Cesar Millan Training Techniques
Cesar Millan always makes a distinction between dog behaviorists (himself) and dog trainers. Whatever label you choose to use, the fact is that dogs respond to classical and operant conditioning.
Simply put, classical conditioning is responsible for involuntary responses, e.g., a dog salivating when dinner is served, while operant conditioning is responsible for voluntary responses, e.g., a dog sitting for a treat.
Behavior modification and dog training are both based on classical and operant conditioning techniques. Operant conditioning techniques can further be divided into reward dog training and aversive dog training.
Here, we focus on four of Cesar Millan's positive or reward-based dog training techniques.
1. Body Blocks
This technique works by taking away space/freedom.
Body blocks can be effectively used to get your dog not to move into a particular space. This space may move as you move. Once your dog moves into the forbidden space, you correct him by body blocking him and getting him to move back.
Note that a body block is just a block. There is no hitting, beating, or poking of the dog.
Body blocks work very well for keeping my dogs from rushing out of doorways. It is also very useful for claiming space when I am sweeping the floor, or when I do not want my dogs crowding me.
Alternatively, you could get your dog to do a stay, which also takes away his space and freedom.
2. Consistent Use of a No-Mark (Tsch Sound) and Follow-Up
This is a general dog training technique for communication.
It is important to be consistent in your communication with your dog so that he does not get confused and stressed.
In addition to obedience commands, there is also a mark, for when your dog is doing something right; and a no-mark, for when your dog is doing something wrong.
Sometimes, trainers have several different marks and no-marks to indicate a degree of rightness and wrongness. A mark need not be verbal. Clickers or other devices (bell, keys) can be used to generate a unique sound to mark or no-mark dog behaviors.
Read More From Pethelpful
Many owners have problems with their dogs because they do not communicate with them (i.e. tell them right from wrong) and because they are not consistent in their communication.
Cesar Millan recommends using a consistent no-mark (the tsch sound) when a dog is misbehaving. If the dog continues to misbehave, it is important to follow up the no-mark with some action (e.g., a body block or time-out) so that the dog understands that there are consequences for ignoring a no-mark.
However, the consequence need not be a physical correction. In fact, the most effective consequences are the ones that take away a valued resource.
For example, if your dog misbehaves with guests, his access to guests gets taken away until he calms down.
3. Use Treats for Putting on a Muzzle
This technique only works if you spend the time necessary to properly condition your dog.
This is one of the few treat/food-based techniques that Cesar Millan uses.
In most cases, Millan is dealing with dogs that already have a very negative association with the muzzle. He cautions his clients not to force the muzzle onto the dogs, but to make it into a positive experience. Millan shows how you can get dogs to put their nose into the muzzle themselves, through the use of dog treats.
This type of counter-conditioning works well, but it requires a fair amount of time. Many weeks or months may be needed to recondition a dog to see the muzzle as a positive object, rather than an uncomfortable restraint that keeps him from opening his mouth.
Unfortunately, Cesar Millan does not have the time to do this properly given the time limitations with his clients. He ends up using a small number of treats (< 10), before forcing the muzzle on.
While it is good that he is trying to introduce such reward-based counter-conditioning methods, it would even be better if he verbally instructed people that this is a long process, which may take weeks or months. Indeed counter-conditioning should be performed slowly and according to the dog's comfort level.
4. No Talk, No Touch, No Eye-Contact
This technique works by taking away attention.
When meeting dogs, Cesar Millan always institutes the no talk, no touch, no eye contact rule. You give the dog no attention until he is in a calm, submissive state, then you can praise him and pet him as a reward for being in that state.
This technique works very well but can be difficult to follow. Most people have a hard time not giving a dog eye contact, especially when the dog is so happy and excited to see them.
After using this technique for a very short time, my dog stopped jumping on family members. He still occasionally jumps on strangers because it is rare to find someone who can follow this rule, especially with a cute, foxy-looking Shiba Inu asking for their attention.
This technique is essentially a time-out lite. In a time-out, you remove a dog to an extremely low stimulus area (e.g., laundry room) and leave him there to calm down. In this way, you take away all of his freedom and all of his external stimuli.
With no talk, no touch, and no eye contact, you are not taking away freedom, or stimuli from the surrounding environment. You are just removing your own attention. This technique is especially effective for dogs that are people-focused and highly motivated by owner attention e.g. the Border Collie.
Holding back attention only works in limited cases for training my Shiba Inu, e.g. when he is actively asking for attention. In most other cases, he is perfectly comfortable entertaining himself, and does not ask for, or particularly desire much human interaction.
A full time-out works very well though, because my Shiba Inu likes being around his pack (line of sight), and having interesting things to see, smell, and do.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2008 shibashake
Anna on April 28, 2020:
Unbelievable how 1 person just says that CM is wrong by owning 1 dog. People, if Cesar was not there to teach ppl and retrain the dogs, then majority of these dogs will be put down, he gives ppl understanding of what keeping a dog entails and how to keep a dog satisfied and content. If you are all so great of trainers, go and try to do what he does.
Stefanie on June 06, 2019:
Y dog bandit is destroying our house we are selling . I've tried scolding , spanking , yelling, no treats, etc . Help my boyfriend is giving up because he just won't listen.
firstname.lastname@example.org on May 13, 2019:
Geez, Cesar has countless years and dog experiences and has his grandfathers behavior techniques as well. This guy looks like he has one dog, a shiba inu. While some say they are challenging, it still one dog. Come back, sir, with your comments and judgements on Cesar, after you gather more experience.....maybe...
Jules on July 26, 2018:
For heaven's sake,the guy has saved the lives of so many dogs who would have been killed. That surely is a wonderful thing! He tries to help. No one is perfect but he tries. Which is awesome!!
