Cesar Millan Will Not Train My Dog

Dog Training

I find that there are many different methods of dog training and there are some methods that work better than others, all of which depend on the individual dog and the dog owner. I have found that some dogs work wonders with clicker training, but others just can't get the grasp of it even with a super slow introduction.

When training dogs, it's best to find a training method that works for each dog not use the same method for all dogs.

People do not all learn the same, and neither do animals, so you have to find the right method for training your dog that works for both you and the dog.

As for Cesar Millan, I will admit at first I was amazed by the stories that I had heard, so I had to get his books. The books are good and have good tips in them, but at the same time there are many flaws in Cesar's way of training.

His dog training methods are very outdated, and there are a number of more effective means of training a dog. Now, I will admit that if done correctly under the supervision of a well qualified dog behaviorist, Cesar's dog training methods can be proven effective at re-training bad behaviors, but the average dog owner is generally not able to carry out these techniques without flaws.

Personally, I love my dogs too much to listen to Cesar Millan's way of training. I will not use adverse training on my dogs by any means. Positive reinforcement is a much more efficient and reliable way to train a dog, and to the dog it is a much more fun way to train. And, there are more than one ways to skin a cat, meaning there are more than one way to positively train your dog.

Generally, you will find that adversive dog training is focused around fear and intimidation, and if you ask the top behaviorists, veterinarians, and specialists, you'll find that they will generally all agree that there are better means of training than negative dog training.

Cesar Millan Dog Training Methods

Cesar Millan uses more negative training than anything else, which is the old school method of animal training. You'll find the Cesar is known for his aversive training techniques, using flooding and punishment, which lead to more temporary behavior changes versus a permanent change.

You'll should note that Cesar Millan is known for using assertive touch, leash correction, alpha rolls, and energy draining exercises, as a form of dog training. He has been criticized greatly for his use of dominant and aggressive training techniques. Cesar has used choke collar and pinch collars on dogs with severe fears, and he has forcefully confronted aggressive dogs; both of these acts can potentially enhance the fear or aggression in the dog.

His show has even been threatened to cease airing by the American Humane Association because of his forceful training techniques. "The Dog Whisperer" is a mediocre show for adults to watch, and while Cesar Millan is attempting to give you tips at training your dog his way, he is also telling children, and adults, that it is ok to try these tactics with their own dog, potentially leading unsafe situations that they are not prepared to handle. I.E. never use punishment or correction on a dog who is already scared because fearful dogs have a high risk of biting.

Even if Cesar flat out says, "Do not try these methods without a professional," people will still try them on their own. In a way, he does give his disclaimer notice, but that is not enough to stop anyone from forcefully alpha rolling their dog or running their young pup on a dog treadmill for an hour or more.

Cesar Millan Aversive Training Techniques

Remember that aversive training is not a permanent and long-term solution for dog training. You will find that punishment-style training is a temporary fix of a solution. The dog will eventually find means to continue the behavior; he will just find a different method of doing so, in order not to get caught.

Assertive Touch: Essentially, this is what it is, assertively, and many times aggressively, touching and manually maneuvering the dog. Typically, this tactic is used to re-focus a dog from his target to you at the moment he starts to show interest, but in most cases it is a matter of timing in order to catch the dog before you lose control of him.

There are many different solutions to re-directing your dog's attention, and properly training him not to be aggressive or overly excited to whatever object he is prone to showing extreme emotion toward. Most other methods are more effective long-term.

Generally, you'll find that assertive touch can cause a dog to lose trust in you and potentially develop other behavioral concerns, especially if you do not time it properly or if your touch is too assertive for the particular behavior (IE the punishment must equal the bad behavior).

Leash Jerks: Again, just like it sounds, you are giving a quick snap of the leash as soon as the dog shows signs of bad behavior. This is a very hard tactic to learn, and the average pet owner will more than likely not be successful with it, since there is an exact moment to which the leash jerk is actually effective and at any other moment it will not work. You must use the proper amount of force at the proper angle in order to even do any good. Overall, leash jerks can cause your dog to lose trust in you, as well as develop other behavioral problems.

Who's doing the alpha roll here?
Who's doing the alpha roll here?

Alpha Rolls: Alpha rolls are a common aversive tactic that is supposed to show submission of the dog and your dominance over him. Well, when performed by the average pet owner, it can cause detachment and an increase of bad behaviors and canine dominance. You can cause your dog to lose trust in you if you overuse and abuse alpha roll overs.

Alpha rolls should onlybe used by very experienced dog trainers and typically only as a last resort. Cesar Millan has popularized this tactic without telling anyone of the potential side effects; he basically says any time your dog misbehaves, even for a minor offense, roll him. Alpha rolls can emphasize violence with your violence tot he dog; you may cause physical and mental damage to the dog.

Alpha rolls can be very dangerous if you do them at the wrong time and on the wrong dog. You can see additional behavioral problems than what initially started. You may even see that your dog skips the natural dog behaviors that you've been punishing him for (IE alpha roll him for growling, and he may just skip to biting without the warning).

