Features January 2007 Issue

Dog Training Using Positive Techniques

How we know that training with lots of positive reinforcement – and without force or physical punishment – is best.

We’ve come so far since those dark days just over a decade ago when virtually all dog training was accomplished through the use of force and compulsion. I know those days well; I was quite skilled at giving collar corrections with choke chains and attained several high-scoring obedience titles with my dogs using those methods. And as a shelter worker responsible for the euthanasia of unwanted dogs for whom we couldn’t find homes, I was convinced that a little pain in the name of training was acceptable and necessary to create well-behaved dogs who would have lifelong loving homes.

In fact, when I enrolled my Australian Kelpie pup in the now-renowned Dr. Ian Dunbar’s first-ever puppy-training classes at our shelter in Marin County, California, I was so sure that using physical corrections in training was the only way to go, that I dropped out of the class after just two sessions; I was convinced he was ruining my dog with training treats!

It was several more years before I crossed over to the positive side of dog training, thanks in large part to my wonderful dog Josie, who gently showed me the error of my ways one day by hiding under the back deck when I brought out her dog training equipment. Her quiet eloquence made me realize, finally, the damage I was doing to our relationship with tools and techniques that relied on the application of pain and intimidation to force her to comply. I threw away the choke chains and began my journey toward a more positive perspective on training.

Dog Training Techniques

Dogs who are trained without aversive or painful consequences for the “wrong” behavior, and who are appropriately reinforced for the "right" behavior, tend to become intensely and joyfully engaged in the learning process.

What Makes Positive Training Different?

Today, in many areas of the country a dog is at least as likely to be enrolled in a class with a trainer who uses positive methods as one who still employs old-fashioned choke chain or prong-collar coercion. As more dog owners and dog trainers see the light, clickers, treat bags, and positive reinforcement replace metal collars, shocks, and dominance theory. Many trainers who still fall back on compulsion tools will at least start with dog-friendlier methods, resorting to force and intimidation only when positive training seems not to work for them. Dogs and humans alike are delighted to discover a kinder, gentler method that still gets results.

Trainers, behaviorists, and dog owners are realizing that this is more than just a philosophical difference, or a conflict between an ethic that says we should be nice to animals versus a more utilitarian approach to training. While both methods can produce well-trained dogs, the end result is also significantly different. With positive training, the goal is to develop a dog who thinks and works cooperatively with his human as part of a team, rather than a dog who simply obeys commands.

Positive trainers report that dogs trained effectively with coercion are almost universally reluctant to offer behaviors and are less good at problem-solving. Fearing the “corrections” that result when they make mistakes, they seem to learn that the safest course is to do nothing unless and until they’re told to do something.

In sharp contrast, dogs who have been effectively trained with positive methods tend to be masters at offering behaviors. Give them a new training challenge and they almost immediately set about trying to solve the puzzle. In fact, one of the criticisms often voiced by trainers who don’t understand or accept the positive training paradigm is that our dogs are too busy always “throwing” behaviors instead of lying quietly at our feet like “good” dogs. This conflict in perspectives is illustrated graphically by a T-shirt belonging to one of my trainer friends, Katy Malcolm, CPDT, of Canine Character, LLC, in Arlington, Virginia.

“Behave!” proclaims the front of the shirt in bold letters. To the average disciplinarian, “Behave!” means “Sit still; don’t move!” But the back of Katy’s shirt says, “Do lots of stuff!” Positive trainers see the word “Behave!” as an action verb and encourage their dogs to offer lots of behaviors.

Another criticism of positive training is that the dogs are spoiled and out of control because, while the dogs are highly reinforced for doing good stuff, no one ever tells them what not to do. “Dogs,” the critics say, “must know there are consequences for inappropriate behaviors.”

We don’t disagree with this statement. Positive does not mean permissive. We just have different ideas about the necessary nature of the negative consequence. When one is needed, positive trainers are most likely to use “negative punishment” (taking away a good thing), rather than “positive punishment” (the application of a bad thing). As an adjunct to that, we counsel the generous use of management to prevent the dog from practicing (and getting rewarded for) undesirable behaviors.

