glad you found some good things in Cesar’s work, and I think you’ve made a decently thorough assessment, especially compared to many others.

      Of course, I have some comments (rebuttals) and suggest you read the new book, Cesar’s Rules (perhaps borrow it from a library if you don’t want to buy it). I’m sure his focus on a balanced approach to dog training will surprise you.

      I do want to specifically address your noted “contradictions”.

      1. For Cesar, no, not all dogs want to be alpha/leaders/dominant. But if they don’t suspect someone else is doing the job, they will step up reluctantly. Perhaps there are some dogs out there that are more “dominant” than some others, always testing the rules and boundaries, but I don’t read Cesar as saying all dogs are vying for world domination.

      2. Cesar argues against breed stereotyping largely to help combat media bias when it comes to pitbulls, Rottweilers, etc. This is not a bad thing. And he emphasizes that while it may be the common belief that, say, one breed is generally more calm than another, he notes that individual dogs can still have different energy levels and exercise requirements. For example, you can get both an energetic lab and a laid back lab, and in either case you need to meet its needs. More importantly, he wants us to see dogs as dogs first, breed second.

      3. Dogs are smart. During a regular walk, they can learn to walk behind/beside us, but, say, while pulling a cart or sled, or a person on rollerskates, they can be told to be out front. It’s a different situation, and dogs are able to learn and discern that. They’re not all of a sudden pack leader because Cesar has them pull him. They’re working, and they can still listen to commands (i.e. right, left, stop, slow).

      4. See above. The same “working” rules apply to guide dogs. Or police dogs. Or tracking, herding, bomb-sniffing dogs. They always know the handler is in control, and regardless of position in relation to the hander, they still obey commands – their physical position doesn’t morph them into a sudden pack leader. The rules are different when the dog is engaged in a particular job (and often the commands are different, too). The dog knows provided the human has trained them properly.

      5. There’s a difference between “calm submissive” and insecure. I’d like to see your page references for this confusion, because Cesar is nothing if not careful about his word choice as it is.

      6. Cesar’s bare minimum that he’d like every dog owner to commit to is an hour per day of exercise. This is reasonable – it wears out my dog well enough. Cesar breaks it into two, so it can precede each feeding time. I’m honestly not sure where you get the 8-10 hour figure from, but would be more accurate when referring to dogs that still do the jobs they were bred for: herding, sledding, carting. But if you know your dog needs more than an hour, you should take him out more. Common sense. And for some, maybe a treadmill is a good alternative (you know, when it’s -30 out). But he doesn’t recommend unsupervised treadmill use – who would? Seriously.

      7. Head down refers to sniffing the ground – not engaged in the walk nor interested in you. He demonstrated head-up walking during the seminar, and the dog’s body language was not “dominant” as a result (ears, mouth, and tail were all still relaxed, and the dog simply looked forward).

      And a couple more points in response:

      The term “energy” raised my eyebrows at first, too. It sounded too “new-agey”. The catch is, how you feel on the inside is often portrayed on the outside in terms of facial expressions and body language (lest you be an Emmy winner, of course), whether we know it or not. But our dogs always know it. So if you feel calm and confident on the inside, it will translate into your motions with your dog. Try this experiment on your next walk: walk slow, inconsistent, undetermined, with hunched unassuming body language, and then check in with your dog. Then switch. Walk tall and confident and at a pace that shows intention, and see the changes resulting in your dog’s body language (and their focus on you). The difference is neat to see.

      Lastly, Cesar doesn’t tell anyone to “alpha roll” their dog. I discuss it in the post. Sure, he does it himself, but he doesn’t teach it or advocate the widespread use of it.

    • Jessica says:

      Crysania, I do actually apologize if my comment was too general. It has been my experience in the last few years that most people on the “against” side who care to enter into a debate regarding Cesar Millan are very close-minded and downright confrontational and very cruel, and that is the emotional place where my generalization originated. I would absolutely love to have an open discussion with someone whose views differ from mine if they have actually done the research themselves and care to listen to differing views without foaming at the mouth.

      If you have done the research with an open mind and still disagree, well that brings to mind a personal favourite quote, by one Frank Zappa: “One of my favorite philosophical tenets is that people will agree with you only if they already agree with you. You do not change people’s minds.” I don’t care to change anyone’s mind. What I care about is the type of close-minded bullying and bashing that I see so much in discussions about this, and at the end of the day we all seem to want the same thing – happy, healthy, dogs. So why do we have to be so rude to each other? And is it really so easy to completely dismiss the undeniable good Cesar Millan has done in terms of promoting spaying and neutering, adopting from shelters or reputable breeders, breaking down the stereotype against pit bulls, speaking out against animal cruelty, etc, etc simply because you disagree with his training methods?