Energy Draining Exercises: Yes, in a way a tired dog is a well behaved dog, but this is no excuse for putting a 12 week old puppy on a dog treadmill and making him run for extended periods of time. Puppies need rest and should not be overworked; Cesar has repeatedly put younger dogs and puppies on a dog treadmill as an energy drainer. This is by no means a method of dog training that is approved by any reputable behaviorist or veterinarian.

You do want to walk your dog at least twice a day for 30 minutes (an hour is better), but that does not mean extended 5 mile runs three times a day and vigorous play and exercise. By using energy draining exercises, your dog will be better behaved to some degree because he'll be to tired to move.

This extreme energy draining tactic can cause physical health problems for the dog, and in all reality, it's not doing anything to correct the bad behavior because even a tired dog can and will get into trouble.

Aversive Tactics that Increase Agression

  • Hitting or kicking the dog- increases in 41% of dogs
  • Growling at the dog- 41%
  • Forcing the dog to release an item from its mouth- 38%
  • Alpha roll (force dog on its back) - 31%
  • Dominance down (force the dog on its side)- 29%
  • Grabbing the jowls or scruff- 26%
  • Staring the dog down until it looks away- 30%
  • Spraying the dog with spray bottle- 20%
  • Yelling “no”- 15%
  • Forced exposure/ flooding techniques - 12%

Positive counterpart that may lead to aggression:

  • Exchange an item for an item that's in his mouth instead of forcing the item out- 6%
  • Training the dog to sit for everything it wants- 2%
  • Rewarding the dog for eye contact- 2%
  • Reward the dog for “watch me”- 0%

Comments 122 comments

ann 20 months ago

I have two German shepherds they are not good with other dogs I do correct them when needed but if there is one thing I can't stand is those people that take there dogs out for a walk and the barking goes on and on and they have them on those stupid flexibility leads . They pull there owners every where and they don't say a word to the dogs I think there scared that they might upset them they treat them like kids. They need to be corrected for bad behaviour and because my dogs are aggressive with other dogs if looks can kill but at least I 'm not scared to correct them. If I could have the chance of having cesar come and help me with them I would be thrilled. He can see a fight happen long before it happens he can read dog language and I'd trust him any day with my two if he was that bad how is he famous jealousy is a terrible thing.


sherry d. 2 years ago

I've tried to watch used his show a couple times but ended up crying he is so abusive(learn dog body language and watch the show without sound).if I could put to sleep Mike Vick or Cesar Millan it would be a toss up.I have had several people tell me they tried these methods and the dog got more aggressive and they ended up putting that the dog to sleep.that death is in his hands because he caused it.I have a dog that killed two dogs before I got her she is now perfectly safe around other dogs I used all positive reinforcement.


Science first 2 years ago

As a professional animal behaviorist for over 30 years I do not recommend most of Cesar Milan's training methods as they are indeed not only outdated, often ineffective long term but some are outright dangerous. If you want a strong bond with your dog then positive methods do work best. There are also different methods of positive training as one method doesn't work on all dogs.

Dogs live for the moment and of course want to do things they want to do, but if they know what YOU want (you have taught them with clear instructions and not just forced them into situations) they will do what you want almost all the time (most do it every time!) as they know it makes that moment a happy one--whereas if its due to fear and dominance then they are much more likely to refuse to do it at any point as it makes it a tense moment. For example, pushing or forcing a dog to accept things it does not want by teaching them not to growl when you do something to them (or that the warning growl has no effect in stopping your behavior) they will learn to forgo the growl and bite first instead of adding the natural warning. This is one issue I see more often from those who have followed his training and is a very serious problem.

Excessive exercise can actually injure puppies growing joints and should be avoided. A proper amount of exercise for the age of the pup is recommended however, to allow the youngster to expel normal amounts of energy so they pay close attention but not be too tired to learn.

I think those who dismiss this article and praise Cesar are missing the facts involved and are only seeing the glory of TV and isolated cases and not the long term results. This makes him look amazing, but in fact many professionals like myself spend more time trying to correct the damage to dogs and their owners from his methods. I am sure they love their dogs and want what's best for them and honestly believe this is good. When you try something and it works you may not look further. I can only hope they take further steps and get more information about better training methods, dog psychology (he is not a dog psychologist by any means as he doesn't know how to read their body language evidenced repeatedly on his show by how many times he is bitten and he says "I didn't see that coming") and strengthen their bond with their dogs instead of continuing to develop a fear and dominance based relationship.


Murphy 3 years ago

why so obsessed by Cesar?? If you are soooooo much better than him just do your job (the way you thing is best) or do you have to prove your better than him?? this is called jealousy...