The result? Since all living things repeat behaviors that are rewarding, and those behaviors that aren’t rewarded extinguish (go away), the combination of negative punishment and management creates a well-trained dog at least as easily as harsh or painful corrections and without the very real potential for relationship damage that is created by the use of physical punishment.

One of the most significant reasons for not using physical punishment or force with dogs is the potential for eliciting or exacerbating aggressive behaviors from them.

This was illustrated by an English Bulldog in a recent episode of the National Geographic Channel’s show, “The Dog Whisperer.” Cesar Millan, the star of the show, spent several hours intimidating the Bulldog on a hot Texas day, in an effort to get the dog to “submit,” until the dog finally inflicted a significant bite to Millan’s hand in a futile attempt at self-defense. Millan brushed the incident aside as insignificant, apparently blissfully unaware that he had provided the dog with the opportunity to successfully practice the undesirable behavior (aggression).

Even if the dog’s reaction falls short of a flesh-shredding defense, the relationship between dog and owner can be significantly damaged as the dog learns to fear or resent the angry, unpredictable responses of his human. Given our odd primate body language and behaviors, we are undoubtedly confusing enough to our canine companions, without adding what to them must seem like completely unprovoked, incomprehensible explosions of violence.

Crossing Over

Increasingly, trainers are entering the profession who learned their craft without an early foundation of coercion training. This is a good thing! However, there are enough old-fashioned trainers around that positive trainers still find themselves working with a fair number of “crossover dogs” those who are convinced that they must not dare offer a behavior for fear of punishment.

It can be frustrating to owners and trainers alike to work through the dog’s conditioned shutdown response to the training environment. Shaping exercises, especially “free-shaping” that reinforces virtually any behavior to start with, are ideal for encouraging a crossover dog to think outside the box. This serves the same purpose for crossover owners and trainers as well! (See “The Shape of Things to Come,” March 2006.)

Dog Training

Many dogs who were compulsion-trained never lose their anxiety about "doing the wrong thing" when they're unsure of what the "right" thing is.

It takes time to rebuild the trust of a dog who has learned to stay safe by waiting for explicit instructions before proceeding. It’s well worth the effort. The most rewarding and exciting part of training for me is watching the dawning awareness on a dog’s face that he controls the consequences of his behavior, and that he can elicit good stuff from his trainer by offering certain behaviors. We never, ever, experienced that in the “old days.” I used to take “sit” for granted, because if the dog didn’t sit when I asked, I made him do it.

Today, I never get over the thrill of that moment when the dog understands, for the first time, that he can make the clicker “Click!” (and receive a treat) simply by choosing to sit. It keeps training eternally fresh and exciting.

Not Quite Convinced?

So why, given all the available scientific and anecdotal evidence about the success of positive training, do some dog trainers and owners cling stubbornly to the old ways? Because it works for them much of the time? Resistance to change? Fear of the unknown?

It pains me that so many in the U.S. are still so far away from the positive end of the dog-training continuum. The celebrity status of Cesar Millan is evidence that dog owners and trainers are more than willing to buy into the coercion-and-intimidation approach to training, and that the use of force is an ingrained part of our culture.

Old-fashioned methods can work. Decades of well-behaved dogs and the owners who loved them can attest to that. So why should they bother to cross over to the positive side? The short answer is that positive training works, it’s fun, and it does not have the potential to cause stress and physical injury to our dogs through the application of force, pain, and intimidation. It takes the blame away from the dog and puts the responsibility for success where it belongs on human shoulders.

In the old days, if a dog didn’t respond well to coercion we claimed there was something wrong with the dog, and continued to increase the level of force until he finally submitted. If he didn’t submit he was often labeled defective and discarded for a more compliant model. With the positive paradigm, it’s our role as the supposedly more intelligent species to understand our dogs and find a way that works for them rather than forcing them into a one-size-fits-all mold.

