Cadence

Cesar Millan

21 posts in this topic

I mentioned Cesar Millan in another thread about pets. I like him because of his assertion that dogs are dogs, not humans, and they should be treated according to their nature. Here is an interview with him on National Geographic.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0612/voices/index.html

I love watching those shows, and have never owned a dog. He's great with dogs, and shows pet owners who aren't, what they must do to change their wrong approaches to dogs. Every time I go for a walk, and see dogs out walking their people, I feel like I ought to be handing out Cesar Milan videos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed. We're in the process of trying to find a good dog breeder to buy from - but the options are pretty bad. Most of the people are really odd - acting as if dogs are humans, and treating them that way. When we were looking for cats it was the same way. For example, I got the impression from some of the breeders that if you don't let your animal sleep in your bed with you, then you could never take home one of their animals, because you would be a horrible pet owner.

I definitely like Cesar's show, not only do I like seeing the cute dogs, but in a way, it's a relief to see someone who is pretty objective about his career. He talks about Karma and "energy" sometimes, but I think that when he's talking about energy, he means body language and the way you communicate your tensions and emotions externally (for example, a dog may see that you're tensing up when you're anxious). Since a lot of these reactions can be involuntary in a lot of people, I think that he is trying to put it in a way that most understand by just saying "energy." I don't know if this is necessarily effective, however, because it just gives people a general feeling of what he means (which might be his goal), and not an objective definition.

Anyway, the show is definitely entertaining. I like Cesar's personality - I enjoy how blunt he is, and how he, in identifying dogs' problems, ends up helping humans with their own. It's also neat sometimes to see the different places he visits, and it's certainly interesting to see how he fixes different dog problems, seeing how I will be owning a dog sometime in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have not watched enough of the Cesar Milan show to make a thorough opinion of him. But I have seen a few shows that seem to use a similar format. What I find amazing about these shows (and this could be to add drama) is how stupid the pet owner's seem to be. As a young child I figured out how to stop pets from doing things that I did not want them to do. Either the general public is a lot dumber than they were 30 years ago or people like having pets, but do not want to put in the work to train them.

Shows like what I mention remind me of an advertisement I saw for a wrist watch. There is a gentleman sitting on a lounge chair on his patio with a big city in the background. Everything in the commercial is elegant, his clothes, his furniture, his patio, his house and especailly the view. Below the picture, the ad states something like; "John Smith does not need a life coach." Do most people today need a life coach's advise to get along in day to day activities? Can we no longer figure out how to train our pets, get to work on time, deal with bratty children and more?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Agreed. We're in the process of trying to find a good dog breeder to buy from - but the options are pretty bad. Most of the people are really odd - acting as if dogs are humans, and treating them that way. When we were looking for cats it was the same way. For example, I got the impression from some of the breeders that if you don't let your animal sleep in your bed with you, then you could never take home one of their animals, because you would be a horrible pet owner.

Look for a breeder who deals with work dogs or show dogs to the extent that is possible for the breed you are interested in. They know what it takes for practical results. That doesn't mean you have to buy an expensive dog with top genetic credentials in accordance with the standards they strive for. Most of the litters turn out to be not up to those standards, but as long as they are normally healthy they are up to the standards you care about and you have a better chance of buying from a competent breeder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I show The Dog Whisperer in the course I teach on Behaviorism. So many of the principles of learning we discuss are evident in Cesar's approach, although I don't know that he identifies them that way. For all of Behaviorism's faults, Behaviorists have identified many very valid principles of learning, especially in regard to animals.

I like Cesar's personality. He is firm but projects a very benevolent sense of life. His last line of the show's introductory narrative is, "I love what I do." It shows.

To Ray's point, Cesar is an extremely patient person. Most of the people he deals with are well-intentioned and caring, but just don't know how to deal with some problem behavior by the dog. Quite a few of the dogs were rescued and so likely had traumatic experiences. That can carry over into the new owner's life and/or the owner makes it worse because of his own problems. This is where Cesar's patience is tried the most, as there are definitely some neurotic owner's on the show. In these cases, it is quite impressive to see how Cesar maintains his calm and composure, even though you can also tell his patience is being tried.

I recommend the show.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scott, thank you for the insight. From the small amount you have mentioned, along with Rose Lake and Cadence, I gather that Cesar is a person that enjoys his work and is very good at it. But I doubt I would enjoy his show for the other reasons you mention about the owners. It seems that "reality show" or just the filming of the average person's life is worthy of filming and watching, I disagree. From shows on the choosing of wedding gowns, to cake making, to cupcake makers, to nannies, to CEOs working as laborers in the companies they run, I do not enjoy any of them nor the whiney people who are their customers. So, I can applaud Cesar Milan for his effort which seem very worthy of doing so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What has been particularly interesting to me is to learn about the specific behaviors of different breeds of dogs. For instance, one owner had a herding dog (don't know the specific breed), but the dog was trapped in a yard all day. The dog started acting strange and was a constant nuisance. So, Cesar took him out to a place where they allow dogs to herd (it's actually a closed in, but very large, area where horses can run). The dog loved it. He recommended getting the dog out there several times a week, and taught the family some other basic techniques of how to deal with other problems at home.