      I too have researched and also spent thousands upon thousands of dollars in training and trying to work with my 4 rescued, “aggressive” dogs. In the end I was dealing with a pack of dogs that all had very serious issues, and treats and clickers were not getting us anywhere other than some neat little tricks that I could have them do if we were isolated from any normal day to day distractions, we were at the point where I was afraid to take any one of them outside, and we had been dismissed from several “positive method” classes for being too disruptive. It is since discovering a class that teaches a method similar to Cesar’s that I was able to gain control of my unruly dogs, and acceptance from other dog owners who didn’t care to judge me because I have a difficult dog(s), and after many weeks and with a great amount of support from some amazing people I am FINALLY on the right track with them.

      In the end I can always agree to disagree but simply I don’t put up with the kind of venomous comments I have seen and been the brunt of. My dogs are happy and healthy and on the way to becoming well adjusted animals because of many of his philosophies (and by no means would I ever say that any method is an overnight cure for any issue).

      So again, I apologize for generalizing, I hope you can understand where I’m coming from, and I appreciate your opinion.

  10. thatjenk says:

    Welcome readers! A member of the Facebook group “Beyond Cesar Millan” has stumbled upon this post.
    (Link to group:!/group.php?gid=20444826822&v=wall )

    Frankly (ha!), some of the comments to be found there are too hilarious to ignore, so I’ve copied and pasted them all to share them with you.

    [Update January 12, 2011: As you may notice, a couple of the posters below have recently requested their comments be removed from the blog. The comments will remain, but in the spirit of kindness I will partially oblige by removing last names of all of the BCM commentors below, thus leaving credit or denial of the comments up to the individuals themselves. But it should be a lesson in not posting anything on the internet that you’re not willing to stand behind the next day. (Because all words are properly quoted and attributed, copywrite isn’t an issue.)]


    November 11, 2010

    Anne ******: Commented, but it’s a moderated blog. Wonder if that’s why the favorable comments are there, but there don’t seem to be any others.
    Yesterday at 4:19am

    Toni-Marie ******: ‎”Frankly, I somewhat disagree.”
    Hahaaaaa, I take it she’s relying on old ou…dated, debunked information to base that statement on then. Has she not seen the more recent work of David Mech and the likes?
    As for the rest of it, she is living in lal la land I think:S
    Yesterday at 4:34am · Like· 2 people

    Leonard ******: ‎”This Sunday I had the wonderful opportunity to briefly meet and then listen to a seminar by the Grand Poobah of Dog Training. The Almighty Alpha. The Crusader of Calm-Assertive. The King of Canine Rehabilitation. His Highness of Hound…s. The Sultan of “Shhhht”. The Emperor of Energy. The Patriarch of Pack Leaders.”
    Just what his marketing people thrive on.See More
    Yesterday at 5:00am · Like 3 people

    Toni-Marie ******: She says that CM doesn’t tell anyone else to alpha roll their dogs but CM and his cronies know full well that people will try it regardless…monkey see, monkey do after all…. They use the disclaimer not for the safety of viewers but purely to cover their own backs which is criminal.
    Yesterday at 6:01am · Like · 3 people

    Leah ******: Confused? Delusional.
    Yesterday at 8:36am

    Brae ******: oh man. people just make things up as they go. I wonder if she agrees that women and dogs are oppressed? perhaps she wants to be dominated by cesar? GROSS!
    Yesterday at 9:25am

    Mira ******: ‎”frankly” shes an idiot.
    Yesterday at 9:51am

    Brae ******: i;ll see is she posts any of my comments…. i doubt it. god forbid someone actually questions her.
    We love it when CM fans questions us! asking about dominance theory.. we ask you to!
    Positive trainers loved to be challenged by question…s/ problems. CM loves to physically challenge frighten dogs. go figure.
    Yesterday at 10:01am

    Michelle ******: As usual, a complete crock of shit.
    Yesterday at 10:28am · Like · 1 person

    Brae ******: why do so many CM fans think that the people the VET Behaviorists that have degrees are jealous? where do they come up with this stuff? why would someone who has a degree waste their time disagreeing with someone’s methods unless they know what they are talking about. AND NOT ONE CM fans has anything smart to include. ugh.
    Yesterday at 10:32am

