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Hi, I saw the other thread about dog whisperers and didn't want to hijack with my own question. I didn't watch the video (as I am faint of heart), but from reading the comments I have a pretty good idea of what happened.

I've seen many negative comments about The Dog Whisperer books and I'm confused. I bought both The Dog Whisperer and The Puppy Whisperer in preparation for getting a standard poodle later this year. Admittedly, I've only read the first 4 chapters or so of TDW but I don't understand why his philosophy / approach is so bad.

The first chapter is a general overview of why positive reinforcement is the preferred and most effective method of animal training. I learned that over 20 years ago in my undergrad psych courses, but understand it may be beneficial to others. The next few chapters present information on approaching dog care and training holistically: ensuring proper nutrition, exercise, rest, health care, etc. I'm in the middle of chapter 4 which focuses on the trainer's state of mind and how dogs sense and react to our emotions.

I can understand how the approach may be a little too touchy-feely for some people. For example, the idea of "life energy" in raw food was a bit over the top for me. However, I don't understand how any of that is harmful. Am I going to be disappointed when I get to the actual training part of the book? Does Owen's approach change radically?

I selected the books because I liked the holistic approach. I'm familiar with classical and operant conditioning, but have limited experience with dogs. I wanted something that would help me understand the dog's perspective, so to speak. Other titles on my reading list include How to Behave so Your Dog Behaves, Culture Clash, and The Other End of the Leash. I just finished Good Owners, Great Dogs and wasn't super impressed.

Sorry for the long post - I need an editor :redface:
 

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TVs Dog Whisperer is Cesar Milan. He's the one discussed in dozens of threads here.

You books are from Paul Owens.
 

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Cookieface,

I've been handling dogs all my life. I've trained professionally for 10+ years. I think Caesar Milan is right on some things: dogs need leadership, dogs need to be exercised regularly & dogs need decipline. The thing I would tell anyone who's trying to learn about training dogs or someone who's an old pro... do NOT try the alpha roll. Please just don't do it. I know, it looks easy & simply & makes perfect sense the way it's explained. As a trainer who's had to retrain dogs or rehome dogs who've been handled this way... I'm just asking please don't do it. Not only can it backfire so quick it isn't funny, for the most part it puts the person in a postion to get bitten right in the face but it can also ruin a perfectly nice dog or worse teach the wrong lesson! I have enjoyed watching Caesar work with some dogs & if he can get people up off the couch & out walking the dogs or roller blading or a number of other fantastic exercises then I think it's great but every time I see him showing that alpha roll business I want to beat his nose with a rolled up newspaper. Likewise with some of the dogs on the stronger alpha end of the spectrum & you try that alpha roll or you try popping them near the neck with fingers or you take a dominant body posture... the dog just may well say, "oh....so you want to fight do you" & then give a grin like they've just been waiting for just that invitation to knock a person off their pedestal.

I'm not familiar with Paul Owens so can't comment there.
 

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Cesar's methods work for him, and they in no way shape or form harm the animals. I have no idea why there is any controversy there. But it's to be expected from the internet, where everybody is a "pro".
 

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Discussion Starter #5
TVs Dog Whisperer is Cesar Milan. He's the one discussed in dozens of threads here.

You books are from Paul Owens.
So there are two people calling themselves "dog whisperer"? Good grief! Just when I thought researching dogs couldn't get any more confusing. I swear, my multivariate stats class was easier than this :)

Many thanks for the clarification. Makes much more sense now. I looked for "alpha roll" as mentioned by Sparrow and couldn't find it in the index of either book. Although, I now have an image of a poppy-seed kaiser taking over the bread drawer (I know, bad sense of humor).
 

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Cesar's methods work for him, and they in no way shape or form harm the animals. I have no idea why there is any controversy there. But it's to be expected from the internet, where everybody is a "pro".
There is controversy because CM does not define "harm", and those with a higher sense of humanity can see more harm than those with a lower sense. So, it's not as black and white as you may see it.
 