Cadence is right that one of the most important lessons Cesar teaches is that dogs are dogs. He constantly emphasizes to the owners the difference between what is "dog" and what is "human." This is the other part that fascinates me: the psychological, human-like relationships that people have with their dogs.

Most often, the owners are not treating their dogs like dogs; they treat them as humans. Additionally, the humans are trying to satisfy a human relationship need, but with a dog. Some dogs act as psychological substitutes for spouses or boyfriends and girlfriends, children, and so on. Thus, the primary issue Cesar faces is the psychological issues of the human being that arise in the relationship to the dog. Cesar is really training the humans, and is excellent at it. He is a great psychologist!

In fact, I've wondered at his apparent success. How does he get people to change so easily? People don't change easily, yet you see it quickly on his show.

One reason is because he shows the people how to treat the dog (by handling the dog), and they see the immediate results. It is truly amazing how he simply stops a problem behavior. When they see that it can be done, and done relatively simply, they are inspired with hope and confidence. That puts the owners in a mental position to change what they are doing.

However, implicit in Cesar correcting them, and often explicit in his words, is that the owners are either wrong, misguided, or ignorant about something. Helping them face this and overcome it is the hardest part, as they have to recognize that they are failing in some way. That's the part of I've wondered about. How do you tell someone something negative about themselves and still inspire confidence and a willingness to change?

I was talking about this with an older psychologist friend of mine, who has a psychoanalytic background and perspective. She made the interesting speculation that the ultimate focus on the dog's behavior serves to "get around" defense mechanisms. In other words, it's better to focus primarily on the dog than to be the primary focus yourself. A person may be more open to self-evaluation, criticism, and change if that he sees the purpose of that change as outside of (but still related to) himself. I think there is some validity to this.

What that leaves out, though, is the real value the owner places in the dog. The owner wants the dog to behave, to treat it correctly, and have a very enjoyable relationship with it. The dog is a high value to him, and so he will be more willing to change if it helps him keep or improve that value.

There may be other factors that go into the rapid change, but the above seem like a powerful combination.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
From shows on the choosing of wedding gowns, to cake making, to cupcake makers, to nannies, to CEOs working as laborers in the companies they run, I do not enjoy any of them nor the whiney people who are their customers. So, I can applaud Cesar Milan for his effort which seem very worthy of doing so.

I really don't like reality shows either, and find many of the people on them disturbing. I hate to say, "You might really like it," but... ;)

I actually do find it educational, instructive, and in no way celebratory of the chronically average (or worse) people most reality shows focus on. The vast majority of the people aren't whiners. It is really quite an uplifting show because you see someone improve his life in various ways. And Cesar is a very likeable guy. For what it's worth... :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reading through the interview on Cesar Millan made me laugh as it reminded me of what I had to tell my kids when we first got their dogs. Sometimes when my wife and children would call for their dogs to come the dogs would not come. I would then walk to the back door, call the dogs name and tell her to come and about 2 seconds later she would come running in the door. When we used to go on walks with the dogs and one of the dogs was not doing what was being demanded I would take the dog and it would start doing as I told it to do so. The items that Cesar Millan mentions are things that I learned long ago when dealing with horses as a horse will not do as you want unless you give them bold commands.

I will search out his show.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To me, Cesar Milan is brilliant. I am fascinated by the mystery of what he does, impressed with his level of skill, and very inspired when I watch him succeed at changing the dogs' (and their owners') behavior.

I have also picked up a lot of tips that I use with our dogs, though they are generally not "problem" animals.

I like when he takes the dogs to his kennel and uses his "recovered" dogs to teach the new dogs how to be dogs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scott A. : It's certainly very interesting how he can not only help the dogs, but help the humans in the process without them getting defensive. I think that it helps that matter that the people are seeking help. They recognize that their dogs have problems, but they also recognize that there is something that they are not doing to help the dog. They likely feel helpless in the situation, but Cesar Millan shows them that their situation can be fixed (he shows that there is a rational process for doing so, and that fixing the dog is not impossible), so his help is likely more of a relief than something that calls for defensiveness on their part.

For those who are interested in checking out the show, National Geographic offers some free full episodes online. Here is the link:

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/chan.../Full-Episodes/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Agreed. We're in the process of trying to find a good dog breeder to buy from - but the options are pretty bad. Most of the people are really odd - acting as if dogs are humans, and treating them that way. When we were looking for cats it was the same way. For example, I got the impression from some of the breeders that if you don't let your animal sleep in your bed with you, then you could never take home one of their animals, because you would be a horrible pet owner.

Look for a breeder who deals with work dogs or show dogs to the extent that is possible for the breed you are interested in. They know what it takes for practical results. That doesn't mean you have to buy an expensive dog with top genetic credentials in accordance with the standards they strive for. Most of the litters turn out to be not up to those standards, but as long as they are normally healthy they are up to the standards you care about and you have a better chance of buying from a competent breeder.