The longer answer is that it encourages an entire cultural mindset to move away from aggression and force as a way to achieve goals. The majority of dog owners and trainers who have fun (and success) using positive methods with their dogs come to realize that it works with all creatures, including the human species. They feel better about training and find themselves less likely to get angry with their dogs, understanding that behavior is simply behavior, not some maliciously deliberate attempt on the dog’s part to challenge their authority.

People who use positive methods to affect relationships get nicer. It feels nice to be nice. Children learn to respect and understand other living beings instead of learning to be violent with them.

When training programs founder, positive trainers are more apt to seek new solutions rather than falling back on force and pain, or worse, blaming and possibly discarding the dog for not adapting to our rigid concept of training. Indeed, in the last two decades, during which time positive training has gained a huge following, we’ve made even more advances in our training creativity and our understanding of behavior, canine and otherwise, and have even more positive options, tools, and techniques.

So, why positive? It’s simply the best way to train.

Pat Miller, CPDT, is Whole Dog Journal’s Training Editor.Miller lives in Hagerstown, Maryland, siteof her Peaceable Paws training center. Sheis also the author of The Power of PositiveDog Training and Positive Perspectives:Love Your Dog, Train Your Dog.

Comments (33)

good article

Posted by: digi dog training | March 11, 2019 3:55 AM    Report this comment

Hi cinnamon again I forgot to mention in the last post they only fight when I'm home I have other roommates they say they're good as gold all day when I get home that's one it starts

Posted by: Cinnamon1964 | August 10, 2018 6:55 PM    Report this comment

Hello my name is Cinnamon I have 4 Jack Russell Chihuahuas 2 boys 2 girls recently here About a month and a 1/2 ago the 2 boys father and son started fighting I tried spraying them with water didn't break them up I tried using rolled up newspaper didn't break them up I've been bitten a few times trying to break them up now I Bought shock collars I only had it on one the daddy hes the aggressor well I push the button and push the button and it didn't break them up please I mean need some advice some help as this last time they bit me pretty badd trying to get to One of them to break the fight up

Posted by: Cinnamon1964 | August 10, 2018 6:53 PM    Report this comment

UGH, as a horse person I learned over the last 30 years that for each animal the methods of training and handling vary greatly.

Personally I like Cesar Milan, for a couple of reasons, I've watched pack behavior in dogs and herd behavior in horses. What is interesting is that in both the prey and predator families, there is order, there is discipline and there is acceptance. But before any of those, there is many times discomfort for the one animal that is still learning the rules. For the dogs that CM deals with, those people are being left with tough choices, such as get help or discard the animal. When faced with that choice what would any animal lover say?

I can see how some people that see Cesar's methods and be appalled, but then again my guess is most of those folks are 'trainers', CM doesn't claim to be a trainer, but a behaviorist, which is different. He isn't teaching the dog to sit or lay down on command, he isn't teaching them to roll over or play dead. He is teaching them that there's a new boss in town, a new alpha dog and those are the 2-legged, upright walking, animals in the house that keep providing dog food. He teaches respect, both to the human and to the animal. For if an animal doesn't respect you, they will never listen to you either. Especially when it REALLY matters, like when their prey drive has gotten the best of them and they go running off into traffic. If you have their respect, their loyalty to their PACK which is you, they will drop everything to come to the call their alpha sends out.

That kind of stuff isn't Obedience training, it isn't agility, it isn't anything like that where you would ask the animal to do something and reward for a good job. This is about the animal seeing you as their leader and as we all should know, you can't bribe someone enough to be unconditionally loyal to you, that is EARNED respect and trust, which can't be bought with treats.

