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Cesar's method - disagreement and discussion


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Im not saying that the guy who was supposed to be looking after the dog wasnt a complete jerk. Obviously he had no business working there. I am saying that Millan can hardly be blamed for it, although he is in the end responsible for what happens as it is his place. I dont mean to sound rude, but I heard stories about Richard Gere and various rodents, unverified but more than one account as well. Does that mean its true?

 

No, but Richard Gere isn't going to be handling my dog either!

 

(rodents. . . weird!)

 

What works for some, works for some, but not for all.

He does teach people how to set rules for their dogs. I think a lot of people don't know how to do this. I will never believe he is the best method to be on TV. And I don't think he utilizes all available dog training methods and behavior knowledge in what he does.

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No, but Richard Gere isn't going to be handling my dog either!

 

(rodents. . . weird!)

 

What works for some, works for some, but not for all.

He does teach people how to set rules for their dogs. I think a lot of people don't know how to do this. I will never believe he is the best method to be on TV. And I don't think he utilizes all available dog training methods and behavior knowledge in what he does.

 

LOL dont worry Richard Gere isnt handling mine either lol. I do agree with you that he helps people set rules they didnt know how to set. He also doesnt utilize all available training methods, but what trainer does? Do most trainers who are "positive trainers" utilize Millans ways? Probably not, but that doesnt make them any more wrong than he is for not using theirs :rolleyes:

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I admit I haven\'t even read this whole thread - but I think the big pictures is missing:

 

99% of the dogs in his show are not sensitive/fearful dogs.

 

When they are (in those very few cases), what I have seen him do is just hook up a leash and take the dog for a walk and not allow them to cower in fear. I have not seen him use hard corrections or \"bites\" on the very fearful/sensitive dogs unless they are showing severe aggression (which obviously needs to be stopped, and feeding the dog a cookie simply isn\'t going to get through to them). Most of the dogs in the show ARE aggressive and more dominant - not the timid rescue border collies a lot of people here have worked with.

 

So - for those of you with sensitive/fearful dogs - how do you know what he would suggest for your dogs if you don\'t ever see it on the show?

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I admit I haven\'t even read this whole thread - but I think the big pictures is missing:

 

99% of the dogs in his show are not sensitive/fearful dogs.

 

When they are (in those very few cases), what I have seen him do is just hook up a leash and take the dog for a walk and not allow them to cower in fear. I have not seen him use hard corrections or \"bites\" on the very fearful/sensitive dogs unless they are showing severe aggression (which obviously needs to be stopped, and feeding the dog a cookie simply isn\'t going to get through to them). Most of the dogs in the show ARE aggressive and more dominant - not the timid rescue border collies a lot of people here have worked with.

 

So - for those of you with sensitive/fearful dogs - how do you know what he would suggest for your dogs if you don\'t ever see it on the show?

 

I was just going to post something similar. I am sure that the methods he uses on practically every dog would not work on my fearful boy but I'm not convinced it's the method he would pick either. I did see one show where there was a truly fearful dog and he applied zero pressure to it until the dog accepted his presence. Still not saying he's the best thing since sliced bread but I don't think we've really seen everything he does. It would be nice to have a trainer who uses a different methodology get the same kind of media attention and nationwide acceptance so that people could have a broader understanding and truly take what they need and leave the rest from both forums.

 

I know that my behaviorist, whom is pretty much a CM follower and is a firm believer in corrections if/when needed, did not once attempt to force my fearful boy into anything, in fact, when my husband grabbed him by the muzzle to plant a kiss (something he does with total affection to all the dogs) the behaviorist jumped on his case as it was not something that should be done to an insecure dog. My husband said, "he likes it", the behaviorist said, "he's a nice dog and he tolerates it - there's a difference". So, while he's not a positive reinforcement trainer, he had a very healthy grasp of pack issues and necessary self esteem in dogs and was very sensitive to my fearful problem child. I have to think that CM could not keep his pack of bully breeds in check by being a complete bully...it just doesn't work IMO.

 

I'm also going to assume that for the sake of entertainment, they probably stray away from cases which take much longer to solve....so we don't see the truly fearful dogs with serious emotional issues. But that doesn't necessarily mean he would do wrong by them.

