Sit and Stay PS asked in PetsDogs · 1 decade ago

The Dog Whisperer, friend or foe?

How many people here like the Cesar? I personally don't like him, and I've found a lot of professional dog trainers agree. I just wondered if anyone else saw the same things I did...

I do think he has done a lot for dogs in that there are a lot of people more educated on how dogs think, I just wish he used more humane techniques. Flooding, one is his favorite, has a very scary bad side. If you were scared of snakes and we tied you down and covered you in snakes, would you be cured of your fear?


Flooding; One episode I recall was a little dog who got angry at the toaster, or phone, or microwave. He held the dog close to the toaster and kept clicking it until the dog finally gave up on being angry. The way it could have gone bad, is if the dog had frozen completely and shut down mentally, such as many of the dogs on his ranch or whatever he wants to call it have with water fears. I read his book, and for all his dogs he puts them on a lead and hoses them every day, weather permitting. The ones who are scared 'just learn to cope.' Hence, my snake example.

Update 2:

Desensitization is what you call flooding when it goes your way. Heh. It is the same thing, just flooding it the actual training word for it from the sixty's, when it was used along with whipping your dog, choke collars, and kicking them. It's one of the aggressive methods that you can't use and keep membership to reputable associations.

Update 3:

Who's to say a fear of snakes is not irrational? I'm not scared of snakes, and I don't understand it, but my mom LOTHES them. And dogs have every right to be scared of slick floors. People who do training in tricks and vets will tell you that if you expect yours to do a lot of such surfaces you should get them shoes with traction. I have seen my own border collie sprain many leg muscles from performing on tile. So, I have to admit, I think about the same of your example as you do mine.

23 Answers

  • Chetco
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I personally know a family that was featured on one of his episodes.

    The dog was the same after he left, as it was before he came. He didn't take time to explain any follow-up, or coach the family.

    He was too busy keeping his strict time schedule.

    He got the results he wanted, and left.. When they called to ask for a follow-up, as with the crew and cameras and director keeping them from even seeing what he was doing, they hadn't digested all that he tried to teach,. They were told it would be another $350 for the hour.

    So, he was paid the original $350 from the featured family, plus his per-episode fee from National Geographic, plus royalties for each time it is shown, and the family ends up poorer and with no change in the dog.

    Pretty good racket

    ( the breed of dog I have wouldn't respond to his methods, as they only obey out of love, respect and trust)

    Edit: Kudos and dittos to Janey's answer!

    Source(s): btdt
  • 1 decade ago

    Keep in mind that most of the dogs he features in his show have all seen dog trainers and behavioralists to no avail. Maybe his methods are harsh but I haven't heard of any dog owner that has been on his show complain to the media.

    And your snake example is just wrong. A fear of snakes isn't necessarily irrational. Fear of a linoleum floor is irrational. Fear of water is irrational. And a dog's brain does not work the same way as a person's brain. To equate how a person would react to how a dog would react demonstrats a lack of understanding about dogs.

    My issue with Cesar is that he makes it look too easy. No matter how many times I watch Yo Yo Ma play the cello on TV, I am never going to be able to play the cello like him.

  • 1 decade ago

    I like Cesar as a person and I am sure that he is a fabulous dog trainer one on one. My problem is with his show. It is of course cut for time. Chopped and forced into a neat little package that chops out some critical steps and makes the whole process look way too easy. I know that there is a little disclaimer that they show at the start of each show that warns ppl to not and try his methods at home on their own... but the plain truth is that people are not going to listen to this... especially with the shows making it look so darn simple.

    Now... as far as training in general. Flooding has its place but just as I stated above it is not a simple process and it is sure not easy enough for a novice to decide which case it would be warranted for and to try and do it alone.

    As far as positive reinforcement training I feel that it is a wonderful method as far as puppies and timid dogs go. But I also feel that correction is just as important.

    For one example: Positive reinforcement is great when you are teaching a puppy the come command. You want to make sure that everything is positive and upbeat when you are teaching a dog a new word and what that word means... but when you are sure that the dog knows what you are asking of it and its responses are dictated by its moods or other distractions... correction is a must.