KR on April 01, 2017:
Milan is the worst thing to happen in dog training in a long time. As a dog trainer at a shelter, we are contantly trying to fix the problems his training causes. Please do not listen to this man. He follows no science of training, just flooding and fear based training.
2 Acres Dog on February 20, 2017:
This must be a paid advertisement for this "alpha dog theory" throwback. Hie uses dominant training methods which have been overwhelmingly scientifically debunked. The goal is learned helplessness. phobia, fear which manifests into aggression.
A good article, if you like propaganda.
Jean Donaldson, Ian Dunbar are well known. I like the Pack to Basics guy, he's laid back.
suvankar on January 07, 2017:
I am big fan of you. I am from assam
Lisa on November 01, 2016:
I can't understand how the positive training community can be viewed as POSITIVE at all:(
You spend majority of your time ripping and tearing apart anyone who doesn't do it your way!!
Come on people open your eyes!!!
These methods do not work on every dog or situation!
I have seen it personally.
To me when I see a group or a community of cult like believers in a 'one way only system' sinking their teeth in I instantly get a red flag!
They don't have a real leg to stand on so they resort to demolishing anyone in their way. Super sad and makes me LOVE Cesar even more ;-)
Armi from Kuopio, Savo, Finland on February 02, 2016:
This guy is just horrible! I read that he only manipulates the dogs and their health isn't the number one priority when he trains the dogs!!
shibashake (author) on March 20, 2014:
Congratulations on your new puppy. Four paws up for helping out a dog in need.
The no-mark and yes-mark are just ways to communicate with my dog. I use a no-mark to indicate undesirable behaviors and a yes-mark to indicate desirable behaviors. For the mark to have meaning, I must usually follow it up with a consequence. For example, I may follow-up with a yes-mark with food rewards, a favorite game, greater freedom, and more. Similarly, if after a no-mark my dog continues with her bad behavior, then I need to follow it up with a consequence, for example, a timeout.
There are many different types of motivators. What is most effective with my dog will depend on her temperament and the current context. For example, if my dog is biting me because she is seeking attention or play, then standing up and ignoring her may work well because it teaches her that if she bites, then she loses her play-mate.
However, at the same time, I want to teach my dog the "right" behavior. Therefore, in this situation, I may start out by redirecting her onto a toy or giving her an alternative command. If she redirects, then I make sure to reward her really well with her favorite game with the toy. If she does not redirect, then I no-mark and then follow that up with a consequence, e.g. stopping play and withdrawing my attention. If she escalates, then I calmly say timeout and take her to a timeout area. I always try to start small and try to turn the experience into a positive one by teaching her what to do. I only escalate my consequences if my dog escalates her behavior.
I talk more about the "mark" and about consequences here-
For biting, I also do bite inhibition training with my dogs.
Both my Huskies are food motivated, which actually makes them easier to train because I just keep a bunch of kibble in my pocket, and use that to motivate them. However, there are also many other motivators that can come in handy including a favorite game, freedom to the backyard, access to other dogs, access to walks, access to toys, etc. that I can use to motivate them. My Shiba Inu is not as food motivated, so I usually mix things up with him, manage him properly, and time things carefully so that I use my motivators at the right time. For example, he is more motivated by food when he is hungry.
I follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs. They work for all of their food, and also for other things that they want.
To change my dog's behavior, I want to not only discourage undesirable behaviors but also to really reinforce good behaviors. For example, in potty training, when my puppy goes outside, I reward her extremely well with praise, her favorite games, special treats that she only gets for potty success, and more. I make it into a really big deal especially in the beginning. At the same time, I supervise her closely so that I minimize mistakes in the house. If I miss her cues and she starts to go, then I interrupt her and take her outside. In this way, she learns that -
Going inside = Get interrupted and taken outside,
Going outside = Favorite games, favorite treats, fun, and lots of good stuff.
In this way, I make it easy for my puppy to make the right choice.
More on what I do for biting-
This is getting long so let me just quickly summarize-
1. Whenever possible, I use management techniques to set my dogs up for success. I try not to expose them to situations where I know they will resort to bad behavior.
2. I always try to teach my dog what the right behavior is by redirecting her and/or giving an alternative command.
3. I try to stay calm at all times. If I get frustrated, angry, or stressed, my dog will pick up on that, become stressed herself, and act more crazy.
4. I try to always have a plan of action for each of my dog's undesirable behaviors. In this way, I can take decisive action before things escalate.
5. I set up a consistent set of rules and a fixed routine so that my dog understands what to expect from me and what I expect from her in return.
6. I apply motivators based on my dog's temperament and the current context. When possible, I time my motivators so that they are more effective. I make it easy for my dog to choose the right action by applying a very strong positive motivator for the right alternative behavior.
7. I follow the Nothing in Life is Free program. This teaches my dog that she gets what she wants most by doing something for me first. It also teaches her that I am the source of most resources.
I talk a lot more about my training experiences with my dogs on my main site.
Crystal on March 17, 2014:
Thank you so much for the shibashake blog! I have found it really useful. I recently adopted a "husky mix" from the shelter at about 2.5-3 months old. Her name is Laika. She is a beautiful and intelligent dog with a lot of energy and confidence. In many ways, she sounds quite similar to your Shiba Inu.
We spend a lot of time trying to expend her energy (walking, hiking, play dates with other dogs, playing with toys, food toys, etc on a daily basis), and we also spend a lot of time working on obedience and various positive reinforcement strategies. Even with all this, we are struggling to control her tendency to bite during play (and her bite is getting stronger every day) and throw occasional "tantrums" when she doesn't get what she wants (e.g. when we are not playing with her, or if we pick her up to bring her inside when she would prefer to stay outside). A tantrum usually involves biting and snarling. We are very patiently applying all of the suggested strategies, but none of them seem to be working:
1) redirecting to toys - sure, she will happily take the toy. but she will just as happily resume biting us. enjoyment of the toy does not teach her that biting is inappropriate.
