Today, I went on the New York Times website expecting to see an article on the home page about Obama perhaps, or maybe even something about health care. Instead, a little boy peered up at me from a photo, with his parents and their dog standing in the background. The caption underneath read, “ Parents are Borrowing from Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer: Becoming the Alpha Dog in Your Own Home.” This headline disturbed and intrigued me, so I clicked on it and continued reading. For those of you who don’t know, Cesar Millan is a self-proclaimed Dog Whisperer who has his own television show in which he explains to dog owners his central idea: “dogs take their cues from their masters, and misbehave only when the masters fail to carry themselves, in body language and tone of voice, like pack leaders.”
The article suggests that parents are now using these domesticating techniques on their children as a way for kids, like dogs, to understand the hierarchy of the familial grouping. Now, I do not disapprove of structure in a child’s life, however, I have a really big problem with kids being domesticated like dogs with the same techniques used to train dogs. Maybe it is because I am a kid and I don’t know what my life would have been like without the craziness that comes with being little and not having many restraints. Regardless of what Millan’s theory is of training dogs, I do not believe children should be trained so explicitly. To me it is the same thing as when I see kids running around the mall on a leash. It is disturbing and unnatural. It may work for dogs, but humans are not meant to be on leashes no matter how animalistic they may be.