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Hello all,
I have been reading "Cesar's Way" by Cesar Millan. This is my first time raising a puppy and so I wanted to make sure I followed a guideline that works well. I was wondering if anyone has read the book and your thoughts. Even if you have not read it but do know Millan's methods, I was wondering if you guys agree with it. I agree that dominance is needed, but as far as I am reading, it seems as though you can't really enjoy your dog. Please contribute your thoughts on Millan's methods and if it worked for you and your Vizsla. IF not, what techniques worked with your Vizsla to make you AND your Vizsla happy together. Thank you!
 

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I haven’t read his books, only seen the TV series but based on that I think this book is much better: The Everything Dog Training and Tricks Book by Gerilyn J. Bielakiewicz. Don’t be put off by the title, it’s not simply about cute tricks but covers everything from when you bring a puppy home. Unfortunately for Merc, I only read it when he was 2.

I agree with you, some of Csear’s ideas make sense but he seems to use a lot of physical dominance methods, which I don’t think are a great idea. I’d rather my dog work with me than for me because he is scared of me. I also don’t always agree with how he interprets the dog’s body language but seeing as I don’t actually speak dog I guess we’ll never know who is right.

The positive reinforcement way works for me because it is more fun both for the dog and for me, it’s about building a relationship between you and your dog. It still involves setting boundaries for the dog, being consistent with the rules and all those sorts of things. The only difference is that you use only negative punishments (taking away the good things) not positive punishments (doing something he doesn’t like).
 

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I've watched the TV series and read the books and seen him at a seminar in the UK.

Personally I don't have a problem with him but I do think people can not fully understand the methods he is using and go about the wrong way which can be dangerous.

We've raised our puppy using some of the Cesar methods and I think it has been a lifesaver BUT I have never had to use any dominance techniques i.e pinning. I think it's unnecessary. We've practiced just being calm and taking our time with things, being consistent and trying to think about how the doggy world works. Sure, this is simple dog training which is used everywhere but Cesar Milan's TV programmes and books allowed me to have direct access to this and plenty of time and resources to try and understand it. I've never had to restrain/pin down or 'touch' our v the way he does.

I always find myself re-watching episodes just to remind me of some bits I have forgotten and can put back into practice :)

I think in the wrong hands the Cesar methods can have bad consequences but combined with help from our obedience/gundog trainer it has really helped in bringing up our puppy. (at 11 months we still have a lot to learn!)
 

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I like watching the "Dog Whisperer" but don't usually learn things that I can actually apply. If there is even the slightest hint of reprimand in my training techniques, Willie shuts down. By that I mean he sits down and hangs his head low and won't move. Training session over. So anything I do for training must be very upbeat and positive.
 

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I think he has effective methods for some things but I don't agree with his physical dominance either. Vs don't take well to that. We watch "It's Me or the Dog" and I find her methods alot more useful.
 

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So here's my problem with Cesar's methods. There's no uniformity to them. A lot of it seems to depend on how you make the dog 'feel'. I understand the philosophy, but it doesn't translate well to everyday training. I don't find it practical.

We've raised our dog as per Victoria Stilwell's (Animal Planet, Its me or the Dog) training techniques and they've worked like a charm. I can confidently say that we (our V and us) have developed a very strong communication bond primarily because we used her training techniques.
 

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I really like cesar milan and think his programme his great, although I do think he has a special way with dogs and it is hard for other people to use the same methods and have the same effect.
I think alot can be learnt from watching his programme - I always pick up tips and bits of info from them. I read 'How to train the perfect dog - through puppyhood and beyond' by Cesar Milan and this really helped me, especially with crate training.
I think what watching Cesar Milan taught me most is to have the confidence with dog training and my pup - the dog needs to know that you are confident in what you are doing.
 

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I agree with BamBam. I think Cesar has a lot to offer. Victoria Stilwell does too. I have yet to find one trainer or book that works for me 100% of the time. Personally, I have found Joan Bailey's How to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves very helpful. Victoria is a natural fit for many on this forum, if I may generalize, because V owners tend to recognize the soft nature of the breed; however, if I have an aggressive Rottweiler, I'd be inclined to call Cesar ;) I think it's just as important to feel comfortable with the methods you are using and the reasons behind it. I treat all the trainers like a buffet. Take what you want and leave what you don't. I came across a very old article on training hunting dogs, and it was chalk full of abusive, repugnant techniques; however, there was one paragraph re: recall that I found helpful.

BTW, My mom gave my daughter Cesar's Rules when we got Pumpkin. The book features other trainers, their techniques, & the philosophy's behind them.
 

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Yes his methods work. Why? Because he understands how a dog thinks. Don't forget, most of his work is with dogs that are extreme personalities or; have had very unusual experiences that have tainted their view of the world. He is like a really good physiotherapist for psychotic patients. So what he does may not be correlated to your raising a pup, especially a V.
 

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I read Cesar's book and still enjoy his show. I also watch Victoria Stilwell. Other readings I recommend are Puppies for Dummies and any of the books from the Monks at New Skete.