So while some may really oppose CM's methods, but then again maybe they haven't had dogs that are independent thinkers and are either off hunting constantly with their noses, looking for them because they are sight hounds or trying to herd and guard everyone because their nature is to gather and protect. If they don't believe their human companions to be of strong enough ilk they will become the leader of the pack in their own mind, this is why CM's skills are needed many times because people 'over dog' themselves thinking that the breed is pretty or they liked some movie with the breed in it or they thought it was just cute. Then end up with dogs that were never suited for their lifestyle or the available time that is needed to exercise and care for the animal. The same can be said for the horse world as well.

Dogs are as individual as humans are. We already know that the cookie cutter approach doesn't work with humans, what makes anyone believe that it would work with any animal?

Posted by: Phoenixrayne | August 14, 2017 10:34 AM    Report this comment

IMO it depends on the dog and I don't believe anyone should put down others
for their training techniques. As for CM, the people on the shows seem
amazed by what he accomplishes.

Posted by: annied | August 4, 2017 5:29 PM    Report this comment

I have a 5 year old retriever who has started some bad habits jumping guests who give me a kiss when they visit and begging for food. I am in desperate need of some tips before this gets out of hand

Posted by: Parsons s | May 13, 2017 8:10 PM    Report this comment

I adore cm and without ever knowing before learned so much and have many happy outcomes as now finding easier methods too. cm has tv show that requires sensationalism just like many gentle method would not have worked on full grown great dane getting nails done lol no previous interaction

Posted by: nzepkr | March 7, 2017 4:41 PM    Report this comment

This is a great article. I have read the comments and questions with interest. I see that responses to the questions are not handled well at all here. I would like to see a better run site before I will consider subscribing.

Posted by: PitAndBassetMom | January 19, 2017 7:18 AM    Report this comment

Can anyone offer advice for a 2.5 year old blue heeler who, in all other formats is just a great dog, BUT, recall will not work when he wants to chase EVERY vehicle he sees. He even spins in circles and barks at them when he is in his crate in our vehicle and they are oncoming in traffic. We can't ever walk him off leash. He once hurt himself when he hit a moving vehicle when he got away from us, $400 vet bill. (yes, HE hit it, vs it almost running him over.) Didn't learn from that. Yet scared of shopping carts and bicycles, lol. Lots of training, in agility, super smart, well taken care of and exercised, but clearly I am missing something. Tried corrective collars, pennies in a can, treats, all sorts of distractions, but he fixates and it seems NOTHING can break it. what can we do?

Posted by: sumikal | December 29, 2016 6:47 PM    Report this comment

Hi, my dog is 11 years old and has never been trained. I wanted to know
1- is it possible to train him a little bit
2- he can get quite hyper sometimes and it slowly starts changing into anger and he wont stop barking. Is there anything we can do to stop this
3- If im sitting on the bed, he likes to aso sit on the bed so i pick him up and put him next to me... he normally falls asleep..but if anyone enters the room or tries coming close to me he starts growling and sometimes even snaps at them even if it is a family member. So is it just him being over protective or is it something else
4- he isnt friendly with other dogs at all so can we do anything to get him more used to them without either dog being harmed

He is a maltese terrior.


Posted by: Owner or snoopy | December 20, 2016 6:38 AM    Report this comment

Posted by: Nicolefouts
I have a 4 month old American Akita and we are have problems with him urinating when we come home, call him, walk towards him and put him in the car! Need help!

As far as the urinating part have you tried crate training? Also check with your vet to see if there may be a health issue.

Posted by: doge8 | November 3, 2016 12:10 PM    Report this comment

Posted by: kooblix | June 21, 2016
I'd love a little advise if I could!!! I have a 2 yr old female German shepherd, and an 8 month old male. The male, is always on the other when outside playing...grabbing her scruff, biting at her hocks, and sometimes she will squeal because he hurts her. She is extremely good natured and will not turn on him to correct this...she will come to me! He is also not good when he and I walk on leash alone on the roads if he meets another dog. His first response is to go after the other dog to try to bite it. What can I do to stop this? Is his personality in conflict with my other female to be an alpha? I've tried everything I can socially, he goes to doggy day care...seems great with the dogs there!! I take him throughout the city, into hotel, on elevators, in banks, greeting people on the street, letting them touch him...he is a little bit shy, and sometimes tries to go behind my legs. I never hit him or have been mean or harsh...I always praise good behavior, but there is something I either do not know, or I am doing something wrong. Everywhere I go, he has to be on lead, and the other shepherd is off leash and greets ALL really well....any suggestions? PLEASE!!!!

