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Known as the “Dog Whisperer”, dog trainer Cesar Millan, is famous for his “unconventional” training methods when working with fractious canines. Many folks in the United States who regularly follow his celebrated television series featured on National Geographic are awed by his amazing ability to connect with dogs by reaching into their psyche, and consider him to be one of the leading experts in dog behavior and psychology. But according to the Daily Mail, Cesar’s reputation as a humane and skillful “dog whisperer" may not be as stellar as it appears to be on the surface.
While Millan’s status in Great Britain has not reached the degree of TV idolatry as it has with some dog lovers in this country, during a recent interview on the Alan Titchmarsh show, an argument broke out between Titchmarsh and Millan concerning what Titchmarsh considered to be unorthodox training methods used by Millan. The disagreement led to Millan Titchmarsh’s fans viewing Millan as an extremely controversial character. And perhaps he really is!
Aiming from the hip, Titchmarsh pointed the finger at Millan, accusing him of cruel training methods. He said, “You punish dogs. You hit them. I’ve seen you punch a dog in the throat to get it to behave, and to most people, like myself, this is totally unacceptable as a way of training an animal. You also work with electric shocks and spikes on collars – and that’s pretty barbaric treatment."
However, Millan claims his methods are not cruel. In response to Titchmarsh’s accusations of using inhumane training practices, he told the Daily Mail, “I am not brutal or cruel to animals. My mission has always been to save dogs – especially troubled and abandoned dogs. I’ve dedicated my life to this. My new TV series is all about saving shelter dogs and rehabilitating them so they can be adopted by good families." He says that he only uses electric shock collars and spikes on collars when rehabilitating aggressive dogs who would otherwise be euthanized.
But dog trainer and writer, Anna Jane Grossman disagrees highly with Millan’s methods. She claims that using fear tactics to train a canine is unacceptable, saying, “Cesar Millan terrorizes dogs until they've been given emotional lobotomies and, zombielike, will do whatever he wants.”
Petside Adviser, Jennifer Arnold's philosophy concerning the “alpha dog” approach in teaching dogs is that it is a fallacy and strongly feels that suppressing behavior never works. “Being cruel to be kind” training is inappropriate and only results in a frightened dog, rather than one that “chooses” to be well behaved.
Watch a segment of the Titchmarsh interview on the video uploaded to YouTube by garytango3
What are your thoughts about using brute force in any animal training? Is it acceptable? Tell us in a comment.