Kids & Dogs - Same approach applies?

Esther - posted on 05/07/2010 ( 16 moms have responded )




I read an interesting article in the NY Times this morning. Here's a link:

This is the basic premise of the story:

Some parents, and even a few child therapists, have found themselves taking mental notes from a television personality known for inspiring discipline, order and devotion: Cesar Millan, otherwise known as the Dog Whisperer.

The suggestion that the Dog Whisperer is also a Child Whisperer of sorts has popped up — sometimes couched as a joke, but, well, not really — in parents’ forums like blogs, online discussion boards, magazines, Twitter feeds and podcasts. Some parents are starting to take notice.


What do you all think of this? Can and should you apply the same basic techniques to your kids that you apply to your dog?

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Kate CP - posted on 05/11/2010




I've never read his books because his show upsets me that much. So I don't know if his books are different, but from what I've seen of his show (and heard from his followers who end up my students) is that dogs who don't listen are just being dominant and you need to "put them in their place". I've had students roll a 12 week old puppy on her back because she wouldn't sit. When I asked what they were doing they said "I'm just showing her that I'm the pack leader. You know, like Cesar Millan says to do. She's not obeying my commands because she's trying to be pack leader." I explained (as calmly as I could) that she wasn't obeying their commands because she was 12 weeks old and didn't KNOW the commands and wasn't being dominant.

The way he deals with socialization is awful, too. He forces dogs who are obviously stressed in multi-dog situations to join packs. These dogs are panting, shaking, TERRIFIED and traumatized by this. He forces dogs to do things when they should be desensitized SLOWLY instead of just shoved into an obviously scary and stressful situation. His methods of dealing with human and dog aggression scare me for the sake of the owners. People attempt to do what he does 'cause, hey, they saw it on TV! It drives me nuts! I just recently had a man come to me saying how "red line" his dog was around other dogs. The way they were "socializing" the dog was to walk the dog past homes with dogs fenced in the yard. The problem with that? Almost every dog you will ever meet, even if they are sweet and gentle face to face, will have what's called boundary aggression. You put a fence between two dogs and they WILL try to fight. It's the worst way to try to get a dog to NOT be reactionary. Cesar Millan labels dogs as aggressive when they are clearly NOT aggressive, but reactionary. He makes my job harder. Almost any professional trainer worth their salt will tell you they seriously dislike Cesar Millan. And I'm one of them.

Jenny - posted on 05/10/2010




Kate, what is it about his methods that you disagree with? I'll admit to not watching the show much but I have read one of his books. The basics I understand from him are: excercise, then food, then affection and the Scht noise.

Kate CP - posted on 05/10/2010




I HATE THAT MAN!!!! Cesar Millan is a bully and NOT a dog trainer. His methods are for dogs who have SERIOUS behavioral problems. He is a behaviorist, NOT a trainer and I do not like his show or his methods. People who watch his show and attempt to use his methods often find themselves nursing serious bite wounds or putting down dogs because the problem got worse. His show has made MY job as a dog trainer twice as hard. That being said...using the same methods to raise a child as you would a puppy is, to me, kind of obvious. I often tell my students who are young and newly wed that if they are thinking about having a baby they should get a puppy first. If after two years the puppy is alive, healthy, has no behavior problems, and the couple is still together, THEN you can think about having a baby. ;)

...But yea, I hate Cesar Millan.

Mary - posted on 05/10/2010




Makes total sense to me! It also makes me feel a little better, since I have to confess that a lot of my approach to parenting has been similar to how I trained and "parent" my dogs. Especially the whole exercise thing...I walk all three of them a few miles a day. It stimulates them, and wears them out...and EVERYone is much happier and better behaved!! At 17 months, my daughter gets out their leash after breakfast, and says "walk the puppies!". It's never a "good" day if we can't!

LaCi - posted on 05/09/2010




Basic psychology is the same for all mammals. I've been saying all along (in this mommyhood thing) that *wow, this is just like a REALLY stubborn puppy*

Caitlin - posted on 05/07/2010




I've heard that dogs have the same level of understanding as a 3 year old, so if it is comparable, it must be possible to use the same techniques for both. Luckily for most dog owners though, their dogs wont grow up to be teenagers (since they stop at 3..).. our kids will..

Esther - posted on 05/07/2010




I'm in love with Cesar too Carol ;) I don't even have a dog anymore and I still have some of his DVDs :))

Johnny - posted on 05/07/2010




My mom was the first to mention it to me, she is like "in love" with Cesar. But it does sort of make sense. Firm, consistent discipline, making sure that they know what to expect, and being kind and respectful to their "level of development". Hopefully no idiots out there take it as far as to crate their kids or leash train them. There are always a few people for whom sense is just not common.

C. - posted on 05/07/2010




There are many similarities in how you train a pet and raise a child, so yes as long as it isn't extreme.

Oh wow.. I definitely about cried when I read Jenny and Krista's comments.. Funny stuff.

Amie - posted on 05/07/2010




I think it makes sense. Obviously there's some differences but the basic principles apply.

?? - posted on 05/07/2010




Using dog training for your child has the same principles and ideas, but if your kid goes to sniff other babies butts, that's when you know you've taken it too far !

Krista - posted on 05/07/2010




I think certain basic principles apply: being consistent and clear with your rules and discipline, making sure that your child/dog knows that he is not the boss of the family, making sure that your child/dog is well-socialized, letting a kid be a kid and a dog be a dog. Obviously not all techniques would be the same, but some of the principles? Sure.

Although my baby can't lick his own butthole. Thank goodness.

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