    Melissa ******: Please don’t show this to Rafael…I can only imagine what he would have to say about it! I only read the first little bit, sigh.
    Yesterday at 10:33am

    Brae ******: oh man… that guy…. i know.
    Yesterday at 10:34am

    Melissa ******: I kinda told him off today…
    Yesterday at 10:36am

    Diana ******: People DO try this at home. Dogs in my neighborhood are constantly getting stabbed in the neck and a pssst. I have one neighbor who alpa rolls his little pug when it barks at my lab. Oh how I wish they would take him off the air!!!!!
    Yesterday at 10:50am

    Jill ******: What I’d really like to know, is what someone like this would think if they attended a Dunbar or Donaldson seminar. She’s slagging people who criticise CM as being biased, but she isn’t posting from an informed pov, because she’s not comparing either.
    Yesterday at 11:57am · Like 1 person

    Diana ******: The problem is his association with NG gives him credibility. In this world of gullible individuals this is a bad thing. After awhile people begin to hold onto their beliefs like a dog with bone, and defending and holding on to that belie…f becomes the most important thing. I really think this is why is has been so difficult to break through the CM bull. People want to believe in magic fingers and training is as easy as acting like an alpha. After all it his much harder if you have to spend time developing a relationship and training in small increments. Perhaps we are trying to say the wrong things to those who love CM. Like a sales pitch but we aren’t reaching the true objection ( they want easy)
    Yesterday at 12:11pm

    Jill ******: I think you are right, Diana. Admitting CM’s methods are aggressive would be admitting that they had been aggressive with their dogs – which they possibly have done, if they have been jabbing and shushing (aggression doesn’t have to be extreme). Easier to dismiss your discreditors as fluffy and wrong than to live with an uncomfortable truth.
    Yesterday at 2:08pm · Like · 1 person

    Kirsten ******: Based on my comments to CTV news (mentioned in this article) this band of CM fans has now gone onto personally slag me on Facebook, funny how the CM fans can be so vicious about this difference in training beliefs. In my full interview with CTV news, I never once slagged their hero CM, I merely stated why my preferred method is not based on the misguided Dominance Theory.
    Yesterday at 2:22pm

    Toni-Marie ******: They are just bullies…they bully people with alternative views as well as they bully dogs.
    Yesterday at 2:27pm

    Diana ******: Yes Toni they are when you post an alternate way or mention anything about the science behind behavior they have a fit.
    23 hours ago

    Natalie ******: ‎”getting bit is a hazard of the job.”
    Only if you’re a clueless idiot!
    18 hours ago

    Michelle ******: You know, I get really tired of the assertion that those of us who don’t like Cesar have never watched his show nor read his books. I’ve done both.
    8 hours ago · Like · 1 person

    Leah ******: In 9 years of training with positive reinforcement, I have never been bitten. Some day I will make a mistake and it will happen probably, but it is *not* and should *not* be a common hazard. A good dog trainer knows how important it is to keep a dog under thresh-hold. Only a trainer invested in egocentric drama would see getting bitten as “normal” – worse than that, some of them consider it a badge of honor. Just tells me they make a lot more mistakes.
    7 hours ago · Like · 3 people

    David ******: I agree with Leah……… all the years (far too many to remember) I have worked with dogs, I have only ever been bitten once and the dog that delivered that bite is now lying at my feet, contentedly asleep, my lifelong friend. It was I who made the mistake, not the dog. I do not wear the fact that I have been bitten as a badge of honour, I do however remember it and never have since, or never will do, put any dog in that situation again.
    4 hours ago · Like· 2 people

    • Shawna says:

      Wow, I can’t believe how rude and ignorant all of these comments are. To all of you on the “Beyond CM” fan page, these comments are doing nothing to support your position. In fact, they make me feel all the more confident in my decision to support and defend CM.

      Kirsten, you wrote: “this band of CM fans has now gone onto personally slag…funny how the CM fans can be so vicious.” Unfortunately I’m not seeing any difference in the comments displayed above. It seems to me that all of you are acting as the “bullies” now because if I remember correctly, the original post did not slag any of you or the alternative methods. It was merely an article in defense of CM’s methods.

      Diana, you wrote: “people want to believe in magic fingers…after all it is much harder if you have to spend time…(they want easy).” What makes you think anything that CM promotes is magic or easy. I don’t see Cesar promoting being the “pack leader” as magic or as easy. He is always saying that it will take lots of work every day to be your dog’s leader and to provide them with a fulfilling and purposeful life.