 

Maria

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Well explained Maria. :rolleyes:

 

That was the other thing to keep in mind - it is a show.

While he spends entire days or even multiple days with these families, they condense it all into 1 hour and just show all the action (in other words, the biting and aggression).

 

Also, timid dogs don't make good TV shows, so he may get many of those cases but they don't show them. Furthermore, I think it is unfair to say that his methods don't work on aggressive dogs or he would have been eaten alive by now by his "pack". It is clear that they are working to some extent, how much exactly, unless you see him in person you may never know.

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I feel I need to clarify one thing about +R training - It's not about just giving the dog a cookie to fix something!!!! I cannot emphasize that enough! So often I hear people on the other side of the CM debate use the "you can't fix xyz problem by just feeding a dog a cookie" and to be honest it pretty much makes me want to scream most of the time (no offense to anyone, just personal reaction).

 

+R methods, the majority of which also incorporate negative punishment, are based on hard scientific fact and methods. Counterconditioning, desensitization, reinforcement, etc. are all scientific terms with scientific definitions and study to back up their effectiveness - CM's methods, while they may work in some cases (which I don't discount) have not been rigorously studied to see if they work effectively in various settings (are they punishing? calming? reinforcing? what?!) and his dominance theory (between humans and animals) has been disproved in a variety of studies.

 

As an animal sciences student specializing in behavior and studying under one of the top vet behaviorists in the country, I hear time and time again about the side effects of punishment and what criteria have to be met to administer an *effective* punishment - Cesar Milan obviously does have fairly good command of timing and body language interpretation since his methods work, but your average pet owner (and many pet dog trainers too) don't have that skill. Punishment without timing, skill, or understanding of consequences to the organism is VERY risky imo.

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I feel I need to clarify one thing about +R training - It's not about just giving the dog a cookie to fix something!!!! I cannot emphasize that enough! So often I hear people on the other side of the CM debate use the "you can't fix xyz problem by just feeding a dog a cookie" and to be honest it pretty much makes me want to scream most of the time (no offense to anyone, just personal reaction).

 

Thank you for saying that! I've often wanted to say something similar.

 

Rewarding a dog with food, when done with careful thought, can be a very powerful training technique. It's not about feeding the dog willy nilly for every little thing, nor about giving in to the dog's every whim. In fact, though using food as a training reward, I have developed a tendancy to give my dogs a lot less food and treats "for nothing". And, if done properly (and with a normal dog), results in a dog that is trained to behave in a specific manner on cue when there is not necessarily a reward present.

 

I also mean no offense either, but hearing that is like nails scraping on a chalk board to me! There is just so much more to it. Training through +R is a science and an art and it can be incredibly rewarding to both the human and the dog. That doesn't mean that I think it is going to suit everybody (obviously it doesn't), but personally I would love it if some of the common misconceptions about it could be cleared up among the general populace.

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In case you were referring to my comment about cookies - that wasn't what I meant at all and I DO positive reinforcement training and love it! That IS how I train! I was referring to the fact that harder corrections may be needed for an aggressive dog than some would normally use in training behaviors - I did not mean the cookie comment literally, just to illustrate that it is not as simple to fix aggression issues as training a dog to "sit" or "shake hands". Please disregard my cookie comment if you don't like as it wasn't meant literally.

 

Again, training behaviors with food/toys and positive reinforcement (plus corrections though once the dog knows the behavior) is the method I use and love.

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I think what's important to remember is that TV is for the MASSES. I have watched CM's show a number of times, and the things I have seen I thought were pretty right-on. That is coming from my perspective of having over 10 years of people bringing their "herding breed" dogs for "herding" training. By far the majority of these dogs (well into the many hundreds over the years) are dogs that are running the households--and we are not just talkiong BCs here, either. These are Aussies, GSDs, ACDs, Tervs, etc., etc. These dogs have had virtually no rules, structure, or discipline whatsoever. So they not only do not come when they are called, they don't lie down or sit when asked to, even though the owners will stand there are try to make them do it (to show me what a great dog they have). These dogs are running the show. No, this is not 100% of the dogs I've seen, but a good 80% or more.

