What is a “dog whisperer”? In reality, it is typically someone who understands dogs through the science of ethology and cognitive ethology. In no way does someone’s claims of being a dog whisperer give them the right to abuse a dog. In order to communicate with a dog and understand them and vice-versa, you must first understand the laws of learning.
The “Dog Whisperer Abuser”
Cesar Millan the autodidact “Dog Whisperer Abuser” is an easy punching bag. He’s a reality television show host, stuck in the 1930s spewing out dominance theory, dangerous and aversive training “advice” to viewers on the shameful National Geographic channel.
Cesar doesn’t practice humane and more effective, positive reinforcement dog training or follow the laws of learning. He has no formal education in dog training, never formally studied ethology (nonhuman animal behavior), cognitive ethology and he doesn’t rely on scientific research, evidence or clinical studies to find out if his methods are outdated, less efficient, harmful or dangerous to the wellbeing of dogs.
His advice flies in the face against what every trained, certified applied animal behaviorist, and veterinary behaviorist recommends. He ignores any scientific approach nor does he reward dogs at appropriate times.
As Mark Derr notes, “Properly treating aggression, phobias, anxiety, and fears from the start can literally save time and money. Mr. Millan’s quick fix might make for good television and might even produce lasting results in some cases. But it flies in the face of what professional animal behaviorists — either trained and certified veterinarians or ethologists — have learned about normal and abnormal behavior in dogs.”
Why Do People Listen To Reality TV Show Hosts?
A reassuring lie is easier to believe than an inconvenient truth. Cesar’s show is a hit because he has a heart-moving story and is charismatic. He immigrated to the United States with nothing, was homeless, and is now very rich and famous (sadly, what most of this society values) due to his popular reality television show. His fear-based, confrontational, dominance and forceful methodologies sometimes get ephemeral dog behavior results in a short period of time, just as if someone threatening you with a gun would get you to “not behave” and stand helpless “not behaving” for a little while.
Consequently, after the assault, your behavior would likely revert back to whatever issues you were facing before someone put a gun to your head or threatened you (and many times you would face additional problems, PTSD, phobias, and generalized fears after the incident). However, as most know, force is the punishment of another for one’s lack of teaching skills and education.
I can go on and on about the outdated, abusive, and nonsensical dog training methods but that has been covered ad nauseam, but I also like some of Cesar’s messages as well, gasp!
Although he has set back dog training’s scientific advances many decades he does have some positive messages buried amidst all of his punching, poking, bullying, choking, kicking, forcing and alpha rolling ignorance. He trumpets spay and neutering pets. He advocates getting rid of Breed Specific Legislation, and Breed Discrimination Legislation BSL/BDL ignorantly practiced in Miami, Florida, and countless other cities and towns around the world. He also advocates adopting pets from your local animal rescue, humane society or shelter, which are all great ideas and causes to trumpet.
In the video below, skip to the 6:50 mark to see Cesar Millan using and recommending the torture device knows as a shock collar.
(Cesar Millan’s Lawyers told YouTube to remove any videos critiquing his abuse)
Do countless owners get bitten while attempting what they see Cesar ignorantly do on television? Yes. Do Cesar’s methods destroy relationships and the bond we have with dogs, human’s best friend? Yes. Are his methods outdated and abusive to dogs? Yes. Is Cesar a delusional sociopath? Yes. Does Cesar study the principles of learning theory, ethology, cognitive etiology, or learn from or adhere to scientifically proven results replicated in blind studies? No.
But he does bring to the table awareness of the stupidity of the municipalities around the world banning breeds based on looks and ignorance alone. In addition, he likely influences many people’s decisions to spay and neuter their pets. Not to mention his personal life story is inspirational.
I’m sure many immigrants and others look up to Cesar and see a genuine rags-to-riches story (albeit at the expense of dogs’ welfare). He does bring a lot of attention to dog training which is always a positive event. I have faith in humanity that unlike Cesar when families research dog training they will soon find out about what the most proven, effective, humane, long-term force-free, positive reinforcement dog training methods are.
During that search they will debunk and oust Cesar off his soapbox of abuse, whereby they will find out about organizations such as the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) or the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) which is the only independent, international certification body that certifies only the most, experienced, tested, veterinarian and peer-recommended dog trainers who practice the most up-to-date positive reinforcement dog training and take annual continuing education.
Some people contend that Cesar can’t possibly do any damage because he only uses a few fingers when he hits or pokes a dog. He doesn’t wind up and punch a dog in some dramatic fashion. However, looks can be very deceiving especially on a reality show. As a lifelong practitioner and advocate of martial arts, I invite you to watch this presentation on how a minute seemingly innocuous, benign two-finger movement can deliver devastating and even deadly blows. Place this on the soft part of your dog’s neck and trachea, and you can only imagine the outcome. Read this to see understand how sensitive and vulnerable your dog’s neck is.
How To Train Your Dog Conclusion
I can’t help but weigh the risk vs. reward of Cesar on the world: some of his positive messages verse his plethora of damaging, punishment-based training methods. I think/hope the “Dog Whisperer Abuser” audience will ultimately see through the reality show business ratings, do their own research and choose the humane, intelligent path that science has spent decades proving, rather than Cesar’s misinformation regardless of how charismatic he is or how white his veneers are.
While Cesar keeps me very busy by constantly getting phone calls and emails from people desperate to get educated advice after they have severely damaged their relationship with their best friend and unsuccessfully “trained” their dogs using “Cesar’s abusive traditional dog training ways” and despite all of Cesar’s negatives (and there are a lot), he does have some positive messages as well.
For laughs at how utterly ridiculous reality show host Cesar Millan’s abuse is, this parody will leave no doubts.