Cesar Millan’s Pain Flowchart

With this handy chart, Millan and fans can easily dismiss any and all concerns about a dog’s well-being.

Use this handy flowchart to help you justify the use of force.

Use this handy flowchart to help you justify the use of force.

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30 thoughts on “Cesar Millan’s Pain Flowchart

  1. I take it (I hope!) that this is tongue-in-cheek. It certainly is spot on. Pretty much nails his philosophy.

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  6. I also disagree with a lot that Millan does but does he do 100% bad things or is there some good as well? The answer to that question of course is, “of course he’s not 100% bad and does a lot of good as well”.

    • He does far more harm than good. About the only thing that he does that is good is to champion pit bulls. Otherwise he advocates abusive training methods.

  7. I’m not a Milan fan, and I don’t believe in using my own body parts to correct a dog, but when the mainstream positive reinforcement crowd starts putting out more of the amazing trainers we see coming out of Germany and Russia and fewer pet-smart trainers, maybe then people will gravitate away from physical training methods, but our outfit’s clientele has been almost exclusively people who came to us after paying hundreds of dollars to stand in group classes with egocentric trainers who are late to appointments, move their facilities every few months and deliver no results. The bottom line here seems to be a service that’s not worth the time or cost performed by highly unlikable people. Even as a Koehler trainer, I’ve ALWAYS valued the merits of positive training. I’d never use physical correction to teach a dog a game or task. I have no behavioral science background, nor the means to acquire one, but I do have a lot of really happy dogs and owners in my life who accomplish fantastic things together. But sometimes, I get a Dog D’ Bordeaux with a serious biting problem who has been turned down by the other trainers, even recommended for euthanasia by trainers and vets based solely on their aggression – and I’ll do the absolute best I know how. Sometimes that involves a prong collar. So start delivering, put us out of business with a superior method and better accessibility, because say what you want about my methods, I’ve been bitten all over my body and I’ve never given up on a dog or refused to work with one.

    • Thank you Joe. I use a modified Koehler Method with my training, but I am not afraid to use all training tools. I’ve used shock collars for rattle snake aversion. 75% of the dogs I train have been turned away by positive reinforcement trainers. Again, I use the tools that work with each individual dog, and lean towards positive reinforcement, but when I have a Cane Corso who wants to bite off your arm, I don’t willingly give it to him and tell him he’s a good boy.

  8. The best behaved dogs, most well-adjusted dogs I’ve owned were kept with their well-trained, well-socialized mothers for up to 12 weeks. Did their mothers ever nip them when they got out of line? All the time. Do they yelp when it happens? Yes. Did it hurt them? Probably. I’m mostly positive with my kids and my dogs, but both need an occasional, decidedly non-positive reinforcement, corrective swat and are no worse for wear. I find 100% positive reinforcement dog training to be unrealistic and unnatural. Can it be done? Yes, but it’s advocates are full-time dog trainers who have nothing to do 24/7 but work with their dogs. The average person who tries to employ this method usually ends up sending a poorly behaved dog to a shelter 6 months later. I personally think noisy advocates of 100% positive reinforcement training are responsible for tens of thousands of dogs ending up in shelters, because the method just doesn’t work real well for the average person.

    • This graphic specifically pokes fun at the hypocrisy of punishment trainers. If you are going to use methods that cause pain then come out and say it, don’t hide behind euphemisms of “dominance” and “discipline”

  9. This might be slightly – or greatly – off topic. (Perhaps it might be worth a new thread?) Speaking of euphemisms, I have a serious problem with the use of the term “euthanasia” to mean killing a dog for any reason except to end terminal suffering. E.g., killing a dog who has “behavioral” problems (as used in above post), a dog no longer wanted, a dog who has been too long at a “shelter,” etc.

    The definition of “euthanasia” is as follows: (from Merriam Webster online
    “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of HOPELESSLY SICK OR INJURED individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.”

    Nowhere in the definition is it mentioned that it includes killing an individual because he/she is no longer wanted for whatever reason. I think that it also goes without saying that there is nothing merciful about killing a healthy individual.

    “Euthanasia” – in the case of dogs (and other animals) – seems to me to have become a euphemism for “killing without guilt” or, if you prefer, “murder without guilt.”

    How much easier to say (as I saw on another site), “we decided to euthanize Titan due to his behavioral problems” rather than “we decided to have Titan killed due to his behavioral problems.” (This was from a person who purported to give training advice!)

    Human culture is shaped by language. Words define concepts which are incorporated into the belief systems of the culture. If we don’t want the concept of “killing without guilt” of our canine companions to gain an even stronger foothold in our society, perhaps we should bite the bullet and start calling such “euthanasia” what it really is – killing. The attached guilt can then be dealt with by instituting positive change.