 

So, what does all this have to do with CM? A lot! From what I've seen, the dogs on his show are just this type of dog, and the methods he uses seem to work pretty darn well. As some mentioned in earlier posts, people don't always know how to make rules or structure. Heck, the vast majority don't even know they are SUPPOSED to make rules for the dog. So CM's show seems to be aimed at the masses, who seem to have a recurring issue--not being in charge. And from what I've seen on his show, that's the main point he seems to be making over and over again. So if that's the message the masses get, then it's a good one, I say.

Anna

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Wow, these are all great posts. I like hearing different opinions, and incorporating many different types of training into "my" training methods.

I do still disagree that dogs manipulate, ever, for any reason, even our BC's, as smart as they are. I believe they act/react according to what they learn the outcome will be, I don't think of it as manipulation however.

I also like what was said about CM working with dogs that are totally out of control and literally running their households, that is sooooo true and these people more than half the time don't even stop to think the dogs need rules! hmmm wonder what kind of behaviors their kids exhibit? bet ya, similar to the dogs!

And lastly, Maggie dog... said it sooo well... it is most definately the >Timing< ... be it punishment, discipline or reward/praise.. you are soooooooo right, Timing is EVERYTHING! :rolleyes:

Well said

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Pretty much everyone here agrees that there are many ways to handle/train our dogs and that different ways are suitable to different dogs.

So . . . and I ask this question out of pure curiousity, not "taking it personal" or "anger" . . . why doesn't that same principle seem to hold true for some folks when the opinion that Cesar's methods probably would have been detrimental to our own dogs is expressed?

 

Good question. I think it's because, while most of us have learned from experience that there are many ways to handle/train our dogs and most of us have learned from experience that different ways are suitable to different dogs, most of us have also learned from experience that we are sometimes wrong in the training outcomes we foresee, particularly when we are speculating about a method we have never used, would not ever use, and may not perfectly understand. And even if you have reached the point of 100% accurate predictions -- always being sure and never being wrong -- some people are no doubt at the stage you were at, say, 10 years ago, when you didn't know as much as you do now, and perhaps didn't realize that you didn't. Suppose I said, "If I had tried to clicker train my dog with food rewards she'd now be obese and still untrained!" Would you just accept that as true because I know my dog?

 

And "dead" is more extreme than "detrimental." :rolleyes:

 

BTW and speaking personally, if I see a thread like this, and both sides are being presented, I'm unlikely to post. If I see a thread where only one side is being presented, I am likely to post (especially if I disagree), because I don't want readers who haven't been down this road before to think there is unanimity on the subject when there isn't. Awhile back, someone who had been having a lot of trouble with her dog posted that CM was giving a demo in her area soon and asking whether people thought she ought to go. The anti-CM people flooded in and told her no, and she said okay, thanks for the help, she wasn't going. This is a person who is trying hard and has made a lot of progress, but who I think may have trouble projecting calm assertive energy. I think she might have benefited from seeing the seminar. Since then I've felt kind of bad when both sides don't get expressed.

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I've watched CM and I've been to ClickerExpo, and I see positive and negative with both camps. I think too many people forget that it's about the *dog*, not their individual agenda. Each dog is an individual who needs varying degrees of *all* 4 parts of operant conditioning to succeed in it's environment.

 

As "stockdogranch" commented on her point of reference, I also am a regular instructor of "herding breeds" - mostly city folk who love their dogs and want to experience some of their heritage for fun, for exercise, and for some competition as well. The application of "exercise, discipline, affection" is so needed in many of these dogs! In fact, teaching herding to them is great because they have to address the dogs issues, or they can't do it. "Positive" in that there is tremendous reward for getting their dog under control and emotionally/physically satisfied, and "Negative" that sometimes you have to "take him to the carpet" and revamp a flawed relationship to get there!

