The Problem with Cesar Millan, Dog Training and Dog Behavior

The problem with Cesar Millan’s methods are two fold, he ignores what dog’s are communicating (body language) and uses flooding as a preferred choice for behavior modification as opposed to “overcoming fears gradually…ensuring that the dog (or person) is comfortable at each level of the fear hierarchy before proceeding to the next” according to Burch and Bailey (1999). If anyone doesn’t understand the term flooding, used in respondent conditioning, I will explain using Burch and Bailey’s book How Dogs Learn. Flooding is a “sink or swim” method as opposed to what is commonly used systematic desensitization. When using flooding procedures, one (trainer or handler) presents the animal or human with the scary stimuli all at once. The theory behind the method holds that “high levels of anxiety and fear will be elicited quickly, and respondent extinction of fear will also occur quickly (Burch & Bailey, 1999).