I hate Cesar Millan.......please delete if this isn't allowed.
#1
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I love my dogs.....but hate Cesar Millan and he needs to go away.

Today was Tasha's agility class. Usually Mattie goes too but my son had the day off so Mattie stayed with him. Mattie has some separation anxiety so usually wherever Tasha goes, Mattie goes, I won't leave Mattie home alone. But I think it is important for Mattie to learn that me being gone or Tasha being gone is O.K. And Mattie loves my son.

We had a great class with my daughter running Tasha but Tasha didn't hit her contacts (as usual). Contacts are the bottom few feet of the dog walk and a-frame that a dog must hit or they will be disqualified. It is a safety issue. But Tasha often jumps the contacts, why slow down? Slowing down is for dogs that have nothing better to do.

After class my daughter went into the office to talk with the instructor and her office manager (both really sweet ladies that seem to enjoy my 14 year old) and I decided to work with Tasha on contacts. My only goal was to get Tasha to hit the contact every time....nothing else.... and she did....every time. We have a "Bossy Student" in our class and I really have issues with her..... I just plain don't like her. She yelled at my dogs once during class. Tasha I didn't worry about so much, since the day she was born she has been the princess (and she knows it) very little phases her. But Mattie... Mattie is sensitive and I try to make sure that everything is positive for her. I don't yell at my dogs unless I am 100% sure they know they are doing something wrong. I don't yell if they misbehave because they are excited or stressed, that isn't a reason to yell in my opinion. And I get told by Miss BS that Tasha listens to me better because I am the "Alpha Female" and my daughter is her friend and Tasha respects the "Alpha Female".

I would have said something except:

1) Don't teach pigs to sing. ................And...............
2) She had friends with her and I think it is the ultimate in rude to call someone out in front of friends.

On the way home I talked to my daughter about my experience with Tasha and I wanted her view on what had happened (that Tasha worked better for me). I told my daughter, "Look at it from a trainer's perspective or an ethologist's perspective. What did I do that made it work?" We talked a bit because at first my daugher didn't understand what I was asking but soon she did figure it out.

1) When I asked Tasha to "touch" I was standing still.....not moving, there was no anticipation as to what we were doing next.
2) When my daughter asked Tasha to "touch" she was further away (which she should be) and Tasha was anticipating the next obstacle....."Best day ever!! What are we doing next!!"

Something we need to work on but nothing to do with "Alpha Female".

If you have read this far, bless you.

And I still hate Cesar Millan.


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#2
I really enjoyed reading this post, thanks for sharing your experience. The more I read about dog training and domestic dog behaviour the more I am shifting away from a purely hierarchical view of human/dog interactions. Not everything is about dominance and submission between dogs and their owners and as you point out, things can be much more nuisanced than that. Domestic dogs have evolved to live along side humans for thousands of years and I think they are very different animals to their wild wolf ancestors that some training methods often hark them back to.
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#3
(Gorgeous dog btw)
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#4
I just read a few different articles about this, and It's been proven that even in the wild Wolves have no such thing as "heirarchy" in dominance - their "heirarchy" is very much a family. The elder is the father of almost all of the clan. In fact, the "Alpha" has been proven to be the LEAST dominating figure - the lead by quiet example and strong protective instinct. They hunt to feed their family, but are the last to eat. They seek out and play with the pups and teach them to fend for themselves.

And the Alpha Female is actually the decision maker - she is the one who decides when it's time to hunt, or when it's time to move.

I thought all of this was really cool. Their little families are so similar to our own relationships. We will follow a leader that leads by example with quiet power, usually without much thought about wanting to run that person over and challenge their leadership. The patriarchs of the family work together to lead the group in each of their own ways. They adopt wolves in that need a family, and they protect each other.
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Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014
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#5
Haha, of course I read to the end. I think your problem solving with your daughter was brilliant !!! I'm not a Cesar Milan fan either. He is very charismatic and at times does demonstrate a sound understanding of canine body language but then it all goes horribly wrong in my humble opinion. I am also not a fan of the (R+ only) revolution that is sweeping the world and prefer a more balanced approach. I like to follow a basic rule of thumb of understanding -canine, -breed, -individual and I don't think there is any one method (only) that suits every dog.