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So there are two people calling themselves "dog whisperer"? Good grief! Just when I thought researching dogs couldn't get any more confusing. I swear, my multivariate stats class was easier than this :)

Many thanks for the clarification. Makes much more sense now. I looked for "alpha roll" as mentioned by Sparrow and couldn't find it in the index of either book. Although, I now have an image of a poppy-seed kaiser taking over the bread drawer (I know, bad sense of humor).
The Paul Owens book has been around much longer than Cesar Millan. CM is the one who stole the term
 

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Cesar's methods work for him, and they in no way shape or form harm the animals. I have no idea why there is any controversy there. But it's to be expected from the internet, where everybody is a "pro".
While I respect everyone's right to opinion when something is stated as harmless & I have knowledge that is not... I'm going to say so. I don't need the internet to give me credentials... I gained my personal opinion the hard way... 30+ years of training dogs, of handling dogs in various forms of work including police, military, SAR, military, security dogs, guaridan K9, not to forget the masses of pets I've worked with, show dogs, sport dogs & the list goes on & on. I have been taught & have preformed the aforementioned technique (yes... the same way & for the same reason as CM teaches). I do not recommend it. It is both my professional & personal opinion that it is dangerous & when shown to someone who doesn't have many years experience reading a wide variety of dogs... it can mean horrible consequences to the person.

It is wise to remember on the show... there is such a thing as editing.

It is - again - a matter of your opinion that the dogs are in no way shape or form harmed. As someone else posted... defining harm is not black & white or sunshine & pixie dust. You alpha roll the wrong dog & you can most certainly do harm to the dog's confidence in a way that isn't always recuperated. You can also alpha roll the wrong dog & get yourself an appointment with a plastic surgery to repair the damages. Don't say it can't happen... it has. I've seen it. For the average dog that technique probably isn't going to create a storm... in the wrong dog it could be a point of no return.


Cookieface, I enjoyed the joke & am glad I read it at lunch time ;)
 

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There is controversy because CM does not define "harm", and those with a higher sense of humanity can see more harm than those with a lower sense. So, it's not as black and white as you may see it.
Name some specific things he has done on his show that harmed a dog?

He is a billion times more knowledgeable than internet pros.
 

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Name some specific things he has done on his show that harmed a dog?

He is a billion times more knowledgeable than internet pros.
I suppose it depends on what you mean by harm. I recall the wolf hybrid laying on the ground, gasping for breath with a blue tongue after CM hung it. I recall the GSD biting his owner and cringing in fear after CM zapped it for being overly interested in a cat. (CM never mentioned in the course of that segment that he was using an ecollar on the dog). Then there is less direct harm - dogs who bite their owners and are euthanized when the owners try the techniques themselves (and you know that disclaimer or not, people will). The majority of really troubled dogs I get in come with owners who spout dog whisperer phrases, tsst their dogs and want to talk about red zones. A little digging will unearth the fact that when the majority of these dogs started having severe problems was when their owners started watching the "Dog Whisperer." I call that harm.
 

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Name some specific things he has done on his show that harmed a dog?
Specifics? I think just about everyone has seen CM kick, choke, and forcibly manipulate dogs...all on his show. A simple DF search will yield more specifics. And before you insist these are not examples of harm...name your reference, because as I was trying to point out initially, one's humanity is relative to that one and no others. Thus, opinion, differences in opinion, and controversy.
 

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You alpha roll the wrong dog & you can most certainly do harm to the dog's confidence in a way that isn't always recuperated.
I ended up finding out this is what happened to Wally. He would get rolled and all that for everything he did "wrong".

The thought of someone terrorizing him like that just makes me want find them and...

Never mind he's already a soft dog by nature. Ugh. Bet whoever did it saw it on the show. I don't care about disclaimers, some stuff you just shouldn't put out there in the wide open public with just a disclaimer for legal crap.
 