      Natalie, you wrote: “only if you’re a clueless idiot!” in response to the comment of “and most reasonable people working with dogs in any capacity recognize that getting bit is a relatively common hazard of the job.” Would you say that P.B.M, PH.D is a clueless idiot? She spent years working with dogs that would bite her until she really honed her skills on reading all the body parts and signals to watch for. Learning to read all of the signals a dog is giving you is a life-long pursuit, so I’m certain that somewhere along the way mistakes are going to happen and bites will ensue. And I would assume that most reputable trainers regardless of methodology do not consider bites as a “badge of honor” or “egocentric drama” as Leah puts it.

      I would love to address all the comments, but to come back to what Diana wrote, it’s true, these comments are not reaching your true objective because you aren’t saying the right things. And I highly doubt any of you ever will be able to say the right things that would persuade me to change my mind about CM and abandon using his methods, which I’m assuming is your true objective. If I’m right, then you guys are taking the wrong approach. Perhaps if you spent more time promoting the other methods instead of slagging CM and his methods, you might actually get somewhere because I am very much open to other training methods just as I’m sure other CM fans are too. I know when I’m working with my own “best friend”, I’m already borrowing from other expert trainers from your side of the debate along with a healthy mix of CM’s methods. CM does this and so do the other reputable trainers that I know. And needless to say, I’ve experienced very positive results with my own dog (and I’ve seen first-hand very positive results with others) and that speaks volumes to me more than anything.

  11. Kelsey says:

    Great read Jen! Crazy response though…….
    I can from personal experience of both sides of the story with my dog vouch for Ceasar Millan’s work.
    I did every positive based training class there was out there, including those at the Calgary and Cochrane Humane society. I did clicker training, agility, flyball and all the likes in an effort to tame my crazy Border collie X bernese dog. I even attended a full day seminar at the Calgary Humane society which specifically focused on clicker training reactive dogs. So basically I had a dog that would do anything I wanted him to do, if I had a treat. I worked with him everyday on his skills and I could get him to do many “tricks” on command but he was starting to bite me for treats, jump all over me and not listen at all if there was something better going on. On top of this he was become reactive with other dogs while on leash, his recall was terrible and he was becoming increasingly aggresive with strangers to the point where I was concerned he would bite someone. I used the techniques I learned in the all day seminar on reactive dogs but he would take the treat from me and then turn and lunge at the stranger. I was at my wits end, and feared he would bite someone and they would make me put him down. Also, walking him was a nightmare-I used gentle leaders, sensi-harnesses and the like to walk him, but all the tools made his pulling worse! So at this point, I had spent thousands of dollars and had a dog whose behaviour was getting worse.
    The change occured when I began reading and watching Ceasar Millan and then taking a class that taught me how to be my dogs pack leader. I had been doing everything wrong-I had a robot that would do what I wanted for a treat/click but I didn’t have a dog that respected me at all. Finally after putting tons of work into my dog, I have a dog that I can live with, walk daily and pretty much take anywhere and put in any situation. I trust him completly now and I feel like I have the tools in my tool box to deal with any problems that may pop up over the years. My dog gets consitent excersise now, since I can walk him with no effort at all and our relationship has improved dramatically!
    To sum it all up, I tried all the positive based training that is availible in Calgary and I think it is great for teaching tricks and commands but if you aren’t your dogs pack leader you have nothing.

  12. Troy Way says:

    I recently had the same negative experiences with the bullies on the ‘Beyond Cesar Millan’ facebook group that many others have had. Experienced in the rehabilitation of dogs and having lived with an ever-changing pack of 15+ dogs for almost ten years, I am confident in my abilities and can relate to Cesar’s ways. Do I agree with everything he says and does? No. I don’t agree with everything my parents tell me either, but I still respect them. I also relate to the positive reinforcement methods advocated by the ‘other’ group. A successful trainer will pick and choose the method or combination of methods that work best for any given dog in any given situation. What really astounds me though is their constant reference to scientific studies to validate any point they attempt to make. Did they really need science to tell them to be good to their dog so it would work good for them in return? I didn’t need the BCM group or science to tell me that treating my animals kindly would earn their love and respect, it’s something I’ve known since pre-school. Cesar understands this also which is why he is able to successfully communicate with large groups of dogs.

