Wednesday, 31 July 2013

It's another Cesar review - Jinx and Ruby the JRT's

To save your eyes from the frankly outright fuckwittery that is this slightly different 'behind the scenes' episode, I provide for you, a review. Ta da.

We are introduced to Ruby and Jinx, two JRT bitches aged 8 and 11.

Their problem - oh, well they HATE each other and they fight, and when they fight, they intend to kill.

We see their owner (I missed what her name was. Honestly, I don't really care) and she's working with one of the two terriers, using food rewards though she's using them in a rather obviously luring way, which suggests shes not 'da bomb' at positive reinforcement, as these dogs are way past old enough to have had outright bribery faded out!

Cesar meets the dogs - one lives upstairs, with an 18" high unsecured barrier (it folds in the middle and doesn't appear to be secured to the hallway wall) stopping her going downstairs to where the other lives, behind a similar barrier.

This does suggest to ME that though these dogs fight when together, out of sight is very much out of mind - I have lived with bitches who hated each other and really did want to kill, such barriers would have been a joke!

Cesar first meets Jinx who lives upstairs. He immediately identifies her as being submissive and weak, though excited because she sniffs him. For those who know JRTs, you'll be surprised to hear that this excited behaviour involves no barking and no jumping around, just curious leg sniffing.

Now he goes downstairs and meets Ruby, who stares at him, or rather, actually, past him at the freaky camera man. You can clearly see her do this in a few shots. She isn't bouncy, she doesn't bark, but he declares HER silence as meaning she's dominant. He asks if this is the dog who has done some hunting/bird dog work, and when this is confirmed he declares her a 'true animal' and pure and a hunter is always silent (remember this point later folks!). He makes a big deal of how awesome it is to be in the presence of this pure hunter... *rolleyes*

The owner discusses that shes tried using a shock collar to stop the fighting, she apparently knows how to use one of these properly as of course, shes trained Ruby to do bird dog work and that 'as any fule kno' requires a shock collar.... but oh, it seems that after the initial zap, the shock collar made no odds at all, they still fought.

We see some footage throughout the show, of Cesar in the editing suite looking at the footage. At one point very bizarrely he shows us a still of Jinx, claiming that ONE of her eyes is hard and aggressive and the other is soft and submissive..... WHAT THE VERY FUCK?

Cringe time...

Now we see Cesar let the two dogs in together, having already seen some lengthy footage of them on leads in the house yelling at one another fairly furiously, it is a bit of a let down to see them trot about generally relaxed and ignoring each other.

Cesar tries to trigger a fight - it takes rather a lot to achieve this. The owner has them facing each other in front of her and gives them food, she drops food between them and makes them wait to take it and then has one take it whilst the other waits.

Then we hit upon using the hoover, but Jinx just sits in a corner and Ruby is anxious but goes to the food bowl and eats. Cesar does correctly identify that Ruby is using the food as a displacement activity (he calls it redirecting), and of course he stops her doing this with a tsst and a jab a couple of times.

He identifies that Jinx is worried, shes sat by the gate and if given the choice, she'd leave - but actually I think its the cameraman who again is on the floor up in her face with a huge camera that is her real problem.

They give this up for a bit then try again and this time the owner starts to squeal 'they are going to fight they are going to fight' and THAT does trigger a fight...

However it is not Ruby who starts the fight, in fact Jinx puts the 'eye' on Ruby and steps towards her, Ruby was actually walking away but the owner screeching and Jinx's offensive behaviour means Ruby flies at her and Cesar has to scrabble to stop them.

He then holds them at arms length, kneeling on the floor, with himself in the middle, so the two dogs are facing one another. THroughout this 15 minute session it is Ruby who backs down first several times and Jinx, our supposedly 'weak' dog who is starting it up again.

At one point, Ruby eventually bites his hand a bit, he tells her off for it and claims shes the hunter because

He tries to let go at one point saying he should reward Ruby for backing down as she is clearly submissive now and the second he does, she flies for Jinx again.