I agree with you completely. This is definitely what we plan to do. I'd like to go to shows themselves so that I can find the breeders that I think have the best dogs all in one place. Taking Cesar Millan's advice, we want to get a puppy that is "calm, submissive," not a crazy, hyper puppy that wants to jump all over everyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Agreed. We're in the process of trying to find a good dog breeder to buy from - but the options are pretty bad.

This seems like interesting website about dogs and how to buy them. My sister, a veterinarian, told me a long time ago to trust dog trainers over breed enthusiasts when it comes to getting objective information about dogs. The owner of this site seems to be selling her own books, but has been a trainer for 35 years, offers quite a bit of information about dog breeds for no charge, and the e-books or CDs are very reasonably priced.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Agreed. We're in the process of trying to find a good dog breeder to buy from - but the options are pretty bad. Most of the people are really odd - acting as if dogs are humans, and treating them that way. When we were looking for cats it was the same way. For example, I got the impression from some of the breeders that if you don't let your animal sleep in your bed with you, then you could never take home one of their animals, because you would be a horrible pet owner.

Look for a breeder who deals with work dogs or show dogs to the extent that is possible for the breed you are interested in. They know what it takes for practical results. That doesn't mean you have to buy an expensive dog with top genetic credentials in accordance with the standards they strive for. Most of the litters turn out to be not up to those standards, but as long as they are normally healthy they are up to the standards you care about and you have a better chance of buying from a competent breeder.

I agree with you completely. This is definitely what we plan to do. I'd like to go to shows themselves so that I can find the breeders that I think have the best dogs all in one place. Taking Cesar Millan's advice, we want to get a puppy that is "calm, submissive," not a crazy, hyper puppy that wants to jump all over everyone.

"Submissive" isn't quite the right word. Your pup should have a reasonable level of self esteem or it will be cowering and peeing on the floor every time a new situation or person arises. Sometimes a new puppy will be like that as a result of its siblings in the cage, not necessarily human abuse. It can take years, if ever, to get over that -- even paying enormous fees to the Forum's staff psych, Scott A., for consulting.

Make sure you visit the litter and pick out your pup based on its personality and you will head off a lot of potential problems.

After that you should pick up your new pup at about 7 or 8 weeks old and you won't have to deal with bad habits if everything else is normal. You will get off to a good start by beginning house training right at the beginning through keeping it in a cage -- it's own "den", not giving it free reign of the house and furniture even on the first night.

You should also expect an elementary level of education when you pick it up, like reading at about the level of Anthem for the more intelligent breeds ;) .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Scott A. : It's certainly very interesting how he can not only help the dogs, but help the humans in the process without them getting defensive. I think that it helps that matter that the people are seeking help. They recognize that their dogs have problems, but they also recognize that there is something that they are not doing to help the dog. They likely feel helpless in the situation, but Cesar Millan shows them that their situation can be fixed (he shows that there is a rational process for doing so, and that fixing the dog is not impossible), so his help is likely more of a relief than something that calls for defensiveness on their part.

Yes, I totally agree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sometimes a new puppy will be like that as a result of its siblings in the cage, not necessarily human abuse. It can take years, if ever, to get over that -- even paying enormous fees to the Forum's staff psych, Scott A., for consulting.

;) If only I could do what Cesar does and command his pay!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"Submissive" isn't quite the right word. Your pup should have a reasonable level of self esteem or it will be cowering and peeing on the floor every time a new situation or person arises. Sometimes a new puppy will be like that as a result of its siblings in the cage, not necessarily human abuse. It can take years, if ever, to get over that -- even paying enormous fees to the Forum's staff psych, Scott A., for consulting.

Make sure you visit the litter and pick out your pup based on its personality and you will head off a lot of potential problems.

After that you should pick up your new pup at about 7 or 8 weeks old and you won't have to deal with bad habits if everything else is normal. You will get off to a good start by beginning house training right at the beginning through keeping it in a cage -- it's own "den", not giving it free reign of the house and furniture even on the first night.

You should also expect an elementary level of education when you pick it up, like reading at about the level of Anthem for the more intelligent breeds ;) .

Ewv - "Calm submissive" is the phrase Cesar Milan uses to describe the ideal state of consciousness for a well-adjusted happy dog. He instructs owners, that in order to get their dogs into that ideal state, the master must learn to develop a "calm assertive" approach when interacting with dogs. "Calm submissive" indicates only proper submission to the pet-owner. "Calm" is a critical modifier, with which he distinguishes the ideal state from the nervous kind of submission.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sometimes a new puppy will be like that as a result of its siblings in the cage, not necessarily human abuse. It can take years, if ever, to get over that -- even paying enormous fees to the Forum's staff psych, Scott A., for consulting.

;) If only I could do what Cesar does and command his pay!

He must have trained his pay to be "submissive".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sometimes a new puppy will be like that as a result of its siblings in the cage, not necessarily human abuse. It can take years, if ever, to get over that -- even paying enormous fees to the Forum's staff psych, Scott A., for consulting.

;) If only I could do what Cesar does and command his pay!

Soon, dogs will have the same rights we do, entitling them to healthcare and counseling. That means the end to Cesar's enviable standard of living.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites