Cesar Millan is host of The Dog Whisperer, a popular dog training show on the National Geographic channel.
Millan has a charismatic personality, and his show is very entertaining. As a result, he has made The Dog Whisperer into a big favorite among dog owners everywhere, and his many fans implement his techniques on their family dogs and puppies.
However, there are some who feel that his techniques are risky, and inappropriate for novice trainers (most pet owners).
In this article, I examine Millan’s approach and discuss some of its pros and cons.
Cesar Millan – The Good
1. Cesar Millan educates people on being a good pack leader.
To be a good pack leader, Millan talks about setting rules and boundaries for our dog. This includes door manners, and always walking our dog slightly behind us. He also emphasizes the importance of maintaining calm and assertive energy, which made a huge difference with my Shiba Inu.
Since dogs live in a human world, we need to provide them with a degree of structure, so that they feel safe, and so that they do not inadvertently harm others or themselves. They also need a balanced leader who is able to protect them, and show them how to behave in unfamiliar or stressful situations.
These messages are extremely important, especially in this day and age, where owners have a tendency to spoil their dogs and let them do whatever they want. Untrained and unmanaged dogs often become stressed, frustrated, and ultimately develop behaviors that are dangerous to the people around them. In the end, they are surrendered or destroyed because nobody taught them how to behave in a human world.
2. Cesar Millan gets people to fulfill their dogs’ needs, not just their own.
Most of us are very aware of how dogs help us live happier and fuller lives. What is often forgotten, is that dogs have needs of their own.
Millan talks about understanding a dog’s needs, and helping him be a well-balanced canine through dog exercise and dog discipline. He shows us that after our dog burns some energy, he is more calm and well-behaved.
Given the unrealistic expectations of dogs that are propagated by some Hollywood movies, it is helpful to have a popular spokesperson spread this message about considering a dog’s needs, to audiences everywhere.
3. Cesar Millan shows us that dogs can be retrained regardless of breed and background.
Some dog breeds have developed a really bad reputation, especially the Pit Bull Terrier. Millan does a good job of showing us that all dogs can be rehabilitated, whatever their breed or history.
His own pack consists of many Pit Bulls and Rottweilers, which he uses to help retrain other dogs. These wonderful ambassadors are calm, balanced, and very non-reactive, even when faced with extremely hyper dogs.
Sadly, there are a large number of Pitties in shelters today, who have a difficult time finding homes because people are afraid to adopt them. Millan and his sidekick Junior, do great things to combat the negativity associated with the breed.
His message that every dog can be rehabilitated, gives hope to people with difficult dogs, and reduces the number of shelter surrenders. This hopeful message may also encourage people to adopt shelter dogs, and give them a second chance.
4. Cesar Millan uses his pack of dogs to teach other dogs and improve their behavior.
Millan shows us that the best teacher for a dog, is often another dog.
While we may try and learn canine body language, we will never be as adept at using it as another dog. Of course the furry teacher must be calm and very balanced.
When looking for a trainer, try to find one who understands dog psychology, has a good rapport with our dog, and has well-behaved canine assistants who can help with training.
Cesar Millan – The Bad
1. Cesar’s Way or the highway.
Cesar Millan has an extremely confident, charismatic, and alpha personality that makes him very successful. Unfortunately, a side-effect of this, is that people may just follow his techniques and not explore other alternatives.
His emphasis on large breed, aggressive dogs, as well as his frequent use of aversive methods, perpetuates some inaccurate myths on dog training, including:
- You cannot train large breed dogs with non-aversive methods.
- You cannot train aggressive dogs with non-aversive methods.
Because he is so widely watched, and so widely recommended by dog breeders, owners, and other dog professionals, there is a huge network effect that propagates and perpetuates these myths. This can lead to widespread tunnel vision, that ultimately does a disservice to dogs, especially dogs that are incorrectly diagnosed with dominant behavior. Misdiagnosing a problem behavior, leads to administering the wrong treatment, which may worsen our dog’s conduct and lower his quality of life.
Non-aversive methods that center around the control of resources are safer, and often more effective at addressing problem dog behaviors, including aggression. There are many trainers who have successfully rehabilitated aggressive dogs by only using resource control techniques.
I think that Millan can combat some these misconceptions by always reminding his audience to keep an open mind, and to use a wider range of techniques in his Dog Whisperer program.