2) using a "no" mark (ah, ah, ah!) - she doesn't seem to care, and in some cases it will even cause her to escalate. we definitely don't use any kind of adversives because her immediate reaction is to fight back.
3) standing up and ignoring her - she doesn't care very much. she'll just go find something else to do.
4) putting her in a brief time-out - this certainly upsets her and calms her down. thus far, I can't tell that she is making the link between biting and time out. maybe we just need to keep at it.
She is a highly food motivated dog, but not an affection motivated dog. While she enjoys a belly rub and playing with her toy on your lap, its on her own terms. If you walk up to pet her, she may very well just walk away. She is very independent and strong-willed.
While I completely understand and agree with the positive reinforcement strategies for dog training, there seem to be a couple short comings when it comes to Laika. First, the only positive reward that seems to motivate her is food. She doesn't care about pleasing us. Second, while she seems to understand that she will be rewarded for "good behavior", she is not learning that there is such a thing as "bad behavior". This even extends to her potty training. She certainly seems to understand that we like her to pee outside (she will get a treat!), and she may even prefer to pee outside. But she has no qualms about peeing inside either!
That was a pretty long ramble! Any advice would be much appreciated.
shibashake (author) on February 20, 2014:
With my Shiba Inu, doing dog-to-dog desensitization exercises helped him to stay more calm in the presence of other dogs. I write more about our experiences in the article below.
Desensitization and counter-conditioning may also help with car chasing.
The key with desensitization is to always start small, and in a controlled and safe environment that is low stimulus. In this way, I can keep my dog below threshold so that he is still capable of listening and learning. In outside situations, the environmental challenge is usually too strong, so our dog goes into rear-brained mode right away and is no longer able to learn or respond.
Alexandra on February 13, 2014:
I have a very tame GSD, she is very playful and charming (only 8 months old but also about 80 pounds). In fact, if anything she is a little timid or nervous around new dogs at first. We take her to the dog park at least once a week and she plays with all the playful dogs (and avoids the aggressive or more dominant ones). She also goes to agility class and has no problems doing the activities or getting along with dogs and people. To sum it up she is an amazing dog off leash (in the house very calm, in the yard she never barks, at the dog park gets along with dogs and comes back easily). Unfortunately, on leash she is the worst! When she sees a car coming she goes insane (wants to go and see it) and same with dogs. The few times we have let her approach the dog (with permission of owner) she just sniffs them and wants to play. She is not aggressive but now because she is so big she looks scary (and the more we pull back the worse she looks). We have tried redirecting her, giving her treats for ignoring cars, yanking the leash, etc. It just seems like she enters a different mode and is too stubborn to stop the pulling until she gets what she wants. Has anyone else had this and what did you do? (remember she is not aggressive just strong willed)
D. Lemaire from Arizona on February 09, 2014:
Cesar Millan is a topic of controverse. I watched a few series of hiw show The Dog Whisperer and got out of it what I felt was right. I watched some of Victoria Stilwell's It's The Dog Or Me series and got out of it what I felt was right for me. In general I try to stay as positive as possible with my dog and focus on reward. You can say whatever you want about CM, and I for one definitely don't agree with everything he does. But he is exceptionally good at understanding dog behavior.
Chelsy Curtis on September 17, 2013:
hey i have a question. i love Caesar but i do agree that some of his methods are a bit harsh and some times just don't work on some dogs. my puppy is super sensitive. and i am kind of stuck on how to deal with him. i am not used to a big dog being such a baby. he is a 15 week old boxer. for one when i tell him to lay down he gets really nervous, circles a couple times then rolls over on his back. then when i go to pet him he wiggles everywhere and uses his paws to push off me. i dont know if he is scared or if he is just being a retard. another thing is his potty training. he is really really good if i am in the room. he will ask to go out, but it seems that as soon as he is alone for 2 mins he pees in the house. i dont know how to stop this…. at the moment he is in a crate at night but i would like him to not have to. if i could trust him to hold his pee while i am not in the room…other then that he is a really well behaved puppy. i have never allowed him to pull on the leash from day one so he walks on the leash pretty nicely. he sill jumps up on new people and dogs and wants to lick their face but he is getting better about that. i have a 18 month old daughter that he is great with. he lets her take his toys while he is chewing them and she often times helps him eat is dog food by taking had fulls and feeding them to him while he is trying to eating from the bowl. its really cute because you can tell that he loves it cus his tale never stops.
Willow on September 01, 2013:
Thank you for telling people this stuff does NOT work in the long run. I tried leash jerks for around 4 months or so on my Aussie/Husky gal. Where did it get me? Months behind in training and lost trust!
Frangipanni on February 06, 2013:
I love your hubs on dogs. Thanks for sharing.
Tc on February 03, 2013:
No mention of the damage a leash jerk can cause to the neck and spine of a dog. Often this physical damage will not show up until a few years after the damaging jerk.
shibashake (author) on May 25, 2012:
Glad to hear that the ignoring technique is starting to work.
Another thing that I do is give my dogs an alternative command. For example, when they jump, I no-mark (Ack-ack) to let them know that it is an undesirable behavior. Then I give them something positive to do - e.g. a simple Sit command. If they do the command, then I mark the behavior (Yes) and reward them with my attention and a really fun game.
If they do not, then I fold up my arms and withdraw my attention.
In this way, they not only learn what not to do, but also what *to do*, e.g. do a Sit instead of jump when meeting people.