Camille. 3 years ago

I agree with some of the people's comments that your article is kinda short-sighted. All you see and came to criticize Cesar's techniques are his techniques on how to deal with dominant and aggressive dogs. If you have paid attention Cesar would always point out that "touching" the dog to correct its actions, he is not kicking or maltreating the dogs for crying out loud, it is not a soft budge but not as well as a hard pound on the dog geez. It's like your telling your readers that Cesar always use a negative technique which is not he is also using some positive techniques as well; it is always a case to case basis as well. I can see that Cesar respects dogs, he doesn't jumps in to the situation immediately to "train" the dog, he understands it. And he would always put a reminder that us humans needs to be train and/or discipline as well for us to meet halfway or at the end. If he's method is not correct then explain how positive and submissive his dogs are and you can tell that those dogs are healthy and not in trauma. Like what others say not all methods are applicable so why diss on his when eventually it works.


Amy 3 years ago

You may not agree with his methods but you cannot deny the results.


Mona 3 years ago

This is a lot of bull. Every dog is different and needs to be trained differently, just as every child learns differently. One cannot completely shut out these methods. As for the percentages in the end, I call bullshit on those. There is just no way to come up with those numbers except to make them up based on generous exaggerations.


Halo10 4 years ago

Whilst I agree some dog owners may not be able to use Cesar's methods successfully, I think this could be for a number of reasons all stemming to the lack of knowledge about what they are doing. It is one thing to watch a person work with a dog on a tv show who has had many years of experience working with dogs and it is another thing to use the methods yourself without any instruction on many things like timing, level of reward or correction appropriately, to correct the behavioral problem. Knowing what approach to use on a dog is not about whether it is right to correct a dog or not, it is about the dogs best interest and what approach should be taken to ensure he/she is a successful and fulfilled member of the family and society. Furthermore I do agree with the fact that dogs do not rationalize as humans do and they are not psychic, training should be black and white so that the dog can understand what behavior is not acceptable and which one is, reward for positive and correct for negative, this is something dogs do understand. Watch the next time your dog is playing with another dog or even your cat for that matter if they are friends, your dog will be rewarded with play by the other animal as long as they respect the level of play that the other animal wants and they will be corrected by the other animal if this is not achieved. So for all the positive reinforcement only trainers this is something to take into consideration.


Mike 4 years ago

Those that seem to find a method that works for them then then assume everyone else is wrong are very nieve. I have two malamutes (brother & sister) both from 8 weeks and still they cannot be trained the same way. Just like people dogs can be different and therefore respond better to different imputs. I've had dogs all my life and am yet to find one that reacts the exact same way as another.


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SandyMcCollum 4 years ago

I agree that positive actions work, but not for all things. Cesar is doggie-god in my eyes, and he's not hard on the eyes, either. :)


Ghost 4 years ago

If love worked on the dogs Cesar works with, he wouldn't be asked to work with them. He is brought in because the people who have the dog obviously have problems that have not been solved by 'positive training'. Like you said, not all methods work on all dogs.


G Basher 4 years ago

The main reason for that "Do not attempt without consulting a professional" is to keep him and the network from being sued every time some idiot gets bit while trying to train their dog.

For pet owners, consulting a professional is good advice. But the real problem with "consulting a professional" is figuring out which ones are actually worth a damn and which ones are just fools with a certificate hanging on their wall. All it takes to get a certificate is money and time, and the idiots get the same piece of paper as the competent ones.

Unfortunately, now the majority of "certified" trainers subscribe to what I call the Dr Spock theory of dog training. That old fool has ruined many generations of children by persuading parents that strong training and discipline, SOMETIMES calling for spanking a child, is BAD, BAD, BAD, and that sweetness and fluffy pink unicorns is the only way to raise a child.

The "only positive reinforcement" people used to show up in Field Trials and AKC Hunting Tests occasionally. We could always tell which ones they were: their dogs always lost, and often were completely out of control. I recall one that was sent out to retrieve a bird, and just kept on running, and running, and running .... he turned up about an hour after the test was long over.


Bflanders 5 years ago

Everyone knows positive reinforcement is a great training method, and in the dog whisperer I see Cesar Millan doing it all the time. It seems to me like you never handeled aggressive dogs where there is no oppertunety to reinfroce positive. Your blog is really shortsighted and shows of little knowledge about training dogs. Every good dog trainers uses positive reinforcement (watch the dog wishperer) but combines it with assertive tactics when positive reinforcement isn't possible. BTW 1)It's in a dogs nature to correct other dogs with assertive tactics. Watch dogs play with each other for 5 minutes and you'll see. 2) If you use statistics, refer to the source. Statistics on it's own are completely useless. A good dog trainer should know that at the verry least.


santiago-reyes 5 years ago

Cesar Millan I love, thanks to him everything has worked out great for me & family with my two babies cocker spaniel Gypsie and golden retriever Bubba. They behave so well....they neither fear nor suffer, THEY RESPECT.....lOVE MY BABIES...

Thank you Cesar!!!!


UnkCoothd profile image

UnkCoothd 5 years ago from Reno Nevada

Nice comments lately. A couple of years ago there were more Cesar haters like Whitney05. Glad to see more people coming around.


H L 5 years ago

I personally love Caesar. He understands dogs very well, and his methods are right for the dogs he deals with. The reason he never uses gentle methods is he never works with dogs that need them. I have a Siberian, and even though she isn't aggressive, Caesar's methods work well for me when I work with her because she has the 'pack mentality' Caesar talks about. True, his methods don't work for all dogs, but they work wonders for the dogs that need them.