We are seeing Cesars concept that one dog MUST be the dominant one and one MUST be the weak or submissive one, fall apart here, because in my opinion, NEITHER of these dogs is particularly confident nor 'dominant' - they are both pretty much riddled with anxiety and fear, and just don't really want anything to do with the other.

Eventually when Cesars feet go numb he separates them, carrying Ruby away and leaving Jinx with a member of the crew, then he comes back and lets Jinx go, but immediately she tries to get in her bed, he claims shes STILL not submissive and he stops her getting in the bed, stares her down, until she rolls and she crawls to him...

But apparently she is STILL not submissive, shes lying to him, shes faking it because her front legs are bent and stiff.

Hold up a minute - this dog was the one Cesar claimed was weak and submissive!

He prods her legs around a bit trying to make her relax, this doesn't actually work and then we cut to a scene where the owner is bringing both dogs to Cesar's centre.

They are let out off lead together and enter his compound and immediately meet some of his pack - they are pretty much ignoring one another and the other dogs and just exploring their environment, again, I strongly believe these dogs REALLY want nothing to do with one another and are only fighting when its triggered by something else.

Some of Cesars dogs are pretty rude, crowding, head over back etc, but there is no reaction until at some point the two girls end up in the same spot. We don't see why but its under a small table type thing and almost immediately they are clamped on to one another. Cesar picks them up together as they won't let go of each other and even when he prizes one off she re-grips onto the other bitches leg. Id be surprised if there weren't some fairly severe bite wounds.

Throughout this 'meet the pack' scene, Cesar waffles on - he starts asserting that JINX is the dominant one and that Ruby is the submissive one and then theres a voice over where Cesar explains that their roles have changed.

Here I suspect he made a mistake, and corrected it with the voice over edited in later - he is correct that dogs change roles when you change the environment, the context etc but at no point does he SAY this, he makes it sound like they have suddenly flipped roles permanently!

Then the show ends with some more footage in the editing suite, where Cesar explains that of course they only had 2 days with his pack, and he is absolutely positive he could have solved the problem but unfortunately the rehab has been postponed.... indefinitely. (So... cancelled then. Yeah? Postponed is temporary... indefinitely is forever)... due to Ruby having some serious health problem.

This episode was, frankly, fucking dreadful. Cesar reveals in the first five minutes of the show that he is guessing at much of what goes on. Good behaviourists take details BEFORE they show up, but Cesar clearly hasn't, because he has NO idea that these are both bitches, a fairly crucial point in my opinion!

It is quite possible that Ruby ALWAYS had a health problem, if this information is in fact true - a good behaviourist would insist that all dogs involved had a thorough vet check to rule out any underlying condition - again, it is possible Ruby always had this and no vet check was done.  If she did have a serious issue, this could have been enough to upset the other bitch (who was very clearly anxious!)

I actually think that the owner put the kybosh on this episode after her dogs injured one another at Cesars centre. I know I would be mighty pissed off if a behaviourists actions ended with my dogs being injured (of course I wouldn't send my dogs to a prat like Cesar though!).

I think THIS is why he chose to make this episode a sort of 'behind the scenes' one, filling in a lot of gaps created by the fact that he COULD not resolve the problem and that the owner threw in the towel.

What Cesar never ever picked up on was that simply, these two dogs are anxious, caused by a fight that kicked off with a third bitch, Lucky, who was subsequently rehomed. They had also spent HUGE (years) amounts of time separated, reintroduced only to fight, being shocked with shock collars - all things that would increase their anxiety and antipathy toward one another.

They just did not want to live together and part of being a GOOD behaviourist, is actually recognising the animals needs, not forcing them to do something for the owners benefit.

Of course the other thing GOOD behaviourists hold forefront in their minds is the ethos 'DO NO HARM'... but Cesar has never concerned himself with THAT one!