Hugs to your Sibe. They are an awesome breed and four paws up for helping a Sibe in need. :D
J on May 24, 2012:
Mikkurayne, thanks so much for the tip. Perseverance pays off, after another 2 days of the ignoring technique, she's finally starting to get that jumping and mouthing will not get my attention. Only occasionally during play will she try and mouth, which I will then try the "hold mouth" technique.
mikkurayne on May 23, 2012:
In answer to J's question about the Siberian Husky mouthing and nipping when first coming out to greet...I am a dog trainer and I also have a Siberian as well. She did this same thing. In order to stop her I simply closed her mouth with my hand and said quickly "No Bite" and let go. After a couple times of this she quit. If she from time to time repeats this behavior the "No Bite" correction works every time. The good thing about Siberians is that they are an extremely intelligent breed. I can show my Siberian a new command a few times and she learns it without much repetition. If I don't use that command for months and then call on that command she remembers it. Good luck!
J on May 22, 2012:
I have a 2 year old Husky who I just rescued from the shelter 2 weeks ago. She's already made a lot of progress moving into her new home. However, she has a bad habit of jumping and mouthing/nipping when I initially walk out to see her in the yard. Once I'm out there for a bit, she calms down and is a sweetheart, but I believe she has a hard time controlling the initial excitement of seeing a person. I've tried Cesar's technique of ignoring, no eye contact, "tsch" sound, small push with foot but she just keeps nipping and mouthing more and more aggressively until finally I distract her with something else (treat, toy). Is this a case where this dog would be suited better with redirecting her excitement towards something else or do I continue with the ignoring method. At times I feel it is the ignoring that creates more excitement in her. What do I do?
Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on May 19, 2012:
Thanks for the great hub. Have you tried walking your dog with the Volhard collar? How about a cheap leash from Petsmart (the type with just a single metal ring, without a collar) and keeping it up high, like they do in dog shows? You can not walk a dog with a loose leash but I find they work a lot better than choke chains and "checks", something that will drive a sensitive dog really insane. Keep on writing for us!
Anne from United Kingdom on May 10, 2012:
Hi shibashake. I am a huge cesar fan, but then I am a huge fan of anyone who can get complete control of an animal by just using some common sense, I also idolise Monty Roberts. You seem very knowlegeable about dog training too and have written a great hub.I do agree with you on some of the points made, and I also think you need to have a lot of knowledge before attempting some of the things cesar advises, but to be fair there are warnings before each episode telling people not to try this at home, to get a trainer. I have tried some of cesars techniques myself and yes you can have the dog turning on you in frustration. I know for sure I don´t have his patience or calmness, or his knowledge and maybe you are right, maybe the warning before each episode should be backed up by the man himself. Anyway great article so voting up and following. Good luck with your dog training.
Me on April 21, 2012:
Alpha rolls should NEVER be used. Wrestling a dog to the ground and pinning him there does nothing but induce learned helplessness.
shibashake (author) on February 27, 2012:
One possibility is to desensitize him to people-
Some other methods to stop barking-
Denise on February 25, 2012:
Hi , I have A 3 year old pug and he barks at everyone who comes to my home and even when he hears things outside , what can I do to stop this? Please help
shibashake (author) on February 24, 2012:
Two things that helped with my dog's biting-
1. Bite inhibition training.
2. Teaching him that if he keeps biting, he loses his access to people. If he stops biting, he gets affection and a fun game. This is what I do -
Stu on February 22, 2012:
I should just add, in case this wasn't clear, that he isn't an aggressive dog as such, and his biting is usually relatively "playful", but it's just that I don't want it to escalate to the point where he does start to become more aggressive, so I really want to nip it in the bud now! Many thanks in advance, Stu
Stu on February 22, 2012:
Hi there, great post!! If you don't mind, I'd quite like to ask you some advice... my dog Marley (an 8 month old terrier mix) tends to bite and mouth my wife and myself when he wants to get our attention. We've tried ignoring him but then he just continues to bite us!!... It doesn't actually seem to phase him much at all that we're ignoring him. So at that point we feel like we can't just let him keep biting us, so we either say "no" to him (which tens to lead to him getting a bit agitated and barking at us (even though generally he's really not a barker at all)), or, more recently, after reading one of Cesar Millan's books, I've been trying the body block technique, but all that happens is, again, he gets agitated, and starts biting my feet and legs as I try to invade his personal space, with the bites becoming more vicious as he gets more wound up). Everything my wife and I try just seems to actually make him worse, rather than better, and now we're feeling quite desperate, so any advice you could give me at all would be much appreciated!
shibashake (author) on January 20, 2012:
Yes I agree. The force of the correction is very important as I stated in the article above. It cannot be too hard or too soft. What is the 'right' amount of force is dependent on temperament, past experiences, and a variety of other factors.
In addition to strength of force, it is also important to implement the aversive correction with exactly the right technique, energy, and redirection.
-This is why aversive techniques, especially pain based aversive techniques are risky and difficult to apply properly.
-This is why studies like the one from UPenn show that under the hands of most pet owners, such techniques result in additional behavioral issues, including increased aggression.
-This is also why Cesar Millan says-
"Do not attempt the techniques you are about to see without consulting a professional"
It is arguably the most important message from Millan because it is repeated many times, in every single episode.
Therefore, I choose to take Millan's very good advice and use alternative techniques that are less risky, and also very effective.
Paul on January 20, 2012:
The intensity of the correction should match the intensity of the dog's behaviour at the moment otherwise the dog will not even recognize your disagreement with the unwanted behaviour.
There are also numerous ways to speak to the dog's instincts that remind him that you are leader and not the dog, many of these are subtle.
By choosing to pick out some of Cesar's methods that he uses in certain cases and under certain conditions while ignoring the larger parts of a culture that Cesar insists is necessary to balance the dog then the context of his philosophy can be completely eroded.
shibashake (author) on January 19, 2012:
"Do not attempt the techniques you are about to see without consulting a professional"
Paul on January 19, 2012:
Going back to your comment about leash jerks, they are effective if done properly. The timing is critical, at exactly the time of the intention to walk ahead of the handler becomes apparent. If the dog persists other methods can be mixed in such as curling your foot in front of the dog's chest like a hook and even grabbing the loin near the back leg much like an actual canine pack leader might do with their teeth. You should make sounds to accompany the corrections so that eventually just the sounds will do the job, such as 'hey' or 'shhttt'.