2. Greater emphasis on owner discipline.
Cesar Millan greatly emphasizes dog discipline, but he is a lot less strict with their owners. Dogs with problem behaviors need a lot of attention. Frequently, owners must put in a lot of time and effort to help their dogs reach a happier and more balanced state.
The format of The Dog Whisperer program is such that Millan has to show results quickly, so that it is interesting and engaging. Often times, there is a timer which shows how he solves a problem in minutes (5-15 minutes), that will actually take a lot of hard work to truly become a learned behavior.
Even though Millan may sometimes say that changing a dog’s behavior takes time, his Dog Whisperer program shows the opposite.
This is in contrast to shows like It’s Me or the Dog, where there is a lot more emphasis on owner participation in the dog rehabilitation process, and the unfortunate consequences that may occur when owners fail to put in the effort.
3. More discussion on dog training equipment.
Cesar Millan does advise his clients to put a dog’s collar high-up on the neck, close to the head and ears. He will occasionally use his Illusion Collar to keep a choke chain from sliding down a dog’s neck.
Frequently however, he just goes with whatever the owner is using, thereby implicitly agreeing with the owner’s dog equipment choice. Given that Millan is the expert, it would be helpful to have more of a discussion on the pros and cons of dog training equipment.
Aversive collars such as prong collars and choke chains, should not be left on a dog for long periods of time. They should be put on for a walk or a training session, and removed otherwise. Definitely remove an aversive collar when our dog is off-leash, especially when he is interacting with other dogs. A choke chain may get caught while a dog is playing or running around, which may result in injury or death.
Prolonged use of choke chains may cause injury, even if applied correctly. For safety, only use an aversive collar for a limited amount of time (several weeks). Then, switch back to a flat collar once our dog understands the rules of walking.
The Illusion Collar is a modified choke collar, and the associated risks should at least be mentioned.
4. Explore other forms of pack leadership.
Since our dogs live in our very human world, it is important for us to lead and guide them. However, an important corollary question is what type of leader we should be.
Cesar Millan seems to support something more akin to a dictatorship, where everything the leader says goes, and not following a rule, brings about some kind of disciplinary action whether it be a leash correction, a finger poke, or an alpha roll. The dog is always expected to walk close-to, but behind the human, and there is very little stopping to smell the roses.
Between a dictatorship and no leadership is a wide range of other possibilities. Note that the term dictatorial is used here to refer to type of leadership; nothing more and nothing less. A dictatorial leader is one who makes all the decisions, does not allow others to question those decisions, and will administer swift punishment to those who do not comply with his demands. Here is the dictionary definition –
Asserting or tending to assert one’s authority or to impose one’s will on others.
In terms of leadership, we want to at least consider how much control over our dog’s behavior is truly necessary. Try to take into account our own temperament, and the temperament of our dog, to determine the best type of relationship and human-dog bond.
5. Highlight the dangers of aversive dog training.
Cesar Millan uses a variety of aversive training methods, including alpha rolls, leash jerks, and finger pokes. He often tells owners that these techniques are only used to get a dog’s attention, and that they do not cause the dog any pain or stress. It is often implied that these techniques are appropriate and humane because wolves do that to other wolves, or dogs do that to other dogs.
Both of these statements are not very accurate.
All aversive methods cause an unpleasant sensation, otherwise they would not work. Some aversive techniques may cause pain, stress, and fear in a dog, which is why the dog avoids that behavior in the future.
Aversive training can also backfire if not performed with the proper amount of force, timing, and redirection. When not executed in exactly the right way, these methods can cause additional behavioral problems in dogs, including aggression.
This University of Pennsylvania 2009 study shows that at least 25% of the dogs that are trained with confrontational methods exhibit aggression during training.
Given Millan’s popularity, there are a large number of people who follow his techniques, just from watching The Dog Whisperer program on television. To prevent widespread misuse, it is important to at least inform his audience of the specific risks and dangers associated with dominance and pain-based methods.
As a dog owner, I would like accurate information on obedience training, rather than sugar coated versions.
For those who continue to insist that aversive conditioning is not unpleasant, here are two dictionary definitions of the term aversive.
Causing avoidance of a thing, situation, or behavior by using an unpleasant or punishing stimulus, as in techniques of behavior modification.
~~[The American Heritage Dictionary]
Tending to avoid or causing avoidance of a noxious or punishing stimulus.
Thank You for Your Comments
I would like to thank everyone for leaving comments and participating in this discussion. You have made me think a lot about dogs, dog relationships, training, and how to solve problem behaviors.
