Saturday, 5 April 2014

Cesar Millan is the last chance for dogs - he saves them

I dont intend this as a 'bashing' post more a place to compile some information together to counter when someone comes to me with the line that Cesar Millan saves dogs.

It is actually quite difficult to get follow up news on any of the dogs featured in his show as all the owners are known to have to sign a non disclosure form so they cant speak about the show after it.

But there are some follow ups out there


This is one of the first episodes I ever saw. It shows many examples of why I dont like Cesar Millan. Firstly he threads the lead through the handle so he effectively has a noose round Shadow. He ignores all Shadows good behaviour when he isnt shouting at the other dog and keeps taking him closer to get a reaction (this is called 'setting him up to fail' you can train without doing this) and even then the reaction is not impressive enough so he kicks him in the guts while tightening the lead at the same time, he then fights with shaddow until Shaddow 'gives up' (possibly due to lack of air) He is also causing the border collie lots of stress being barked at like this. Later he 'floods' Shaddow with dogs very close to him forcing him to put up with them - but when you look at the poor dog you can see he isnt in any way happy to be in that situation, he does not fear dogs any less he just fears Cesar Millan more.
Here is a follow up on Shadow, this is from the woman who originally fostered him and made the mistake of giving him to this family to adopt. First point is with her Shadow had no issues, they only arose from aggressive training methods. Shadow was NOT fixed with this show and the owner was talking of getting him put to sleep when the fosterer got her to hand him in, then after rehab he was again a loving dog

Cesar Millan did not save this dog, the dog didnt have any problems before, CM type training methods caused the issues and CM's attention did not fix the dog - the owner gave him up


JonBee was a rescue who had had horrible wounds on his neck, he had NO ISSUES except that he did not like to be rolled on his back inside the house on the slippy wooden floor . JpnBee very much does not look calm or relaxed after being pinned to the floor - and there is no reason to have to pin a dog on the floor, if you need them to show their tummy for medical attention then teach them to roll over - its a fairly basic trick. There are conflicting reports about what happened to JonBee after this - possibly he was rehomed, possibly the owner was planning to rehome him anyway as he was rescuing and rehoming dogs, and I saw one report where he kept the dog
But CM's methods did not 'FIX' this dog, those methods created the problem in the first place


Again follow up on Jake is difficult to find, I have been told that it was mentioned in his book that Jake was put to sleep - if anyone knows if this is true or not can you let me know? 
Again this is very distressing to watch, the dog has had such little socalisation that he is basically a wild animal. Many many wild animals have been tamed with time and love and lots of food - never by pinning it to the floor till it gets tired of struggling. This method is only good for getting people bitten


Holly is NOT a bad dog at all, she has food guarding issues which is something trainers and behaviourists deal with every day of the week without anyone getting bitten 
In the above video you can see Holly has been taken away from her loving home and is living at Cesar Millans centre. I dont know what happened with her afterwards - but there was no reason for this, food guarding is a common issue and can be dealt with without anyone getting bitten

Duelling PitBulls

In this episode a couple who had no issues with their dogs fighting sent them away to residential training to help with their obedience. The dogs came back fighting. This in itself is a big worry and I would like to know what happened to the dogs with that other person. They then tried several punishment methods and resorted to Cesar Millan. He meets with them and agrees they have a problem - and then waits 1/2 a year before he takes one dog away to his centre to help them.
Sadly again his methods fail and the two are still fighting at the end - and so CM actually just offers them a different dog from his centre 
That is not fixing or saving dogs - just swapping a loved family pet for a strange dog???


The show leaves Cotton looking like he is 'fixed' but the sad truth is CM's methods dont work for everyone, they look 'easy' on the TV but even CM gets bitten sometimes. Cotton is an example that once the dog has a bite history they are difficult to rehome and once the cameras go away its not always possible to keep up what CM started 
Here we see in the end his owners have to resort to having his teeth filed down. This is very sad because it means the poor dog is still as scared and stressed as ever, he is not 'fixed' he just cant hurt people.

Cesar Millan isnt the last chance for dogs, thousands of qualified behaviourist, dog trainers, rescuers and owners are helping dogs just as bad as the ones seen here, they are doing it quietly without getting bitten and without having a battle with dogs 
He is not the last chance, his methods are dangerous, stressful and should not be an option at all for any dog

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Pets at Home to Stop Selling Cesar Millan Books

I opened my facebook this morning to the best news


Based on customer feedback, we're removing all Cesar Milan books from our stores and they will no longer make up part of our book range. The transition will take a few weeks, so you may still see these in some stores.