Tonya Hurter 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing your views. I appreciate Cesar but really like Victoria Stillwell's methods more. I think his methods work in serious situations but are not necessary in every situation and less hands on methods do work well. I think there are benefits to learning those methods for people. I tried to use Cesar's methods on a food/fear aggressive dog and I didn't win. I think that should be left to the professionals.


Celia 5 years ago

I have just looked at Cesar Millan's two latest programmes in the UK. I THINK he has modified his techniques for the UK in view of the 2006 Animal Welfare Act. He claimed that his alpha rolls were "for relaxation not dominance" and although he did his usual leash jerking (minor not major pain) he did not do anything that would restrict the airways. Interesting. He still blathered about pack leadership, which any informed animal behaviourist knows is ridiculous. But on the whole I thought he was getting more humane. Perhaps he has bothered to do a little reading. He has wonderful timing, like all good trainers. Guess what, he even used food as positive reinforcement twice. Is he getting the message?


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lindatymensky 5 years ago

This is a good article, well written too - but I love Cesar! Linda


Lisa 5 years ago

I don't agree with your comments about Cesar...If you have an aggressive dog and you have tried all positive reinforcements and it doesn't work...The next method of training would be using a pinch/choke collar...This is not to be used to abuse but to correct an aggressive dog...Not all dogs are perfect, they all have different behavioural issues...But, if you have an agressive dog and he/she is very hard to manage and this is the only way around it, i totally agree...What would you rather to rehome the dog or put it down as you havn't tried an intense form of training aid...i say this because, I have been in this situation as I have had a problem with my dog when he was 5 months and it was an ongoing problem till he was a yr...I have tried several trainers, books, internet advice and he wasn't allowed in puppy classes because of his behaviour...I was introduced to the pinch collar and within 2 days my problem was solved...I have been through so much stress trying to solve this problem for 6 months and it was solved by using a pinch collar in 2 days..I don't need to use this collar anymore, as its corrected...I really think, it depends on the situation of a dog as they all are different and respond to different methods...


James 5 years ago

I get a totally good vibe from Cesar Milan. He is obviously a man who loves dogs. He has devoted his life to learning how they think and helping them and their owners. Some of his techniques are definitely too advanced for me, an average dog owner, to try. However, I have found that his methods, as a whole, are quite useful.

The only bad vibe I'm getting is from Cesar Milan's haters. Hating always stems from jealousy of other's success. Be happy for other's success, and success will return to you.


Carla-Sofia Crevaux 5 years ago

I love Ceasar Millan! You should gain experience and we should be able to see it to verify your experience, your methods and your results. There is a way to make it in this world without putting down others that do good job. He always talks about his training methods and I recall him mentioning in many occasions that he tries different things with different dogs. Get your facts straight, because you seem to me like someone that has a problem with others successes.


Cynthai 5 years ago

Personally I lack Ceaser Millan`s method when it comes to dangerous dogs. I personally train my dogs with positive reinforcement and clicker training.


jon 5 years ago

hmmm, all i have to say is that yes, dogs are not wolves etc etc etc. but if you think o wait they use to be wolves now they are dogs, and dogs act like wolves, packs, urinating to show there territory, growling etc etc etc... so the pack leader which ceaser is saying works well and so does his way of trainin because naturally that's what they do.... what does the bitch do if a pup is naughty? growls or bites, what does a bitch or dog do when they are play fighting? bite each other in the neck or near the back leg, what happens when they want to be more dominant over another dog? bite the neck, ears, or near the back leg... ceaser's way of teaching is basicly natural to them. iam not saying yes everyone should do it as the author is correct in 1 way, that is only proffesionals should do it not everyone trying to train there dog as it is a difficult thing to do. and iam not saying the auther is wrong by saying what he said because some of them do learn better/faster by other ways, all iam saying is that ceasers way is just more natural in my opinion, and don't point moaning about me sayin this because that's just rather childish and i cant be arsed to argue with idiotic people who think they are right all the time, as iam saying there both right not just 1


Marieët de Roos 5 years ago

The methods he uses are cruel. First dogs are not wolves anymore. The methods he uses are aparantly based on what wolves do, but wolves that are not captured are a real family, they tread there pups very good. If anyone wants to now more you should studdy wolves and dogs in full freedom. Read books from David Mech. The dogs that live with us are not wild anymore. They already are around humans for thousands of years (some think more than 60000) and they lay on soft beds, etc. We are not dogs, we can never be dogs. But that does not mean that we can not treath them right.

I am a dogbehaviourist in Holland and I find that if we try to understand their signals as good as we can and we treath them like living beings with feelings, emotions and needs. You get fantastic results with any dog. Even dogs that are aggressive need undestanding. There is always a reason. Most of the time it's us humans, but pain and genetic material (these days caused by humans)can also cause a lot of problems. Every dog is different. They don't need a method, they need what everybody needs.... Understanding and a nice life.