(she will come to me!)

She's coming to you I'd say for assistance. Try stepping into the "alpha" position, by using body blocking", meaning using your body to separate him from her, no hands or arms. Use this consistently. He is a pup still so his behavior is part of puppyhood. Beings your female will not correct him, I feel it is up to you to step in to that role.

(His first response is to go after the other dog to try to bite it.)

Does he know any commands?

While walking him and you happen upon another dog, immediately interrupt his out burst by stopping, turning around and going another direction. Another is to bring some treats with you hidden in your pocket, persuade him with treats to go in the direction you want to go, aka away from other dog. Only rewarding if he follows your lead. (heeling)

Hope this helps

Posted by: doge8 | November 3, 2016 12:07 PM    Report this comment

It sure would be great to see your response to many if not all of these commments

Posted by: GrandpaG | October 15, 2016 7:58 PM    Report this comment

I'd love a little advise if I could!!! I have a 2 yr old female German shepherd, and an 8 month old male. The male, is always on the other when outside playing...grabbing her scruff, biting at her hocks, and sometimes she will squeal because he hurts her. She is extremely good natured and will not turn on him to correct this...she will come to me! He is also not good when he and I walk on leash alone on the roads if he meets another dog. His first response is to go after the other dog to try to bite it. What can I do to stop this? Is his personality in conflict with my other female to be an alpha? I've tried everything I can socially, he goes to doggy day care...seems great with the dogs there!! I take him throughout the city, into hotel, on elevators, in banks, greeting people on the street, letting them touch him...he is a little bit shy, and sometimes tries to go behind my legs. I never hit him or have been mean or harsh...I always praise good behavior, but there is something I either do not know, or I am doing something wrong. Everywhere I go, he has to be on lead, and the other shepherd is off leash and greets ALL really well....any suggestions? PLEASE!!!!

Posted by: kooblix | June 21, 2016 8:24 AM    Report this comment

I have a 4 month old American Akita and we are have problems with him urinating when we come home, call him, walk towards him and put him in the car! Need help!

Posted by: Nicolefouts | May 10, 2016 5:44 PM    Report this comment

Dogs being Pack Animals always follow the Leader or try to be the Leader.

Trashing well known Trainers and methods to promote others is counter productive. Positive reinforcement from a leadership level, exercise and rewarding treats work to modify behaviors . I'm not a well known anything except a professional Pet Care Provider and Dog Walker. I am at the end of a leash all day long ever aware of the triggers and redirects required to minimize unwanted encounters and upsets. Understanding there may be issues with many rescued Dogs, calm, assertive, and positive reinforcement helps them 'in-pack' that fearful baggage and become good citizens and pack pals. Be consistent and positive 🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾

Posted by: Pawtails | April 26, 2016 7:11 AM    Report this comment

I need advise and tips to train my adult dogs

Posted by: AMOURDOGS | March 17, 2016 1:14 AM    Report this comment

Hi I need some advice I have 2 female dogs one a staff and the other boxer staff . They lived together for nearly 2 years and now they try and kill each other what do I do !! I have a young child and 2 small dogs as well

Posted by: Toridori | December 20, 2015 4:44 PM    Report this comment

I am a balanced trainer with over 9 years experience working with rescue shelter dogs. Balanced means I use positive training techniques combined with NEGATIVE punishment (taking away something the dog liked such as my attention).

I would like to address some issues that Ceaser Milan and many other trainers foster. Recent more refined DNA research shows that dog DNA is very different than Wolf DNA and is more closely like fox DNA. The whole dominance/submissive theory has had significant holes in it as well.