When nothing else works then stopping the dog and making him sit while you go in front again and turn to him, grab the skin on the neck and say 'no' assertively but calm.
Leadership before, during and after the walk both in the home and otherwise are also crucial so the dog sees you as the calm benevolent leader.
shibashake (author) on January 15, 2012:
I am not Cesar Millan. Millan's website is at-
Robin of Cape Cod, Ma. on January 15, 2012:
Hi! First let me say, tyssssm for your help! I have learned so much from your shows an books! Now, I have a big problem , I have raised my morkie 4 a yr. now, w/ my sons 7yr. old pug. They r together 6 days a week sometime. She has become very aggressive towarsd the pug, she will lunge at him, even if I keep their jumbones put away! She now starts fights w/ him biting n grabing the thick side of his neck, n won't let go! He only wants to sleep eat n go for his walks. I have been having my son or husband to help me break them up. She tries to boss him all the time if he walks around the house. I have been walking her more hoping it will get rid of her aggresion.She is more my dog, but we have always everyone interact w/ both dogs. exspecially we're all dog lovers!I do use her crate for her house. she sleeps in their sometimes, chews her bones in their n on our old couch or love seat,I have to put them away when (pedro) our pug, comes over. Now, she has gotten more territorial and wants to fight him more now. I don't want to stop him from coming over ,I think she needs to know her place better, so that might make it worse?How can I fix this! Desperately seeking your advice! TYVM, Robin
shibashake (author) on January 12, 2012:
"Do you reserve this food specifically for teeth-brushing times?"
Yes I do. This makes the food be higher priority because Sephy can't get it any other way.
"would you suggest that i introduce the food/treat before the activity, to make it an incentive? Or just delay feeding her if she puts up a fuss?"
With Sephy, I will brush part of his teeth, and then treat a bit. Then I brush some more, and then he gets a bit more. If I give him the stuff before brushing, he just gets up and walks away when I try to brush his teeth. Now, he only gets the stuff after a bit of brushing, and so on.
If he doesn't let me brush, then I try again later. During his more stubborn periods, Sephy has skipped meals for about 1 day, but that is the longest time he has gone without eating. I wouldn't let him go longer than that, and he has not tested this either. Usually, after some sleep, he is in a better frame of mind.
With nails, I do nail grinding and treat with salmon.
"With Sephy, did you have to address him pulling on the leash? How did you correct this behaviour?"
Yeah, Sephy did pull a fair amount when he was a puppy. I tried a variety of methods with him, but what worked best with Sephy is the 180-turn-around technique.
Consistency was very important with Sephy. Here is more on my leash training experiences-
Sephy also tried many other Shiba-moves during walking including alligator rolls, shiba screaming, and leash biting. I definitely had a big adventure with Sephy during his first year. :D
Hugs to Laika.
NDG on January 11, 2012:
Hello again shibashake-
thanks for all of the useful information. I am just envisioning myself trying to brush Laika's teeth... she would probably start bouncing around, in her usual manner, and think it's a game.
Do you reserve this food specifically for teeth-brushing times? I think this may work well for nail-clipping. would you suggest that i introduce the food/treat before the activity, to make it an incentive? Or just delay feeding her if she puts up a fuss?
Laika is very challenging in most regards... the walk is always interesting since she pulls non-stop. It would be nice to let her walk with a loose lead, but she would be pulling me down the road.
With Sephy, did you have to address him pulling on the leash? How did you correct this behaviour? I'm afraid Laika will eventually get used to pulling me around, and I will have to struggle through each and every walk!
shibashake (author) on January 04, 2012:
Add- Depending on the situation, time-outs also work well on Sephy because he very much likes his freedom. For example, time-outs worked well when I was training him to stop biting on people. In that circumstance, timeouts taught him that if he bites on people, he does not get to play or be with people.
However, it will likely not work as well for teeth brushing, because in that situation, he doesn't really want to be with people. Instead, I time my teeth brushing session at around dinner time, so he is hungry and really wants food.
What works well with Sephy is to make him think he wants to do, what I want him to do. :)
shibashake (author) on January 04, 2012:
My Shiba Inu, Sephy, is also extremely stubborn. He is a lot more stubborn than my two Siberian Huskies.
I have found that if I try to force the issue, he will dig in and get even more stubborn. He is very much a rebel and does not like to bend his will to others. I suppose I can understand that. :)
What has worked best with Shiba Sephy is to use management and passive resistance. For example, I brush his teeth 3 times a week. Sometimes, he doesn't want to brush, which is fine. I just ignore him and give his yummy chicken-cheese to my Sibes while brushing their teeth. This usually gets his attention, and then he will come to me and wait to have his teeth brushed.
If that does not happen, then I just pack up and try again when I am free. He will usually get hungry before then, and come begging, but I ignore him. I will only try again on my schedule. In this way, he learns that if he doesn't want to brush his teeth, then he doesn't get his favorite chicken-cheese food, and has to wait until I have free time.
I have found that Shiba Sephy is very motivated to work when he wants something from me. So I identify the things that he wants most, carefully manage him, and make sure that he only gets things when he works for them. Here is more on my training experiences with Sephy-
shibashake (author) on January 04, 2012:
I don’t train service dogs so I can't be of much help in this area. This site seems to have some useful resources on service dogs -
NDG on January 02, 2012:
I am happy that I came across this site! We have a 9 month old American Akita. Now, whether she is stubborn, intelligent, easily bored or a combination of the three, I'm not sure. What I do know is that she nips at me if I ask a command of her (sit, down, back, etc.) and if she is lucky enough to get off her tie-out, it's challenging to get her back.
Exactly what do you use on your Shiba Inu to 'correct' unwanted behaviour? If Laika (our AA) nips, how can I quickly correct her without being physical? As I've read and experienced, physical touch only worked for a short amount of time.
