Cesar Millan says any dog pulling, tugging to the end of the leash, is in charge. He told Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes:
"If your dog doesn't learn to follow, you'll never have a disciplined pet."
I argue Millan's theory, and I wrote about that in a blog post, Millan's Theory: It's Dog Crap. But I am outside of the White House; I decided to go to the person who ought to know, she's been inside the White House, the Obama family dog trainer herself, Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz.
So, I interviewed her (click here to listen) October 7. This was the first she had heard of Millan's claims. By then, Millan had appeared on several TV shows spouting off about the Obama's lack of leadership with their family pet.
Sylvia-Stasiewicz had every opportunity to growl back at Cesar, but she was restrained - though clearly questioned his "old-fashioned" approach.
She told me the story of how she came to be Bo's trainer, and the techniques she used to train Bo (with the assistance of her African Gray parrot - a funny story). She also described what Bo knows. She maintains the Portuguese Water Dog can walk in a heal - if asked to do so. She also suggests that every time you take a dog out - the dog doesn't need to be in a perfect heal.
I believe Millan is making these statements solely to get media attention, you see, "coincidentally" he has a book which is about to be released. Sylvia-Stasiewicz has a book out, right now, "The Love that Dog Training Program.".And she's not making exploitative statements to sell books. She's also not dishing about the First Family, though she politely answered my questions, She's talking about dog training.
As it happens, "The Love That Dog Training Program" is the best dog training book that's crossed my desk in a very long time. It's easy to follow - with lots images (so you can see what she means). All are modern training methods, implementing today's technology (head halters, clickers), but still offering choices to owners. And everything Sylvia-Stasiewicz suggests is science-based.