|Barked: Sat Jun 7, '08 10:46am PST |
|Interesting thread... I'm in the "use what works for you and toss the rest" camp. I like Cesar: his love for dogs, his wonderful ability to "speak dog," two qualities I share.
I like his ability to rehab "red zone" dogs. (For the person who asked, a "red zone" dog is one who is actively dangerous to other dogs and/or people.) I'm a professional, and the two "red zone" dogs I tried to rehab both wound up getting put down. I think Cesar could have saved at least one, whose family was willing to go to any lengths and were good listeners. I tried to use all positive methods - maybe I shouldn't have. (That applies to the red zone only!)
As for the idea that "dogs do not roll each other by force, the submitting dog does it as a peace gesture," that is only partially true. I had a pack of 9 dogs, with a lovely, gentle alpha male, who did "roll" other dogs now and then. He did not grab them, but knocked them over by knocking into their shoulders, then straddled them and growled until they submitted. Occasionally, he would also grab them by the muzzle. I see this as "non-violent" use of body language, since I've seen the same dog, regrettably, fight for real under different circumstances.
This dog, Strider, has long since gone to the Bridge. He was not the kind of Alpha that felt the need to constantly reassert himself; he was the epitome of what Cesar Millan calls "calm-assertive energy." He only rolled other dogs when they tested him, and he only fought when truly challenged. (Do I need to say that I broke up the fight, and kept him and that serious challenger separate for the rest of their lives?)
And, yes, dogs do want and need a pack structure in their lives. Just because they no longer have to hunt for their food doesn't mean they don't *think* they need to. While I agree that the initial studies of wolves in captive packs were flawed, more work has been done since then.
Like Jan Fennell, I have seen the relief exhibited by dogs who have been relieved of the responsibility of leading the pack. It's real, folks; they need a leader, and if they don't see one in the family, they'll try to take over the role - because "SOMEbody's got to do it!"
Jan Fennell's book, "The Dog Listener," is excellent. If you like Cesar's ideas but not his forceful techniques, Jan's book will get you there. I wish we got her TV show over here - I'd like to see her work. (I'm also a fan of Victoria Stillwell.) Put it next to "Be the Pack Leader" by Cesar Millan, and you'll find many similarities!
I like 2/3 of Cesar's stuff. He is right in what he accomplishes - for instance, the importance of "the walk." I don't like the forceful way he accomplishes it. But throwing out his philosophy because I don't like his coercive stuff would be stupid.
Oh, and I'm an advocate of free speech. If NatGeo gets the ratings with Cesar, more power to them. If idiots disregard the many warnings to not try these things without a professional's help, it's not the fault of Cesar or NatGeo.
Ruthie, Mom of the Cooblyden (That's the COOnhound - BuLLY den)
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