Whilst he seems unstoppable and National Geographic channel keep sending the highly influential man directly into our living rooms, Cesar Millan has taken dog awareness backwards in time, decades back in fact. This is bad news for dog guardians but even worse news for dogs.

Let’s take a look at why Cesar and his dog training advice should never, ever influence how you treat your own best friend.

Cesar is Unqualified.

He has not one scrap of canine behaviour qualification. Not a certificate nor any proof of study. Following his advice is akin to taking your kids to the man down the road, when they are seriously ill, for no reason other than the man down the road was once seriously ill too.

He Ignores How Dogs Feel.

He might ignore how dogs feel, or he might just not care, but the availability of calming signal awareness is vast nowadays. Yet when a dog says “I’m scared – leave me alone”
Cesar carries on muscling in and stressing the dog further. To which we have to ask, is he simply protecting his brand or does he just not know any better (see previous point).

Cesar Is WAY Too Physical.

How often have you seen this guy push a dog over? Many times I expect, I certainly have.
He pokes, pushes, shoves and even kicks dogs. If we saw a teacher doing that to confused kids there would be a national outcry, yet we put the exact same act on television as a suitable way to train confused dogs.

His Brand Is Scientifically REJECTED.

Once long ago, a group of unrelated wolves were pushed together and fenced in.
They were confused, squabbled and fought because they had nowhere else to go (a bit like big brother with less participant understanding). A group of scientists interpreted their behaviour as the Alpha theory that Cesar uses today. A few years later the theory was revoked by the very scientists that created it. The same theory is completely rejected by scientists today. Yet Cesar has built his entire brand on it.

Dogs Are Not Wolves.

Dogs and wolves parted ways many moons ago – thousands of years. They have a common ancestor yet when we look at the domestic dog of today he is just that, an animal that has evolved to live with people. When we look at wolves, they are animals that have evolved to be suspicious of people – and rightly so as we seem to continually persecute the poor things – we can’t logically associate dogs with wolves in any other way than that common ancestor long, long ago.

Wolves Don’t Fight for “Alpha Position” Anyway.

When left to their devices, wolves live as family groups. The parents lead and the youngsters follow and learn. They are highly bonded and actual aggression, or even serious challenge, is a huge issue which rarely (if ever) occurs.
When we look at how wolves live naturally, as a happy family, we can’t help but see how a theory created on a group of strangers pushed together is highly flawed and has been repeatedly rejected by more recent findings and scientific awareness, eh Cesar?

Cesar Uses Nasty Tools.

Prong collars, electric shocks, check chains and even his booted feet or rigid fingers. Each are part of the man’s toolkit. When we take into account the fact that most dog behaviour problems are based in fear, insecurity or confusion there is absolutely no way that we can seriously believe that any of the above tools can help.

Dogs are Co-Operators

We only need to look at books such as The Genius of Dogs by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods, or In Defence of Dogs by John Bradshaw to really see how co-operative our dogs are. The problems that, as a species, humans have with their dogs are not based on canine rebellion that’s for sure. The things we deem “behaviour problems” are based on poor or even non-existent (past or present) human to dog communication. Although they exist, problems for any other reason are quite rare.

Dogs Are Individuals.

Dogs have personality and each is different. Cesar treats them all the same, like all dogs have one mind-set and simply want to take over the home (and in fact the world). Anyone that has ever lived with a dog knows that each has a personality and this fact alone blows Cesar’s brand to smithereens.

Cesar Is a Crappy Translator.

When Cesar tells us (from our TV screens) that we must dominate our dogs, he is taking us further away from proper communication, not closer to it. It might look successful on TV but the dog often has a serious breakdown afterwards.
In actual fact, if you look through educated eyes, the dog usually has a serious breakdown on the program too (Which Cesar claims is submission on the dog’s part) and in reality is emotional shutdown due to a huge amount of stress hormone flooding the body and brain of the animal. The same hormone shuts off the digestive and immune system whilst activating the fight, flight or freeze reaction.

So folks, I could go on all day about this. I don’t have time though. I hope I have given you enough to go on just now and that you never visit Nat Geo again. For your dog’s sake and your own.

Take a look at a far better approach, from people like Sophia Yin, Stanley Coren and Victoria Stilwell. The information is all out there, most is free and by embracing positive communication your relationship with your dog will be better than it has ever been.

If you are having problems with understanding your dog, then learn how to do it properly. You will find that your best friend may be feeling very different to how you thought. Take a look at the Dog Decoder App, or even better, watch an episode of “The Dog Whisperer” with the sound down whilst using the Dog Decoder to Interpret the dog’s feelings.

I promise if you do this, you will never copy Cesar Millan again.

Thanks for reading!

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4 Comments

  1. Rylee

    Absolutely fantastic article! Eloquently written. I urge dog owners to beware of Caesar, it’s so sad that he’s so prevalent at this day and age.

    Reply
  2. Kalia

    Thank you for putting into words what we’ve been feeling. I cringe when people mention his name. He should be put in prison for animal abuse — I’m not kidding. There are videos of him hitting dogs, slamming them into the ground, etc. There’s a local trainer in my area who imitates him. It’s completely heartbreaking.

    Reply
  3. Kalia

    PS: We should all write to National Geographic and ask them to cancel the shows.

    Reply
  4. Jane Eagle

    I used to watch Cesar’s program…until the episode where I watched him beat the daylights out of a small, terrified dog. If I ever saw anyone do that to my dog, they would not have been able to walk out of the room. Since then, I have seen videos on facebook of dogs being terrorized and later euthanized due to his abuse.
    It’s time to put up a petition to Nat Geo to remove this animal abuser’s program from their schedule and website. Could I use some of the language from your first couple of paragraphs?

    I often reflect back to pre-facebook years, when I subscribed to several husky email lists, where husky owners could share info and ask for help. One day I saw a post asking for the best way to punish a husky! I sent a reply that they needed to decide if they wanted to punish their dog, or TEACH the dog. If they just wanted to punish the dog, the best way was to find the dog a better owner; if they wanted to teach the dog, then I gave whatever info was appropriate. Dogs, and especially our beloved Northern Breeds are ALWAYS learning, and we need to ask ourselves in every moment “what am I teaching them right now?” If they are “misbehaving” then we have failed to be clear in our communication. In the case of huskies, escaping/running/hunting are breed characteristics; anyone who will not accept that should choose an easier breed <3

    Reply

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