Saturday, August 31, 2013

Should I be the Pack Leader of my Dogs?

Is Cesar's Way the Right Way?

A lot of trainers and behaviorists have heavily criticized Cesar Millan's training technique. Some say that the way he takes care of his pack in his Los Angeles Dog Psychology Center is wrong. Others have even gotten too far as to saying that it's cruel.

Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson
In Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson's book titled Animals Make Us Human, Temple Grandin explains that although she may disagree with some of Cesar's belief, particularly about how his grandfather became the pack leader of his dogs, what he is doing in the Dog Rehab Center may just be what's right for those canines (half of which used to be homeless).
"The Dogs at the Dog Psychology Center, though, are living in one of the most unnatural situations any dog can live in: thirty to forty unrelated animals and different breeds all stuck together inside one big enclosure. Those dogs have to form a pack to keep from ripping each other apart, and Cesar has done a brilliant job of making himself the pack leader instead of letting the dogs fight it out for the top spot."
Reference: Animals Make Us Human, A Dog's Life p.33

Does this mean I have to apply Cesar's way to my pack?

Not necessarily. In fact, Temple Grandin firmly believes that dogs need parents and not pack leaders. She explains that since dogs are juvenile wolves, they are expected to live with their parents, brothers and sisters. Her theory is that dogs underwent pedomorphosis ("arrested development") during their evolution. That's why, over time, some breeds lost the wolf-like features as well as the submissive behavior that made wolves live in harmony and function as a group (pack).

Bottom line, looks like being the "dog mom" or "dog dad" has been the right way after all.


  1. I like Cesar's show but i'm not capacitated to give my opinion! I have no idea! jajaaj :)

  2. It seems over the years our society chooses people to be the "expert" and then it gets debunked and someone else comes along. When I owned dogs it was Barbara Woodhouse. I would never use her techniques now!
    My opinion is dog personalities vary and each owner needs to find what works for that particular dog. Even within breeds there are a lot of different temperaments.
    Like children, find out what works!

  3. We let HER think SHE's the alpha bitch....then we just do what we want.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  4. We like Cesar, we have never seen him be cruel to a dog. We try and humanize our pups ( I'm guilty..LOL ) but at the end of the day they are dogs.Dogs have respect for him as he is the pack leader, unlike my Mollie, she thinks she is pack leader. I think he has a gift and because he is in the lime light, he will always be slated by some. I could use him at the moment as Mollie barks at Humans she doesn't know and comes across quite fierce. Have a great weekend xx00xx

    Mollie and Alfie

  5. Ha ha we agree with Scotsmad. Have a super Saturday.
    Best wishes Molly

  6. I suppose animals together will react differently than in an animal/human relationship. How would you react if the dogs started behaving as humans? :) And it's the difference that makes a dog/human relationship so special, no?

  7. I believe dogs need/want direction and leadership, but not all out authority.

  8. We cannot tell you how much we LOVED that book!!! (LOVE LOVE LOVED it!)

  9. I think the cats are the pack leaders in our house.


  10. I like having both a dog mom and dog dad, but I also like being the leader, when they let me! Tee Hee

    Have a fun day

    Your pal Snoopy :)

  11. I won't comment on HIM, but I do like Temple Grandin. :-)

  12. I never did agree with the Pack Leader mentality. But I am most definitely my furkids Mom!

  13. We agree with Molly the Wally!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  14. this seems so true, and is refreshing to hear. It makes sense what ceaser was saying but what you are too! :)

  15. Interesting theory. It seems cats have adapted to living with humans, so dogs had to as well.

  16. I agree with Julie that it`s rather interesting theory. I agree that most often cats rule in every house, but I also consider that a dog can become a pack leader depending on its breed and temper. Of course, such a small domestic breeds as Shitzu or Toy Terrier need rather parents than to become a pack leader, but what about a large dog breeds?

  17. That's really interesting. I'd like to read Temple's book -- it sounds fascinating and insightful. BTW, the cats are the bosses here. :)

  18. Mama has tried Cesar's methods on me, and they never work. But I definitely think that having mom and dads is really good... The arrested evolution theory is interesting!


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