Millan’s methods are a result of positive reinforcement. Not the dogs – they are not reinforced, they are almost always punished. It is Millan that has been positively reinforced.
Once upon a time Millan met a dog’s aggressive behavior with aggression. He managed to stop the behavior and thus was rewarded for his aggression. He was positively reinforced. It provided quick control, required no training an allowed him to deal with one dog and quickly moved to another; an assembly line of fear and punishment. Dealing with dogs like they were parts to be hammered into the desired shape; quiet and lacking any behavior. What he calls calm and submissive
From the first time that he was able to shut down a dog through the use of violence, he has been continually reinforced. For Millan punishing dogs was reinforcing. Dealing pain, fear and shutting down dogs was profitable, it earned him the admiration of his employers and the clients. There was no downside.
As his fame increased so did the value of the reinforcement. A television program, celebrity friends, books, travel, popular admiration, fame and wealth; the world rewarded him for using archaic and violent methods.
Many would be doing the same, even if they knew there was a better way. Changing his ways may lose him that fame. Change or the possibility of change comes with uncertainty, anxiety. In other words, it is punishing.
Cesar Millan has been using violence for long that his behavior is now a well ingrained habit. Very much like a positively trained dog. Or like the dogs he deals with who’ve been reinforced for unwanted behavior.
So, does positive reinforcement work? It worked on Cesar Millan.
He’s been reinforced for aggressive antisocial behavior and he needs re-training. He better hope that HIS trainer doesn’t subscribe to His philosophies or the retraining might kill him.