National Geographic Channel’s
The Dog Whisperer
Cesar Millan is a best selling author and the star of
the National Graphic Channel’s the Dog Whisperer.
Cesar takes Conditioning and Learning a step
further to include shaping the human’s behavior in
order to shape the dog’s behavior.
This method is therapeutic for both dog and human.
Cesar Millan confronts and banishes breed
Stereotyping and Prejudice through education and
“What we need to do is to start work upon psychology,
making behavior, not consciousness, the objective point of
our attack.” ~John Watson, generally considered the
founder of behaviorism.
The primary goal of behaviorism is to identify the
processes by which environmental stimuli cause a
person’s behavioral responses. (p.95)
Extreme behaviorism is the belief that psychology
should only focus on observable and measurable
Behaviorism is great for studying the animal kingdom
since animals don’t use human language.
Watson compared the mind to a Black Box. We know
what goes into the mind (environmental stimuli) and we
know what comes out (behavior), but we cannot know
what is going on inside. (especially if they can’t tell us!)
Behaviorism has given humans the methods and
opportunity to more clearly understand animals.
Behavioral Psychology is used in Behavior Modification
for training and conditioning dogs.
Shampoo and Conditioning
Classical Conditioning: Pavlov did it with dogs, bells, food
and drool. I can do it with my cats and an electric can opener.
In a sense, Cesar does it with what he calls, calm assertive energy
and what our textbook calls emotional responses.
Operant Conditioning: Thorndike did it with cats and puzzle
boxes. Skinner took it further with rats and gradually shaping
their behavior. Cesar does it by instantly reinforcing the dog’s
desired natural state and extinguishing unwanted behaviors.
Shampoo and Conditioning: Yes, you read that right!
Conditioning your dog to love bath time is easy with
consistently scratching and reinforcing him every time he
stands still. He’ll love it in no time!
“I rehabilitate dogs; I train
people” ~Cesar Millan
Cesar uses both Classical and Operant Conditioning
with the dog’s owners since they are the main part
of the dog’s environment, hence they as the
stimulus must be positive in order for rehabilitation
and learning for the dog can occur. The same
reason the nanny on the “Super Nanny” television
show must change the parents behavior before she
can change the child’s. Often, just changing the
environment, positively and instantly, changes our
Some human minds have not evolved to a level of
obviousness that one should not judge a book by its
Animals on the other hand, read us like a book and
know the cover is just a cover up.
Through educating people through his books,
television, lectures and training, Cesar has
consistently and positively impacted the stereo
types and prejudices of the Pit Bull breed.
Equine and Canine therapy is very effective for
Animals will mirror our emotions, anxieties and
The equine herd or dog pack help the person
identify these emotions through their behavior.
Cesar teaches people that dogs want strong leaders
and the dog teaches the owner how to be one.