Posts Tagged ‘Cesar Millan’

This is another good one.

I’ve not seen Cesar’s new show, but it sounds a lot like a canine version of Donald Trump’s.

The most important part of the blog post is this bit:

In terms of wolves and dogs, it is important to remember both parts of this essential paradox: The dog is a wolf; the dog is not a wolf. Biologically wolves and dogs are so close that they must be considered the same species, despite thousands of years of conscious and unconscious selection by humans of particular traits in dogs, none more intensely than during the past 200 years.

The contemporary wolf is primarily a creation of centuries of human persecution, habitat fragmentation, and natural forces. At various times in different parts of the world, the divide between dogs and wolves has been less wide than the chasms opened in Western Europe and the United States by wolf eradication campaigns in the 19th and early 20th centuries, campaigns that contemporary wolf haters would like to reopen.

Yet the use of wolves as a model for dogs in society can teach a lesson about dog training that some people who invoke them might not like to hear. Wolves, by all accounts, respond poorly to aversive training. They shut down. They rebel. They flee. Many dogs do the same, which leaves these questions: Why use aversive methods that cause pain and distress when you can achieve better results with praise, kindness, respect, and rewards? Why try to turn your dog into a stimulus response machine when you can teach it using rewards and praise? Why treat any animal or person differently than you want to be treated?

There is such a thing called dominance. No one can seriously deny its existence. An animal is dominant if it has preferential access to scarce resources. It doesn’t mean that it’s the biggest bully on the block. It just means that other animals recognize its authority as an “elder statesman,” and all it have certain privileges. If wild dogs lived under tyrannical pack leaders, there would be nothing but utter chaos.

But if you think that ethological term of art gives you the right to punch and strangle your dog, you are sorely mistaken.

Dominance has been used to justify all sorts of unscientific and actually quite nasty ways of relating to dogs.

It’s why many people avoid using it, and so many others even deny that the term exists.

I wish there were a better word for it, but there isn’t one.

I believe Cesar has jumped the shark. I think the campaigns against him have largely been successful, and it’s really the last hurrah of this bizarre and quite inaccurate paradigm.

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I just came across this bizarre little website called “Beyond Cesar Millan…And Beyond.”

I don’t know who writes it, but the author obviously has issues with the English language and normal writing style. The voice is disjointed, if not a bit paranoid. (More on that in a second).

I’ve tried to get the gist of the author’s views, but most of the posts involve cherry-picking old scientific studies, which are all designed to exculpate Cesar Millan’s piss-poor understanding of ethology and dime store recommendations on how to make a dog  behave.

Basically, this is what creationists would do in defence Kent Hovind. Like, Hovind, Cesar has no credentials, and also like Hovind, he’s prone to making crap up. I do believe Cesar pays his taxes, so that’s where the analogy ends!

Cesar lovers accuse critics of only believing what they read.

I have to wonder if these people ever read. If you watch a lot TV and believe everything you see, you’re going to have a very distorted view of reality.

The best part of this batshit little blog is the page entitled “Conpirasy?”

OMG. The Illuminati are after Cesar!!!!!! They are so bad, they can’t even spell conspiracy correctly!

They don’t want you do know!

The main thrust of this page is that all the dog experts don’t want you using Cesar’s methods because that will take away from their business.

Basically, it is exactly the same conspiracy one would hear from a crackpot herbalist, who will tell you that vaccines are killing you and that modern medicine is making you sicker:

The responsibles of this Indoctrination are these schools and associations that have made of dog training an Industry.

They pump out from their schools Inexperienced and Incompetent trainers just as much “certificates” they can print.

What matters to those who are in charge of the business is the control of the market, don’t be naive, the pet Industry is a market of Billions of dollars: Schools, Associations, registers and memberships, Seminaries, Books, Authors, Vets, Drugs, Food, Tools, Toys, Insurance, Websites, Advertising on those sites etc.

Any other approach goes against their Interets.

A little variation on percentage means millions of dollars in loses for them

I have been witness of comercial Blackmail by part of these Associations like when Frontline make partnership with Cesar Millan to promote their products

Altogether with those trainers with a Holier-than-Thout attitude are these gullible people that buy the Feling-good-about-myself product

They have become Fear Mongerers and their associations, truly Death Squads Associations.


The people who complain about Cesar have actual degrees in animal behavior.

They are real experts. They are professionals like dentists or physicians or psychiatrists.

If you think Cesar’s expertise, whatever that is, somehow trumps people who have had years and years of training in that field, then why don’t you spend all your money on alternative medicine?

Those alternative medicine people make very much the same claims. Surely their anecdotes and marketing techniques are much better evidence than what we could learn from clinical trials.

That’s pretty much what’s being said here.

Whoever wrote this paranoid drivel is probably getting all his fillings removed and is worried about fluoride in the drinking water.

It is not an appeal to authority argument to say that credentialed specialists know more than TV personalities.

In general, if we want effective treatment or want to understand what’s really going on in the world, we listen to what specialists like this say.

We don’t watch TV in order to find out what’s the most effective treatment for cancer.

I remember hearing a rumor by a fairly ignorant person that dentists were very bad about scratching holes in the teeth of their patients, thereby creating cavities to fill.

That’s nonsense, of course.

But I hear echoes of it on this website.

But the sad thing is that it’s not just foolish people like this person who write this sort of crap.

Several so-called rationalist bloggers are just as prone to supporting the Cesar Millan marketing cult as anyone.

Luckily, Cesar’s show is in its last season.  He will have his magazine. He’ll have his followers.

The Cear Millan star has risen and is now starting to fall.

We actually might be able to move beyond the snake oil now, and real professionals will get the respect they certainly deserve.

