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Dog Whisperer TV
Format Reality / Family
Starring Cesar Millan
Country of origin  United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 131
Production
Running time 60 minutes (with commercials)
Broadcast
Original channel National Geographic Channel
Original run September 13, 2004 – Present
External links
Official website

Dog Whisperer TV (also called Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan or just Dog Whisperer) is an Emmy Award-nominated reality television series that premiered on September 13, 2004 on the National Geographic Channel. Cesar Millan portrays him rehabilitating and restoring balance to dogs with problems.

Millan's specialty is working with dogs that are known to be aggressive. Episodes of the program often feature, but are not limited to, work with an aggressive dog and Millan's application of rules, boundaries, and limitations. Millan believes that pack leadership, by all humans who live or work with the dog, is required for the dog to exist in a content, calm state. Millan demonstrates to the owners how to obtain and maintain dominance over the dog.

As part of the show, Millan is shown as someone who owns 40 to 50 dogs, including Rottweilers, Pit Bulls and German Shepherds, all of whom coexist in peace, uncaged and unchained. Millan is also an honorary member of the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP). Dog Whisperer is sponsored by Purina and Petco.

Contents

Program format

At the beginning of the show, viewers are introduced to the difficult dog (or dogs) and their owners. 'Home movie' style footage is shown of the dog performing the behavior that his owners find problematic while a male human voice-over describes the situation briefly. The owners describe the problems that they face. Millan is then introduced, and a narrator often describes the experience Millan has had with difficult cases in the past.

Millan then conducts an interview, where he sits down with the family as they describe the issue at hand. He usually then offers suggestions on how the owners may alter their own habits to become a pack leader for their pet. He then demonstrates pack leader techniques with the dog, often to the astonishment of the owner. The show usually features Millan going through his three step process, as he repeats the words "exercise, discipline, and then affection".

The material is filmed and edited to construct a narrative with a happy ending, while presenting the events as natural and spontaneous. The dogs are filmed in the style of wildlife documentaries, with extreme close ups of their expressions, or simulated views of the environment from the dog's point of view.

Sometimes, in serious cases, Millan will take the dog to his own Dog Psychology Center to introduce it to his own pack. In the most serious cases, such as an extremely aggressive or obsessive-compulsive dog, it may stay at his center for a number of days or weeks. Millan frequently brings members of his own pack to a training session to help the other dogs calm down faster through another dog's "balanced" energy. Most often, his training pack includes a pit bull mix named "Daddy", who once belonged to the rapper Redman. Due to increasing concerns about Daddy's health--according to Millan's book A Member of the Family, Daddy has undergone treatment for cancer twice and has increasingly severe arthritis--Millan has begun integrating a pit bull mix puppy named "Junior" into his training pack.

Popularity

Millan has been featured twice on the Oprah Winfrey Show. [1][2]

In the foreword of Millan's book, Cesar's Way, Jada Pinkett Smith wrote, "Through his patience and wisdom, Cesar has been a blessing to my family, my dogs and me."

Millan has also appeared on ABC World News Tonight (2002), CBS-TV (2001), Channel 7 News (May 2005), CNN (April 2006), Creative Arts Emmys 2006 (August 2006), Entertainment Insider (December 2004), Good Day Live (February 2005), Good Morning America With Diane Sawyer (September 2004), KTLA-TV (2002), Last Call with Carson Daly (November 2006), Martha Stewart Show (April 2006), Megan Mullally Show(November 2006), Nightline (July 2006), NBC-TV (2001), Today Show (April 2006), Tonight Show With Jay Leno (February 2005), The View (July 2006), WUSA-TV 9 News (April 2006), season 4 of the Emmy winning reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List and various radio shows.

Criticism

Dr. Nicholas Dodman, the director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine of Tufts University, has said "Cesar Millan's methods "have put dog training back 20 years."[3] Jean Donaldson, the San Francisco SPCA Director of The Academy for Dog Trainers objected to Millan's "physically confronting aggressive dogs and using of choke collars."[4] In 2006, The American Humane Association requested that National Geographic Channel stop airing the program.[5] Also in 2006, the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants contended "that the program may lead children to engage in unsafe behaviors" and requested a change in the program's rating of TV-G.[6]

The National Geographic Society and Cesar Millan responded in a National Geographic News online article titled "Dog Whisperer to Critics: My Techniques Are 'Instinctual.'"[7]

