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Cesar Millan Will Not Train My Dog
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His dog training methods are very outdated, and there are a number of more effective means of training a dog.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.
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%