If I handled my WL Shep as I do my BC's he would have chewed me up, spat me out and used my hair as dental floss but this was nothing to do with "dominance theory" If I handled my BC's as I did my Shepherd they would shut down and likely develop a host of problems.

I genuinely feel sorry for new dog owners who are exploring new training methods,particularly with all that is available with social media these days. Almost every idea can be made to sound feasible and it seems like a mine field at times.

Good on you for taking the higher ground and not saying anything. I often have to do this with a friend who is a trainer but subscribes to the Cesar Milan mentality. She is also a very outspoken person and never stops analysing every dam thing and offering unsolicited advice. I spend a lot of time politely nodding LOL. I still like hanging out with her because I don't have a lot of friends who can spend a whole day with me mostly watching and analysing canine body language and in this respect I feel I have learned a lot from her.

Our relationship with them is so very important and I believe based in their trust and confidence in us not our dominance over them.. Understanding their signals but also an awareness of what our signals are telling them, which is exactly what you did.
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#6
To Phoebe and Josie

Thank you! She is so adored and loved and she is the reason I took a chance and adopted my sweet dog, Mattie. Having Border Collies has changed my perspective on the dog/human relationship. At some point I understood that dogs are a creature that want to live in the human world and will learn to understand a bit of our language but can never speak our language. If you put me in a foreign country and everyone spoke a language that I didn't understand I think that at some point I would begin to understand the language (a table, a book, a house....even if we use different words still mean the same thing). But to a dog what is a table, or a book, or a house?

Sometimes I meet people who say, "My dog is stupid."

And I think, "Is your dog stupid? Or did you just did not bother to take the time to understand him?"
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#7
That's really fun that you got to enlighten her at the same time (I meant to say so earlier, but tired me got on a tangent and forgot). She won't forget those lessons, and maybe she'll look around a little harder too. And I love that the kids are in on the training! I bet you guys have some fun stories to tell - or at the very least, you will!
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Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014
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#8
Domestic dogs are one of the few species of animal that can recognise the complex body language of another species (humans) without training, ie. even puppies recognise what it means when a human points and dogs can interpret the facial expressions of people (not just their owners- even when only shown half of the face at a time (ie eyes or mouth). And conversely, humans can interpret what different dog barks mean, even if they don't own that dog or have ever owned a dog at all, ie. the bark for excitement, alerting to danger, wanting to go out, fear etc. just like you say T&M's Mom, we don't speak the same language all the time but there certainly are overlaps!
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#9
Very interesting bit of info there Ember.

I don't care much for Cesar Milan's methods either. Here's something I thought of though... People can be rather stubborn and if they see something works then why change. Adding anger would only make things worse. I'm glad you chose the less 'dominant' way to handle things and stayed calm when she yelled at you. I don't think you can necessarily blame any one person for this type of training either. I think if you want to prove to people that R+ is truly the way to go you should also act in a R+ manner toward everyone (especially so to the people you're trying to prove.) I see you did that there and I applaud you. "You'll catch more flies with a spoonful of honey than a gallon of vinegar" -Benjamin Franklin. Sorry for my little rant there, it's just something to think about...
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#10
Oh, let me clarify that when I said R+ I ment it in more of a not dominant way and not a strictly R+ only term. I know you can use R+/- and P+/- in a not dominant way but that's all very confusing. (eg crate training can be considered P- but if you use the words negative and punishment it may send people on the wrong direction)

Ugh, I went off on a little rant again. Sorry about that. Unsure
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Sometimes, the smallest things bring the greatest joy.
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