It’s no secret that Cesar Millan is under investigation for animal cruelty relating to a recent episode of his show, Cesar 911 which featured a French bulldog-terrier mix named Simon who has a history of attacking pot-bellied pigs. Needless to say, the training session went wrong, ending with the dog attacking a pig, drawing blood. It remains to be seen what will come of the investigation. I will suspend judgment on that particular incident until the investigation is closed.
However, as someone who cares passionately about the state of my industry, I think the fact that Cesar’s methods are being called into question is an important wake up call for the public. We need to make some major changes to the dog training industry as a whole.
Regardless of what happens with this case, it’s true that Cesar Millan and many other traditional dog trainers continue to advise people to use force and intimidation to train dogs, basing their methods on dominance theory which relies on discomfort, even pain sometimes, to teach. They do this despite the fact that the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, the Humane Society of the United States and many other of the most credible organizations in animal welfare have routinely criticized “dominance training” saying that it slows training, harms relationships between humans and dogs, and can actually cause behavioral problems.[…]