    Reading the posts (above) by the members of the BCM group I see its the same group of goons and the same poor attitudes that deter anyone from taking their group seriously. I agree with those that suggest they spend more time promoting their methods on their own merit and less time piggybacking off Cesar’s name and defaming him in the process.

  13. thatjenk says:

    I’m not usually one to back down from a challenge…

    Quoting (!/group.php?gid=20444826822&v=wall):

    Toni-Marie ******: Ok Jen if you want to start copy and pasting comments we make, how about this one?

    Toni-Marie ******: To answer the question about what would happen regarding this group if CM started to openly began using reward based +R-P training etc…I w…ould definitely be happy to see it. I have no idea what direction the group would go in….I think most of us here would definitely be glad if CM was to start actually showing a change. Most of us only criticize his current methods, not him as an individual.
    Saturday at 16:10 · Like· 3 people

    Hmmm, somehow I don’t think you’ll be posting this one in your blog anytime soon:D I can of course, scroll down to see that I actually really did post this.

  14. Toni-Marie says:

    Ok now…being as you didn’t have permission to copy and paste the former comments of mine, I request that you remove them because you don’t have the right to copy and paste my name and comments here that were posted and meant for somewhere else.

  15. Toni-Marie says:

    Also, in order to offer a true debate, both sides of the argument need to be stated….and, with that in mind, here is the link to the original BCM website which inspired the name of the facebook group. Here you can see the views of a long list of real experts regarding CMs show and his techniques….but I suppose they are all wrong and CM and the likes of you are correct:S

    Also remember that the BCM group used to be called “Cesar millan is a Hack”. It was changed because many of us, myself included, felt that the name wasn’t helpful and too derogatory…so if we really were so rude and ignorant, I reckon thats what the group would still be called to be honest.

    • Rafael C. says:

      Your group is well know as a place where The Hypocrites, Haters, Trolls, Rednecks and LIARS gather all together.

      Where is not tolerated a different point of view, opinion, anything that goes against their Dogma is banned, the poster is insulted and his opinion is erased, tolerance is a foreign word for those schmucks.

      Then they go to other forums and cry and brag for a “civil conversation” and “respect”

      Just like Snakes that shed their skin, “Cesar Millan is a hack” group, changed their name to “Beyond Cesar Millan” NOT BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT THAT THE NAME WERE “… the name wasn’t helpful and too derogatory” OR BECAUSE THEIR MEMBERS WANTED TO MAKE A CRITICISM TO THE METHOD NOT THE PERSON.

      They changed their name BECAUSE the creator of the group, Michelle Angelico got a “Free code” to pay an add in Facebook to lure more people into their madness, she wrote:

      – Michelle Angelico
      Whelp, that’s it folks. The free advertising has run it’s course. But it’s left us with 4,112 members!
      12 de noviembre de 2010 a las 11:29

      Inna Krasnovsky So can we now go back to calling this site CM is a HACK? Or do we have to continue being nice?
      13 de noviembre de 2010 a las 12:06 ·

      Michelle Angelico We have to continue being nice. 😛
      13 de noviembre de 2010 a las 12:08 ·

      Michelle Angelico We’ve hit… or rather, /passed/ the 4,000 member mark! 😀

      04 de noviembre de 2010 a las 8:05

      Michelle Angelico Looks like my Anti-Cesar Millan fan page finally grew large enough to get Facebook’s attention. Gone, gone, gone. Good thing we’ve still got Cesar Millan Is A Hack!

      05 de octubre de 2010 a las 23:38

      Michelle Angelico Guys, if any of you have experience editing wiki pages, check out Denise’s post in Discussions. We could use a hand.

      12 de noviembre de 2010 a las 9:13


      They are whining LIARS.

  16. Jill Spurr says:

    My name and comments from elsewhere are cross-posted without my permission. Please remove them.



  17. Jill Spurr says:

    My name and comments from elsewhere are crossposted without my permission and I asked you to remove them.

    You removed my surname?

    I asked you to act with integrity and dignity and you didn’t. Thanks, tells me all I needed to know about you.

    Now, remove my comments that I did not post myself.

  18. Crysania says:

    I see, Rafael, that you didn’t bother to post in any of the comments and discussions the group had on changing the name and focus. The “ad” was a catalyst for rethinking the group and the mission. Originally it was just a gathering place for people who were frustrated with Cesar Millan’s techniques and the constant reverence of a man who many of us disagree with quite strongly and who many trained behaviorists believe is setting dog training/rehabilitation back many years. It was a place for us to rant to others who agreed with us. The “ad” was a chance to get the message out to other people and so the focus of the group changed from simply a place to gather and share our stories and our frustration to a place to get the message out about the training techniques used by Cesar and others like him and that there is a better way.

