Both horse “whisperers” and dog “whisperers” have always been a topic of heated discussion in the animal world.
There are people who say that dog whisperers (like Cesar Millan and Maja Nowak [a dog whisperer from Germany]) are being aggressive and abusive with the dogs on their shows. These are the same people that make a quick, uninformed, assessment like that before switching channels.
To really understand what someone is trying to teach, you need to be there for the process and see the product. Both Millan and Nowak transform dogs into happy, calm companions by the end of the show. Dogs that were once obsessive, aggressive, fearful, hyper, and so on, are very relaxed after they meet them!
When I hear people make bold statements about such dog trainers, I think: Did they watch the whole thing? Some viewers only want to see a trainer give a dog treats and praise them for being fearful. This is humanizing a dog – if it were a human you could explain to them in english that everything will be alright. But dogs live in the moment and whatever you nurture, will grow.
Once we redirect that energy, they can move forward. That’s what trainers like Millan and Nowak do. They do their best to act like dogs when they’re speaking to dogs – they don’t try to use words and cookies to bring across a message that’s in a different language entirely. None of their acts are aggressive. In fact, it could only look like that if the dog is going through a tantrum or experiencing an extreme shift in emotions.
Then again, Millan and Nowak do use treats! But not as a bribe. That’s the difference. They use it as an extra bonus when their dog does something amazing. Before judging any trainer or method, we must remember to educate ourselves about it!