In her book "Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out" Laura VanArendonk CPDT-KA KPACTP discusses dogs mental as problem solving/thinking and reactive/aggressive the latter being more and not responsive to known training or the acquisition of training. This is backed up by more current behavioral science research.

This book also addresses that unless you deal with what the dog is actually FEELING, no amount of training is going to work.

Milan's confrontational training methods work for him because he has years of experience handling dogs and most importantly knowledge of dog body language. Some of his methods are just too dangerous for the average dog owner to use.

Ceaser Milan's popularity is in part because his shows are good TV showing conflict, the danger of being bitten and action.

Most dog owners would be better served reading the Ahimsa Dog Training ManualManual by Grisha Stewart. Stewart is one of the major proponents of force free training. No she doesn't have a TV show or media empire. Grisha Stewart does have her own channel on You Tube and many clear to understand videos.

Posted by: BrianK | December 3, 2015 11:02 AM    Report this comment

What a well written article! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and will be sharing it with others. I also did not feel that this article was attacking Cesar Milan, rather it illustrated that there is a difference in methodology and it was clearly explained why people who come from the positive/learning theory side of the equation disagree with his methods. Pat Miller- you have written many a great book and though you don't have a T.V. show, I don't think that makes you any less of an authority on the subject. Keep doing what you are doing.

Posted by: PatK | September 25, 2015 8:59 PM    Report this comment

I read the article and enjoyed it. It's some of the comments below it that I found disturbing.

Posted by: TOHO | September 12, 2015 7:24 PM    Report this comment

Well I'm a little late coming on here and I am a dog & cat behaviorist(dog trainer too but got bored with training & really like studying behavior) I do rehabilitate dogs. I also use to raise/train/show/handle/train Schutzhund to my Top 100% West German Bloodline Show/Working German Shepherds from Germany for 14yrs before a back injury(hoping to be back next year 2015) and I know who Pat Miller is, don't know her personally, just know who she is and her books. I also know Cesar Millan.
And you people who put him down should be ashamed of yourselves. I believe in both methods, or should I say all methods necessary to each individual dog. Yes, positive method training does get extremely good results, most times takes longer but you don't get any fear from the animal or worse, aggression.

But none of you realize that when you are rehabilitating dogs, most of them are really bad "but" most of that behavior comes from the "human owner" Yes, exercise, discipline & affection "does" work. If people would realize that they need to actually do "structured" play time every single day (well unless its raining or snowing badly), & they must take a "structured" walk every single day, you wouldn't have all these bad behaviors. Especially with small breeds which people tend to "baby like a human child" these are still dogs, they are just small dogs.
And nobody states that you are incorrect when she says these dogs using compulsion are discarded. Believe it or not, really bad aggressive or fearful dogs, are euthanized or told by their stupid vets to be euthanized instead of bringing to animal behaviorist and Cesar has rehabilitated "Many" dogs that would had been euthanized. Nobody talks about that, not even Pat Miller. So you would have to actually show me that "positive training" works on aggressive dogs.....How are you suppose to redirect with food, or clicker or toys, when a dog is going after another dog....and you are "incorrect" about them agitating the dogs on Dog Whisperer before the show. If they were, you would see much worse behaviors or dogs that are totally just shut down.

Stop the bashing! All different kinds of training is necessary & yes, you do need to be the Pack Leader. I have worked with dogs all my life, also had a pack of 12 GSD's and if you aren't the leader, there will be one or more trying to climb to the top of the pack and that will lead to fights. I've observed it myself many times.
And Victoria Stillwell, please :)

Posted by: k9concepts | December 30, 2014 11:07 AM    Report this comment


Posted by: Crusty lover | March 31, 2014 7:53 AM    Report this comment


Posted by: Crusty lover | March 31, 2014 7:46 AM    Report this comment

I have a question ..... my golden retriever is 14 weeks-old i trained her to do most of the tricks but i couldn't get her to walk in the street as she's very scared and refuses to walk so do you have any solution asap ?