 

You can work your way into talking a dog into having good house manners and/or sport skills with a variety of methods and levels of success. You cannot do that when the dog really wants the sheep - you have to address that dog in the method that makes sense to him. He doesn't care what method, he cares that you make sense! If that's reward - great. If that's punishment - use it timely, humanely and move on. That's training! It also points out that methods that work with something as complicated and difficult as herding can certainly be adapted to pet training. You just have less drive to contend with in "pet" activities, so you can flex your methods a little more. Doesn't mean other methods are wrong - it's just choice.

 

CM is a showman, and that is something I just disregard when I watch him - doesn't offend or impress me. He's the type of personality that likes TV...I like watching it, but I don't want on it <ggggg> He handles a number of dogs that I would not touch with a 10 foot pole, and by results the dogs go on to have good lives. Agree with him or not, there is something to be said for that. I've also noticed some tremendous dog reading skills in him, and yes, if you watch him there *are* times when he uses food! Is flooding appropriate? Sometimes. Sometimes you have to tell a dog "yes, you have to" and let him get comfortable with it later. Desensitization can be a good choice too. Are some dogs "manipulators" - if you mean do some dogs have behavior patterns they have learned to default to when they do not understand or want to do a behavior? yes, they do. We all manipulate our worlds - it's not humanizing, it's animal nature. Leave the image of the whining child out of it :rolleyes:

 

When you start saying never, ever, and always about training methods you are limiting your choices. When you take other people's word about a method without looking at it for yourslef you are being cheated of an opportunity to expand your mind. You don't have to agree, you don't even have to try it on your dog, but watching and listening respectfully never hurt anyone.

 

2 cents and change...

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Eileen - my fault, used the wrong word. Like I said, writing isn't my strong suit. :-/

 

In reference to your last post to me, I have never trained a stockdog. But, the first thing that came to mind is the fact that working stockdogs probably have a lot more trust in their handler than pet dogs have in their owner. Hitting a stockdog while it's working probably won't destroy the dog's trust in its handler, it'll make the dog think about what it did wrong. I think this might transfer to the way the dog learns and acts away from stock. Again, I really don't know a thing about stockdog training. But think about the fact that the dogs CM is working with (and the dogs belonging to the people he imitates) have probably never been taught how to take a correction. Obviously their relationship with their owners is not the best if they are having so many problems. If the dog has nothing to trust, how is physical correction for a fearful reaction going to help anything? I just don't get the logic behind it. (And for the record, I think it's *humans* that place such a stigma on hitting. To a dog, I doubt he thinks a whack with a stick is any worse than a yank on a choke chain or poke in the ribs. Pain/discomfort is just that, and provided nothing is done in extremes, I don't think one is any worse than the other)

 

I too think that dog training should be as kind and enjoyable to the dog as possible, but speed of result is a plus factor. Especially if the training involves getting a dog over his fears, you have done him a favor if you can bring about that result quickly rather than slowly. Which, I would certainly agree, you cannot always do, but which it appears CM often does.

 

I think this is where the choice will vary from person to person, for each individual dog. In most cases I would rather take my time and desensitize the dog to something while forming a positive association with it, rather than simply suppress the reaction with physical correction. I want to be positive that the fear/aggression/whatever is gone, not just pushed below the surface. I'm a little discouraged that people think I'm being elitist about this, I really don't mean to come off as full of myself. I just think there are alternatives to methods like Cesar's when it comes to dealing with troubled dogs, and in my experience they've worked just as well, if not better. Those alternatives are well worth trying or at least taking into consideration - Cesar Millan is not the end-all of dog behavior.

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Grace, you are an excellent and articulate writer. Don't apologize for your writing.

 

To be honest, these debates make me really tired and I'm not terribly interested in participating anymore, particularly when straw men start getting tossed around, which is what usually happens.

 

I can't speak for anyone else's dogs, but I do know my own and can say quite confidently that CM's methods would have been a death sentence for him -- because I know how he reacts to those methods. I am not a "pure positive" trainer. I have seen my dog in a number of training contexts and know what has worked best for him.

