APBC Highlights Concerns Over Cesar Millan's UK Tour

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The recently announced UK tour by Cesar Millan brings with it controversy and confusion for concerned pet owners and pet behaviour professionals.

The APBC believes that there is much to thank Cesar for – his programmes have made owners aware that the two alternatives for a badly behaved pet are not just “put up with” or “put to sleep”.

It is Cesar’s dog training methods that divide people and here an understanding of science can separate the wheat from the chaff. Whilst thirty years ago some of Cesar’s methods were considered the best science available, dog training has progressed greatly since then.

Today “dominance” and pack theory have been superseded with family orientated constructs of the ways that dogs relate to us and each other. Even the wolf behaviourists who first suggested the “dominance theory” (from whom the dog trainers took it) have since said it was always a false premise.

However, it would be wrong to suggest that all Cesar does is based on fallacy. Consistency, firm boundaries and increased exercise will help many pet dogs, and we know that punishment can work on some dogs for some people in some circumstances. The art is in knowing where it will and where it won’t. It was through developing techniques for the occasions where it won’t work, that alternatives that will work on all dogs for all people in all circumstances are now widely accepted as the best ways to train and rehabilitate dogs.

Punitive ‘alpha rolls’, lead jerks, jabs and other harsh corrections can subdue a dog – if you are fit, quick, agile, strong, and consistent in applying them. But most pet owners are not. Neither do pet owners relish going head to head with an aggressive dog. Get it wrong and the dog can become more aggressive. Why does Cesar need to state, “Don’t try this at home”? It is because some dogs may react aggressively if they feel threatened or fearful, and when a dog becomes confused and anxious about their interactions with people it can make them more likely to be aggressive in general.

Every professional working with dogs needs to constantly review their methods, and most will use a combination of techniques gleaned from various sources as improved welfare-friendly ones become better known.

APBC members regularly work with dogs that show extreme aggression, helping owners to change their dogs’ behaviour with methods that can be used at home.

If anyone, including Mr Millan, would like to see these techniques in action, we would be more than happy to demonstrate them.

For anyone who would like to learn more about aggression in dogs, the APBC will be holding their 21st Anniversary seminar entitled “Aggression – it’s an emotional thing” on 6th March 2010 at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire – see www.apbc.org.uk/events for details.


For further details please contact:

Pippa Hutchison (APBC public relations) 01436 840194  positiveimprint [at] aol [dot] com

David Ryan (APBC Chairman) 07734 446158.