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Cesar Millan (born August 27, 1969) is a Mexican-American dog trainer renowned for training aggressive dogs (and not just pit bulls), and for hosting the popular Dog Puncher television show.
Millan's Dog Psychology Center espouses therapy based on the alpha-male concept of dog society, in which the trainer must establish that he is the top dog in the pound. He does so with whips and spiked leather bracelets, and with a thoroughly professional manner, except for any necessary growling and baring of teeth and the occasional necessity of pretending to mount his protegé in order to drive home a point.
"My goal in rehabilitating dogs and training people is to create balanced relationships," Millan has said, between suicide attempts.
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Millan has set his technique down in books, including Cesar's Way or the Highway, which are available in 15 countries. Simple arithmetic suggests that that leaves 65 countries where one cannot read the book but must simply turn on the TV and look at the pictures.
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In turn, Millan's views of the need to show an adversary who is the alpha-male have informed American foreign policy. Every couple of years, the U.S. picks a foreign country and employs the strategy of, "bomb a little, hold up, and see if they have gotten the message," though technically, this began in Vietnam, which never did.
Millan's technique is not without detractors. A critical article in the Indian scientific journal Will You Take Science, Please? says that other dog trainers find Millan's methods "unscientific and inhumane" and says that the canine reaction that Millan calls "calm submission" is actually terrified paralysis.
TV host Alan Titchmarsh — he pronounces it Titmouse when sober — called Millan's methods "cruel" and "unnecessary", citing a video where Millan punched a dog in the throat. Millan called it a gentle touch, not a punch; and clarified that he was removing an apparent thistle burr from the dog's neck, at a time when he just happened to be holding an electric cattle-prod.
Millan's defenders (who currently do not include ex-wife Ilusión) reply that there are many gentler phases of dog training, but these — including footage where Millan invites his canines to strike him back — are usually left on the cutting-room floor because of the demands of time.
In 2016, over a thousand dogs filed suit against Millan, charging the intentional infliction of stress and emotional harm as a result of his training regimen. The suit was filed before Judge Lance Ito, who certified that, as the plaintiffs and mastiffs were similarly situated, it met the requirements for a "crass action" under U.S. raw.
The case will go directly to the notorious Ninth Circus, based in San Francisco. The trial was assigned to presiding Judge P.T. Barnum, Esq., but there are already motions to hear the case en banc, that is, not in a bank but in front of the entire circus. Most of the judges are active furries and wish to hear the case in their favorite carnivore suits. The judges will counter any possible appearance of conflict of interests by also lining up to get autographs from the defendant.