Recently, I was at a local dog festival and ran across a trainer who truly shocked me. You can imagine that being in the dog world for 20+ years, I’ve seen and heard quite a bit. I usually say that it’s hard to shock me, but this day, I was dead wrong.
Across from my booth, there was one vendor close to me that was of great concern. He and his wife were from a company “Where Dog Whisperers Are Trained.”
If you have followed DogBoy’s for any length of time, you know that we are not fans of Cesar Milan. Cesar and his methods have taken dog training backwards about 20 years. He uses old school methods that do more harm than good. The most highly respected trainers in this country do not condone his methods, nor do they respect him as a trainer. This video of Cesar Milan training highlights beautifully just how poorly his methods work.
As I looked around at the dogs near our booth, I witnessed this man doing a demo for a woman whose dog wouldn’t walk on a Gentle Leader collar. As you know, Gentle Leaders are designed to give owners a humane solution to pulling. This dog did not want it on (as most don’t), but this is usually because the collar is not fit correctly on the dog. Sometimes, it takes gentle training and patience to get dogs used to a Gentle Leader. But this trainer was ready to prove to the owner and anyone who would watch that he could make the dog walk properly on a Gentle Leader with his direction.
With the dog’s owner following closely behind the trainer, I watched in horror as each time the dog laid down to say “I’m not going ANYWHERE!”, the man would grab the dog by his head and yank him up into a seated position and then forcefully walk a few steps. The dog would collapse again, and the man would repeat his yank and jerk routine. He was pulling very hard on the leash as well, which attaches right at the corner of the dog’s mouth. The owner started to express concern and said, “I think his mouth is bleeding.” (It was.) The trainer pulled the dog’s jaw up, opened his mouth, saw the blood like I did and said “He’ll be fine,” and continued pulling the dog into position.
I stormed over to the trainer’s wife in her matching Texas flag outfit, and asked if she was with him. She agreed with a smile. I said, “Do you SEE how he is treating that dog?” After claiming she didn’t know what I was talking about, I explained that he was treating the dog in such a way that I found to be VERY offensive. In shock, but curiously with little expression she said, “Well…you don’t have to watch.” How could I not? I had to watch, and so did all the other people in the crowd who were staring in disbelief. I asked if this is how they always train dogs. Surely not, I would hope!
“We don’t TRAIN dogs,” she said, “we change behavior.” How one could possibly change behavior without training? I couldn’t wait to find out. “We put them in a calm, submissive state.” I asked if she was using Cesar Milan’s methods (which their banner clearly claimed they were), and she very joyfully said that yes they were. In disgust, I turned and went back to my booth. FURIOUS, I held my tongue until I could speak to the event coordinators myself. I asked that these two not be welcome back at such a wonderful dog-loving event. Turns out, I wasn’t the only one who complained about them, so they won’t be welcomed back, at least not at this event.
Please tell your Cesar Milan loving friends that his training methods are NOT the ones to follow, and to stay away from anyone who claims to be a dog whisperer. There IS a better way, and the trainers at DogBoy’s will be glad to lead you to a humane, loving, certified trainer who can help you with any of your dog training needs.