Friday, February 20, 2009

The Dog Whisperer . . .

You know I have very mixed feelings about good ole Cesar Millan, aka, The Dog Whisperer. I'm currently watching an episode of the show. A Pit bull that is unruly, jumps, nips and just has no value for his owners. No, he's not aggressive (a whole other speech on breed stereotypes), he's just unruly.

What I do like about this episode: He talks about how your body language and movements can be more powerful than your words. This is so very true. People talk too much to their dogs. They yell, they repeat commands, they expect too much. Nonverbal communication is very powerful for dogs, when done correctly. He tells the man to get his daughter to stop yelling at the dog. I agree with that. People repeat themselves over and over with dogs. Dogs begin to tune out people at this point and then frustration in both parties is at a high.

What I don't like about this episode: Also in this episode he looks at the dog and says, " . . . he's nervous . . ." and my response to this is "No kidding! You just cornered the dog chasing him into the corner of the front porch . . ." Apparently the dog runs off of the porch and out their front gate and greets by jumping and nipping. So Cesar so nicely shows them how to keep the dog on the porch. His ludicrous snapping and "sssst" sound while poking the dog with his fingers (I really wish they would air the episodes where he does that and gets bit!) to supposedly show he's boss (puuhleez!).

So here the dog attempts to get off the porch and he quickly moves his body toward the dog without saying a word (I agree with that) then does his finger snap (could be beneficial if you teach the dog a command/hand signal that tells him to get back on the porch) and the dog tries to run from Cesar at this point. Cesar says "You have to follow through . . ." so he walks toward the dog again, the dog runs and since he's on an enclosed patio he has no where to run so he backs into the porch's corner. Cesar is trotting over toward him. His goal is to get to him and do the finger poke. He claims he has to do this. Of course the poor dog is scared to death and several times he tries to snap at Cesar all while backed into a corner. The dog is showing obvious signs of distress and confusion. Cesar doesn't back down.

The main issues here are, well are several . . . First, why corner a dog into fear? That's the very best way to get bit! Way to go! Show on television how people can corner a dog and get bit. Because the bad thing about this show is that it shows supposed immediate results which means people will attempt these things at home (regardless of the advice at the show's beginning stating to only do this with a professional).

Secondly, why doesn't he teach dogs things? His first response is to correct a behavior. However, he doesn't show the dog what is a better behavior and then praise the dog. Oh, no I very very seldom see Cesar praising a dog. The few times I've seen it his form of praise is a quick verbal "good dog" and it's not even nice enough to get across to the dog that he's actually telling the dog he's done something good. He never teaches a command either. Of course his excuse for this is "I rehabilitate dogs, I train people . . ." Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if you can't train dogs and people then you aren't goign to be very good at rehabilitating anything . . . long term. I've already heard of 3 dogs that were on aired episodes that had to be rehomed after Cesar supposedly worked his magic. The magic was short lived. I wonder why . . .

And lastly, his mis-use and over-use of the word and application of "dominant" and "dominance". He uses it to "diagnose" everything. People need to know the truth about dominance. You can find a very good scientific study done on this by clicking here. I also recommend two great articles on The Dog Whisperer here: "The Dog Whisperer Controversy" and "The Dog Whisperer Controversy II: Answering his Fans".

Ok. I had to report my findings . . . there is always something with that show that I like but a whole lot more that I don't like!


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  2. Let me state that this blog is intended for my clients or those that may want to be my clients. If you do not like that I am not a fan of the Dog Whisperer and do not use his methods for my training you are welcome to seek the help of a trainer in the DFW area that does.

    This blog is not intended for debates or discussions but for entertainment purposes only. Please do not comment on this post. I have many posts on here and the only one that received any comments was this one and it was from people from other states that have nothing to do with me. I would appreciate that you do what you do and go your own way and do not waste your time commenting on my blog. Your comment will not appear on this blog unless I approve of it first.