Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A trainer's perspective on the CM show

Hi all,

Here are my thoughts on Cesar's show I attended Friday night.

First, I have to say that I've been to MANY, MANY talks, seminars, conferences and seen MANY, MANY presenters (dozens and dozens). Regardless of whether I like their message or not, the speakers I consider good at their jobs always present their points in a clear and concise way, followed by a the body of the presentation that might include facts, research, opinion, videos, demos; and finally ending with me (the listener) having an understanding of what their point was and maybe how to implement it.

On the above point, for me, Cesar's show was among the worse I've seen. Many of the points he was making left me thinking "HUH?" I honestly did not "get" the point. Now I understand there was an ESL issue, but he could have gotten around that with good videos, etc.

For example, in the first segment he was talking about leadership and especially in the first 180 days of a dog's life. (For some reason, he feels 180 days is a very important date. In my experience, it's pretty hard to tell people exactly when "puppy" behaviors will end). Anyway, he did mention 180 days a few times. Then the first 2 dogs came out, a cattle dog pup and a young lab. I assumed they were both under "180 days" but it wasn't exactly explained. Anyway, the 2 puppies greeted each other rather nicely, then proceeded to investigate the stage. Cesar was talking to the audience and as he was talking, he sidled over to the lab, who completely ignored him, not surprisingly. Cesar said, "see, I am not interesting to this puppy". Then a helper brought out a bowl of food and handed it to Cesar who went over to the lab pup. With Cesar holding the food bowl, the puppy followed him around the stage. He gave the food to the lab the. The helper brought out another bowl of food and it was repeated with the cattle dog puppy. He asked the audience if they understood his point, people clapped, the puppies were taken away and I thought "HUH?" I really can't tell you what his point was. Maybe the others who attended could enlighten me.

For the most part, the 6 or 7 dogs who went on stage were not mistreated. Exception being a pitty/lab cross who was brought on stage by his dad to demonstrate what a bad dog he was, pulling dad all over the place (which he did perfectly). Cesar went on and on about how the owner must be "calm" in order to have a "calm" dog. He then proceeded to use a thin leather leash as a slip choke collar (noose style). Cesar placed it very high on the dog's neck, just under the jawline and, allowing only about 1 foot of leash, proceeded to walk around the stage with the dog at his side. Miraculously, the dog did not pull at all (pretty hard when there's no leash to pull). There were 2 large screens and I was watching Cesar's leash hand closely. In the 2 or 3 minutes Cesar had the dog, the dog received approx 20 chokes, and 2 kicks. Cesar is so expert at doing this without it looking like anything. His leash hand just subtly quickly opened and closed, and each time it closed, the dog got a correction. The dog did not leave his side. He asked the owner, "So, why is your dog so good with me?" and after a few prompts, the man said "because you are calm?". Audience claps, Cesar hands the dog back to owner and they leave.

My feelings on this - well, he achieved his objective of having the dog not pull and maybe if the owner only has to do this one or two times, it might be worth it. But Cesar supplied no insight as to how to implement this method or how long it'll take to fix the problem. (Maybe one has to buy his book to find out). Sadly, I saw a dog that came out rather out of control, but very happy and confident. When he left, his respiratory rate was through the ceiling (truly hyperventilating) and he was not a happy puppy. The saddest thing of all though, was that the vast majority of attendants only saw a dog who was brought under control by Cesar's calmness.

There are many other examples but this email would end up being 20 pages long so I'll spare you.

I ran into a lady who attended my friend's classes a couple of years ago with her goldendoodle. Her husband is a police K9 handler. She said they were very underwhelmed by the whole thing.

I look forward to input from others as well.


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