    In case you’ve not noticed, we’ve discussed other trainers (including Brad Pattison and others we disagree with, as well as people we agree with) and discussed much about positive training. Yes we share links where people are looking for advice in order to get members to try to steer them in a different direction or into a direction we think is more humane and more likely to work, but no one has trolled. No one has been a hypocrite nor a liar. And to call us that shows how little interaction with the group you’ve had.

    What we ARE is a group of strong-minded people who are willing to stand up for what we believe in. And what we believe in is humane training that does not including choking dogs into submission, shutting down fearful dogs, or using “dominance” to explain everything dogs do.

    Here are a few comments from when the name was changed:

    GREAT NAME!!!!

    great renaming 🙂

    Love the new name! 😉

    perfect name :] positive rewards based needs to become the majority & only way taught!

    I like this name!!! Let’s try to be as positive as possible while still educating people – for the dogs’ sake!!!

    Many people wanted the name change and just because it came out of an “ad” (Michelle, btw, is not the creator of the community that I know of) doesn’t mean it wasn’t a well-needed change.

  19. Rafael C. says:

    No, they did not.

    They knew that the last name was just too Stupid and they wanted to attract more people into their Insanity, but, there is other reason…

    They start to think on change the name because THE Troll Leonard Cecil (and I really mean it when I use the adjective Troll, he is a REAL Exposed Troll) who have YEARS attacking Cesar Millan and Brad Pattison, well, Brad Pattison has had enough of him and start to close all the groups that Leonard created to Bash him.

    He warned to the creators of the group that maybe Cesar could do the same and urged to the creators to change name…

    Leonard Cecil Soo, BP is threatening to have his lawyers get in touch with me:
    see the thread started on June 29th by Lana Warren that interestingly enough starts with her posting the K9freestyle film of Carolyn and Rookie doing their legendary “Grease” number. Somehow he’s done enoug…h research to work out that I’m a computer geek and play trombone, but somehow also thinks I live in Calgary how he can come up with THAT, I don’t know. And on what basis his lawyers will want to do anything is also not clear, when he’s deleted every thread I’ve started and the discussion topic as well.
    Ver más

    Leonard Cecil Hi! Haven’t heard a word. Of course he doesn’t have my coordinates. But he didn’t threaten ME. He threantened my friend Tom Swift, whose coordinates he doesn’t have either. I’ve been blocked by him for months. As far I know, the films are still available – tom hasn’t mentioned, that he’d heard from fb about them.
    15 de julio a las 19:28

    John House I know this is old, but to answer Jeanne’s question — Brad’s rent-a-lawyer hasn’t made good on his threat to “track me down” yet.
    22 de septiembre a las 17:43

    John House
    SIGH, another board I have to sign up for, LOL. But this is in error: “OTOH, Facebook does have rules that forbid starting slanderous groups against specific individuals, so he and his lawyers might actually have a case. I think the anti-…Cesar camp started a group called “Cesar Milan should become a postive trainer” or something like that just to avoid that FB loophole. That’s worth bearing in mind – FB might shut down the group. ” MY personal group that I created that i STILL got some crap for was called “Real Dog Trainers Don’t Heed In the Doghouse”. I don’t see how that’s “slanderous”, where it doesn’t even mention his name and is critical of his show. I still have to write FB AGAIN to try and get my group back.Ver más

    I don’t want say anything else, because I don’t want to ruin the surprise for “Buzz”…

    You can not talk of absolutes in training.
    Your statement that Negative Punishment based training is more “humane” is false and this assertion is paramount to emotional blackmail
    The dogs pay a high price for the failure of your precious “humane” method, a shot of Euthasol is the price… you see? I can do it also!
    We can elicit emotional responses, Manipulate, and make a Sales Pitch to another human by our use of words and the emotionl imagery they conjure up.
    Why use a E-collar when there are more “humane” methods to control a dog like Drug$$$! … and Drugs as every one knows, are free of side effects!…NOT!

    I’m sure that there are people (maybe you) with a true concerned about the wellfare of dogs in the training process… in both sides of the philosophies.

    Cesar is one of them.

    If I had a shadow of doubt about that there were some kind of abuse in Cesar methods, I would be the first person in expose that abuse.

    The difference in philosopies is that you chose to learn a method that does not requires to address the Hierarchical structure, is that what you bought when you chose to learn the Negative Punishment approach.