I have done obedience and clicker training with her, but I feel like ultimately, if she doesn't want to do what we ask of her, she will certainly challenge the request.
If anybody has dealt with this type of behaviour, I am certainly open to new ideas and suggestions.
In terms of exercise, she gets a good hour in the evenings, and maybe a brisk walk before work.
A few ideas that I've come across are getting her a backpack while we're out on walks, or even getting her on the treadmill. I'm not sure what I think about the latter idea just yet, but maybe her behaviour is linked to a lack of exercise that I could address indoors if time or circumstance doesn't permit a walk.
Any ideas would be great! Thanks
janet on January 02, 2012:
hi i want a really good lead for my puppy lone
and i am wanting to traning him for a deaf dog so he can help me
tell me when the phone gose
shibashake (author) on January 02, 2012:
Hmmm, sounds like she may be barking out of excitement.
Some possibilities -
1. Teach her the Quiet command.
2. Ask for an alternative command. E.g. Down.
3. Get her to do something else.
With my dogs, exercising them and taking them out for more walks also helps with excitement barking.
More on dog barking-
Charlene Taylor on December 29, 2011:
Hi, my 11 year old son and i have a gorgeous 20week old Cocker x. She is bright and affectionate but also quiet naughty. She barks at the vacuum, she barks at me when i have a bath, whilst i iron and now she barks whilst i drink. She is supposed to be my sons dog, but she seems to have attached herself to me. Please any advice, her bark is high pitched.
shibashake (author) on December 19, 2011:
1. Nobody argues about calm energy because everyone agrees that calm energy is important in dog training.
2. "Do not attempt the techniques you are about to see without consulting a professional".
Indeed, we should not attempt pain based aversive techniques because they are risky, difficult to implement, lowers a dog's quality of life, and can result in even more behavioral issues.
Much better to use techniques that will not get you bitten.
3. The techniques used *do* matter, even Cesar says so. Some techniques apply pain, some techniques apply stress, some techniques are riskier than others, etc. This is why it is dangerous for your elderly neighbor to perform alpha rolls on a 100lb Rottie.
4. "Cesar makes dogs submit to demonstrate the "possible" not so my elderly neighbor thinks she can dominate my 100 lb Rottie that barks and wakes her up from a nap"
The show sometimes features young children applying various pain-based aversive techniques to bring Rotties, and other large dogs in line. It is certainly "possible" for young children to do these things, but it would be very "risky".
5. "Stubborn means that the dog has reasoning powers, can deliberately and consciously decide to do something other than what the human is asking just to be difficult."
Definition of stubborn - difficult to manage or suppress: a stubborn horse; a stubborn pain.
Definition of spite - a malicious, usually petty, desire to harm, annoy, frustrate, or humiliate another person;
One does not imply the other.
6. "People have long said that breed x or y is one of the most difficult to train. This is also a false statement."
Definition of difficult - not easily or readily done; requiring much labor, skill, or planning to be performed successfully;
I think that everyone agrees that some dogs require more labor and skill to train than others. A dog's size, independence, energy level, etc. all matter. Even Cesar Millan says so.
Fed-up Guest on December 19, 2011:
Sorry, I have to do this to you very well-meaning posters...
The Dog Whisperer opens every segment with "Do not attempt the techniques you are about to see without consulting a professional".
I consulted a professional and learned that Cesar Millan is a very polished correctionist and that it takes a lot of time and practise to get most of his techniques to work consistently.
Cesar uses the techniques that work the fastest for each situation to show the owners and the audience what is possible and that they don't have a dog that can't behave properly.
His singular message is always very clear but no one seems to focus on it in boards like these. Instead, we argue about the merit of techniques, kinds of collars, etc. The message of the Dog Whisperer is that the human is the problem, not the dog.
"Calm and assertive" pack leadership. How this is accomplished doesn't matter. Dog treats, leash corrections, praise, what matters is never giving up and never letting the dog see you have given up before getting the behaviour you have asked for. Calm comes before assertive. I is the most important thing of all and it is somethat that very few people are actually able to bring to a situation with misbehaving dogs.
I know because I have a hard time not getting frustrated with my own dogs, not worrying about having to use the leash to control them, not thinking of how to deal with a problem (that hasn't happened yet) on a walk.
Calm comes before assertive when he says "calm and assertive" but everyone argues over how to be assertive. "Cesar hurts dogs" or "Alpha rolls are dangerous with breed x but not breed y". Sorry, but that is wrong. If you got bit doing this, your intensity was wrong (Calm before assertive) or you came with too much intensity.(Seen by the dog as aggression)
I know this because I have been bitten several times by my dog trying to curb her leash aggression. If I get frustrated and yank on the leash she instantly corrects me. However, a calm me in exactly the same situation can give a gentle tug to the side on the leash, touch her back and she sits instantly and looks at me for what she should do next.
Cesar makes dogs submit to demonstrate the "possible" not so my elderly neighbor thinks she can dominate my 100 lb Rottie that barks and wakes her up from a nap and not so that an angry or frustrated dog owner can make his dog feel attacked by a technique meant to calm a dog.
Another absolutely false statement is that certain dogs or breeds are "stubborn". Stubborn means that the dog has reasoning powers, can deliberately and consciously decide to do something other than what the human is asking just to be difficult. Spite is a human thing, try not to project this onto dogs.
People have long said that breed x or y is one of the most difficult to train. This is also a false statement. Its not "hard" for an experienced sheep farmer to train a border collie. Nor is it "hard" for a duck hunter to train a new spaniel.
I imagine it is more difficult to train my girlfriend's dachsund/shitsu cross to pull a sled for 6 hours per day on those stubby little legs.
