From October 2019 Cesar Millan, one of the most famous dog trainers in the world, is going on a big tour through Germany and Austria. Once again it will probably fill entire stadiums.
Cesar Millan’s ardent following swears by the dog whisperer’s “training philosophy” and raves about his unique way of communicating with dogs. Cesar Millan saved numerous dogs that were once behavioral from being euthanized. Today a dozen former “problem dogs” live with him in his “Dog Psychology Center”. The large farm near Los Angeles is the headquarters of the internationally successful Millan empire.
His opponents, on the other hand, accuse Cesar Millan of aversive and violent upbringing methods that are based solely on intimidation and that)
Do not change the behavior of (problem) dogs permanently. In addition, Cesar Millan’s “Rüdelführer” concept did not stand up to the latest scientific findings from behavioral research, according to his critics.
We asked two dog trainers for their assessment of Cesar Millan’s controversial training methods.
Cesar Millan has no particular “method”. It’s a philosophy of life. On his grandfather’s ranch, Cesar Millan was able to observe how dogs communicate with one another, how they deal with one another, their demeanor and their body language with aggression, fear and challenge.
“A clear” no “is part of it.”
A clear “no” is part of that. We humans do not even notice how stressed and tense we are, how many worries we are constantly. Dogs take that in. They just don’t eat it all the time. They look for things or situations in everyday life in which they can leave it out and are then labeled as “problem dogs”.
“Dogs are only a mirror of our inner being.”
Dogs are just the mirrors of our inner being. They are always based on reference figures. If these are unbalanced, frustrated, stressed, so is the dog. If they are confident and can not be disturbed even in stressful situations, the dog is also relaxed. However, these reference figures must also clearly indicate when something is not good or appropriate.
“Dogs correct each other briefly and crisply. Nudges, bumps or picks are involved.”
Among dogs, this is a correction that is short and sweet and often involves a nudge, bump or pince-nez. In order for a dog to be able to take our actions seriously, we humans first have to become aware of ourselves again, learn to relax, decide what we want and don’t want, where we want to go, and stand behind it wholeheartedly. Not just with dogs, but in all of life. You have to deal with yourself. That is the wonderful thing about Cesar Millan’s philosophy – and what is difficult and daunting at the same time.
(Florinda Bogner, nature psychologist with a focus on dogs, accompanied Cesar Millan on his 2018 tour, dogpsychology-muenchen.com Cesar Millan seems charismatic and competent to many viewers, he dares to tackle the really difficult cases that others would grapple with Really? Of course not, “The Dog Whisperer” is an entertainment show, the concept of which is based on the spectacular actions and quick successes of a dog trainer.
“Dogs are deliberately confronted with unsecured stimuli and their warning signals are ignored.”
There we see again and again how Cesar Millan confronts dogs unsecured, deliberately with stimuli and then ignores their warning signals. The dogs should appear as dangerous as possible to the audience, give the impression that they are really “Red Zone dogs”. In fact, the cases shown on Cesar Millan’s program are everyday bread and nothing special for any dog trainer.
“Each of my clients is better able to read the dog’s body language.”
Any of my clients are better able than Cesar Millan to interpret dogs’ body language. I can recommend every viewer to watch the program without sound and to pay close attention to the dogs’ appeasement signals. It is questionable and unethical that Cesar Millan does not teach the dogs sensible alternative behavior so that they learn a strategy: Whenever the situation is like this, I do it, and that is right.
Instead, if the dog does something wrong without first teaching him the right thing, there is a hail of punishment … quite unfair training. Anyone, really anyone who is unscrupulous enough can intimidate a dog by being dominant enough that he no longer shows any wrongdoing in his presence, that’s a cheap sleight of hand, but not dog training.
“The bottom line is intimidating, threatening, kicking, choking.”
Cesar Millan’s fans believe he stands for a certain philosophy, a lifestyle. In fact, Cesar Millan transfigured his methods with cleverly formulated words about energy and leadership. Without these empty words, the bottom line is intimidating, threatening, kicking and choking.
(Manuela Zaitz, dog trainer and co-founder of the trainer interest group “Training instead of dominating”, trickschule.de)