    Without correction you could find yourself outside one day and drop the leash and your dog sees another dog across a busy street and it decides that it wants to go play more than it wants the treat in your pocket or more than it wants to please you.... Doggie Pancake!

    Last point on Cesar's show.

    You can't learn to be a Doctor from watching House MD and you can't learn proper training techniques from watching the Dog Whisperer!


    In the words of Joe Clark: Discipline is not the enemy of enthusiasm!

    Source(s): Dog Trainer sense '86
  • Janey
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    It's an interesting one.

    I have taken all my previous dogs to training. We worked on the praise for doing something right, a positive tone for encouragement and a "no" and maybe a quick pull on the check (choke) collar as a correction. It worked well with all my dogs and they were happy and generally obedient.

    I am taking my current rescue dog to an RSPCA training course (in Australia) which uses positive only methods. Basically you lure your dog to do things with treats, you never pull on the leash, you never say no. No correction, AT ALL. You are supposed to reward the good, ignore the bad. But if you dog is barking at 3am ignoring doesn't work. Going in at 10pm and saying "Good dog! No barking!" when he's quiet isn't going to stop the barking at 3am. But a stern "no!" might. I do think dogs need to know when they have done something wrong (correction) but I don't think the methods have to be cruel. I believe in rewarding and being positive, but this course I am on practically begs the dogs to do what they are told and does not insist. In the course if a dog doesn't heel you stop and ignore it until it does. Mmmm. The trainer's dog is not well trained. It chooses when to obey. I just don't think 100% positive is the way to go but I'm sure you do need a positive element - encouraging a dog to come, praising for doing something good.

    I think the Dog Whisperer is good in that he encourages people to realise that dogs are dogs, and not little humans. He also has the right idea about being the dominant pack member - I am a big believer in that. But, I don't agree with all of his methods. Such as tying a dog to a treadmill to exhaust it. Or using a pinch/prong collar (to each his own - if you want to use one and you know how I'm not having a go at you. But I'm not experienced enough).

    So. The show is entertaining and people learn a bit about dog behaviour. But I think some positive talk and a "good boy!!" now and then wouldn't hurt. And I agree with those above, his training might work one on one but if someone is just seeing the short grabs on TV and using it as the basis of their own training it could be scary. You need to learn properly and have it shown to you in person, unedited!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    This questions gets asked almost once a day.

    It's TV folks. Not training. It's Entertainment.

    You can no more train your dog from watching that show than you can remodel your home from watching This Old House.

    His TV shows you in a condensed format that dogs CAN be trained and that most people who are on his show don't have a clue about their dogs. That's what it shows.

    It's like that Nanny show. There's always more to real life than what can be shown on camera.

    In all my years of rescue I don't know any dog that can be "cured" or "trained" or "fixed" of whatever problem it has in a day. EVER. It's not possible. It takes time, practice and work.

    Source(s): Owned by 5 dogs and rescue volunteer.
  • 1 decade ago

    I am not in the least bit into that show... I watched it a few times and realized pretty fast how damaging (like the Monks of New Skete stuff) it can and will be... They post a disclaimer for a reason but given human nature to try for a push button, easy (cheap) fix with everything, there was no doubt in my mind that JQP would feed into this stuff. I think it is based on a false theory on face and that as people tend to not be capable of actually training or properly interacting with dogs as a whole anyway, they will do this stuff and be all gaga over it and then it will inevitably fail... It is just the way people are... The guy is on TV -- that is all that is important to most people -- the little clips of his interactions that may show some changes don't tell the whole story and never will, otherwise he wouldn't be on TV :)

    Training dogs is no rocket science at all.. I have been doing it for longer than I care to think about :) It takes knowing a huge variety of 'techniques' and being able to read a dog and adjust the tools used to the particular dog -- again, they are not complex creatures on face but they are individual creatures and assuming a singular technique will 'fit all' just is about as silly as our public schools assuming all children will succeed in a set curriculum.. duh, as they simply get more illiterate and ignorant...

