I have made no secret of the fact that I have no love or respect for Cesar Millan. I know he is crazy popular with the general public, and I can only assume that is because of his showmanship…because it certainly isn’t due to his knowledge of behavior, training or even canine body language.
I have never said his methods don’t work…they can. And for a confident happy dog, there is probably no lasting damage. But in a shy dog or an assertive dog his methods can be and have been disastrous . how much pain and fear is ok when training your dog?..That’s the bottom line.
Millan’s fans are numerous and are massing to protect the man they think actually helps the dogs they see him work with on television. They do not understand that the show is edited for content…they don’t see the harsh training methods that go on behind the scenes: the choking, hanging, and physical contact.
Every single person that appears on Millan’s show has to sign an agreement to never, ever discuss what happened during the “training” sessions or after. So viewers aren’t aware of the abuse, the number of dogs whose behavior became worse, the dogs who developed aggression, the dogs who developed learned helplessness, or the dogs who had to be euthanized.
There is not a behaviorist in the world that supports this man’s training policies. The relationship trainers I know are appalled by everything he does to dogs. Yes, there are things he espouses that are excellent suggestions (exercise your dog people)…..but his other methods are junk science.
Last week I watched the video of Millan taking an aggressive dog into an enclosure with pigs. I believe the title of the episode was “The Little Pig Killer”. The dog had previously killed two pigs, and Millan was supposedly going to “build a new memory” so the dog would no longer be dangerous to other animals.
While on leash the dog appeared calm and was less than interested in the pigs. So in his hubris, Millan removed the dog’s leash. One of his assistants grabbed the pig’s back leg, causing the pig to squeal, which galvanized the dog to attack. It was a frenzied and bloody event, leaving the pig with a tattered, bloody ear. Millan grabbed the dog, and forced him down….trying to show how much control he had over the situation. He lets go of the dog, stands upright, and takes a step away from him A nano-second later the dog is in attack mode again, chasing and worrying the pigs, as they squeal and try to get away, all the time Millan is yelling “I’ve got it” and diving for the dog.
Here’s the deal…the first time the dog attacked was pure stupidity on Millan’s part, and could be chalked up as an accident. But by allowing the dog to remain leash free and unmuzzled, the second attack is entirely Millan’s fault and is nothing less than animal abuse.
I don’t want to hear any BS about the fact that people eat pigs. That isn’t the point and it is just trying to deflect the blame that rests squarely on Millan’s shoulders. What if the dog had previously killed puppies, and that’s what Millan turned him loose among? Or children? The fact is the pigs were put in harm’s way, for no good reason. You cannot magically fix aggression or prey drive in a dog in a ten minute “memory building” session. Prey drive is a complex behavior that takes a great deal of training to modify and manage.
Millan is currently under investigation for animal abuse. And he should be.