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Monday, March 5, 2007

Cesar's Way

Likely millions have read the bestseller "Cesar's Way," authored by a man born in Mexico, who now runs a very successful canine behavioural rehabilitation center in California. It was shelved for a few months and having little interest (for now) in the last book I was reading, I just picked it up.
Wow, is all I have to say. I concede I have just started it and therefore should not even be offering an iota of an opinion, but I KNOW that I am going to like it and, most importantly, agree with his views on dog behaviour, its roots, and its treatment.
In the foreword, the president of the International Association of Canine Professionals (?), Martin Deeley, writes, "Dogs are dogs, and we need to respect them as dogs. We do them a huge disservice by treating them like humans and thus create many of the bad behaviors we see today." This is exactly what I have been talking about and thinking since I've started practice. Note my ire in one of my previous posts: a Dachshund in a dress walking down a runway? Give me a break.
The author of the book, Cesar Millan, has had decades of experience with dogs and appears to know and understand basic canine behaviour, something the general population has forgotten. We are trying to mold dog behaviour to suit our lifestyles - against thousands of years of evolutionary constraints! This cannot be accomplished.
While I finish reading the book, please remember this: dogs ARE dogs. Enough with the doggie dresses and strollers.

The dog in the first photo belongs in a stroller as much as this one does.


Dr. Patty Khuly said...

Agreed. We *so* infantilize our dogs. And it can be *so* annoying apart from just plain wrong. But while I agree with so much in his basic premise, Don Cesar is not my favorite guy. I must admit, I couldn't pick up the book (a gift from a client) after watching one of his shows. His methods run the gamut from brilliantly simple to inexcusably stupid and dangerous. Like everything else my country exports, I tend to think of him as a simple showman who has managed to trade on a kernel of truth. I get the distinct impression that he's more about Cesar than he is about the dogs. But then, I haven't read the book, now, have I?


Dr. Khuly,

Thank you for your comment. I knew NOTHING about Cesar Millan before picking up his book, as I don't have cable and never watch TV! Of course, I heard of "the Dog Whisperer" but I had never seen a show.
I don't think the guy received a Rhodes Scholarship, far from it, however I agree with his fundamental ideas on canine behaviour, plain and simple. His politeness or downright sycophantic prose is sometimes nauseating. I would not have been so friendly to the readers, but he WAS on the NY Times bestseller list, wasn't he? The book is a simple and quick read. It may (just may) be worth picking it up....

diane said...

May I respectfully suggest another book, "Culture Clash", by Jean Donaldson? Another book I highly reccommend is "The Other End of the Leash" by Patricia McConnell.

I think after reading these two books you will understand why so many dog training professionals disagree with Milan's methods. Milan's methods are not based on science but they sound reasonable and they look good on tv.


I'm not a professional dog trainer so it is difficult for me to objectively comment on Cesar and his training techniques.
I read his book and liked it. Didn't love it. I agree with (or rather am open to) his basic premises about canine evolution, treating them as pack animals, and that calm dogs are happy dogs. I also like his main points that dogs require exercise, discipline, and love (in that order).
It is blatant that most dogs severely lack the first two and obviously get enough of the third.
I will certainly check out those titles, and thank you for the recommendations.