Posted by: Bobb | March 16, 2014 2:00 PM    Report this comment

Of course many people know who Cesar Millan is, but this is beacause he has a TV show. That doesn´t mean he is doing things right! Some statements of his theory are interesting, but not his techniques. I don´t like that he is obssesed with the pack lider thing. "You have to submit you r dog and be the lider". This is trash. EVERY problem is a lack of leadership...the dog is much more complex than that.

Posted by: DIEHAA | October 9, 2013 2:36 PM    Report this comment

Excuse me, Ms. Pat Miller,
I know who Cesar Milan is, but WHO are you??? I have watched many of you lessor known trainers try to elevate yourselves by tearing Cesar down! As my Grandfather used to say"I don't care how much you brag on "yours", just don't attack, and talk bad about "mine".
IF your methods are so great you should have a secure following w/o criticizing others.
I and my daughter have been breeders for 16 yr. One of our two breeds is a guardian dog. We use a combination of reward and discipline. But the discipline is never "punitive" as you are indicating it must be "either /or". Pack order discipline in excellent when done correctly, and since the DNA of all dogs is 86% the same as wolves...it WORKS...even on toy breeds...and quite the opposite is true, in my experience....the dogs which are totally "rewarded, and never given any boundaries often become neurotic b/c they are designed to have BOUNDARIES, and Order given to them from some alpha figure....So go ahead a write your books, and articles...but don't presume that b/c you have some success that your way is absolutely the best and only way. My dogs adore me, are NOT afraid of me, and look forward to the training time we spend together.

Posted by: knowsbolos | September 12, 2013 4:12 PM    Report this comment

> . . . In defense of Mr Milan, his credo of.....exercise....discipline and affection works . . .>

Hmmm. There is no reason to disense with 'discipline', exercise or affection because you use 'positive training'. (That is if you define 'discipline' as behaving politely, rather than corporal punshment.)

Sure, not EVERYTHING that CM advocates is bad or even wrong. However far too much of what he advocates and and demonstrtes on his TV program is downright dangereous. Not to mention cruel to the dog and counter-productive.

And sure there are bad/poor trainers out there using 'positive methods' that might not be ideal or even wotk. But I know of none who advocate dangerous trteatements or whose methds might result in increased aggression or neurosis in the dog, nor put the handler at risk of attack.

Posted by: Jenny H | September 12, 2013 1:02 AM    Report this comment

After years of teaching kindergarten, in retirement I have the pleasure of teaching dogs, the parallels are profound....different children and dogs respond to various teaching methods...so to completely eliminate the use of training collars is short sighted. In defense of Mr Milan, his credo of.....exercise....disciplineand affection works for me

Posted by: Rebecca L | September 9, 2013 7:24 PM    Report this comment

Just a gentle reminder - positive people uplift without putting others down. :-)

Posted by: Teresa N | September 9, 2013 4:57 PM    Report this comment

This training behavior for us humans is wonderful and as equally rewarding for us as for our "pals"!!

Posted by: Richard M | September 8, 2013 10:18 PM    Report this comment

I am thrilled that someone besides me has talked about what a lousy dog trainer Cesar Milan is. He's all force and nothing else. I saw him do something years ago when he first hit the scene that I found stupid and irresponsible. I wouldn't let him near a dog of mine and I don't see why anyone else would either. I have heard that before his filming that his assistants taunt and terrorize the dogs so that when he starts shooting that the dogs are terribly aggitated. Cesar should buy the "Dog Town" or Victoria Stillwell episodes and take some lessons. Thanks for advocating positive enforcement for good behavior.

Posted by: Marcia S | September 8, 2013 6:58 AM    Report this comment

What a great article! I wish every dog owner had this viewpoint.

Posted by: Hatfield | September 7, 2013 1:35 PM    Report this comment

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