    – “…dog social structure and behavior actually have very little, if anything, to do with training! Social behavior and dog training are two entirely separate and distinct disciplines and any notions of wolf, or dog, hierarchical social structure, whether hypothetical or real, are simply irrelevant to the training of dogs.” – Ian Dunbar

    Do you have any idea about what those like Ian Dunbar, Karen Pryor, Nicolas Dodman, Karen L Overall etc. are up to?

    Until now, all the attacks come and are orchestrated for powerful people with strong interests in the dog training industry, involved and actively participating in campaigns of disinformation and discredit.

    you can not ignore that dog training is an Industry of billions of dollars.

    I believe that many of you Negative Punishment trainers are manipulated to promote that specific philosophy, if not answer this:

    After read this thread, Do you still believe in this study, one of the strongholds in which is based your believes?

    is presented on Victoria Stillwell’s site…. twice

    a few days ago other Pigeon make a reference:

    After read this:!/topic.php?uid=42463089953&topic=17669

    There is or not manipulation, misinformation and misguide comming from the leaders of the Negative Punishment training?

  20. Crysania says:

    Rafael, I’m starting to think you are ON drugs from the way you write. Noting you say actually makes a bit of sense and trying to wade through the muck of your idiocy is tiring.

    I didn’t buy into anything. No one in the group has “bought into” anything. Rather, we’ve spent countless hours reading and studying dogs and dog behavior and dog body language and how dogs relate to settle on a method that IS humane. I’m not sure what you mean by “The dogs pay a high price for the failure of your precious “humane” method, a shot of Euthasol is the price.” Last time I checked my dog, who has been trained 100% using humane, dog friendly, non-Cesar methods is laying comfortably on the couch after a nice time outside in the snow. Human training methods (no quotes needed when they ARE humane) have saved many dogs and saved many owners from getting rid of those dogs. Next door to me I have a woman who trains using Cesar’s dominant based methods and she struggles constantly with her dog, still using choke collars to yank at him when he does something “wrong” because she has to show she’s the “alpha.” What amazes me is that no one thinks how illogical that IS. Dogs are dogs and we are NOT dogs. Even IF the whole dominance hierarchy existed it would exist within DOGS and not include us. It’s just so silly.

    As for Brad? I’m not sure why you bring him up, but his methods are downright cruel, even more so than Cesar. His show has thankfully not gotten as wide of a viewership as Cesar’s. I would hate to see people teaching their dog to heel by knocking their heads into trees like I saw that jerk do on one of his shows.

    The question is: why are you AGAINST positive training? Why is coming up with humane ways to train dogs to live in OUR world such a bad thing? It seems silly to fight FOR inhumane ways of training.

  21. Rafael C. says:

    Ok. I understand, you are slow.

    Let me make this easy to you:
    – “The question is: why are you AGAINST positive training?”
    I’m not “AGAINST” Negative Punishment based training, don’t try to change the focus.
    Negative Punishment training is not better or worse that other methods, what IS right is that whatever all of us have learned within our own personal experiences.

    – “I didn’t buy into anything. No one in the group has “bought into” anything. Rather, we’ve spent countless hours reading and studying dogs and dog behavior and dog body language and how dogs relate to settle on a method that IS humane”

    “Friendly”, ” Humane”, “Pure positive”, “Amicable” are just Slogans that Negative Punishment trainers use as Appeal to the gullible to lure people into their method.
    These “professionals” speaking against Cesar Millan, also don’t mention they spent money and time learning certain techniques that they themselves profit on, whose indoctrination leaves no room for any program but their own.

    – “I’m not sure what you mean by “The dogs pay a high price for the failure of your precious “humane” method, a shot of Euthasol is the price.”
    I was using the same that you Negative Punishment trainer use to discredit other methods, I was using an emotionaly charged statement….
    but since you’re slow to understand, let me elaborate furter:
    Ultimately, Negative Punishment based training is Cruel if the dog’s failure in training results in an accident or being sent to a “shelter,” that is, a place where they Kill your dog because you did not care enough to be the Leader and trainer he needed.
    Like this or I should be more specific?

    – “Last time I checked my dog, who has been trained 100% using humane, dog friendly, non-Cesar methods”
    So what? that does not proof nothing!
    You just did what every dog owner should do, give to the dog training and be Consistent with the method, whatever method the owner chose, ALL METHODS WORK.
    I can say the say the same of my dog and more, I was able to rehabilitate her with Cesar methods and now I have a perfect well balanced dog following his philosophy.
    It is always so sad when those who also have a vested interest in other choices, ignore the thousands of easily accessible success stories of the dogs and owners that Cesar has helped.