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google CM lawsuits. He's been sued numerous times for severely physically damaging dogs and dogs dying from injuries caused at his training facility. The last one I heard of was a lab that was literally run to death on a treadmill. I didnt save the links.
 

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google CM lawsuits. He's been sued numerous times for severely physically damaging dogs and dogs dying from injuries caused at his training facility. The last one I heard of was a lab that was literally run to death on a treadmill. I didnt save the links.
Just because somebody is getting sued, doesn't mean the person suing has a legitimate case. I can't comment on what goes on behind the scenes there because I don't know, I can only say I haven't witnessed anything bad watching his show. I find the guy on at the end of my leash a lot more abrasive with the animals, but there is nowhere near the hype around him because he isn't near as successful.
 

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Yikes! I didn't mean to start a controversy - I was honestly confused. My experience is with cats and I never even attempted to train my Audrey because I knew it was an impossible task.
 

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Just because somebody is getting sued, doesn't mean the person suing has a legitimate case. I can't comment on what goes on behind the scenes there because I don't know, I can only say I haven't witnessed anything bad watching his show. I find the guy on at the end of my leash a lot more abrasive with the animals, but there is nowhere near the hype around him because he isn't near as successful.
That's because Brad Pattinson (the At The End of My Leash guy) is out-and-out abusive, and people recognize this. He is also abusive to people, so very few people like him. So there isn't going to be a lot of hype. . .most people just wish he'd go away. I won't say Cesar is abusive, exactly (although some things like hanging the dog are abusive, and other things like those stomach kicks he does come pretty close), but he is a bit rough with the dogs. He's willing to learn and change, though--his more recent episodes show a much more dog-friendly manner than the early episodes--so that's good. The biggest problem is that he can read dogs, and thinks everybody else can, too. Trying to imitate him gets a lot of people bit by their own dogs, which usually gets the dogs killed. So that's not good.
 

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The biggest problem is that he can read dogs, and thinks everybody else can, too. Trying to imitate him gets a lot of people bit by their own dogs, which usually gets the dogs killed. So that's not good.
He tries to teach other people to read dogs. Just because people were unsuccessful trying to imitate Cesar's techniques, doesn't make it all Cesar's fault if the dog gets put down. The people were obviously already heading down that road anyway with their own techniques, which is why they went to Cesar to begin with!

What about all the success stories, dogs he has saved from being put down? Yeah, lets just ignore those(even though they far outnumber cases he couldn't help)!
 

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He tries to teach other people to read dogs. Just because people were unsuccessful trying to imitate Cesar's techniques, doesn't make it all Cesar's fault if the dog gets put down. The people were obviously already heading down that road anyway with their own techniques, which is why they went to Cesar to begin with!

What about all the success stories, dogs he has saved from being put down? Yeah, lets just ignore those(even though they far outnumber cases he couldn't help)!
He couldn't read a dog if his life depended on it.
He misses just about every signal a dog gives out and then calls the fear reaction dominance. That is some stella reading of the dog right there.
 

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Name some specific things he has done on his show that harmed a dog?

He is a billion times more knowledgeable than internet pros.

A billion times more knowledgeable??? That's, like, a lot. And what makes you qualified to make that statement, exactly? Being an internet pro yourself?

You are arguing that the opinions of the so called "internet pros" are useless, then feel that everyone should take your opinion of CM as gospel. Hello pot, this is the kettle......

Sorry OP, even a misunderstood reference to CM here tends to spiral out of control. :)
 

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Specific incidents when he harmed dogs. How about here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjLDQmgYd-s

Start at about 5:50 and listen to him say it is all pshycological, but then look at what happens to that dog. Tell me that holding a dog up by the leash causes no harm. (6:55)

The dog's tongue is blue, for goodness sake. You can't tell me that is healthy. He doesn't "submit." He is exhausted.

From 2006: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/12648003
 
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