 

I don't doubt that CM has some serious chops, but at the same time his goal with so many of the dogs on his show seems to be to suppress behavior completely rather than change it, and the only underlying motivation he seems to recognize in a dog is "the dog is trying to be boss." I don't think of dogs (or most dogs) this way. I also feel the way Grace does about desired results. If my dog is reacting out of fear, I want his behavior to change because he is no longer scared. To me this is the best way to make a fearful dog into a safe dog. A dog that is still terrified and just barely keeping his shit together is bad news for the people around him, because sooner or later, he is no longer going to be able to keep his shit together. That is why so many bite stories end with the dog nailing someone "allofasuddenwithnowarningwhatsoever" and "wetriedeverythingwetookhimtotrainerswedon'tknowwhythishappened."

 

A lot of dog behaviors and training problems are relatively simple. Some of them are more complex and require more subtle methods than "because I said so."

 

It is also my opinion that training dogs in a working context is quite different from modifying the problematic behavior of pathologically fearful or aggressive dogs. In my experience, effective corrections in sheepdog training (and yes, I use plenty of corrections in this context; no, I do not consider myself any great shakes as a sheepdog trainer) are more about negative punishment than positive punishment. When I see great trainers correcting a working dog, it is usually more about taking away the dog's access to or contact with the sheep (negative punishment -- taking something away to make an undesirable behavior diminish) than it is about making the dog afraid of the handler or of other consequences (positive punishment -- adding something to the situation to make an undesirable behavior diminish). Most working dogs are also not genuinely fearful of the sheep in the sense that a pathologically shy dog may be fearful of social interactions (with dogs or with people), so the contexts are even more different. In the situations I've seen involving a dog that seemed genuinely fearful of the sheep, the trainer did not handle things by punishing the dog, either.

 

I wish I understood why these things always turn into wars. It makes no sense to me. Yes, I think CM is terrible news for dogs with big behavior problems. That doesn't mean that I only train my dogs with rainbows and unicorns and by bribing them with cookies. The major reason I think CM is an unfortunate influence is that he grievously oversimplifies some serious behavior problems in a way that is probably detrimental to owner and dogs who need help. I prefer not to train my own dogs to heel on leash by yanking the crap out of them, but I'll admit that if you want to train this way it'll work, horses for courses, whatever works for you. Yay. It's a different matter when you're talking about a dog that is afraid of the world around him and acting accordingly.

 

And by the way, if fearful dogs seem overrepresented on the Boards, it may be because owners of fearful dogs are more likely to seek help in these fora than owners of normal dogs. My personal opinion is that the vast majority of Border Collies are not pathologically fearful. I have one with a temperament more stable than your average bedrock. The way she reads and reacts to her world is very different from the way my fearful dog reacts. Luckily, he's come far enough to appear unremarkable in 90%+ of situations. When you have a dog like this, especially if it catches you unawares, you tend to try every training method that comes down the block because let's face it, you are desperate. You also tend to be very easy to influence if someone tells you what to do with confidence. I have tried a number of different training philosophies with my dog; I know now (he is almost eight years old) what works best for him. We have a lot of miles under our feet. Therefore, I have opinions about ways that are more or less productive when dealing with dogs like this. Yours may vary according to your experience. That's great and I'd love to hear about it.

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Well, some people have posted about them, in this thread and elsewhere. I also would be surprised if you've never seen trainers at sheepdog clinics deal with dogs whose problems stem from fear and aggression -- not necessarily while working, but in interactions on the sidelines. I've seen their owners' jaws drop at the effects achieved, even though often all they seem to perceive is "I don't understand it -- the meaner he is, the more she seems to love him and do what he says."

 

Your perception that CM's "goal with so many of the dogs on his show seems to be to suppress behavior completely rather than change it" and that he "train . . . dogs to heel on leash by yanking the crap out of them" is very different from what I see on the programs I've seen. But I think this is the sentence I have the most trouble with:

 

When I see great trainers correcting a working dog, it is usually more about taking away the dog's access to or contact with the sheep (negative punishment -- taking something away to make an undesirable behavior diminish) than it is about making the dog afraid of the handler or of other consequences (positive punishment -- adding something to the situation to make an undesirable behavior diminish).