HK 5 years ago

I myself love Cesar Milan...His way of training is not negative, he treats dogs as if they were learning in the wild in their packs. I think too many people treat their dogs as a substitute for their children...and i'm sorry but they are animals, such as the pig and the cow...I am a dog lover, and I love my Dexter, but he's a dog...not a person, and maybe people should be reminded of that. When puppies grow up in a pack of wild dogs, guess what they don't get to sleep all day in a fuzzy soft crate or bed. They're out there with the other dogs looking for food and trying to keep their life.

Really, use what ever method of training works for you, he's not telling you to beat your animal so just because 'his' method doesn't work for you there's no need to bash it. It works for millions of people...


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parkercoleman 6 years ago

Wow! There are a lot of opinions about this topic, and quite verbose, I might add. That said, here's what I think.

We never want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I have been involved with dog training for over 30 years, and I've watched dog training evolve from what would now be considered abusive techniques to overly positive techniques that spoil the dog.

The way you train your dog will depend upon you and your dog and what works best for you. There is a limit to being punitive, because you don't want to be abusive. There is also a limit to being positive, because you don't want a spoiled, demanding dog. I say, know your breed(s), know your dog, and have a very good understanding of canine body language, innate social behaviors, and yourself. Then proceed by learning as many different techniques as possible and gradually escalate from the most positive to the least without becoming abusive or relenting. Unless there is actual harm being done, whether you go with Cesar or Fido, will be up to what works for you. The one common denominator is your dog's desire to be praised and rewarded and to avoid rejection and punishment. Just like us, only in a different language.

Good Luck and Good Dog!


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

I have added links to the bottom. Some are past links posted in the comments section about lawsuits and news articles.


Rachel 6 years ago

I can't find the reference for the statistics at the bottom. Where did you find them?


Gigi Tonlin 6 years ago

Just to follow up on that. No method of dog training is a one size fits all but can you watch him with his own pack and dobt his sincerity? He has been doing this long before it made him a household name both in America and abroad.He really cares I believe that dogs and humans are a good team together. I have always owned strong breed, rotties, bullmastiffs and british bulldogs. We have never had a problem with them with ourselves or our three children. We didn't get everything right but Cesar has helped us in many ways over the years with his advice.Long may caring dog owners like him try to help others with less knowledge and expertese.


Gigi Tonlin 6 years ago

I think that Cesar has saved many dogs and families from the misery of having to rehome or euthenise a dog due to behavioural issues. Whether all of his methods are approved or not by some the fact remains that he has an instant affect on all the dogs seen in his show. He has a specialgift which allows dags to trust him and lack of trust or respect is the root cause of many problems in dogs and people within society today I believe.


Renata 6 years ago

I have volunteered at animal shelters for over two decades, and I am a dog trainer. Many of you people are confusing "fear" with "respect." It's just like the way people raise their kids today. We don't want to hit our kids, Cesar doesn't "hit" the dogs, but there are CONSEQUENCES and a good pack leader (human or dog) demands that respect and initiates CONSISTANTLY consequences (i.e., ignoring unwanted behavior, praising appropriate behavior...this is how ALL mammals learn to fit in to society for survival of the family/pack). We have humanized and destroyed domestic dogs by either lack of respect and using physical punishment and/or giving no consistent direction. Dogs want you to be a LEADER so they don't become mentally unstable at trying to fulfill that role in a human world they don't understand. Cesar only uses what is perceived as aggression with dogs that come to my shelter and may be euthanized if not changed. We also see him work with "stupid" humans who have less aggressive dogs and can clearly be worked with by showing who is pack leader (know aggression shown by Cesar, just an ASSERTIVE PARENT...mostly what many people have trouble with). Assertiveness, people, is not aggression. It is laying the law of the pack/house and saying "here is what I consistantly expect of you" to the dog, and consistantly showing any other behavior, or trying to assume pack leadership is not ever going to work. That's why my high energy pit bull and Schipperke pets behave, feel secure, and are very happy I am their leader...which provides security. Most people are TOO LAZY to do what's right for their pets or kids, or spouses. Most people shouldn't have any of those things in their lives until they get their acts together. I love Cesar; he truly shows he loves animals. When you don't set rules, boundaries, limitations, then affection with your pets and your kids, you do not really love them....you are giving them insecure and unstable mentalities; you are damaging them.


Cesar Stays True 6 years ago

Many dogs are rescued from pounds and euthanasia because of Cesar. He’s an amazing trainer and has a very useful show if you know how to understand his ways/techniques.

Cesar’s show does post "Do not try these methods without a professional," but this is because of the way that others may use the tips. Every dog has a different learning style and some methods do not work on certain dogs- just like every other dog trainer should know. Techniques should not be tried out if you don’t know exactly what you are doing.

I personally have used some of Cesar’s techniques to train/rehab the shelter dogs that I work with (as well as the ones I own)- from dogs that are fearful to dogs that are people and/or dog aggressive. If you simply think that your way is better than Cesar’s, keep that to yourself. We don’t need to hear on a website about your hatred for his techniques and how you would never use his training methods on your dogs because you ‘love your dogs too much’.

