Why we need to challenge what our trainers tell us.

There has been enough coverage of the incident featured on Cesar 911 recently where Simon the French Bulldog cross, who had previously killed pigs, was allowed to be in an enclosed area off lead with a restrained pig. Some great trainers have successfully used social media to highlight the issue and it has been rightfully reported to law enforcment in the US.
What I’d like to comment on is how we can blindly follow some trainers due to the cult of personality. I have learned from many great trainers over the years. What’s great about them is that they actively encourage us to think and to challenge their ideas. That is what scientific progress is about. Trainers whose methods were very progressive 25 years ago because they didn’t use choke chains are now seen as very dated because they use psychological intimidation instead. Techniques which cause frustration are (or should be) seen as unnecessary and counter-productive. I don’t agree with everything all of them have taught me, and if I was to ask them, they’d be delighted at that as it shows I’m challenging them and thinking for myself.
Here’s the “however”. I saw a social media post from a “pack leader” trainer defending Cesar’s actions. Any reasonable person looking at the Simon and the pig scenario objectively would see that letting a pig killing dog off lead in the same area as a restrained pig is not a good idea. If you were t ask a 7 year old they could tell you that. But we have blind faith from some trainers who can’t see anything wrong with what happened. This is wrong in itself. As trainers, and owners, interested in the welfare of our dogs, we should question everything all the time. Only by doing that will we continue to learn and improve our dogs’ lives.

6 thoughts on “Why we need to challenge what our trainers tell us.

  1. Blind transference. Scary stuff – see Milgram and also the recent work neurobiologist David Eagleman has done on the neurobiology of group thinking. The followers of Cesar are a bit like a cult of irrational followers. Rational followers would at least question the methodology yes?

  2. As a person who has trained dogs professionally for over 40 years, and seems to be in a steady state of metamorphosis, I couldn’t agree with you more. As horrible as this was, striving to come away with a lesson learned is the way to answer the fallout. Cheers.

  3. Well said John, we need to have the ability to discuss with other trainers objectively and inform owners that there is another way that does not use fear and intimidation.

  4. This is very well thought out and you make some very good points. As with anything on T.V. Cesar does what entertains, not what works. He often leaves his viewer believing that the quickest fix is the fix that works, but with dogs this is never true. With dogs things that quickly fix often end up causing damage or putting you or your dog or in this case a pig in danger.

  5. Well- Cesar Milan is like Donald Trump; a great salesman; great at selling BS.

    The fact that he made millions with a theory that was proven incorrect by the scientific community time and time again; people who actually devoted their lives, earning advanced degrees in the field- not someone who just said ‘hey; I grew up around dogs’.

    One has to wonder how many times he has been bitten off camera. I’m sure the number is quite a bit higher than he would have you believe. Spreading terrible advice so viewers at home can practice his horrible methods….

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