Many people feel strongly about this topic because they love their dogs very much, and want what is best for them. This is why there is a lot of controversy surrounding Cesar Millan, and the aversive training methods that he uses. I have noticed however, that he is using fewer such methods in his more recent episodes, and is using a bit more reward training, which I think is a really good thing.
Some people consider aversive methods to be dog cruelty. That is a moral judgment, which is best left to the theologians.
I started out with Cesar Millan’s aversive techniques.
When I tried to switch over to non-aversive training, many so-called positive trainers, called me all sorts of names, including cruel and harsh. Luckily, there were some that gave me good advice, and resource methods ultimately worked out very well for my dogs. Now, I predominantly use resource control techniques, but messages about exercise, discipline, and energy still apply whichever approach we use.
This article is about gathering information and having discussions about dog behavior and dog training. Through discussion and sharing information, we can make better decisions for our dogs. Please help to create a discussion friendly environment by staying away from personal attacks.
Personal attacks or ad hominem arguments are not only pointless, but they also discourage rational discourse and the exchange of ideas.
An ad hominem (Latin for “to the man”), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an argument made personally against an opponent, instead of against the opponent’s argument. Ad hominem reasoning is normally described as an informal fallacy, more precisely an irrelevance.
A very common ad hominem is –
“You are only saying this because you are jealous/mean/prejudiced.”
I believe that we do not need to reject everything that Cesar Millan says just because there are some things we disagree with. Similarly, we do not need to follow everything that Cesar Millan says, just because there are some things we agree with.
It is most important to keep an open mind, evaluate techniques objectively, and to listen to our dog.
Interesting Articles on Cesar Millan
- American Humane Association: ‘Dog Whisperer’ Training Approach More Harmful Than Helpful.
- The Anti-Cesar Millan: Ian Dunbar.
- The New York Times: "Pack of Lies".
- Dog Whisperer to Critics: My Techniques Are "Instinctual"
- The New Yorker: What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell.
- Wikipedia: Cesar Millan.
Cesar Millan Discussion Threads
- Yelp: Cesar Millan dog ‘rehabilitating’ techniques inhumane? (good mix of Cesar positive and negative)
- Dogster (mostly Cesar positive)
- I Remember Love Forum (mostly Cesar positive)
- Dog Explorer (mostly Cesar negative)
Random Person says
I think you did a nice job of sharing YOUR opinion. But to tell you the truth you are WRONG. Why would you waste your time making this website when really you have only had a few views. I truly am not trying to be offensive but ITS ME OR THE DOG is ineffective. Cesar Millan has devoted his life to helping people and their dogs and it is wrong for you to shut him down in this website. You have no real proof of any of this. And if Cesar Millan actually visited you, you didnt deserve it. This is a stupid website. oh yeah and if you have been to a number of trainers then your shiba must really stink. This stupid website was a waste of time. Lastly I have know SMALL children and other children who have successfully perfected Cesars technique and if you tried so hard to and failed thats pretty sad that you had to go and make this site just to whine about it!
Random Person says
Hey this is Random Person. Sorry for blowing up on you. I just highly respect Cesar Millan. I am sure I offended you, which was wrong. But everything I said was true. Please respond. Really I meant everything I said.
i guess you have a PhD in animal behavior?! because people with educational background would disagree with you, they strongly are against cesar milan, that has zero science behind…educate yourself…
lol – How did you know? My Shiba is a little stink bomb. His farts consistently clear rooms and sometimes even buildings. Thanks for visiting and thanks for your sincere apology.
Random Person says
Yeah nice way to turn that around. Why did you set up this website anyway?? …Wasnt worth it.
I had gone to a couple shelters and you are absolutely right. Both shelters I visited had 80% pit bulls in cages. It was very sad and I really wanted to take one home but my insurance won’t cover, pit bulls, rotties, akitas, chows, and a few others but they will allow german shepherds and dobermans, which I thought was weird. It’s really sad that these dogs get such a bad rep. Especially when there were so many of them that were excited to see people and kept reaching out of the cages just to touch us.
Johnny, I totally agree with you. I have wanted to get a Chow for some time now, but unfortunately, it will kick up my home insurance enormously. These breed specific rules are silly, and allows people to wrongly place the responsibility of bad behavior on the dog, rather than on the shoulders of the dog owners, where it belongs.
I admit to a great admiration for Cesar Millan. However, this is not without some investigation into his techniques and the books he has written.