Anonymous said...

keep sayin shit about "good behaviorists" but never cite any studies. why don't you give us some empirical evidence for your bullfuckery instead of forcing us to take your word for it. I mean, if I had to make a choice between someone with years of experience with dogs, and you, both with zero evidence for their claims, I'd go with the dog whisperer.

Anonymous said...

I am no animal trainer or professionnal, though i had animals before and i've watch a lot of videos, both from professional and from random people filming they're animals for anyone to see, and i've been analyzing all this.

Frankly... you do not seem to be any professionnal either. Just a random amateur like me. And you can't seem to hold an argument at all...

"he did that... it's bu**sh** because i say so" is what your whole text is about. You're only discrediting, not explaining, not saying why he's wrong. only saying on your own "he's doing whatever". As the comment before me, you have nothing to backup your words. Your text is a letdown.

well... back on the show... Of course he did not have material... the two dogs bit eachother, pretty much to injure/kill... Of course they need to be healed and that takes time. Of course he can't keep on filming... but he decided it was still worth to show for the amount of body language to admire.

Now learn a few thing. You can be submissive, but agressive. Many scared animals with fight anything they see for fear of being the one hurt. Kind of like most human bullies. Now being dominant and confident, you wont just sit there and be "oh, you hit me and i like it". You can be dominant, yet saying "hey look, i'm not looking for a fight"... Dominant does not mean agressive.

Tense does not mean dominant, nor submissive, not anything else than tense and anxious. While being in that state, things scare you. Without trust in people, being anxious and stressed, lacking confidence in yourself, you wont be submissive while on that mindset. out of that mindset, you could be outgoing cool submissive dominated dog. wich jinx is.

anyways... do the math on your own.

Anonymous said...

This article seems a lot more like trolling than a critique. I think the author approaches episodes of this show on a mission to tear apart each and every minute, and treats any actions of Caesar deemed as appropriate as either one offs, or as purely accidental. I also think the author has purposefully misrepresented things that happen in the episodes. I think these misrepresentations have even been disguised as the author's honest misunderstandings of the subject matter. That is, it would fit the negative narrative more appropriately if X happened, so the author pretends to have understood Y as X in order to add another negative point. Of course I could never prove that, and it's just how I interpret the writing. The author has an indestructible defence on that one. In any case, it's either purposeful misrepresentation, or the author's inability to grasp what actually took place on the screen; neither case appeals to me as a sign of a solid source of information.
I don't know enough about dog behaviourism to know if Caesar is somebody to be taken seriously or not. I suspect it's similar to any reality TV show: far from reality. Trying to figure that out for sure led me to this article, which was of little help considering the level of bias. Oh well, back to google.
...NOW who's trolling???

Anonymous said...

This article seems to be very biased. Seems that your focus is strictly on proving that cesar millan methods are false rather then actually focusing on the actual situation with the dogs. Seeing that Cesar millans knowledge and experience with correcting bad behaviors in dogs and rehabilitation dogs it is only fair that he approaches this situation with jinx and ruby with the same approach that works with the countless amount of dogs he has corrected bad bahaviors in dogs. Until you can have your own tv show with many testimonials of dog owners praising your methods i suggest you keep your unprofessional articles to yourself if your going to disrespect someone with years of training and experience like Cesar Millan.

Anonymous said...

I just watched the episode concerning jinx and ruby. Somehow certain things you wrote that happened, did NOT in fact happen. If you are going to make comments about someone or something, you really need to put the true facts down when u rant and rave. Not some exaggerated story. You said when ruby bit ceasar...."he told her off a bit". When in fact he did no such thing. He let it go and stayed in the same calm state. You also say he separates them for a bit when he takes his shoes off, which in fact, he has a helper hold jinx while he holds ruby and takes his shoes off in the same place they were to begin with. He never left and returned. And who are you to say that either dog became injured after the fight at ceasars. Just because the fight looked like one became injured or whatever it is you are claimg. Does not mean either dog was injured. Truth is, We don't know what really aspired after the fight. So please in the future get your facts straight before you try to write and discredited someone. Everyone has their individual ways with animals. Even non t.v. trainers have cases they cannot fix. And if u are expecting "perfect" than u are an unrealistic individual.