  10. I’m not a dog trainer, but I have five dogs—all shelter adoptions except for one dog purchased from a couple that kept him crated because they were gone 12 hours a day. Here’s what I believe. Positive reinforcement works. My favorite dogs are those that suffered abuse. It takes only a few months for them to get to trust you. But, they become the MOST loyal, wonderful dogs anyone could hope to have. The trick seems to be to “break” them from attacking others. This can take several years. The way I accomplished this, was to advise guests to stand still on arrival so that the dog(s) could do their “inspection.” Further, I asked that they not stare at the dog nor reach for the dog. With my current (formerly abused) dog, I found it would take three uneventful visits before someone could pet the dog. Now, it can be accomplished in one visit. Special care must be taken with young, energetic, children. (I was originally Fostering my [“aggressive”] dog. She tended to snap at potential adopters. Consequently, these years later, I am lucky to have a remarkable, loyal dog that is friendly to all non-threatening humans.)

  11. If I was being attacked by a vicious dog that could end my life, I would welcome any method available to stop the attack. The PR people can’t be 100% correct. There’s a time and a place for everything, and CM tries to find a balance for both depending on the case – there is no perfect balance that pleases everyone. Unfortunately, the entertainment from the show comes from showing some bad cases. Still, many people appreciate the simple, straight-forward advice that’s been missing in their lives. Where I live the police have guns with bullets to stop bad behavior. So it’s okay for me if people discipline their dogs before they attack or engage in destructive behavior.

      • Deady violence happens whether I’m sensitized or not. Meanwhile you make the good case that Ph D’s (whatever) can’t connect to the real world – sorry. If you’re ever being assaulted, pull out your non-violent Positive Reinforcement. It is you who seems to consider Cesar Millan a violent person. Oversensitive much? Your interpretations say more about you, than anyone else.

        • Not only do you not see the connection, you then become defensive when the problem is pointed out to you. And your argument is doesn’t make sense because in just about every case it is Millan who is who initiates the confrontation.

  12. I see it for what it is. You attack whoever disagrees AND you fail to use any positive reinforcement in your attempts to persuade. Your verbal bullying of people is what I consider a failure of your own philosophy unless you value dogs more than humans. Cesar Millan says who he is, what he does, and how he does it. Then he shows people how to control vicious, neurotic, and otherwise hopeless animals. He also makes multiple acknowledgements that his methods won’t always work. Challenge: Please post a video of you positively reinforcing a vicious dog that you have on a leash that is about to chomp someone to smithereens. If you replicate his environment and conditions, YOU might see the connection.

    • I’ve actually changed my position when those who comment present some evidence that I had not considered or a better assessment of the available data. You have simply stated you are ok with violence because you see violence regularly – you’ve been desensitized to it and have limited empathy toward animals. It’s the world’s fault we are not all as callous as you.

      Millan abuses dogs to the point they are unwilling to offer any behavior. It’s management through violence and not as he claims “rehabilitation”

      • Ok, my final comment on this… I, 1) do not see violence regularly 2) have not been desensitized 3) do not have limited empathy toward animals 4) am quite smooth vs callous. You show me that you behave from the viewpoint of a superior mindset to claim to know so much with so little information. Thanks for letting me/us post and allow me to submit that your assessments are in need of some balancing. Cheers to you and to Cesar Millan.

  13. I have read all of Milan’s books, have watched his training videos and fail to see your unrealistic view of the world. You probably need a spanking!

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  15. I’m late to the party but would like to add an afterthought. Dog training has remained militaristic in so many regards. The anthropocentric need for force and control at any cost approach in tandem with the overly invested human ego dismiss the science and technology of animal training as unnecessary. In what other aspects of your lives is “science” unnecessary? Would you allow yourselves to be operated on by someone who just watched the surgery channel, (“oh, don’t worry, been watching it for 20 years”). Fly you in an airplane? Teach you? Your children? And yet we entrust people who ignore/distort science to train our non human animal family members. A thorough knowledge of operant and classical conditioning, ethology, plus zoology or biology learned through a reputable, rigorous program (Academy for Dog Trainers-Jean Donaldson’s program, or CASI, Companion Animal Sciences Institute, or even a junior college degree in psychology and/or ethology) should be minimally mandatory for the testing, certification and licensing of dog trainers. Too much education for you? Then find a less demanding vocation. It’s hack central out there and so many people are making it up as they go along- no knowledge of the science or its technical application (WHICH MATTERS). Olympian incompetence. People who have a knowledge of behavior and who know how to shape it using humane principles do not need to electrocute, stab, asphyxiate, threaten and jerk. Dogs with serious aggression problems need team management: CAAB or veterinary behaviorist plus trainer plus all other animal caregivers and the family all sit down and evaluate risk and expectation and arrive at well informed decisions.

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