Dr. Marc Bekoff has jumped into the Cesar Millan abuse controversy (that there is a controversy baffles me) with an article titled “Did Cesar Millan have to hang the Husky” Dr. Bekoff makes an excellent case and I won’t go into any of the issues he brings up, instead my focus on the comments made by the Millan supporters. As usual, this article brought out the Millan apologists and they make the same excuses they make for every dog that Millan has mistreated.
Every outburst by Shadow was preceded by Millan mistreating him, either by choking him off or by kicking him. The simple fact is that if any animal is prevented from breathing, it will fight with all it has to get relief. It’s one of the reason police forces like the LAPD have stopped using the choke-hold, it’s hard to get compliance while the suspect is fighting to breathe. Some forces still the ‘sleeper hold’ which applies pressure on the sides of the neck. This doesn’t elicit the panic response because the person can still breathe.
In short, Millan doesn’t get to use a self-defense excuse because the was the aggressor and instigator of this ‘fight’ and Shadow is literally fighting to breathe. Fighting for his life. Millan started the fight, he doesn’t get to claim victim status.
Many of the CM supporters are also trying to paint Shadow as a vicious dog out to dominate and bite any human in its path. I disagree.
I don’t think that Shadow was the vicious dog their narrative paints him out to be. It is the opposite. This is a dog that doesn’t bite people. In fact just in the short clips we see, there are several chances when Shadow could have bitten Millan or the owner and chooses not to do so. In total there are 9 incidents of Shadow having an arm or hand INSIDE its mouth (3 more ‘possibles’ but were open to interpretation so I left them out) and NOT BITING. I won’t post the gory images of what happens when a dog does decide to bite you can look them up yourself but clearly Shadow is not a biter.
What I see his a dog here with incredible self-restraint. Despite all that he is being put through, Shadow refuses to bite.
If only the owners or Millan showed such restraint.
- Shadow and Cesar Millan: An Update on the Strung Up Husky (psychologytoday.com)
- Exhaustion and Emily the Pitbull
- Millan is proof that Positive Reinforcement Works
- Cesar Millan Kicking Dogs
- Cesar Millan’s Pain Flowchart