But I do believe in having an open mind about training techniques- but all of Cesar’s are the only ones up to date that have made sense. From the pack leader to being calm and assertive to its YOU not the dog who does make the problems and OBSERVATION. Many, many trainers just use techniques before observing what kind of technique they NEED for the certain dog and finding out what the root problem actually is. CESAR DOES THIS. Cesar would not be where he is now if he was not an amazing trainer. His techniques are so effective and he knows how to read every dog to know what their needs are. He picks up on the littlest things that many trainers don’t think about, or don’t catch. Cesar is also the only professional trainer I know that proves it is the owners who make the difference- they are usually the ones that reinforce the problems... and they may not even know it! I have personally met 11 trainers that are not giving clear messages to the dog they are dealing with. Although, I do think that some ways of positive training is beneficial, but again you need to be listening and observing your dog in order to figure out if this is going to be the right technique.. every dog is different in some way. Cesar can help YOU make your dog balanced and keep you calm and assertive- many other trainers can’t do this because they simply don’t understand it. Cesar’s methods really are tied into natural ways of being- and if you do not see this, I pray for you and your dog.

Your Alpha Roll critique is completely inaccurate to what Cesar mentions, and well as all of your statements about him being very ‘mean’ or ‘aggressive’ - there is a huge difference in aggressive and assertive. Again, in your Leash Jerks paragraph- this is why Cesar says "DO not attempt the techniques you are about to see without consulting a professional," because some people do not know how to properly perform this method. In your Energy Draining Exercise you are implying that this is what Cesar does. Do you always see him running his dogs he is about to work with forever? No. However, yes a dog does need the proper amount of exercise to meet his needs- otherwise he can turn around and use that built up energy in a dominant or aggressive manner. You also mention in here that your dog needs to be walked for 30 minutes two times a day (although 1 hour is preferred)- however, this fact is a false statement. If you have a Kelpie, Cattle Dog, Rhodesian or even a Boston Terrier, you can’t just take your dog for two 30 minute walks. First the dog will not have gotten enough exercise (physically or mentally!!) and second of all walking is not your only option- running, biking, swimming, tracking, hiking, and agility are more effective at make your dog work mentally more than the same walking routine- but am I saying that walks are a bad thing or that you should always hike or bike instead of a walk? No, I believe that walks obviously do need to be in your dogs routines- it is an excellent structure for your dog... but in the (min. of) 14 walks a week you should be mixing it up. Your dog should also be kept up with daily training- reinforcing previously learned ‘tricks’ and new tasks to keep your dog balanced and structured.

And of course do not forget to give affection when your dog is in a calm state... why have a furry buddy when you can’t hug and kiss him?!

All the best to you and your furry friends! :o)


Sara 6 years ago

There are 4 different drives in dogs; prey, pack, fight, flight. Most dogs are a combination of some. I have a dog with equal parts prey and pack, and a little bit of fight in him, too. I use his pack drive to avert hostile confrontation with the command "with your pack". I play fetch to satify his prey drive. Once once figures out what drives their dog, training is a breeze if one is patient. Ceasar's techniques are great for dogs with a strong fight drive. Too aggressive for a strong flight drive.


pitlover 6 years ago

wow, do people really hate like this. you don't like him, don't watch. in my experience the people who don't like him tend to be the people who lack natural leadership, they find his methods harsh and go on quoting how science proves this or that. to me its good entertainment. when it comes to positive reinforcement, i completely agree that it is good to look for chances to reward your dog. but not having some sort of correction when the time calls for it is like counting at your kid when they do something they are not supposed to, it is less harsh but it teaches the kid that he can push things to a set amount of time, therefor reinforcing the negative behavior. same with dogs. if you do not give them some sort of negative reinforcer when they are doing something you don't agree with it has to match the intensity. if the dog is trying to kill another dog are you going to stand there and tell the dog uh uh come over here boy, right, the dog is not going to respond if it is in a highly aroused state of mind. you have to physically move the dog away from the stimulus at that point. now in moving the dog away you put pressure on some part of the dogs body, does that mean you treated the dog bad? no it means you did the right thing and saved his life. he is not a trainer like mrs stilwell, he works with behavior. he modifies the dogs behavior in a natural process. now you don't like it or you do, your opinion. can you do it? obviously the international association of canine professionals and the national geographic channel have bad taste in your eyes for allowing a man who saves lives, if you have two dogs who want to kill and you have caesar and victoria side by side, do you really think victorias passive approach is going to be taken seriously by a large aggressive dog? her clicker is not going to matter when her hand is gone. now once the dog is in a more calm state of mind i do agree to do all you can to reinforce the desired behavior, but an all rewards approach is just as foolish as a complete compulsion approach. there has to be a balance of reward and consequence. i don't really think her approach can even come close to what caesar can do. if my dogs eating poop or peeing on the floor i think she could handle that, if my dog is wanting to kill or is in danger of being put to sleep i believe he would be the best choice. so if you don't like him look in a mirror and ask yourself, are you a natural leader, if not there is part of your problem. a natural follower can never understand how to be a leader. yes you can go take courses and seminars and read books on it, but if you were not born with it you will never naturally have it


Beth 6 years ago

I always thought Caesar was a wackadoodle, after we recently got a puppy and I started looking into training I've learned just how much he sucks! (BTW this comment is not impartial) It's sad that millions of people are being brainwashed into this crazy, outdated, cruel method of training.


