This started out as a comment on Cynthia’s Blog but it got so long I decided to post it here and track back to her.
A while back I had an opportunity to see Cesar Millan in person .. to tell the truth, I think his wife is the one who pushes him to market himself.. he just wants to help dogs.
Yes, his original series of shows I have serious issues with, and yes he does a lot of flooding and making dogs do things because he “says so”.. not because they want to.
I do not recommend his books to new handlers. I agree that there are definatlely better ways to handle things…
That being said:
We are a society who believes in band aids and quick fixes.. take the magic pill and fix the problem…
Fix my dogs in ten minutes or I’m getting rid of him.
Ideally, I would like to see more shows like “It’s Me or the Dog” with Victoria Stillwell.. shows that emphasize working with your dog.
What Cesar has done is brought awareness to people that dog behaviors can change… given opportunity.. his methods.. well.. they can be overwhelming for the wrong dog. I always took issue with his lack of praise and reward. I would watch his show and find myself saying “good dog” outloud.. like I do when teaching people how to praise their dogs.. (I say it with the right timing so the handlers start to figure out when and how to praise)
I just watched his more recent shows and he worked with praise, treats and easing a dog through a situation. I was very pleased to see the changes.. now that he has an audience, maybe people will start looking to use more of this type of training and less of the “do it because I said!” training.
And of course, all TV shows are editted all to hell to get the “best” and most magical bits for TV. Who knows what really happens with those dogs.
Overall, the guys heart is in the right place.. he genuinely loves dogs. He also comes from a culture in Mexico (in his own words) that does not cherish the dogs like we do. They are part of the society, not part of the family.
He is changing his techniques and opinions… slowly, but they are changing.. and I have a lot of respect for someone who is willing to change… It’s an opportunity that we offer to our dogs. I’m willing to offer the same opportunity to him.
Oh, and by the by.. don’t waste your money on the Illusion collar.. it’s a gimmick. Go with the Volhard Snap around by handcraft collars instead. And find yourself an Volhard Motivational Method Trainer