Target: Cesar Millan, “The Dog Whisperer”
Goal: Urge famous dog trainer known for his aggressive training tactics to quit promoting positive punishment
When Cesar Millan’s show “The Dog Whisperer” first aired in September 2004, many professionals scorned Millan and his techniques, accurately claiming that his training methods are not based in science and are outdated in practice. The accusations came from many within the animal care field—veterinarians and other dog trainers were afraid of the publicized, abusive techniques being promoted through the show. Ten years later, dog owners and professionals alike are still against Millan’s techniques and many people are speaking out about the abuse Millan advocates. It is time for the Dog Whisperer to step out of the limelight for good, and allow real professionals to give sound advice to confused animals and their owners.
Millan promotes a pack hierarchy, meaning that a person’s dog must be dominated and forced to understand that it is not the pack leader. Whether the dog in question has an issue with greeting its owners by jumping, fear of a particular object or aggression toward children, Millan’s “fix” is a display of intense dominance. Millan prides himself in the excessive amount of times he has been bitten on the job and enjoys pinning dogs by their throats in order to show dominance. If a dog has an intense fear of a shiny floor, his idea of helping the dog is dragging the animal onto the floor and holding it there, until it gives up from pure exhaustion.
The Dog Whisperer favors positive punishment, rather than reward-based training. If a dog is misbehaving, Millan recommends dealing the dog an unpleasant stimulus to encourage dismissal of the unwanted behavior. Every issue a dog may have is considered a dominance problem. Hurting the dog by stepping on its toes or kicking it is not out of line for Millan and is in fact encouraged. Millan’s techniques have been proven to initiate further fear and aggression in dogs; his training must be labeled as inappropriate and his reign in the dog-behavior world must end. Sign this petition to urge Millan to step down from his position and allow serious animal advocates to take his place.
Dear Mr. Millan,
When your show first aired in September 2004, it was met with ridicule and astonishment from the professional dog-care community. Your methods have been scientifically proven to be abusive and detrimental to a scared or psychologically damaged dog. Fear mongering, physical abuse and dominance establishment are not conducive to positive dog-training; in fact, they are tenaciously harmful.
Mr. Millan, you have no educational basis in the scientific community and have never professionally studied dogs or their behaviors. You are proud of your lack of credentials, and in fact boast that you understand dogs on an intimate level unreachable by the majority of dog owners and trainers. With all due respect, your claim is irrelevant and you do not help dogs recover, but likely cause them greater psychological harm due to excessive abuse and force. What happens behind the scenes of your show is unknown and terrifying.
Many professionals have addressed your techniques as archaic and abusive. I agree with this consensus and urge you to reconsider your career path. Abusing a dog in order to establish “dominance” is not okay, nor is it correct in terms of dog psychology. Wild dogs do not operate how you claim that they do; they help each other and have a family existence, not a dominance-fueled uncomfortable atmosphere. I urge you to allow other professionals, who are intent on helping dogs recover and grow, bask in your undeserved limelight.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Aktiv I Oslo.no via Flickr