Last month I had the opportunity to attend the Cesar Millan 2012 Family Pack Walk in DC, through a friendâ€™s friend I was asked to help take some casual environmental photos of the event. I was torn on whether to bring Mac along or not, but ultimate
ly decided that it would be best to leave him home so I could concentrate on task. (sorry buddy!)
The event was much bigger than expected, especially compared to previous yearâ€™s photos and videos, but thankfully it was also very organized. Every family that went had at least one dog with them and most of them were well behaved. My guess is that it takes a person that truly care about dogs to come out to an event like this, and those people probably spend more time training their dog as well so it makes sense. As I went around snapping photos I got to chat with different people, it was a very nice and relaxing morning and I definitely regret not bringing Mac out.
The highlight for me was meeting the Dog Whipserer Cesar Millan in person. He was shorter than I had imagined but he definitely had an aura around him. A lot of celebrities look different off camera but besides the height, he seemed every bit as charismatic and confident in person - when he smiled I swear his teeth sparkled. From talking to some volunteers that attended training sessions at his dog psychology center in CA, I am happy to hear that he is every bit as down to earth and friendly behind the camera. At any rate, I managed to shake his hand as he was coming off stage, definitely made my day.
* Cesar Millan has always been controversial in his training method but this is not what this blog entry or Family Pack Walk is about. Regardless of training believes, I think we can all agree that raising fund for animals in need and raising awareness is a cause we can all stand behind.
Cesar's Way recently published an article on what your dog breed says about you, and of cours
e, they left out the Shiba Inu.
How dare they!
So lets try to put our head together and come up with a typical Shiba owner profile, shall we? Here's my attempt:
Shibas are independent, stubborn, and trust and respect has to be earned. People who own Shibas tend to be opinionated and have strong wills. They are also clean and organized people who enjoy exercise - but not to the point of sweat. Shiba owners could get a little bit snobby, being guilty of just a little bit too proud of their dignified little dogs. 😉
What's your take on the typical Shiba owner?
...LOL!!! I apologize, I am rarely this rude, but seriously this guy... I will just let all the YouTube comments speak for themselves. I really should not help promote this guy's video but this is a gem.
I am for Positive Reinforcement and I also really try to understand what my dog is telling me instead of just over-ruling him and force him to do things without considering the reason. But at the same time, I believe that letting my dog know I am in control of the situation is very important. I think depending on the situation, more aversive reinforcement is reasonable. It is just that there is such a stigma associated with anything negative that people immediately shun it, probably fearing judgement from peers; so as a by-product of this movement, we now have people like Zak that hops on the Anti-Cesar bandwagon to boost his own fame (listen to what he said in the beginning of the video... yeah right, he clearly knew it would generate controversy and that was exactly what he wanted). Sad.
I apologize if you are a Zak George fan, or Zak George himself.
If there is one controversial thing in the dog world, it would be Cesar Millan and his method of training. If you are reading my blog, I assume most of you are already familiar with The Dog Whisper and his works. The reason I bring him up is because a recent thread on Shibainuforum.org re-surfaced and I started reading through it. Which got me thinking and did some more research online.
While I personally prefer the Positive Reinforcement method and have doubt about the whole alpha rolling and domination mentality, I do believe there are merits in some of Cesar's advice - especially staying calm & assertive and properly exercising your dog. I am not sure if I buy the whole energy thing, maybe it is the choice of word - as soon as I hear "energy" I think hippie marketing catch-phrase.
Up until this point all the pro-Cesar arguments I read online had been made by people who were terrible at getting their points across - until today. I read a great exchange between a pro-Cesar member and another dog trainer: http://www.dogspelledforward.com/cesar-millan-review-bella/
The blog entry was written nicely, but the gem is the discussion that happened in the comments, especially when user "calmassertive" came in.
I do not agree with everything either party said and I have my own point of view, but it is good to see a pro-Cesar member actually making some great points. The exchange really helped me take a better look at how realistic each approach is and helped draw my own conclusion.
His method may be controversial but I am a fan of Cesar Millan - he has a caring heart and he is an extremely effective communicator. This particular Dog Whisperer episode is special to me because he helped a fearful dog adopted from Taiwan.
An interesting aspect of the Asian culture is that black dogs are consider bad luck and black dogs with white feet are especially associated with death. As a result, a lot of black dogs remained unadopted. Unfortunately the same discrimination is said to happen here in the United States as well - black dogs are simply not as desirable from the shelter. This episode gave a few possible explanations for the phenomena and it could very well be a combination of reasons. Definitely worth a watch!