Viewers Want to Know… Is Millan’s
Controversial Training Method Cruel?
Here’s what we know…
Here’s what happened…
Cesar Millan, from National Geographic’s Dog Whisperer, was sued by Flody Suarez, producer of Book of Daniel and 8 Simple Rules. According to the lawsuit, Suarez claims his Labrador-retriever, Gator, was injured after having been left at Millan’s dog training facility, Dog Psychology Center on February 27, 2006.
Suarez stated that several hours after dropping Gator off at the facility, he received a phone call from a worker who said the dog had been taken to a veterinarian. Suarez arrived at the veterinary clinic to find that his dog was wearing an oxygen tent while gasping for air, after having been bleeding from his mouth and nose. The cause of his injury, according to Suarez, is from being forced to run on a treadmill, exhausted, while attached with a choke chain collar.
Fan’s of the show have seen images of dogs running on treadmills, being jerked back in an aggressive fashion while on walks, and other training methods imposed by and preached by Millan. Critics of Millan claim that his methods are impractical and teach fear rather than corrected behavior.
“Millan’s methods are based on flooding and punishment,” said Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Professor and Head, Section of Animal Behavior, Director of Behavior Clinic, Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
“My concerns are based on his inappropriateness, inaccurate statements, and complete fabrications of explanations for dog behavior,” said Dr. Suzanne Hetts, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Co-owner of Animal Behavior Associates, Inc., Littleton, CO. “His ideas, especially those about “dominance”, are completely disconnected from the sciences of ethology and animal learning, which are our best hope for understanding and training our dogs and meeting their behavioral needs.”
Jean Donaldson, The San Francisco SPCA Director of the Academy for Dog Trainers, remarked, “practices such as physically confronting aggressive dogs and using of choke collars for fearful dogs are outrageous by even the most diluted dog training standards.” Donaldson continued to say, “A profession that has been making steady gains in its professionalism, technical sophistication and humane standards has been greatly set back.”