I have found useful points in each of the techniques above. For instance, I love Cesar’s ‘tsst’ noise to interrupt Savannah’s whining; Victoria’s ‘aah’ sounds too much like a bark for my very vocal vizsla. I also found things that don’t work well for us. Pinning does not work for us, but neither does only positive reinforcement.

My recommendation is to read multiple books, watch multiple TV shows and internet videos, and talk to multiple dog owners. Keep what you like, forget what doesn’t work. It may take more time on your part to sort through the techniques, but it was worth it for us.
 

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I'm a big fan of Cesar.
I am so amazed at how well he can read a dogs body language and know exactly how to approach any given case to earn a dogs trust so quickly.
And it always touches my heart when he uses dogs to pull another dog out of a rut.

It's pretty rare to come across a "red zone" vizsla, so watching him rehabilitate an aggressive dog may not apply directly, but I feel that his methods have helped us because it usually only takes one correction for an unwanted behaviour to disappear.
 

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I have read three of his books and enjoyed his shows very much. Unfortunately, I thought I would be really well prepared after all the reading, but turns out I was in for more than I thought when I got m crazy but cute V! Haha. His techniques such as walking, feeding and being your dogs leader are very effective. I really struggle with "claiming my space" like cesar is able to do though. I think he has a great gift, but like others on this have said i can only use some of his methods effectively. He does have gret tips though!

My FAVORITE dog training book though is called The Other End of The Leash by Patricia Mcconnel. It is VERY informative on how to approach other dogs and how to read a dogs body language/understand/interact with your dogs. I recommend it to anyone interested in a good read.
 

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Also, he doees hve 2 vizsla episodes! One in season 2 or 3 about a V who is terrified of living in the city ( he was relocated) and in season 1 an aggressive V! Check them out :p
 

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I think Milan is a virtuoso trainer in terms of his innate good timing; he is a natural. I also think he is willing to tackle problems that many trainers won't touch. That being said, I think his methods are appalling and ham-fisted, though he has modified them greatly in response to a steady stream of criticism from the dog training community. One specific thing that is blatant is his narration( the dog is calm-submissive now) v the dog's actual body language( it is giving calming signals, cowering, tail tucked and frightened not calm). People would do better to work with a CPDT-KA local trainer or a good obedience club in their areas imo.
 

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Ljilly28 said:
I think Milan is a virtuoso trainer in terms of his innate good timing; he is a natural. I also think he is willing to tackle problems that many trainers won't touch. That being said, I think his methods are appalling and ham-fisted, though he has modified them greatly in response to a steady stream of criticism from the dog training community. One specific thing that is blatant is his narration( the dog is calm-submissive now) v the dog's actual body language( it is giving calming signals, cowering, tail tucked and frightened not calm). People would do better to work with a CPDT-KA local trainer or a good obedience club in their areas imo.
He doesn't do anything that another dog wouldn't do, to convey the message. Actually, he's a little less 'ham-fisted', cause he never bites a dog, even after they bite him. :p
He's more often than not, the last step for people who've hired trainers and are ready to put the dog down.

In my opinion it is much better to be rough with a dog to undo years of bad behaviour, than to put it down because nobody else can teach it.
I've never seen him do anything that I thought was cruel at all.
 

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I thinks dogs are very clear that humans are not other dogs. Dogs give each other so very many fine-tuned signals that we do not read from them or give to them no matter how gifted we are as trainers. The OP asked for thoughts, and those are mine on the subject of aversive methods in that trainers hands. :)
 

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Most of Cesar's physical corrections appal me. His ability to pick up on "cues" is great but I often don't agree with his wild pack interpretation. He completely lost my respect on an episode involving tracheal obstruction (hanging) and trying to convince the owners that he was earning a dogs respect. I believe the fear factor techniques may become a fickle ticking time bomb.

After all, these are domesticated animals and while some are certainly more tame than others, our dogs are distinctly different from their primitive roots. I am by no means one to "humanize" my pets but I rate Dr. Ian Dunbar and Sophia Yin far more accurate and reliable in behaviour direction than any of these "popular" TV stars!

Favorite resource: http://drsophiayin.com/
 

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Farmology said:
Most of Cesar's physical corrections appal me. His ability to pick up on "cues" is great but I often don't agree with his wild pack interpretation. He completely lost my respect on an episode involving tracheal obstruction (hanging) and trying to convince the owners that he was earning a dogs respect. I believe the fear factor techniques may become a fickle ticking time bomb.

After all, these are domesticated animals and while some are certainly more tame than others, our dogs are distinctly different from their primitive roots. I am by no means one to "humanize" my pets but I rate Dr. Ian Dunbar and Sophia Yin far more accurate and reliable in behaviour direction than any of these "popular" TV stars!

Favorite resource: http://drsophiayin.com/
I agree with this completely. Well said.
 

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kellygh said:
Cesar gives Kuddos & an "interview" with Ian Dunbar in his book Cesar's Rules
Yes and Dr. Dunbar's participation was carefully considered due to the controversial methods Cesar uses (Dogstar Daily podcast discussion). Don't be fooled, this interview (and kuddos) was orchestrated to soften the public opinion.
 
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