So the piggy poo has undeniably hit the fan... man there's shit everywhere!
I'd like to clarify some points that I think might be being missed in the general shitstorm..
Cesar being investigated by L A County Animal Control...
- This is not about 'hating' on someone when they made a mistake. Cesar CHOSE to take the steps he did, in full knowledge of the dogs prior behaviour:
- Put the dog in with pigs
- Not use a muzzle
- Take off the lead
- It was no accident that Simon chased and caught the pig - the pig was
held by the hind leg, something that will guarantee a pig squeals
blue-murder. The only reason this was done was to cause the dog to bolt,
dramatically, and attack the pig. This was not a mistake, it was not an
'oops' moment, it was intentional and it constitutes animal baiting,
which is not legal.
In these frames you can see very clearly that the pig is held by the leg BEFORE Simon makes contact. The pig is struggling to get away and is held as Simon gets him.
And the dog latches onto the pigs ear - and note this Nat Geo, this is NOT a 'nip', the dog has hold of the pigs ear until Cesar pulls him off. That is not a 'nip', that is a bite, and it resulted in real physical injury to the pig.
- The pigs suffered not just a 'nip' to one pigs ear, they were chased, they were bitten repeatedly by the dog, and this was in addition to the pig who was held whilst Simon attacked, bit AND tore a chunk out of the pigs ear.
- Simon suffered too - this is an old dog, he has a short muzzle, he was put in a slip lead that we can see on removal has become too tight for some time: The first still shows how tight the leash is, the second still shows his owner removing it, she is sliding down the stopper that prevents the leash loosening off here, showing this leash was intentionally very tight.
Simon also suffered distress, and pain, which is not necessary and not acceptable in modern training.
- This whole procedure was not necessary. Simon was controllable on the lead around pigs, he never needed to be off lead with pigs.
- Had it been necessary to teach Simon to be calm and responsive to a handler or owner around pigs, that could have been achieved without force, aversives or risk to either dog or pig.
- The steps that were taken, the risks that were taken were not done out of any necessity within dog training or behaviour modification. They were taken purely and soley for the benefit of TV ratings, to make dramatic television.
- Nat Geo would like you to believe that those of us complaining do not understand the 'context' of what occurred - I have in fact seen the whole episode and I understand it perfectly, if it is not as portrayed then Nat Geo need to look at how they edit their footage (for example, using out of sequence shots) - but I fail to see how they can possibly have edited it to LOOK as though a man is restraining a pig to bait a dog with, inciting an attack, if that is not what occurred.
They also claim that Millan took 'necessary precautions' prior to the incident - again, what precautions? No lead, no muzzle, dog locked in a pen full of pigs, pig held to cause dog to attack, pig attacked again whilst still held...
Where are these precautions Nat Geo?
The footage NatGeo have subsequently released of Simon after the training does not, to any professional, paint Cesar in any better light. Simon displays severe avoidance behaviours, that in my professional opinion, are only found where a dog has been subjected to severe aversive conditioning - in otherwords, Simon now finds both Cesar and the proximity of pigs to be so deeply traumatising that he is severely shut down and non-responsive.
Thats not humane training, it is not ethical training, and it is not training that will render Simon safe around other animals for life either, it isn't going to last and will need repeating - putting Simon through more distress and pain.
And finally - to those people who think that because the pig only suffered a minor injury so its ok...
No. The law does not determine cruelty on just the severity of the injury inflicted - cruelty can be carried out without ANY injury being inflicted at all.
And ask yourself, how minor would you think it if part of your own ear were torn off by someone elses dog - would you be chilled out and happy about that, brush it off as its just a scratch, its only a nip?
What about if Simon had torn part of a dogs ear off, or a horses, or a childs...
The degree of injury is not whats relevant here, its the fact it was not just allowed to happen but set up to happen, for the benefit of television audience ratings and money.
The bottom line is, if I see ANYONE attempting to train or handle dogs or other animals the way Millan does in this episode (or many others!), I will respond in the same way.
It is not about him, it is about what he chooses to do. Anyone choosing to use outdated methods that put animals at risk and work by causing fear, pain and distress, needs to be stopped.