Afternoon TV viewers were in for a bit of a shock yesterday if they thought they were in for a spot of soft daytime televisual pleasure. For our favourite armchair horticultural expert Alan Titchmarsh was on his high horse when he attempted to interview the expert in dog welfare – Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan, on how he rehabilitates ill mannered dogs on his highly successful programme in the US. Titchmarsh did not such much interview Cesar, but more assassinate his guest, as he grilled the amiable Mexican on his techniques when dealing with red zone cases. Some people called into the show and complained that his methods were barbaric, but as a life long viewer of the Dog Whisperer, I can categorically tell you all that Cesar Millan has never abused a dog in his life, and his methods are humane, and not barbaric in the slightest. Cesar never uses spikes, electric shocks, he has never physically attacked a dog on his programme nor would he allow his staff to do so. So where these accusations are coming from I have no idea.
Cesar Millan has a natural instinct when it comes to dealing with dogs and he uses this when understanding whether a dog is aggressive or anxious and utilises the best approach necessary. For Titchmarsh to say that he has seen Cesar punch a dog in the throat is simply not true. I must have watched over a hundred episodes of the Dog Whisperer and I have never ever seen this happen, nor have I seen any form of violence occur in any one of his programmes, if there had have been there would have been a national outcry! It simply would not have been allowed to happen, and it is ridiculous to suggest that this sort of thing happens as a form of behavioral treatment.
In his afternoon programme, Titchmarsh showed no knowledge at all as he grilled his guest Cesar Millan on the ‘totally unacceptable’ way that he trains dogs. This caused members of the public who must have then believed what he was saying as the truth, without having seen the Dog Whisperer for themselves, to call in and ask for the show to be cancelled because of Millan’s ‘barbaric’ methods.
Titchmarsh told Millan: ‘You punish dogs, you hit them. I’ve seen you punch a dog in the throat to get it to behave and to most people, like myself, I would say that is totally unacceptable as a way of training a dog.’An unsettled Millan replied: ‘Well obviously I would respectfully disagree with that. It’s not a punch, it’s a touch.’Titchmarsh countered: ‘I watched the video of it and if somebody touched me like that I would be hurt. You went for the throat and you punched the dog back and the dog bit you and held on to your hand.
‘Having watched a lot of boxing matches it looked like something Henry Cooper would deliver.’
Millan again insisted that it was nothing more than a touch. ‘But you also work with electric shocks and collars and spikes on collars that really hurt them,’ continued Titchmarsh.
‘You know, this is pretty barbaric treatment. What’s your reasoning for treating dogs like this?’
Millan insisted that his methods were simply used to ‘snap the (dog’s) brain out of it’.
But after the show opinion was split over whether Titchmarsh was too ‘abusive’ to his guest. People that know about Cesar’s great reputation then took to twitter to vent their disgust at Titchmarsh’s complete lack of research into his guest, saying:
@iChristianMark: Alan titchmarsh clearly has no idea what he’s talking about. Cesar Milan has so much respect and affection for dogs.@JenLant: Shocked to see how Alan Titchmarsh treated @cesarmillan on his tv show. Cesar is nothing but professional and works well with dogs.
@floatygoat: Alan Titchmarsh interviewing Cesar Milan was so frustrating. Less of an interview, more of a series of stupid accusations.
@kjvjude113: Titchmarsh was a complete a***
@bigGstacey: very frustrating, the guys has clearly never watched dog whisperer…. I wana punch titchmarsh now. #mynanwillhateme
@ShelleyWolfson: Appalling treatment by Alan Titchmarsh on @ITV of @cesarmillan. Where is your evidence? I have seen nothing but good from Cesar.