Now I know a lot of people will be confused by this as to why it is a good thing and why there is such dislike for Cesar there are some useful links in the following pages

I know most people who follow his methods are not cruel to their dogs, they follow the principles in his training that are fairly common to all dog trainers, being consistent and making sure the dog has adequate exercise.
These things are fantastic

Then there is the middle ground of 'not so good but not in itself doing harm' where people hear that just about everything they dont like that their dog does is because he is dominant
and if the rank reduction methods are nothing more than stopping the dog get on the sofa or eating before them then its not really cruel - and to an extent it does work, not because suddenly the dog thinks you are 'Alpha' but because suddenly you are doing some kind of training with your dog, you are giving them some rules to follow

When it starts to become bad is when because you think your dog is dominant  and that is a 'bad thing' that must be stopped you start seeing your dog in a negative light
You assume he should magically 'know' how to walk nicely on a lead, keep off the sofa (that he was once allowed on) and worse still - not ever communicate wants, needs, likes and dislikes.
You are only now looking for the 'bad' in your dog so you can suppress it, you ignore the 20min when he is walking nicely on the lead to focus on the 30s when he lunged at the cat
You ignore the evening lying quietly on his bed to focus on the 2 barks at the door.
This is stressful for YOU to always see your dog in the negative, you are missing many opportunities to teach your dog the things you DO want them to do, and it is very stressful to the dog who suddenly sees you angry all the time and dosent understand why.
Again these methods do seem to 'work' this is because punishments suppress behaviour, they get depressed and give up trying to do things, the most dangerous of these things is punishing a dog for growling. It seems to make total sense - the dog must be challenging you by growling - so you punish it, eventually the dog gives up growling
The problem here is you have dealt with the communication NOT the actual problem
Growling is the dog telling you he really dosent like something, it is a warning
If you punish the warning it will go away - but the dog still dosent like the thing he was warning you about
Now he dosent have the option to communicate, you think he is 'fixed' and keep putting him in the situation that is very stressful for him.
So the best side of that method is he is very stressed - the worst thing is that some dogs will reach their breaking point and knowing growling dosent work then they will move right to the attack - without any warning.

If you see the communication as  'good' and help your dog to like the thing then the growling will go away

Monday, 24 March 2014

How I built my Centaur

 I thought some of you might like to see some stages in one of my latest sculptures

The Centaur

I started building a base out of pipe cleaner then creating the shape of the horses body and a start of the mans torso in core wool

 Making a face worried me as I havent really done many human(ish) faces before so I decided to work on this next. I gave him blue glass eyes

Then I worked on his torso
If Im making a man I might as well have a man with a 6 pack :) it was fun trying to figure how muscles would work on a body like this

 Hands were freaking me out so I chickend out and added the colour to his body and spent a very long time making sure he was very firmly felted and balanced on his 3 hooves (it was tough to get him to stand up well)
Finally I built up the guts to try the hands - the scale is so tiny and I wanted his hands to look realistic with 4 fingers and a thumb on each hand

I am quite happy with how they worked out - I came up with a cheety method, I will make a tutorial of that soon

I then worked on his rustic wooden spear and added his hair

The hair looked very wrong to me so adding a little grey brought him more to life (and people say he looks a little like Billy Connely now)

Then a little tidying up and my project that has taken the longest time to date was ready for his photoshoot

I am quite happy how he turned out - not 100% happy, I never am :) but he is similar to the guy I saw in my mind before I started

He is up for sale in my needle felting shop

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Recall - can you see what they are thinking about?

Just for a bit of fun I thought I would shoot of a few photos right at the moment I called my dogs from a down stay
It seems pretty clear that the instant Ben is called all he thinks about is grub :D and Mia seems to be trying to check out what he is eating 

Monday, 20 January 2014

Its like putting a sticking plaster over a compound fracture!

Sadly there is next to no regulation in the dog training industry.
Anyone can call themselves a behaviourist or a 'dog psychologist'

There are some amazing ones out there who have spent years studying, researching and then gaining hands on experience, who also still continue to learn the most up to date methods.
In the UK these people can be found in organisations like the APBC's

Sadly there is another group of people who call themselves dog psychologists.