I have to say that some of your statements are incorrect.
Cesar “does” discuss tools of the trade in his books (maybe you should read them?). He does not have a “fix it now” attitude and that if his techniques don’t work that’s it. He regularly emphasises that follow up training will be required. However, you can blatantly see in some shows that the owners requesting his help are not the type of people to follow through.
He shows inexperienced people how to treat dogs in a more masterful way, which if you have had dogs you must realise is essential. It does not require anyone to be cruel or harsh, just firm. Many people don’t seem to possess this quality.
Cesars methods translate to humans too. His committment and obvious love for these animals should be applauded.
Why is it someone always has to find fault?
[Tools of the Trade]
Cesar *does* talk about putting the collar up high on the head, and he also uses the Illusion collar which is a modified choke collar. However, there have been some studies that show that choke collars can cause physical harm to a dog with prolonged use. There is generally a progression of collars – start with a flat, martingale, prong, and then only choke for cases that absolutely need it and only for the short term. As we go up in collars, the pain delivered to the dog from a leash jerk get amplified. I have seen almost all of the Dog Whisperer episodes and I have also read Cesar’s Way. I had started training my first dog based on Cesar’s techniques; some of it worked for me and some did not. I write about my experiences so that some of the mistakes I made can maybe be avoided by others.
[Fix it now]
I think here, you accurately describe what I should have said. Indeed many of the people in his shows are not willing to put in the work. In the end, they get a new well-behaved dog, and give up their wild child for others to deal with. In contrast, consider Victoria Stillwell (Its Me of the Dog). She really says it like it is to the owners, and many times, she will even bring them to dog shelters to show them what will happen to their dog if they are not willing to “follow through”. There is also heavy emphasis in the show on how much the owners have to change and sacrifice to make things better for their dogs. Dogs need discipline, but so do the owners 🙂 I will have to update the article. Thanks.
[Cruel & harsh]
This is the area where most of the disagreements in dog training occur – aversive/negative stimulus vs reward/positive stimulus. Cesar started out using a lot of aversive techniques (leash jerk, alpha rolls, finger pokes). More recently, I have noticed that he is using less of that, and using a bit more rewards; which I think is a really good thing. Contrary to what is sometimes said, leash jerks *do* cause pain to the dog. The “pain” i.e. negative stimulus discourages the dog from repeating an undesired behavior. Going back to the equipment discussion, different collars will deliver different amounts of pain for a given force. Some people consider such techniques to be cruel and harsh. That is however a moral judgment and therefore best left to the theologians.
Nicole Winter says
shibashake: I love your article, it is a very balanced constructive criticism of the show and methods. I, too, wish that Cesar would spend a little more time discussing the tools of the trade. The man is really amazing, but a format like his show cannot possibly cover everything necessary… He does a great job, but I find myself nodding in agreement with many of your points you’ve made on the drawbacks of the show / his methods. I think you did a great job of being fair, your positive points about the man & his show were truly glowing, as they should be, he has a true gift.
Even judging by the comments alone this is a great hub. By presenting both sides you are getting people to think. Cesar Milan seems to have learned most of what he knows from dogs and nature. I have learned a lot about dogs by watching the show but I have also learned a lot about life in general from watching Cesar. The calm assertive pack leader mentality applies to almost everything (if not everything) in life. It is all energy. The energy you put out is reflected back to you in your life experience. He puts out a calm assertive pack leader energy and appears to work miracles with dogs and people but in reality he is just attracting it. He visualizes what he wants to happen and it happens. Some people criticize his approach but in reality he changes his approach for each situation based on what the dog and owners are telling through their energy. He is a keen observer of nature, humans and dogs. Thanks for the article.
Awesome point unkcoothed~ I agree Cesar’s ways can translate into other areas of our life. Taking charge of our own feelings helps us and the others around to be more comfortable, especially in times of uncertainty. I also noticed that he does change his approach to the dogs and owners, but never changes his calm-assertive “energy”. I bet it was probably a survival mechanism in some cases, dealing with the nature of dogs- they sense fear.
[UnkCoothd] Absolutely. Energy is the most important thing. I have been to a fair number of trainers, and the ones that do best with my Shiba are the ones that are calm and confident. The same goes for the vets. There were some trainers, and many vets who were afraid of him, and that made things 1000 times worse. I too was afraid of him, and that was when he acted out the most. Once my energy improved, things really turned around.