    He isn't worth liking or disliking - being friend or foe based on the TV show he is invested in... it is like assuming that WWF is honest and real! hahaha

    add: BTW, there are several excellent answers above... he feeds into the public's desires is all ... there are a zillion techniques that will 'work' and simply because someone states they have take a dog to some behaviorist or trainer doesn't mean they went to an appropriate one... so the 'last resort' thing is sensationalistic hooey... He presents a few valid points and can train a dog but has to have specific criteria that would lead to complete failure otherwise... he bases his actions on a false theory on face -- it works -- frying a dog with an ecollar constantly will work but it isn't necessarily a good training technique for the public; clickers work but again, not always an appropriate technique for all dogs/people... his basing everything on his perception of the debunked 'alpha theory' assumes that all dogs are stupid enough to think humans are canines... they are way smarter than THAT! hahaha I have trained brain damaged dogs and even they never made that mistake! :)

    scroll down and read 'The Myth of Alpha'... and while I may not totally agree with all this person says, it is closer to my thinking that after fifty years of training and dealing with dogs for me to assume they are too dumb to realize I am not a dog! hahaha

  • 1 decade ago

    Caesars techniques work, i have read his books watched his shows and many of the people in the dog club we have in ireland think that he is great. He works with dogs that humane societes and other centres would otherwise put to sleep as they are classed as dangerous. i like many other dog owners i know believe that all dogs should be respected and there is a point where you have to stop and remember that they aren't your babies and that they are a wide animal that will revert back to its ancecstory traitsand will lash out and bite.

    My dog was scared of the vacumn and the lawn mower all i did was place a leash on her and walk her by the two when they were in use would that be classed as "flooding". if so then yes i did it because i want my dog to be stable and not to attack the vacumn or the lawnmower when they are in use or the people useing them. i wanted my dog out with us in the garden (we have 1/2 acre) when we are using garden tools and for her to be stress free and enjoying the area with us.

    There are other things i have found helpful from cesar and his programmes and books, many trainers will disagree because they wont use the techniques.

    i haven't yet found a trainer that agrees with what another trainer does and besides if you watched his programmes you would see that he trains people and rehabillitates dogs not the other way round.

    but regardless of what you think of him and his techniques, i would look at what most trainers out there are doing now. do they use choke chains to control a dog, or are they using treats to get the dog to perform these "tricks". I prefere using the dogs "natural ability and want" to train them not because they are going to get a treat at the end of it.

    Source(s): experience and have read books and seen many programmes
  • 1 decade ago

    Interestingly, a recent study showed that dogs that were trained using positive reinforcement (i.e. click and treat) retained more of their training and were much more eager to learn new commands than dogs who were trained with the "scruff and roll" techniques used by Cesar. Personally, I don't agree with the methods he uses, although in a few cases they may be justified. He does make one very valid point, however, when he says, "I train people, not dogs." Often, the dog's owners have not only created the problem but have perpetuated it.

  • 1 decade ago

    I have watched his show and use some of the techniques with our dogs. With good results. Remember - he is *rehabilitating* dogs - *training* people. My dog is much more happy & balanced now than before. I believe that a good part of dog problems is how we treat them. This is what Cesar works to change.

    Source(s): I recommend learning as much as you can before making a decision for or against. Here's a group you can join to learn more: You can also learn more from his site: or his Yahoo blog:
  • 1 decade ago

    Cesar uses techniques such as exhausting the dog, desensitizing it through shock, and other mentally cruel techniques to beat the dog into mental submission.

    Some of the things he does such as being firm aren't bad. Exercising a pet is a good thing.

  • RoVale
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I wish his show would show more of his failures and also I would like to see follow up visits that are weeks, even months later.That's because I can't believe he is as successful in retraining every dog as his show implies. I'm sure he's had his share of dogs he just couldn't work with. Also, I would like to see how well the owners followed up on his techniques and if the dogs reverted to their past bad behavior long after he wasn't around to enforce them.

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