And they spout some stuff that can sound good - about treating your dog like a dog and things like that.
They actually know nothing about psychology - or just enough to be dangerous

Psychology is the scientific study of how the mind works and how that can effect behaviours.

Often a person will go to a 'behaviourist' with aggression issues - dogs barking/lunging or even fighting with other dogs.

An actual behaviourist is interested in finding out what is going on in the dogs mind and then changing the reason for the aggression which in turn makes the aggression go away

A phony behaviourist tries to address the barking and lunging without any thought for what is going on in the dogs mind

It is like going to a doctors with a compound fracture and the doctor putting a sticking plaster on it
You cant see the fracture so it must be fixed right?
It may still hurt like hell - but that dosent matter, its fixed
It may actually heal itself eventually - but that is very much not the best way to deal with the problem.

Lets think of it in terms of the dog

Most aggression is based in fear - if your dog really wanted to kill every other dog in the world he would not shout his intentions, he would be quiet and wait for his chance. Aggression is a warning, the dog is shouting 'get away from me!'

So the dog is most likely very scared

A phony will put the dog into a situation where they start to show aggression and then they punish the dog
They punish the dog harshly enough that the dog learns that barking gets punished and they stop barking

They are still scared of the other dog, they now have no way to tell anyone they are scared
And of course their poor owners dosent know any better and thinks their dog has now been 'fixed' from their 'naughty' behaviour and so they are safe to take everywhere - to be around lots and lots of dogs

So the dogs life has suddenly got lots more stressful.
Nothing is fixed  - it is just hidden

A true behaviourist will try and work to teach the dog that other dogs are good things, they will work at a distance where the dog dosent feel the need to shout at the other dogs
Over time the dog will learn to be happy around other dogs and will not need to bark
He will be able to be taken to lots of new places and he will be happy and calm with other dogs around.

Dont 'fix' the unwanted behaviour, treat the underlying mental issues and the behaviour will go away

Thursday, 9 January 2014

A fun trick - How to teach 'Say your prayers'

A couple of people asked me how I train this cute trick
Like anything there are many methods - I quickly filmed two of them.

Method one
Train your dog to target their front paws (there are loads of videos on this) then have them target your arm with either paw then both paws

Method Two
With your arm out in position lure the dog up - they will then rest their paws on your arm

Simply feed your dog his treats between his front legs, the more you feed in this position the more the dog will enjoy being in this position and go into it naturally in anticipation of the reward

repeat until you presenting your arms becomes a cue in itself to do the trick

This is a nice cute trick that kids love to see - it is also good for building some muscles being a step towards doing a begging trick

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Old Mill Homework - Impulse control - Leave it/puppy zen

Impulse control games are great to help dogs learn not to be a pain :) the 'leave it/puppy zen' is a fab exercise for a dog who mugs your hand or cant focus when you have a treat in your hand
In the video I had only had Mia a short time and she had been a stray so was a bit obsessed with food
This is the first time I tried the exercise with her, she did know the clicker ment she had done the right thing and a treat was coming, she knew how to sit and give a paw.

You dont have to use a clicker for this exercise but I find it helps. If you dont use a clicker make sure and mark the EXACT moment the dog has done what you want (I say 'YES' in a happy tome)

Present the treat in your hand to your dog
As they move towards the treat close your hand over
Let your dog mug your hand (if they are likely to nibble wear gloves) do not move your hand or tell them off or say anything, just wait
The very moment your dog moves even slightly away from your hand click for that and reward (I prefer to reward out of the other hand - but you can reward from the same hand)
slowly start waiting for your dog to look at you and reward for that
Once your dog starts looking away as you present your open hand this is the point you can add the word 'leave it' (leave it will mean look away from whatever it was you were looking at eventually)

You can then begin moving your hand slightly - this may mean your dog goes back to mugging your hand, just wait as before and reward when they stop mugging
repeat till they can cope with you moving your hand and dont mug it

move your had to an inch off the floor and drop the treat - if your dog goes for the treat place your hand ontop of it and wait for them to look away. Once they stop chasing the dropped treat you can raise your hand so you are dropping from higher and higher (you can use your foot to cover it if they try going for it)


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