Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Orange County, CA
Caesar Milan isn't a dog trainer, he is a rehabilitation. He doesn't work with dogs who just need basic obedience, and he's not a trainer. He uses the methods that work the best for individual dogs. I've seen him use food for fearful dogs to use as a tool to reward behaviors that are good. He uses body language to communicate to a dog that he is alpha. He does not get angry or frustrated with a dog, and he does not alpha roll every dog he comes across. The only ones he does that on are extremely dominate cases. I have only seen him do it a couple of times. His touches are another way to correct a dog, similar to a collar correction, that are intended to break the dog's focus and redirect it into a calmer, submissive state of mind. He uses body blocking to communicate that he is the alpha of the space, he owns it, and the dog must submit to his will while in that space. He uses verbal corrections to correct minor offenses and builds to a physical touch when the dog continues the unwanted behavior.
Everything listed above, save for the alpha roll, is okay to do, correct? Many people give collar and verbal corrections to their dog. Many people do (or should) use body blocking in order to prevent a dog from charging the door/crate/food/whatever else. These are things you do to assert yourself as alpha. If you think that you don't need to be your dog's alpha, then your dogs probably do not listen to you very much.
Now, I'm not saying that you have to be the alpha that is uber controlling and doesn't let the dog do anything and is constantly dominating the dog/being over powering/unfairly correcting them constantly. That is a person who rules by fear. Once you have established yourself as alpha, it is important that you are a good alpha. An alpha that rules with love and respect. You and your dog are in a partnership, but you are the leader and your dog is the follower. They must understand that they are under you, and that you are the one who decides what they can and cannot do. It's the same way parents must be dominant over their kids: it's important to set rules and boundaries otherwise they run rampant and develop behavioral issues. You must be calm and in control at all times. I feel that people who try Caesar's techniques and say they don't work are probably doing them wrong. There's a reason why there's a disclaimer on each episode before it airs. :3
Anyways, that kind of turned into a ramble. This is what I do to train my animals:
1: When building a foundation for behaviors I always use positive reinforcement for good behaviors, and I correct bad behaviors IF I catch them in the act of doing it. It is impossible to give a proper correction if they're not in the process of doing the bad thing. A second too late and you are punishing them for no reason and they do not understand why. Positive reinforcement should be very, very exuberant: lots of praise along with treats, and I'm always very excited. As soon as I stop being excited about it, the dog stops performing as well. Corrections are simple and not drawn out: a simple NO or OFF or CHH, maybe a collar correction depending on what's being done. Possible redirection to wanted behavior used depending on what's happening.
And of course the most important thing with any training: Patience, persistence, and consistency are the most important things! Know what you're doing before you try it with your dog, and don't switch things up all the time! It is also important to know your dog and to be flexible enough to realize that a training method that worked with your old dog might not work with your new dog. :3