[izettl] Yes, this is very interesting. Humans definitely respond to calm, confidence, as well as positive reinforcement. The Dalai Lama really exemplifies this for me. If only more people practiced this kind of communication …
there are many things i would like to know but i am doing a project on cesar millan and i would like to have a few answers….what would you do if your dog only bonds with one person in your home and becomes agressive to the other people
This usually happens because the dog only sees one person in the home as their pack, and the others as outsiders. The dog becomes aggressive, probably, because he is trying to protect his pack member from outsiders.
To fix this, I take a step back, and I get the other people have to take a step forward in terms of feeding, training, and caring for the dog. It is also extremely important that everybody be on the same page and be very consistent in terms of training rules and training techniques used with the dog. I get everyone to follow the NILIF program, do short training sessions with the dog everyday, and set up consistent house rules that are consistently enforced by everyone.
Also, in cases of aggression, it is usually best to get a professional trainer who can observe the dog in real time, identify and fix the root of the problems.
In terms of Cesar Millan, several of his key messages apply here.
1. Energy. It is important that everyone be calm and sure while dealing with the dog. Fear, anger, and frustration will usually worsen the problem.
2. Discipline. I institute house rules and consistently enforce them.
3. Exercise. I get everyone in the house to walk the dog to establish a bond. Exercise will also help get rid of frustrated energy and put the dog in a better frame of mind to learn.
It is important to note though that each case is different, hence it is important to get a professional trainer to come over and observe the situation. While based on your description I may speculate that the problem is one of guarding, the issue may alternatively be fear aggression, health issues, or something else. You would of course use different techniques depending on the actual cause/root of the aggression. That is why it is important to get an expert to come over and observe the dog’s actions and body language.
Great article! THe biggest thing I learned from Cesar was to not project human emotion on dogs. I read his books also and he is very right about establishing a plan of action before approaching dog training. Inconsistency is the result of bad planning and eventually leads to bad habits in dogs.
On giving up: I don’t think Cesar gives up on the dogs, mostly the owners- owners are harder to train than dogs as he would say. If the owners are unwilling to change, then there is no hope for that dog in that particular home, but with other owners the dog would thrive.
Thanks izettl. I really liked what you said:
You are absolutely right. I really like how Victoria Stillwell (Its Me or the Dog) deals with this. Many times she brings owners to dog shelters and shows them the consequences of being “unwilling to change”. I think the answer lies in putting more stringent controls on dog breeding and educating new owners on the huge amount of work that goes into keeping a dog. More serious animal cruelty/neglect laws would help as well.
I watch Victoria Stillwell too. She really brings to light the consequences and humanity for the animals’ sake. Nothing like a dog shelter to wake a person up to reality. I volunteered at one when I was much younger and so dogs have really held a special place in my heart and I have seen the physical and emotional scars neglectful owners leave behind.
My own dog, I can only guess from the way he acts now, was probably tortured by his former owners’ kids. Owners who get dogs for their little kids and get rid of the dog when they find out the kids don’t take care of them- really bug me.
It is undeniable that Ceasar Milan has a way with dogs, how many people do you know that can walk a palk of 30 dogs? Try walking 8 rottweilers. His methods may not be a new concept but work. I do not think there is a cookie cutter mentality in his training either and some of the points you made are very untrue. Seems to me as a case of a jelous dog trainer.
Luke, I do not think anybody denies that Cesar Millan is a natural with dogs. I think he reads dogs extremely well, has very good energy, is fearless, and communicates well with them. In addition to being great with dogs, he is also an awesome communicator with humans. That is why he is so successful. It is interesting to note that Cesar uses almost all reward techniques on people (he is encouraging, upbeat, positive), whereas he uses a fair number of aversive methods with dogs. Frankly, I do not think he needs to use the negative stimulus methods with dogs. He can drop all that, and do even better with them.
I am flattered you think that I am a dog trainer. I am merely a dog owner, and a dog lover. I started out with Cesar Millan’s techniques, and some of them worked and some did not. I write about my own experiences in the hopes that others may not need to repeat some of my mistakes. I think information and discussion are important in this area so that we can make good decisions for our dogs rather than just accepting what we see on any one show or hear from any one person or trainer.
And why would you want to walk pack of 8 rots or 30 dogs-simply it is wrong.
Fred Sanford says
I have to say I feel you misunderstand the show with your list of bad points. I have watched the show on and off since it came on and have never heard Caesar say ‘give up’. In fact, he is surprisingly patient when it comes to dogs and their owners. I dont know where you get this feeling from. His whole approach is DONT give up on your dog even if its a problem, thats why he is there in the first place and why the show is on tv.