 

Their corrections are sometimes negative punishment and sometimes positive punishment (to use operant conditioning terms), but they are never about "making the dog afraid of the handler or of other consequences." By defining positive punishment in terms of "making the dog afraid," it seems to me you have defined away its constructive character and the constructive results I -- and surely you also -- have seen it achieve. Call it "making the dog afraid," and obviously it couldn't possibly be of any help to a fearful dog.

 

Grace, your writing is fine, and I certainly don't think Cesar Milan is the end-all of dog behavior.

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and I certainly don't think Cesar Milan is the end-all of dog behavior.

 

And I don't either but I also don't think these boards (and others) are truly representative of mainstream clueless pet owners..and that is why there are so many viable and preferable alternatives to CM's method of training for many of us. That's why so many of the opinions posted are valid because they are based on something beyond "i wuv my doggie".

 

By and large, people thinking they can roll their Rottie may get bit, and people thinking they can wait out their fearful dog may never help him past his fears. But those people aren't here looking pro-actively looking to help their dogs.

 

Maria

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Well, some people have posted about them, in this thread and elsewhere. I also would be surprised if you've never seen trainers at sheepdog clinics deal with dogs whose problems stem from fear and aggression -- not necessarily while working, but in interactions on the sidelines. I've seen their owners' jaws drop at the effects achieved, even though often all they seem to perceive is "I don't understand it -- the meaner he is, the more she seems to love him and do what he says."

 

I actually gained some of what were, to me, the most important insights into corrections, and context, from Jack Knox, who has seen Solo at clinics what, two, three times now, I forget exactly. His philosophy is to make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard. Let's look at the first part of that sentence: make the right thing easy. That's the part that I think the "you're not the boss of me" trainers tend to forget. But whatever, I am not interested in arguing about CM because like many personalities, people either love him or hate him and never the twain shall meet so that conversation is no longer productive, nor entertaining.

 

Since I got Solo we have embarked on many adventures together and in the course of those adventures we have been to a number of sheepdog clinics and worked with a number of Big Hats. Solo has reacted to them, on the sidelines (not while working sheep) with varying levels of pathology. And, to a man (I must say that because they all happened to be men) NONE of them dealt with Solo's fearfulness by being "mean."

 

(I know, I know, next thing you're going to tell me is that you didn't really mean that they were mean. I get that.)

 

I fact, all of them dealt with Solo's behavior (and this is all on the sidelines) by being non-confrontational, and soothing, and all of them explained to me that there was "no use" in punishing a dog like this, that his behavior was driven by fear, and that it was important to let the dog know you were not afraid of him, but that it was also important not to cause the dog to be afraid. Jack Knox told me this. Scott Glen told me this. Bill Berhow told me that Solo was the last sort of dog a person needed to yell at. These are all contexts off of sheep that I am referring to.

 

Solo loves all of these men.

 

Of course, there have been a number of people with experience working sheepdogs who have told me that Solo would be just fine if I would just put some stones behind it and really whomp him good when he acts up... of course, these people tend to also admit that if they had a dog like Solo, they would shoot him, so...

 

All I know is that I can take Solo out to the Castro on a Friday night (and if you have ever been to San Francisco you know what the Castro looks like on a Friday night) and wander through crowds of people and we all have a good time, and hey, I'm pretty happy with those results. So yeah, I'm glad I didn't decide to deal with Solo's problems using a combination of flooding and positive punishment (which I know, from experience, do not work).

 

I did not come to the table being "pure positive" and I am not "pure positive" (which is impossible anyway) now. If anything, I came to the table steeped in the opposite tradition, because everything I'd ever heard and read about dog training was about being the boss of your dog. And when I realized that Solo was weird, I was willing to try pretty much anything, even if it was mean, if I thought it would work. I do what works for me, I imagine other people do the same, and I am no longer interested in arguing about it because these discussions never go anywhere, so I'm done with this thread.

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I am not interested in arguing about CM because like many personalities, people either love him or hate him and never the twain shall meet

 

Funny you say that. I think there have been at least as many people posting who are lukewarm -- mildly favorable or mildly unfavorable or "on the fence" -- toward him as love him or hate him.

 

All of the trainers you mention here are good, and IMO have many things in common with CM (who, incidentally, I have never heard yell at a dog).