Lisa Jackson Schebetta analysed the Dog Whisperer television program, concluding that the goal is always a product, a dog that behaves according to its owners‘ desires, however illogical.[8] Sophia Yin's article in the Veterinary Forum [9] says that while watching the Dog Whisperer program does have the benefit of making owners aware that others have problems with their pets, and that there are remedies for the problems, it can cause more harm than good, in that dominance based training can supress the behavior just temporarily, or even worsen the behaviour. A study of the behavior intervention techniques used by clients before seeking the advice of a veterinary behaviorist, concluded that dominance or confrontational techniques elicited an aggressive response from at least a quarter of the dogs on which they were attempted.[10] A study conducted at a veterinary school in Bristol, revealed that training techniques intended to reduce dominance in dogs was likely to worsen behaviors. John Bradshaw and colleagues studied dogs at a rehoming center for six months and their results show that dogs' behaviors are learned through experience and are not driven by a desire to assert dominance.[11]

On December 15th, 2009 a number of organisations in the United Kingdom[12] released a joint press statement, [13] in anticipation of Millan's UK tour in 2010, pointing out the possible dangers of using aversive or domination techniques for training dogs, such as some of those seen used by Cesar Millan on the Dog Whisperer program. The website accompanying the press release uses published scientific research to explain the problems associated with the use of dog training techniques that cause fear or pain.[14]

In popular culture

Cesar Millan guest starred as himself in episodes of the television programs Bones on September 17, 2008, and Ghost Whisperer on March 30, 2007. There have been references to Cesar Millan or Dog Whisperer in X-Play, the King of the Hill episode "Doggone Crazy", The Venture Bros season 4 premier, and the comic strips "Blondie" and "Bizarro". Tegan and Sara mention the show in one of their video chapters for their album, The Con. Millan was parodied in the season 10 episode of South Park, Tsst, and in the chapter "The Cat Whisperer" of Tom and Jerry Tales.[15]

Nominations

Dog Whisperer won Emmy nominations for Outstanding Reality Program in 2006 and 2007.[16][17]

See also

External links

References

  1. ^ "The Dog Whisperer Rescues Nate"
  2. ^ "The Dog Whisperer Helps Oprah and Stedman"
  3. ^ "C'mon, Pooch, Get With the Program"; nytimes.com February 23, 2006.
  4. ^ spokanmial.org newsletter (pdf file)
  5. ^ "'Dog Whisperer' Training Approach More Harmful Than Helpful"; americanhumane.org September 6, 2006.
  6. ^ iaabc.org "IAABC Concerns Regarding Child Safety on National Geographic's Dog Whisperer Show"; iaabc.org; October 27, 2006. Old link disappeared - Archived link 2008
  7. ^ Article "Dog Whisperer to Critics: My Techniques Are 'Instinctual'" at National Geographic News
  8. ^ Lisa Jackson Schebetta, "Mythologies and Commodifications of Dominion in The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan" Journal for Critical Animal Studies, Volume VII, Issue 1, 2009: 107-131
  9. ^ Sophia Yin "Clinical Report: Dealing with outdated behavior recommendations" Veterinary Forum Vol 24, No 12 December 2007
  10. ^ Meghan E. Herron, Frances S. Shofera and Ilana R. Reisnera "Survey of the use and outcome of confrontational and non-confrontational training methods in client-owned dogs showing undesired behaviors" Applied Animal Behaviour Science Volume 117, Issues 1-2, February 2009, Pages 47-54
  11. ^ John Bradshaw "Dominance reduction techniques in dog training 'worthless' or 'dangerous'" Veterinary Record: Journal of the British Veterinary Association; 6/13/2009, Vol. 164 Issue 24, p735-735
  12. ^ Organisations Supporting the Position Statement on Welfare in Dog Training http://www.dogwelfarecampaign.org/supporting-organisations.php Retrieved 2009-12-31
  13. ^ "Problems with aversive dog training techniques" Dogs Trust, The Blue Cross, Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB)British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) and British Veterinary Association (BVA) and others. http://www.dogwelfarecampaign.org/press-statement.php Retrieved 2009-12-31
  14. ^ What are the Implications of Using Training Techniques Which Induce Fear or Pain in Dogs? http://www.dogwelfarecampaign.org/implications-of-punishment.php Retrieved 2009-12-31
  15. ^ Episode Guides in The Internet Movie Database http://www.imdb.com/
  16. ^ "Complete list of Emmy nominations" July 07, 2006. Accessed June 12, 2008
  17. ^ "Emmy Nominees: The Class of 2007"
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