Friday, 11 March 2016

It's Not About You.. It's What You Do... Cesar Millan, Pig-Gate

So the piggy poo has undeniably hit the fan... man there's shit everywhere!

Cesar being investigated by L A County Animal Control...

I'd like to clarify some points that I think might be being missed in the general shitstorm..

  •  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: 
  1. Put the dog in with pigs
  2. Not use a muzzle
  3. 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.

The next sequence is every bit as bad - Cesar had the dog under control and the pig could and SHOULD have been removed and checked for injury but instead, Cesars assistant continues to hold the pig, and Cesar chooses to let go of the dog again...

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.


Erica said...

*applause* Well-written and to the point!

Margaret Pender said...

So here's my question...

If Nat Geo thinks people have taken the clip out of context according to their statement below why have they removed the entire episode from their website? Surely they would want people to see the entire episode to prove their point, wouldn't they?

"A short clip from the episode was shared online and showed Simon chasing a pig and nipping its ear, causing the ear to bleed. The clip caused some concern for viewers who did not see or understand the full context of the encounter."

Ems said...

Really really good question Margaret - in fact if they stand by their claim that the pig was only nipped and it was out of context and nothing was done wrong at all..

Why pull the full episode AND the promo clip at all - if its fine... if you think theres nothing wrong.. why act so guilty? Hmm?

Anonymous said...

They took it all down because this time, they knew that they were in trouble. They have been playing with fire for too long, allowing and perpetuating his antics and abuse for a nation of uneducated cult followers to watch and adore. But this time, when someone stepped up and yelled "foul", they knew they had better scurry. Milan isn't the only one who should be investigated. National Geographic is just as responsible for allowing and encouraging this to all happen.
I don't have much faith that this will end it. Something much more serious is going to have to happen and then be reported because they certainly won't air it. I know that things have happened before but I also believe that people have been bribed or under some contract to not speak about anything that may have occurred.

Jessica Poling said...

Oh my goodness. He did everything he could to prevent the dog from biting the pig. Exposure to the pig was instrumental in Simon's rehabilitation. Cesar made a 'mistake' by not catching the leash in time. He's human. That pigs ear have prevented other possible injuries from Simon. They removed the episode because they understand it offended people & choose not to not do so. This man has helped countless animals & people alike. Why on earth would anyone find one small mistake & persecute him after all the good that he's done? The negative reactions are coming from negative ppl who insist on being sour. Find something positive to do. If you want to make a difference, go volunteer somewhere

Jessica Poling said...
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Marta Young said...

Jessica, I'm sorry, but he had hold of that dog three times, and each time released him which allowed him to chase the pigs again. His crew restrained the pig in order to incite the attack. There was no leash to catch once the slip lead was taken off (the entire time Simon was chasing after the pigs). This was no small mistake, but repeated disregard for the safety and wellbeing of all the animals concerned.

Anonymous said...

Jessica, He didn't do everything he could to prevent the dog from biting the pig. In fact, he did everything he could to insure the dog bit the pig so that the there was enough drama and excitement for his uninformed audience to be entertained with.
He didn't reward the dog for not reacting to the pigs and instead gave a quick leash correction. Then, he neglected to keep a long line on Simon and didn't bother to consider a muzzle.
He hasn't done very much "good" at all. Although he has many people like yourself fooled into believing that he has.
If you want to learn about science based dog training and behaviour modification as well as how to properly read canine body language, the information is out there. The reactions are coming from people who have a passion for dogs and for people and who want to continue to develop the human / canine bond, instead of promote the sort of antics and barbarism Milan promotes.
This is a television show. It is not reality. You and Milan's other fans don't see the entire case. You see only what the editors allow you to see and hear. Please go educate yourself. If you would, you would be able to see and understand that all of the concerns being voiced are not negative at all. They are valid concerns and they are coming from people who want nothing more than to make a difference.

Anonymous said...

BRAVO!!! Well said!

Ems said...

Jessica - are you for real?

Could you outline EXACTLY what he did to stop the dog biting the pig?

What he do - he TSSTED? He gave the dog some jabby corrections with his fingers and with the lead.. which he then took off?

YOu think thats EVERYTHING he could do? It is not, not by a freaking country mile it isnt.

You are FLAT OUT wrong in thinking that Cesar HAD to put the dog in the pen with the pig - yes to desensitize and counter condition you need some degree of exposure, but its totally possible to achieve that without RISK.

This is like saying 'so to teach a kid to swim you need to put him in water... therefore we must throw our 2 year old into the raging ocean'...

No, who does that, no one does that, thats dangerous. To teach a kid to swim you take them in the kiddy pool, in the shallow end, and you give them floaties and you hold them until they figure it out..

Same deal with dogs - you don't drop them in the deep end and then go 'whoa shit, thats a surprise, they drowned, didn't see that coming'... you start out where its EASY and you teach them how to cope!

Anonymous said...

At the time the pig was bitten, the dog was OFF LEAD! Cesar didn't miss catching the leash as you state. There was no leash to catch. Get your facts straight!

Anonymous said...

Nicely Done!!!

Kristine said...

Very well written. Excellent points!