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I am one of those "lukewarm" people.

I like some things he does, but disagree with others.

 

And I have 0 comment on what Dazzle would do (i.e. die or love him) if he trained her because he has never met her - that is really the only reason I don't like it when people say "he would kill my dog" (or something along those lines). Not because I either agree or disagree with what the owner is saying, but if he hasn't personally met your dog, you have no proof of what he would or wouldn't suggest - none.

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I've tried to read this whole thread, but forgive me if I repeat something someone has said. One thing that hasn't really been addressed, though it was alluded to by Eileen, is speed of response - and also ease of response. Many people have referred to the timing of Cesar Milan (whom I've never seen, I should add - I don't think he comes into our Canadian homes on regular channels, and that's all I have) but no one has really pointed out that timing is all important in R+ style training as well. And in fact I found, when I tried to modify my training style, that I had very poor timing when it came to this sort of training. It frustrated me much more than the methods that I have traditionally used, both because it was time consuming and it was HARD. I'm lazy and not a big fan of hard.

 

On a message board like this one is going to see a more specific segment of the dog owning population, that is one which is very consumed with its dogs. A good portion of the folks who post in a forum like this are people who spend an inordinate amount of time training and working with their dogs. The average pet owner just wants a dog and they want a dog who listens to a few basic commands. This applies to me in some way as well - I am a busy person, I don't want to or have the luxury of spending a lot of time with my dogs waiting for them to offer behaviours and shaping them. And this goes for my foster dogs as well - I need compliance, and I need it sooner rather than later. That's not to suggest I don't think it's a perfectly nice and successful way to direct your animal, and I have seen as many wonderfully trained dogs using R+ methods as anything else. But for your average dog owner, getting control of your dog is a more pressing need than anything else. There are a lot of owners who don't spend hours thinking about the psychological effects of every action they take with their dog, and I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. Not when it comes to your average dog.

 

The funny thing about the infamous CM is that his showmanship is second to none, which generates a lot of strong feelings for people. And it sort of amuses me, because this cycles through a new trainer every few years. I have been watching and learning and reading long enough to watch this ebb and flow through various manifests. Some of you might recall that Stanley Coren (Mr. "The CKC should recognize the border collie so that more people know about them") is a big fan of flooding and on his show he did things like dump seizure prone water-phobic dogs in tubs of water. And does anyone remember Mr. "Dog Secrets" - I can't remember his name, David something or other, who regularly challenged 'the cookie people' to "Train-Offs"? Both of these men/trainers incited passionate and often volatile disagreements amongst trainers, handlers and owners. Cesar's time has come and Cesar's time will go. Ultimately, as in all things, one needs to pull from it what they can use and disregard the remainder.

 

I managed to successfully clicker train Red Dog to "lie down" upon reaching the flyball box - this is how most excellent my timing with R+ training is!

 

RDM

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Guest WoobiesMom
I admit I haven\'t even read this whole thread - but I think the big pictures is missing:

 

So - for those of you with sensitive/fearful dogs - how do you know what he would suggest for your dogs if you don\'t ever see it on the show?

 

I have seen it on his show. There was a terrified bloodhound that had been used for vet vaccination research and was completely unsocialized. Loving, gentle, patient owners couldn't get near him after 3 years in a safe home environment. He used not a single correction or negative thing. I used some of the techniques while trying to get Woobie used to my son (he was very afraid of men), offering him things like food with his back to the dog, petting under the chin rather than on top of head,etc. Those aren't exclusively CM techniques (as anything is rarely truly new or original) but I'd seen them demonstrated by him and they worked for my dog. My dog has also learned more and more quickly from "the pack" at the dog park than I could ever teach him myself or alone. He's now confident, even with big, boisterous dogs, and now approaches strangers at random for a pet and a butt scratch. Not every stranger every time, but it's a huge improvement and is giving him the confidence he'll need to start carrying that mindset with him when he faces other situations and challenges.

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I'm still caught on whether Cesar beats his wife or not. :D

 

I think batman beats Cesar's wife as a way to manipulate his fearful Border Collie into working sheep that actually only exist in cyberspace. :rolleyes::D:D

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