Steve Dale and Cesar Millan: Whispers and Screams

For those of you who have talked dogs with me in the past (I’m fluent in canine body language, and a former professional trainer and behaviour specialist) you know how I feel about Cesar Millan – the “dog screamer”.  I’ve written articles encouraging dog folk to look elsewhere for answers to their canine dilemmas, and warned against the dangers of following this man’s advice.  I have nothing against the man personally, but I do have something against any method that harms dogs and puts negative pressure on the bond between dog and their trusted people.

So, today a fellow dog writer (and someone whom I’ve come to consider a friend over a number of years – we met online as fellow DWAA members) blogged about Cesar.  Seems he sent a rather harsh message to Steve, and just as he screams rather than whispers with dogs, it appears he communicates in much the same way with people.

Cesar Millan telling off Steve Dale

Cesar Millan and his anything-but-whispered communication style.



Some years ago now, I was sent a copy of Cesar’s three DVD training program to be reviewed for my website Nose Licks & Tail Wags – where I used to actively post articles on training and communicating with dogs.  The fact of the matter was that his assault on the dogs in the video (on one in particular) was so mortifying that it brought me to tears.  And this was before the hormonal shifts of pregnancy, these days it doesn’t take much to move me to tears, but back then?  It was an incredibly rare occurrence.

Dogs are experts at body language.  You can be extremely subdued, and they’ll read you loud and clear.  Heck, I’ve trained my dogs to respond to cues as subtle as the direction of eye movement.  The smallest gesture holds a world of meaning to a dog.  And Millan?  He’s about a subtle as a bull moose charging through your living room.

Whether or not you want to hear it, the man is a bully, and his methods are dangerous.  Using his techniques you could quickly and easily turn a timid dog into an aggressive one.  Dogs will only be backed so far into a corner before they’ll attempt to protect themselves.  And what do people do when that happens?  They ditch “fido” at the shelter where he is put to sleep as a dangerous dog.  Shelters can’t place a dog with a bite history, the liability is too great.

So yeah.  Think about the image of him above, next time you’re thinking of following some of his advice.  If you’re comfortable saying “F you” to your dog, then his methods may be for you… but if you love your dog?  I’d recommend heading over to instead.  The advice is free, and your dog will thank you for it.

And if you want to read what Steve had to say about the screamer flipping him off, head over here:


About Tobi-Dawne

Tobi-Dawne Smith is many things to many people... photographer, canine behaviour expert, equal rights activist, green politician, lactivist, intactivist, writer, crafter, dog handler, third wave feminist, etc. But most important in her life is her role as mother to an amazing five year old. Learn more about TD at follow her blog at get to know her daughter at or check out her work at

Posted on June 11, 2012, in Animals, Dogs and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Cesar and this Vizsla were from one of the early seasons of the Dog Whisperer (or Screamer).

    While I understand why people aren’t thrilled with how he handles dogs, I think this photo is either being taken out of context or was Photoshopped.

    I don’t think for a minute that Cesar is actually flipping off Steve Dale. Again, this dog was from an episode YEARS ago.

  2. … don’t understand – I like Caesar, but I never had a dog with problems .. and if he are right or wrong I leave up the experts. What I have seen from his show – I don’t find him bullying anyone – maybe the owners. Rest my case here.

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