Russ 6 years ago

I don't know if another commenter already pointed this out, but to say (as it does in Whitney's article) Millan prescribes alpha rolls as appropriate for any misbehavior is totally inaccurate. He specifically describes the alpha roll as the highest consequence in one of his episodes, and uses it only he feels a dog it out of control to the point no other correction will work, or when the dog has committed an extremely aggressive act.

As others have pointed out, there is a place for many of Millan's techniques, but I think most people are unwilling/unable to learn his system fully enough to properly use it when it comes to corrections and flooding, and I think positive reinforcement is a much bigger part of the picture of having a healthy "balanced" dog than what the show sometimes depicts. I use his formula extensively (exercise, discipline, affection) but also tons of positive reinforcement and have great success with my dog. If it weren't for his show I wouldn't have a dog at all, much less a very well-behaved and happy one.


stephen burch 6 years ago

I think the best method of learning about any animal, including ourselves is through observation. I regularly partake in a pack walk of up to 20 dogs and observe their behaviour in different situations and learn how they deal with it. Ok I'll admit that even with the behaviour going on directly in front of you it is still a matter of interpretation of that behaviour, but surely it's about gaining as much knowledge as possible from the dogs so you have a very good chance of interacting with them in a way that presents them with the path of least interpretation, after all they have to interpret our methods as well. As for verbal commands like sit and stay the dogs learn these so they can get along with us, after all it's in their interest to do so and when the right techniques are used, you can get dogs to do these things without verbal content and without any negative behaviour eg fear being displayed. The dog is just focused on the job in hand.


eastcoastone profile image

eastcoastone 6 years ago

As a dog groomer I see many dogs. The thing is it does not matter that Cesar Millan has a show. It does not seem to matter that there is an animal planet channel. I see untrained dogs way more often then trained. The smaller the dog the less chance it is to be trained. What it comes down to, is doing your homework before you buy the dog. Then beginning a training regiment the minute it gets home.

I believe in the positive approach. Unfortunately many people that get a dog are just too lazy to do the work. I give tips all day long for different problems. Dogs are creatures of habit, make sitting and staying a habit. This is not a complicated scenario. What I seem to find is the owners don’t want to do it themselves. I give them tips and they want the number to a good trainer. As if just having the trainer come in once a week, with no reinforcement by the owner after the fact, is going to do anything.


MAYRAPINK profile image

MAYRAPINK 6 years ago from texas

the only thing I don't understand is why he would have a show yet state for us "not to try at home". I think many of us tuned in to observe and learn not only to watch and sing him praises. So the disclaimer for me defeats the purpose of his show. Still, some dogs cannot learn by positive reinforcement. He has done wonders but personally i've learned that recognizing and rewarding (even with a belly rub or paw shake) produces the best results :) great hub and nice pictures!


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akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

Having one of the most "difficult" breeds (malamutes) I totally agree - having had trainers try and foist these techniques on me with OTHER breeds already I decided a long time ago that beating up my dog was not the way to go. You can be the alpha without ever uttering a word - it is all about understanding the breed. Not that it helps at times because the frustration level can be oh so high! But I would rather earn my dog's respect rather than beat it into him or her on ANY level!


GwpLady profile image

GwpLady 7 years ago

Cesar's philosophy in regards to the human condition, confidence, calm/assertive energy, and believe in oneself has been incredibly motivating for those of us that actually work daily within the animal welfare industry.

Our dogs come into our rescue facilities confused, traumatized, and many times aggressive.

We also have aided the Dept of AG on raids of puppy mills, were able to remain calm for the sake of the situation and for the dogs.

I do not see Cesar's way as "training" because to me it just isn't. It is the natural order, those of us involved for years have used methods similar for YEARs before he put them into writing.

We use a variety of methods when handling our specialized breed, that can be sharp, both to people and other animals. I find his work to be so very tied into nature, the human element, peace and calmness that we all benefit from in our organization-both the dogs and humans.

If you truly understand this work, and the work of Jan Fennell, and many others...you can provide yourself the tools to work with your particular situation and recognizing your Limitations is key. Any behavior I an not comfortable with, I will defer to our Behaviorist DVM here in Kansas City, or our Field Trainer, using other resources within the community.


Kaelinda 7 years ago

Cesar is about behavior, not tricks. He doesn't teach dogs to sit, down, stay, or come. He's about energy, not methods. He likes to say that all ways are good that do not harm the dog. Cesar also says not to try his techniques without the help of a professional. Blaming Cesar for what others do is like blaming gun manufacturers for the murder rate in the USA.