And maybe, the hardest part of any of it is to train a dog that uses instinct and learned responses to ignore how absolutely unstable most of us are emotionally from second to second as we live in the past and the future at the same time while our dogs do the best they can to take care of the present since we are not.
shibashake (author) on December 07, 2011:
Colt sounds like a really active Lab. My Sibes are also very energetic and will get into trouble if I let them! :)
Some things that helped with my Sibes -
1. Lots and lots of exercise. They each go on long walks every day and they also play a lot in the house and backyard. I also have an area in the backyard where they can dig. Sometimes I bury things for them to dig up.
Other possibilities for exercise - dog daycare, and group dog walking by a professional walker. I have tried both of these. Daycare is nice because the dog gets supervised play with other dogs all day. The advantage of the group dog walking is that the dogs usually get taken to a nice outdoor park, so there is play with the other dogs as well as a very interesting environment.
2.In terms of manners in the house, I have found that it is a good idea to set up fixed rules and a routine for the dog.
3. In terms of walking, using a head-halti may help with the pulling. I used this briefly with my Siberian, especially when walking her in the park because there were so many distractions. At the same time, however, I continued training her on-leash with a regular collar. After she got better walking with the regular collar, I stopped using the head halti.
There are also some criticisms against the head halti, so I would do some research on it first.
Jk111008 on December 04, 2011:
I have a 2 yr old, unaltered male yellow lab that I got about a year ago and I need help with him! He was crated for 10 hours a day, 7 days a week for the first year of his life in an apartment. That owner had to get rid of him because of consistent barking. Then he went to another home but they had an elderly retriever that he was just entirely too energetic for. So here I am, I have 3 young children and 4 other dogs. My other 4 dogs are not the best behaved but I'm able to manage them. Colt on the other hand, I can't. He weighs about 100lbs so physical force of any kind for me, is out of the question not only because of size but I don't want to instill fear in him. He jumps, barks, knocks the kids over, get on the counter, nips at my hand, pulls while on a leash and also bolts out the door and will not come back until I get in the car and drive to wherever he is and even that only works occasionally. Of course if he sees another animal, a car or person anything I've done is out the window. He's a good dog but it's gotten to the point that my husband is tired of him and is starting to want him gone and the poor dogs had already been bounced around more than he should've been and I'm trying to at all cost avoid that..... Any suggestions?
shibashake (author) on December 04, 2011:
Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy!
Yeah, Shibas can be a handful. Sephy, my Shiba, was a crazy, head-strong, independent, and very stubborn puppy.
In terms of the Shiba scream, what worked best with Sephy is just to ignore him. Most important of all, do not give Shiba any attention when she is screaming.
With Sephy, any type of attention, even negative attention, was a reward. Therefore, responding in any way to a scream, only made him scream more.
Time-outs is another option, but with Sephy, ignoring him was enough. I also make him work for all of his food so that he gets used to working for what he wants. A drag-lead was also very helpful to prevent Shiba from starting a catch-me-if-you-can game.
Here are some of the things that helped with Sephy when he was a puppy-
Holou on December 04, 2011:
Hi Shibashake! I've just found this hub after googling.
I'm in the uk and 3 days ago we picked up our shiba girl Yuki.
I've had collies before and this is my first shiba but i'm really at my wits end and need advice as we cannot get her to settle. The breeder has already housebroken her and so as far as potty routines go shes doing great but she simply will not stop screaming the infamous shiba scream whenever shes unoccupied/not interested in playing, eating or being cuddled. Help!
shibashake (author) on November 28, 2011:
Yeah, you are right. Since the originating study cannot be found, it probably detracts from the argument. Link removed as suggested.
Jesse Carroll on November 28, 2011:
OK, you made sense until you mentioned the "study" about prong collars. Apparently there is no such study. Many, many other training blogs and websites have debunked this. I suggest removing the link to the bogus study.
Shalini Kagal from India on November 08, 2011:
I used to love his show - and watched most of them. True, I could never implement some of the things he recommended but I always got something useful out of every show - and that was good enough for me!
shibashake (author) on November 08, 2011:
"There are so many wrong choices and so few right choices so why not help teach the dog how to be right."
That is a very good point.
In general, it is effective to follow-up a non-mark with a command or with some redirection so that we teach our dogs what *to do* as well as what *not to do*.
In this way, we turn something that started out negatively into a very positive outcome.
Dawes Paws DTC on November 08, 2011:
Cesar Millan creates fear in dogs, he does not understand dogs as he thinks he does and is setting a terrible example for countless dog owners across the globe! i cant wait to see the day the man is booted off tv!
abbyh on November 07, 2011:
The problem with the non marker is that it doesn't tell the dog what you want only that you are doing something wrong (Am I on the wrong side, too far ahead, behind, shouldn't be sniffing that telephone pole, barking at that cat you don't see behind the bush and the list goes on).
There are so many wrong choices and so few right choices so why not help teach the dog how to be right.
Beth on November 06, 2011:
Cesar does use Alpha roles, he does hold dogs down. His methods & theories are all wrong. Fact Dominance does not exist neither does the Alpha male or female they just happen to be the breeding pair.
Dave on October 31, 2011:
the alpha dog roll can be extremely dangerous on the wrong kind of dog. It worked for me on my lab but when I did that on my bull terrier I nearly lost my had as did the dog trainer. The dog now gets aggressive if anyone so much as gently touches his stomach.
shibashake (author) on October 30, 2011:
One of the things that all dog trainers agree on is that it is important to set up consistent rules and routine for our dogs.
