Cesar Millan and his gigantic ego

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Cesar Millan is not a man of reason. Much like a religious fundamentalist, he turns a blind eye to sound logic, reason and what we currently know to be best based on scientific findings. He might mean well (or maybe all he craves is attention), but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s wrong. Had it only been such that the damage he inflicts was on the (relatively speaking) few dogs he himself handles, my quarrel wouldn’t be any more pronounced than that which I hold towards anyone who upholds similar malpractice. The unfortunate truth however, is that Cesar Millan has duped an entire nation, dare I even say large parts of the world, into believing that it is with harsh, punitive methods that we should treat our dogs.

Because Cesar has a TV show with fancy background music and slick editing, many people buy the kool aid he’s selling. Never once stopping to think of what really goes into making it, or how the unpleasant after taste of unfortunate dog’s life plays out when the cameras are gone.

The problem with Cesar Millan

In the interest of keeping it short: his so called understanding of dogs is based largely on outdated research and methodology long since proved wrong, and often down right harmful. In Cesar’s own words, a lot of what he teaches today, stems from his grandfather back at the ranch he used to live on in Mexico. You can look this up by reading his books if you don’t believe me.

My only question really, is who would you prefer to listen to? Millan, a man with no formal education whatsoever, or some of the most highly regarded trainers, Ph.D’s and animal/dog behaviorists out there? Examples include but are certainly not limited to Ian Dunbar, Victoria Stilwell, Patricia McConnell and Karen Pryor. All of which agree that Cesar’s methods are inhumane and unacceptable ways of treating dogs.

Aside from this, Cesar cites books such as “How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend” by the Monks of New Skete, a book i can warmly recommend if your intention is to learn outdated malpractice.

Speaking of which, here’s a fun fact to consider

In the original printing of “How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend”, the authors highly recommended that you embrace the technique known as Alpha Rolling. The idea being to show your dog “who’s boss” by forcibly rolling him onto his side and pinning him there. I’m sure you’ve seen Cesar do this countless times on his show. What Cesar neglects to tell you however, is that even this book has long since come out in a revised and updated version, where the authors now strongly discourage the use of any such thing as alpha rolling. Why? Because science now has proven the major potential psychological abuse this introduces to the dog (not to mention the physical dangers to both human and dog).

In the 2002 second edition of the book, the monks recanted and strongly discouraged the technique. [ .. ] the alpha roll is now considered to be risky and is highly controversial among animal behaviorists


Yet, Cesar keeps on trucking with the “old ways of doing things”, despite being presented with direct evidence contradicting him. So maybe you can take a moment to consider this the next time you feel like manhandling your dog. I mean, had we been caught treating our kids the way we do our dogs we would have ended up in jail on charges of abuse.

Forest Fires: The Consequences of his actions

Cesar’s so called “dog training” methods, though highly discouraged from use by anyone but him via big, pronounced warnings on his show, have been adopted by tons of dog owners who have no idea what they are doing. And this is partly the cost of having blind trust in an authority figure - which is never a good idea regardless of the circumstance. If you love your dog, you owe to him to spend some time on researching what’s best. I know it’s hard, especially if you’re used to doing things a certain way, but you should at least consider the possibility of being wrong. Listen to what some of the aforementioned people have to say on the subject. Do a few google searches on their names or dog training in general. You might be surprised.

“Shockingly”, TV only cares about ratings!

I know that in Norway (I would imagine in the US as well on an even larger scale) veterinarians have banded together writing well crafted, highly documented letters voicing serious concerns pertaining to the airing of “the Dog Whisperer”. Despite pleading with for example TV Norge, a popular norwegian channel, all attempts at reason have so far been futile.

It’s sad, but I guess it shouldn’t come as much of a shock that a TV station chooses “number of viewers” over “animal welfare”, even if it does mean publicly airing animal abuse. After all, it all comes down to the bottom line.

Sad indeed, but no surprise.

Click here for a video discussion (youtube) on outdated dominance “training” vs. modern behavioral science

Still defending Cesar Millan?

That’s unfortunate. Please see the following links for more.

Author: Stian Karlsen

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