CJ Anderson 7 years ago

Hi Whitney, Isn’t it just sad that people will take on attempting a skill they do not accurately understand? Statistics for 2005 showed that 6 million 430 thousand some odd people got in accidents with their cars because they overestimated their skills or underestimated the conditions they were driving in.

Cesar's way is like that.

Also Cesar would agree with you 100% and has actually said many times that the LOWEST energy that was effective should be used to change dogs behavior and for training.

What is not accurate however is that it does not take a profession to use most of Cesar's solutions for problem dogs. I own a yahoo email list that is around 3,100 current members (another over 20,000 have come in solved problems and left our high volume list over the last 4 years). These people work together to help dog owners understand how to correctly safely and appropriately apply Cesar's solutions with other solutions to fit their unique environments, knowledge, skills and problems.

I also have movies up on my youtube.com/cjanderson of most of the 40 last chance dogs destined to be euthanized before some rescue pulled them to bring to me because local trainers could not or would not help here in Arizona.

Who am I? A 55 year old, weak, overweight college teacher of safety, health and environmental risk management who has taught adult learners for 33 years. I'm nobody in the dog world except someone who stepped up to learn how to correctly, accurately and safely apply these techniques to save dogs who were going to be killed.

Because of my work with others, I have had the opportunity to watch the filming, the editing, and spend time with the man and his wife. He is the real deal. The show is real, including the timing of the fixes which are documented in the show, the follow-ups that were done years later, which anyone can read about in the Dog Whisperer Season 1-3 Episode guide, (Season 6 starts next month).

I also would respectfully offer that for something to be "outdated" means that it doesn’t work any more, can't be used anymore, isn’t fashionable or in style... lol, none of those definitions can be applied to what is happening with Cesar's Way.

LehahKimball, I must also respectfully correct that Cesar is absolutely NOT one way, "my way or the by-way". He as said many times in many conditions - "ALL ways are good that do NOT harm the dog"! If it harms the dog it is NOT Cesar's way no matter what others say about their efforts.

In fact, a very important element that you bring up that I wish more people would listen to, is how important it is to consult a dog professional to both jump start behavior changes that the owner can continue, AND to make sure one IS using the correct application solution for the correct problem. Most people don’t know the difference between fear biting and true territorial aggression, for instance.

Hey Lonely Hubber, age is definitely a factor! Do you remember how much endless energy you had as a teenager? Most people do NOT spend enough time draining energy from their young dogs with fast pace walks or game activities! Gee, right now I have 4 foster dogs. I start them on treadmills (I have three) of 2-3.5 mph for not less then 30 minutes for the beagle, to 90 minutes for the greyhound lab 2 times a day! You can see that ALL my dogs are leash less treadmill dogs at YouTube. They LOVE it. THEN I work with them with training and obedience when they no longer have all that starch in their collar! I have two more last chance rescues who are now Therapy dogs for at risk kids and hospice!

Thank you Whitney, for providing a place where we can calmly and respectfully discuss these points!


Wealthmadehealthy profile image

Wealthmadehealthy 7 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

I watched CM once...I was not impressed...Somehow, I never used any of his methods, but my dog and dogs have never even taken a scrap of food they weren't supposed to...they bark when necessary to protect me, and have great doggie mannerisms....no jumping, whining, biting, and obedient...It doesn't surprise me about his show...as I said, it didn't impress me at all...Great hub here!!!


Barking Dog 7 years ago

So, I've listened to both arguments, and agree---there seems to be a happy medium between both types of training.

With that said, what would you guys recommend for a dog that wants to yip yip yip all day when kenneled. I'm working with a squirt bottle when he barks and positive reinforcement when he's quiet. But he's still doing it. Please let me know what you think...


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

When the dog doesn't react, praise him and make known he did well. If he acts ugly, you can't completely ignore that, as he has no clue he did wrong. You'll need to focus on obedience at this point. You can't take a dog that's being protective and potentially acts ugly to a dog park or a pet store where the dog will more than likely have an incident, in this case, you're setting the dog up to fail. In severe cases, you'll need to be firm, but that doesn't mean jump the dog and pin him till he gives in. At the moment he shows sign of misbehaving, firmly tell him no, this is going to mean you're going to need to be very alert when walking the dog and when other dogs are in sight. The first sign of a snarl, you'll need to act then. It'll be a long process, and without proper training, you may have complications if you do not time properly.


Sammy 7 years ago

K. get it that Milan's methods can be construed as harsh. Though following the seasons, the technique has been muted.

quick question, with pos/rein method, how do I get the weiner to stop going ballistic every dog he sees? ignore that, and on the maybe occasion another dog passes and weiner does net react, give him a treat? seriuos. do not get how that method works for when weiner goes devil.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

That is good. Positive training has been proven much more effective than adversive training.


Random Person profile image

Random Person 7 years ago from San Diego, California

Lately actually I have tried postive alternatives and it is really working! Although I haven't totally given up on Cesar's Methods.


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