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This morning I happened to find one of those Cesar Millan debunking articles that makes me wince.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m no fan of the Dog Whisperer.  Not being a Cesar lover has cost me several friendships.

That’s how much I think he’s wrong about dog behavior.

However, one of the bad things about the obviously made-up crap that the Dog Whisperer spouts is that it has resulted in a reaction that has resulted in people saying things that are just as incorrect as anything Cesar says.

And this was the case when I read this article from The Hopeful Veterinarian.

Now, this person is correct that the model for dog behavior that Cesar Millan posits is simply wrong. I agree with this entirely.

But in making this claim, the author then makes a bunch of dubious assertions.

His main theory is the pack theory. The pack theory has been debunked completely. (Here is another article about it, I have a lot more, too.) The fact of the matter is, dogs do not form packs, they instead form loose social bonds that change from day to day. Even if they did form packs, it would not affect the human/dog relationship, because dogs know we’re not other dogs. We have all the resources, anyway. Furthermore, “dominant” is not a personality trait.

Even if we were to believe that dogs formed packs like wolves (which would be ridiculous, because dogs are not descended from gray wolves, they both share a common ancestor, similar to a dingo), wolves don’t form packs in the way most people believe they do.

Now, besides being totally incoherent in terms of syntax or structure, there are several claims at the beginning of this piece that are simply wrong.

Dogs are actually capable of forming packs and working together to kill large prey.  Not all wolves form packs, and forming packs in order to hunt is likely a learned behavior.

Studies on street dogs and rural dogs living near dumps would likely show that they don’t form packs to hunt cooperatively.  There would be no need to. However, dogs that live in rural areas where there are no dumps will form packs and hunt livestock and deer.

I don’t know why many people think this is impossible, but the evidence that it happens is virtually everywhere. Just ask anyone who has sheep!

Furthermore, dingoes are dogs. Dingoes fit within the East Asian dogs on virtually every genetic study.

Dingoes do form packs to bring down large macropods and sheep.

So that entire claim that dogs never form packs is as stupid as the claim that every dog is born with an instinct to control everyone around it.

Dogs are derived from wolves, not a dingo-like ancestor. They are most closely related to Middle Eastern wolves, which are the primary ancestors of the modern lines of domestic dog.

If one wants to split hairs to make that claim work, one can say that Middle Eastern wolves look a lot like dingoes, and it is true that more-derived subspecies of wolf did descend from an ancestor that looked like a Middle Eastern wolf.

But that’s the only way you can make that claim work.

My guess is this person has read that terribly thought out paper by Janice Koler-Matznick on the origins of the domestic dog.

Virtually every expert on dog origins finds that paper’s claims to be either overly speculative or simply wrong.

Dogs are wolves. Dogs can form packs.

It does not automatically follow from those claims that Cesar Millan is correct.

His ideas are easily debunked with facts and logic, but using bad scientific studies to go after him does not help one’s cause.

Most of the apologists for this type of dominance model are very good at using these claims to show how out of touch their critics actually.

So if you’re wanting to argue against the dominance models, don’t use these claims.

They are as bad as any of the claims Cesar Millan or any of the other dominance model promoters use.

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This is one of the dangers of the Dog Whisperer show– young fools try to imitate him.


These boys weren’t even being serious, but they were doing all the behaviors that Cesar exhibits on the show.

The dog still could have bitten them– whether they were being serious or not.

This is why memes can become so dangerous.

People see Cesar on TV,  and when they do it, even as a joke, bad things can happen.

Maybe that’s why the show has that disclaimer that says “Don’t do this without consulting a professional.’

Something similar was put on the Jackass and Wildboyz series. Of course, those shows were for comedic and shock value, not how to shows, like The Dog Whisperer. And people imitated them and got hurt.

That’s probably my biggest issue with the Dog Whisperer. Those techniques he uses are not safe for the average person to use or even imitate in a joking fashion.


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Cesar thinks so:


Um. In case you haven’t noticed, he’s full of crap here.

Cesar has Chanticleer’s fallacy– big time. Chanticleer was a rooster who appears in Medieval English folklore. (He makes an appearance in the Canterbury Tales, if my memory serves.)

In one of the stories about him, Chanticleer is dead certain that his crowing makes the sun rise. He does not realize that the two events are merely correlated, and he assumes that correlation is equal to causation.

This is exactly what Cesar is doing here. He is assuming that because dogs carry their tails aloft while walking that he can just raise the tail of a dog and it won’t be nervous or insecure.

He’s literally telling us that the tail wags dog here.

It’s hooey.

And yet still a he’s a great dog expert.

I’m not a dog expert at all. I don’t claim to be.

But this is such nonsense.

I think he literally made this up on the spot.

Which is nice.

But please don’t assume that it’s anything like reality.

Otherwise, you’re talking advice from the Chanticleer of dog trainers, excuse me– “dog rehabilitators.”

Here’s a hint: the brain controls what the dog feels. The tail is merely an outward expression of emotions that originate in the brain.

And yes, I’m aware that actions, like licking, can cause the dog to release endorphins and that will make them feel better.

But I’ve never seen a single study that suggests that putting a dog’s tail in a position automatically make them feel that way.

I can’t buy this, as kooky as it sounds.

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Cesar Millan’s famous Pit Bull named Daddy has crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Friday (February 19). He was 16.

Daddy was often used to show “model dog” behavior.

I’m not a big Dog Whisperer fan, but I always did like that dog. He was just the most easy going pit bull around.


Daddy was suffering from cancer and had been receiving chemotherapy treatments.

I’m sure that Daddy’s fans are going to miss him.

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