Originally Posted by megra
Millan has received numerous awards from American humane societies and those who judge his work "inhumane" and fret about his methods being based on discipline seem to me to be making the basic human error of not understanding that his methods are led by how dogs treat each other in pack, not by humans trying to force human psychology on dogs, something to which he is very much opposed. Indeed, the very use of the word inhumane exposes the fundamental error of his critics. Dogs don't reward each other to reinforce good behaviour - that is a norm that is expected. They punish lower status dogs for lack of respect. None of the methods he demonstrates on his programme are cruel. Indeed, he emphasises that discipline should never hurt.
There is a very subtle difference between Milan's command and control techniques and Fennell's leadership techniques. Both put the human in the role of "alpha", but that is just about where the similarities end. If you use the right techniques, "discipline" as most people think of it, isn't necessary. The way that an alpha teaches the lesser dogs is through enforcement of the rules of the pack. One very powerful technique that is used is to ignore a lesser dog, or ban them from the pack. Nothing puts a dog in line more quickly than to apply this tactic to an unruly dog.
My nephew has a very aggressive dog and when I met him for the first time, nephew wanted to lock him up. I said no, I'd be OK. I entered his house and immediately ignored his dog. The dog didn't know how to act, and after about 10 minutes, got totally submissive to me and started to lick my hands, trying to get my attention. My nephew told me that he had never seen his dog like that to anyone before, as he usually tried to attack strangers. I sent him Fennell's video to explain how it works. I didn't have to use a collar. I didn't have to use any overpowering commands, and it didn't take me multiple sessions with him. It took me 10 minutes of using the correct behavior on an aggressive dog to show him that I was his leader.
I don't think Milan's techniques are inhumane, but I also don't think they are kind to a dog. And rewarding a dog in a pack is all about acceptance and sharing a space side by side, not handing out treats. That is essential in a pack.
If you haven't studied Fennell, I recommend that you pick up her book, The Dog Listener. My dogs are very well behaved and after adopting one minor tip from her book, they became even better virtually overnight.