Cheris Carrozzo-Miller said...

THIS is bullshit! They are animals and training dogs is not an easy task, by no means. I am not a fan of all of his training methods, but accidents happen. To imply the pig was purposefully used as bait is unfounded. I guess people think the pork, chicken, and beef we eat are all humanley killed. Well they aren't, it is absolutely disgusting what happens to livestock. We eat it anyway.
Come on people,are we really this upset over a dog training video.
There are way worse issues going on in our country and world!

Cheris Carrozzo-Miller said...

Of course that's business. Unfortunately bribes and lobbyists run this country. Our government is corrupt, why would any giant business,channel not be the same.

Sarah said...

No. We are not really this upset over a video. We are this upset that Cesar did not use well accepted standards of care to prepare his training session to protect the animals' welfare. Letting an aggressive dog loose among the pigs is really similar to letting a dog fighting dog have access to bait dogs. Cesar should know this at his level of experience. It isn't a mistake. It's wanton disregard of the level of safety for animals in his care. I am shocked by his defenders who think he is a great trainer, but don't seem to expect him to have even the most basic knowledge of how to set up a desensitization/counter conditioning session. A properly run session would not make good TV. It would be like watching paint dry. And it should look like that because the dog should be well below threshold the entire session. Simon wasn't. That's not error. That is behaving in an unethical manner. It is not okay that a dog trainer on TV uses such techniques and gives people the impression that he is being helpful. People emulate these techniques and cause harm while doing so.

Here is an explanation of the humane hierarchy of dog training. Cesar's methods are in the top portion at the stop sign. Ethical trainers work well under that.

Anonymous said...

Cheris, not all of us eat meat. But I guess it's easy for those of you who do, to justify abuse of an animal, because you eat them.
There is no way to "Humanely" slaughter a living , sentient being.
"We all" don't take part in animal consumption. If you feel it is "absolutely disgusting", why do you continue to pay people to do it for you?

Incidentally, there is absolutely NO "training" taking place in this video.
This wasn't an accident. It was a complete set up. Cesar's crew is on video, talking about how if there isn't any action going on, they will create the action. That's what they did here.
If you feel there are way worse issues going on in your country and in the World, you could always spend your time and energy on those issues instead of commenting on something you don't see as important. Or you can just sit around and complain about how "absolutely disgusting" everything is , and do nothing to make a change.

Ems said...

It's funny how many Cesar fans state that he is a professional, he helps so many dogs etc but then excuse this incident and presumably others, as 'accidents happen'.

Well, accidents do happen - but for a force free trainer using mainly positive reinforcement, those 'accidents' that happen do NOT result in animals being injured, or scared, or chased, or out of control.

Our 'accidents' are things like accidentally building in a bit of behaviour we didn't want, for example when I taught my puppy to sit, I also inadvertently captured a look to the left and she now thinks sit means 'look left and park your butt'.. its no big deal, I will fix that without stress or discomfort to her.

Our accidents do not involve animals being hurt, in over 15 years of working with animals I would say I have had two accidents - one where instead of standing on a platform, a bull terrier ran off with the platform to the other end of a field and shredded it (it was made of foam rubber), and the other one where I mucked up and petted a dog I didn't know without asking and she mouthed my arm.

No blood shed, no hurt, no distress to anyone.

Cesar on the other hand has a lot of these 'accidents' where totally predictable things end up happening - you know the definition of an accident is where it all goes wrong in a way you could NOT predict... so by definition, because WE can all predict whats going to go wrong and then it does, these things are NOT accidents.

As far as the 'eating meat' argument goes - its not relevant.

The fact that bad shit happens elsewhere is NOT a valid reason to ignore THIS bad shit here.

Killing animals for consumption is currently legal.
Baiting animals for entertainment is NOT legal.

Amazingly enough, some of us are capable of being involved in more than one campaign at once, so supporting a campaign to have Cesar Millan face legal action is in NO way taking anything away from any campaigns to improve animal welfare in farming.

Queade Di Ilio said...
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Kelly Ferguson said...

This is not the "first mistake" he has made. This is not training in any way shape or form. I have to love the people that say get out there and volunteer. Lady I have been in rescue for over 20 years, so don't make a blanket statement like that. This is abuse in so many levels. I have never agreed with his methods, fear training never works. It may for a brief time but then you have a mess on your hands.

Ems said...

Because its my blog and my rules as of now, any comment that involves discussion of eating meat and tries to make that relevant to dog training will be removed.

It is not relevant.

Eating meat is legal. Baiting pigs with dogs is not. End of.

petey's girl said...

Jessica, Cesar Milan does nothing to help animals. He turns frightened dogs into fear aggressive , terrified ones.
You really need to educate yourself on this subject better before deciding that this man is the be all and end all. There is much information about positive reinforcement in animal training. Cesar Milan uses an outdated and archaic training method that ends up with the dog in a worse position that when he started. Please understand that his methods are based on FEAR and CRUELTY , not on kindness. The science is in - his method of training not only does not work , it is DANGEROUS .
I truly think you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you read about behaviorists who use positive reinforcement. I’t builds an incredibly bond, incredible trust , and can change an animals life.

petey's girl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.