The point of his show is to show the audience how he ‘fixes’ problem dogs (and more often than not, the owners). It is not meant to be a doggie obedience training show, its meant to show how he deals with the ‘hard cases’ and gets them and their owners motivated to work together in a good relationship. This is why there isnt much talk of equipment (besides a leash, i honestly dont know what ‘equipment’ your referring to, or would need with a dog) and he does go over technique very well.
Many people have their own opinions on how a dog should be treated, many owners use treats and food rewards for obedience, this is VERY bad for both you and your pet. You dont establish the pets drive to work for your praise as a reward, they only work for the food. Therefore you are getting a dog that is merely doing things he learns to get a snack. If you ahve a dog with the drive to work for you and your praise (and you establish YOUR alpha status) you will find that dog is VERY well behaved and not a liability.
Caesar does point out one fact that most pet owners fail to see, or prefer not to see: Owners projecting emotions onto their animals and interpreting the status of the animal incorrectly. This is what leads to many trouble situations.
His method is simple and works, have confidence, establish dominance and simply work with your dog to improve its drive to please you, its master. I have trained working dogs (and they are pets too!) for many many years and the methods he use are identical to what we do in the field. Of course Ceasar doesnt show much praise to the animals but that is because he is not there to do that, he is there to simply fix the problem animal.
Take the show for what it is, not what you EXPECT to see. Again, this is not a training show, its Ceasars show, so it would be fair to say its his way or the highway…
Fred, thanks for your detailed, and interesting analysis.
1. Re: Give-up – You are very right that Cesar does say don’t give up on your dog. However, the format of the program is such that sometimes it unrealistically depicts how quickly certain dog behavior problems can be solved in a short amount of time. While some problems can be easily solved with some changes in the household structure, other problems may take a long time. The aversive techniques that Cesar frequently uses tend to have good results initially which may degrade over time, thus causing a relapse in behavior. It would help to present a more realistic picture of the time and effort required of the owners of the dog. For example, in Its Me or the Dog (Victoria Stillwell) there is a heavier emphasis on the changes the owners have to make to fix problem behaviors in their dog(s). With Cesar, I sometimes feel that if you can’t fix your dog in two weeks, he will exchange your dog with a new one. This is not always a bad thing, but it does convey the “give-up” idea – at least to me.
2. Re Equipment – I feel it is important to talk about the different collar and leash options available, especially since Cesar uses leash corrections/jerks. When I got my first dog and started watching the Dog Whisperer, I was using a flexi-leash and had no clue what collar to use. It may also not be clear when to put on the aversive collar, and how aversive collars should not be used in dog parks, etc. I don’t think these messages need to be repeated in each episode, but I would like to see Cesar talk about some of these issues in some of the appropriate episodes.
3. Re Reward vs. Aversive – I think this is the area where most people have the strongest disagreements on. I have tried both styles of training on my first dog. I started with aversive methods, and then switched to reward methods. For me, and my dog, the reward techniques worked best.
I feel that different dogs are motivated by different “rewards”, some are more motivated by praise, while others are motivated by food. My Shiba Inu is motivated by his freedom and his access to people, so I use that to motivate him to work. I think there is no one “true” motivator. The trick is to find out what is most important to your dog and use that to get the best results. Instead of feeding my dogs all at once, in a dog bowl, I use their daily rations in training, toys, etc. so they work for their food throughout the day.
I think there are some good messages in the Dog Whisperer, but there are also some areas of misinformation or missing information. When I started watching the show, I misunderstood some of the techniques and messages, to the detriment of myself and my dog. It is unrealistic to convey every piece of information, but it would have helped me tremendously if there was a bit more discussion, or just warning, in some of the areas listed above.
Good analyses of pros and cons. I guess if you have a problem training large dogs then you can send a query to their program and we get to see the effectiveness of his techniques…hehe. I agree not all behaviours can be corrected in a few days but the program can condense the highlights to solve a difficult behaviour pattern even in couple of months to a short 30 minutes episode. Great hub.
An interesting program to watch in addition to the Dog Whisperer, is DogTown, which is also aired on the National Geographic Channel. DogTown trainers deal with many types of dogs, including large dogs with aggression issues; mostly through the use of reward based techniques. They had an episode where they rehabilitated Michael Vick’s dogs.