Here are some things that may be helpful for puppy obedience -
Here are some of my experiences with puppy biting -
Here are some activities I do with my dogs to drain their hyper energy -
ritche on October 28, 2011:
it's not a comment but i just like to ask if you can help me with my german shepherd dog., he is so very active and the problem is he bites shoes, rugs, ropes etc. etc. in our house., what will i do to change his behaviour., hope you can help me., thanx and more power!!
danjo on October 27, 2011:
ive got american akita named shadow and all of mr milans techniques ave worked up to now with him i hope caesar keeps it coming daniel england uk
justmesuzanne from Texas on October 24, 2011:
Great explanation of Caesar Milan's techniques! Voted up and useful! :)
shibashake (author) on October 19, 2011:
What has worked well with my own dogs is to desensitize them to people -
During the desensitization process, it is important not to let people overwhelm the dog or invade the dog's space. If the dog keeps experiencing scary or negative greetings, he will likely become more and more fearful of people.
Usually I just avoid random greetings with people until my dog has made significant progress with desensitization.
I have tried asking people to ignore the dog (e.g.Cesar Millan's no-talk, no-touch, no-eye-contact), but the no-eye-contact rule especially, seems difficult to follow. For this reason, I have found that it is safer to just keep walking and create neutral experiences for the dog.
In this way, I won't lose any of the positive progress I have made with desensitization.
What seems to work best in such situations is to set my dogs up for success. I only let them do greetings when they are ready for it and with people who know how to properly greet dogs.
Growling at strangers on October 18, 2011:
I have a half three year old half westie/half shchnauzer dog. She is extremely smart and great with commands. She is also great off the leash and good with people she knows. However, when a strangers comes over to pet her, she shows teeth, growls and sometimes nips. She is okay if SHE goes up to them, but not when they try to pet her. She will never go after a person or dog, but just doesn't like to be approached by a stranger. How can I make it okay for strangers to pet her. She's so cute, until she shows her mean teeth! haha
Dr Rockpile from USA on October 04, 2011:
Excellent Hub! I appreciate that it's from first hand knowledge. You sound like a great dog owner.
shibashake (author) on October 02, 2011:
With my own dogs I have a no-furniture rule. Every time they get on furniture, I non-mark them and tell them off. If they get off I reward them. If they don't then I just calmly remove them using their drag-lead (*only* with a flat collar).
Using a lead gives me better control and I don't have to lay hands on my dog.
I also follow the NILIF program with my dogs. I always ask my dogs to do something for me first before giving them anything in return including food, affection, backyard access, etc. This teaches them that to get what they want, they must first do what I want.
abhinav trivedi on September 30, 2011:
hey...i have a 4 months german shepherd...yesterday at night he was sitting at my mother's bed so i asked him to leave the bed and suddenly he started growling at me and grabbing my hand(he ws not actually bitting) but growling,barking hard and grabbing hand....same things he started doin wid my mom when she asked him to leave the bed.....i dont know how to control him and teach him manners dat not to sit at bed....plzzz help meee.....
Rina-chan on September 01, 2011:
It's still a little too early to tell if im having a boy or girl yet but we're hoping for a boy. But it's okay if we have a girl. My youngest daughter has a Japanese name so I will continue with the tradition :). If we have a girl her name will be Kokoro. If we have a boy he will be Kenji. (I'm not Japanese by the way. I'm Filippina lol.)
I would love to stop back soon and let you know how we are progressing with Take-chan's training and behavior. He just got a bunch of new toys to tear into today. No doubt there will be stuffing and and a squeaker hanging out of a gutted, disemboweled rabbit looking thing. LOL! I love watching him do that. Perhaps I'm a bit morbid xD.
In the meantime you and yours take care as well. Ja na!
shibashake (author) on September 01, 2011:
"I have three children with one on the way."
Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! :D Boy or girl?
"When they are grown and out of my house one of my dreams is to have a bigger place where I can be an adoptive pet parent to two or three needy pets who maybe in transition or who need a home."
That sounds awesome!
You will probably be really busy in the short term, but hope you will drop in from time to time. It will also be great to have you here on HP!
I would love to hear more about Take-chan and his pack. :D
shibashake (author) on September 01, 2011:
It would be great to have you on HubPages! I would love to hear more about your dog and dog training experiences.
HubPages has a nice community of writers and I not only learned a lot from the people here but also had some good fun.
Let me know if you have any questions about the site. :)
Shawna Kelly on August 31, 2011:
Hi! Great article - very well written. I come from a similar background where the majority of the training techniques I used were aversive-based. Now I prefer rewards-based training too, and I couldn't agree with you more!
I've been searching for other like-minded folks that can articulate as well as you did the pros/cons with the different training techniques. Thank you! I will probably join hubpages now because of you :)
Rina-chan on August 30, 2011:
And it's true. I think that an independent, loyal and indomitable spirit is what separates the lap dogs from the heroes . . . EVEN in history there are dogs that will never be forgotten for their bravery and spirit. That during times of crisis they didn't look to a man or woman to give them a command but decided for themselves what to do. I've always admired the members of the Spitz breed, in particular, for that. A canine's intelligence is legendary.
Back to the topic, though. Cesar Millan has a show. Like most things on TV, I expect adults to realize its for entertainment purposes. So, if you want to be EDUCATED about all the ways you can train your dog so you can figure out what's best for your dog depending on their breed and personality, common sense tells you to read about them. Talk to dog owners that have the same breed as you. Talk to reputable breeders or even the breeders you got your dog from. Talk to trainers, behaviorists. Most importantly, just simply LISTEN to your dog.
I have three children with one on the way. The new baby will be my last child. When they are grown and out of my house one of my dreams is to have a bigger place where I can be an adoptive pet parent to two or three needy pets who maybe in transition or who need a home. So, I have a feeling my boy Take-chan wont be the last Shiba Inu I'll come across. :)
shibashake (author) on August 30, 2011:
I think you make a very good point. The Shiba Inu has a quirky and interesting personality that can be difficult to handle. This Dogs 101 episode characterize Shiba Inus as "one of the most difficult breeds to train".
Some people think that difficult and stubborn dogs can only do well under pain-based aversive training and dominance techniques. As you said so well in your comment, this is simply not true. In fact, they respond much better to reward training, which also protects their independen