    – “Human training methods (no quotes needed when they ARE humane) have saved many dogs and saved many owners from getting rid of those dogs.”

    Its a shame that your Spiritual Leader, Ian Dunbar Does Not agree with you!
    “Prevention is easier (and much quicker) than cure but we are still not preventing the major reasons for surrendering dogs to shelters, namely, house-soiling problems, destructive chewing, excessive barking and separation anxiety. Moreover, socialization is pitifully and scarily inadequate. We are not even coming close to preparing puppies for adolescence and successfully preventing fearfulness and aggression.” – Ian Dunbar

    – “Next door to me I have a woman who trains using Cesar’s dominant based methods and she struggles constantly with her dog, still using choke collars to yank at him when he does something “wrong” because she has to show she’s the “alpha.”

    This is a very vague statement, I could say also that I been watching “cookies tossers” give commands to the dog with happy voices and the dog totally ignore them.

    – “What amazes me is that no one thinks how illogical that IS. Dogs are dogs and we are NOT dogs. Even IF the whole dominance hierarchy existed it would exist within DOGS and not include us. It’s just so silly”

    Silly? I think that is Hillarious… that those who criticize Cesar’s philosophy still believe in what they critizice!
    “Nearly all the dogs in the first group turned out to be Dominant and got into the territorial mode of guarding their property and possessions within their territory. So I think that Leadership is very important because of the Pack Mentality of dogs. If you are the Leader, I don’t think that the dog is unhappy about having you as the Leader” – Nicolas Dodman

    Also I love the way you avoided to answer my question in regard to the British study….

  22. Pingback: My 7 Links: Blog Introspection « Back Alley Soapbox

  23. lexy3587 says:

    a bit late in the game – but this is a great post!

  24. Pingback: Dog Training Tips for Training Your Dog | Paws Kennels Blog

  25. I loved this says:

    Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so
    I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips and hints for inexperienced blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  26. Becca R says:

    This was a very well thought out response to the criticism going Cesar’s way. When I became aware of people’s negative responses to Cesar’s way, I naturally wanted to find out if there was legitimate reasons behind it. I spent the greater part of the day researching “cruelty-free” methods of dealing with dog issues. To be honest, I do believe you can achieve results that way for certain cases, though I believe it will take longer for the dog to understand what the trainer wants from him. Yet, Cesar’s way should not be vilified like it has been. Making outrageous statements about him abusing dogs into “learned helplessness” is completely off the mark. I’m happy to hear that someone feels the way I do about the whole thing. Thank you for your comprehensive response to the criticism.

  27. Andrea says:

    I realize this is a really old post, but hey–I just read it. It’s new to me! Another thing people should keep in mind is that Cesar is dealing pretty much only with extreme cases. You wrote that he pinned the dog in only 24% of the episodes. That’s 24% of “Red-Line” cases. To give you an example of how small of a fraction of the dog population that is, I work with thousands of dogs in a year, and I only see at most one per year that is “red line”. By the time he gets to these dogs its not a simple, easy solution anymore.

    As a dog groomer, I work with thousands of dogs every year. Most of the dogs I see have no training and receive no exercise and only go “out” when they see the vet or the groomer. These dogs are usually quite nice, and if Cesar had a training session with them it would probably bore the average viewer. It’s not thrilling or exciting to see Fluffy learn how to sit, or happily walking on a leash admiring the scenery.

    Even the mildly naughty dogs would most likely require no correct (or rewards really) whatsoever. A simple walk would cure the issue.

    There are several steps between “Nice” and “Redline” you can go through, none of which require much fixing. It’s unfair to judge a man who is brave enough to work with a dog the rest of us are scared to handle. I’ve been in his seat. I don’t think the people criticizing him have.

  28. Carrie says:

    Oh my god. I am writing a blog post right now called “In Defense of Cesar Millan” and I can’t even remember what I was googling for, but I just came across your post and OH MY GOD SO MUCH YES. I’m quoting you in my blog, I hope that’s ok. That whole part about alpha stuff? UGH YES I never though Cesar meant I should like kick my dog into submission, I just thought he meant I shouldn’t treat him like a widdle baby all the time. And thank god for Cesar because I totally would have and I would have had a miserable ill-mannered dog.THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

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