Ems said...

Oooh lots more lovely anonymous comments - you know you can use an identity, it gives your opinion a little more credibility when you are not hiding behind an Anon ID.

These 'reviews' are MY opinion - that opinion is one of a working canine behaviour consultant and trainer who has a lot of experience and education.

Honestly these reviews were not intended to change peoples minds about Cesar but to relate what happened in each episode for those who don't want to watch them. If you don't like, you know, you don't have to read!

I absolutely am biased, I don't like Cesar and what he does and I make absolutely no bones about that - read the rest of my blog, you will see in a multitude of entries that I explain why I think something is wrong, why it might have unwanted side effects and what would be the appropriate thing to do instead - just generally not in these reviews, because they are written for people who already know what they would do instead!

Oddkitty said...

I have only just watched the episode. I was interested, since I own a Jack Russell myself, though happily, he has no great behavioural issues (at least none that cause concern at any rate). I think this review would be better served if you accurately followed the sequence of events as they appeared in the episode, since you're doing a recap. You have your chronology confused in places, which is quite misleading and plainly inaccurate.

As another reviewer mentioned, having brief side notes or links to why what Cesar did in any particular instance was bad, would help with the credibility of your argument.

Reviews - or rather good reviews - shouldn't just be baseless criticism nor purely opinion. Readers respect facts, they believe a statement if it's well-thought out and are more willing to listen to arguments that are supported by information as opposed to flippant dismissals.

I can't claim as much hatred as you harbour for Cesar - I've only watched two episodes and have no basis to either like or dislke, respect or disrespect, credit or discredit his methods of dog handling.

The way he carries on about 'spirit' and 'energy' does make me think of John Edwards talking with the dead, but perhaps he genuinely believes it.

I would have found this review far more helpful had it shown more evidence and effort to support its clear distaste for the man and his methods.

Ems said...

Again, these reviews are really written for my colleagues and friends, not as propaganda to sway peoples allegiance from Cesar to anyone else.

If you want further evidence, read the rest of the blog.

I am going to rewatch this episode as I still have it on my sky+ box, as several people have said that I have either said things that didnt happen or mixed up the chronology... but I make notes whilst watching, pausing as necessary, so I am wondering if the original ep I recorded has been edited.

Of course whether it has or has not its well worth remembering that the shows are heavily edited and its very common for clips to be used out of sequence!

Anonymous said...

What a dick

Anonymous said...

For me, the crucial fact is that these Terriers are both female. I have loved and owned Terriers most of my life. I'm not an Animal Behviorist but one thing I have learned from owning Terrriers is that it can be dicey, where Terriers are concerned, at least, to ever own more than one male or female at the same time. This was underscored for me when I adopted a smooth Fox Terrrier who had been expelled from his former life and taken to the pound. Thankfully, a rescue organization saved him from being put down, and I enjoyed his company for the next ten years until he died an old gent. What a great dog! He fast became my best friend--and had no problem with our other dog, an older, much larger, female Lab. The rescue people did impress upon me the fact that while a male Terrier wouldn't have a problem with a female dog, he would have a problem with another male. And if that male was from another dominant breed, there would, I was promised, be blood. Maybe a death. And lots of vet bills. They informed me that for Terriers, two dogs of the same sex in the same family would be a problem. This, they explained, is one aspect of the Terrier Temperament.

In the episodes I've watched, I've never heard Caesar mention the temperament of any breed, just the behavior of individual dogs. But from my many years owning Terriers, I have learned that some dogs are just not meant to be part of a pack with others that may arouse certain responses. The Terrier Temperament aside, my many years of owning Terriers has born that out to be true!

Anonymous said...

It seems as if the author is the insecure, aggressive one (in dog terms), attacking without provocation. Perhaps a stint of living with the pack at Caesar's Dog Ranch could remedy those personal shortcomings.