Tuesday, 7 May 2013
Episode review - Leader of the Pack, Miles the Street Dog
Wooo it's been a week already!
So, tonights episode doesn't feature a dog from a UK rescue - this time we meet Miles a smallish fluffyish older chap, with a look of a Papillon about him.
He's been a street dog in Italy for a long time and he's a clever boy, he found an American family with three Chihuahuas, who fed and watered him (and presumably got the wound on his right foreleg treated?).. but, they were heading back to the US and couldn't take him with them as they felt three dogs was enough (it is, damn, just call me excessive).
So they contacted Cesar somehow and Miles found his way to Spain to be 'rehabilitated' (spitspit).
We can safely assume that Miles spends a good couple of months at Cesars place before the new potential homes turn up, because the shaved front leg is completely grown back in by the time they film the families working with him.
Miles' only real issue is, he is a little food aggressive - note here, a little - this is a street dog who has had to fend for himself for quite a while, he has damn fine reasons for wanting to keep what he has to himself.
Cesar show's us Miles' aggression to food by putting a bowl of food down for Miles and another old Dachs x type dog. Fairly predictably, Miles has a pop at the other dog and Cesar does the whole neck jabbing tssting routine, 'claiming the food' yadda yadda.
Miles has a good few goes at biting Cesar but, he is a wise old guy and he grasps fairly quickly that Cesar is going to keep on picking this fight so Miles wanders off. I don't think he has learned not to be food aggressive, I think he has learned not to pick that fight, with that man.
Lets meet the people - theres Italian lawyer with his American wife, theres Italian Personal Trainer (I think he did other stuff but he was so quiet I dunno) and HIS English Fiance, and finally theres Eddies family, an english couple and their two children, living in Italy with their ancient terrier Eddie. I like Eddie, just so you know. Eddies my kinda dude.
First challenge - meet Miles loose in a large run, get his interest and then stuff him in a small travel kennel.
Personal Trainer and fiance have a go, they just crouch down and call Miles over and after a bit of sniffing around he goes to see what they want, nothing exciting here, they stuff him in the kennel, all is good.
Italian Law and wife go next - they take the food available and they can't agree on what to do, she wants to reward Miles for approaching them, he doesn't want to.
They split up and she follows Miles around calling him and offering food which eventually he takes an interest in, and she lures him into the kennel.
We are told by the caption on screen here that we should NOT reward a dog when it is offering negative behaviour (??) or the dog will be encouraged to behave that way again.
Cesar does some blathering on about this too, but nothing is clearly explained (like, what do they mean by 'negative behaviour'.. and in any case, Miles was approaching them and saying Hi, surely thats behaviour you like!).
Finally, Eddies family come into the pen and it is revealed, rather vaguely, that Eddie has been known to have a pop at other dogs when on the lead. Hmm, you do surprise me!
They wander about and head over to where Miles is studiously ignoring them and pointedly weeing up some tree branches.
They immediately all crowd round, keeping Eddie on a nice tight leash and fussing Miles, the two dogs trying to sniff and pretty predictably, Eddie has a snark at Miles and Cesar has to run over there and tell them to drop Eddies leash.
Eddie and Miles then do their 'confident terrier types meet one another' routine, you know the one, heads over shoulders ,stiff tails, circling circling, shall I put a paw on your back, ears back, eyes wary, is this play or a fight, i dunno, either one would be fun we are both old terrier chaps after all...'
Cesar at this point trundles out a load of bullshit about them HUGGING each other (both trying to get their heads over each others shoulders), that this is a 'bromance' (Eddie at one point is trying to hump Miles...) and how this is great and they adore one another. Mmm.
Anyway - Italian Law and wife are ditched because they didn't play as a team, and she used food wrongly. Bubye!
Now its back to Personal Trainer and fiance - hes a cat person and really quiet, shes a confident english lass who has had dogs in the past. I already sense that shes really the boss here and I don't think Cesar likes that.
For this challenge, they massage Miles - weirdest kind of massage I ever saw, really scrunching his skin up.
Cesar delivers dollop of bullshit number two here - apparently a dogs hind quarters are comparable to our shoulders (what, in 'made up anatomy 101?') and dogs hold tension there specifically, so you should massage a dogs butt.
Well dogs do tend to like their butts scratched, mainly because its pretty hard to reach for most dogs.
We should also not stroke dogs from shoulder to butt as that excites them, and then Cesar for some reason grabs Miles skin slightly further back than behind his shoulders and seems to PUSH down quite hard - it looks, if you will excuse my language, FUCKING painful, and this is an OLD dog, Miles sort of buckles in the middle and then goes down and Cesar continues to massage his spine (ie, scrunch and grab) whilst talking about dogs pelvises some more (which he is nowhere near..).
This might explain Cesars total inability to read dog body language (except that I think he can and chooses not to)... if he thinks dogs hold their tension in their arses, then of COURSE he is missing ALL the body language in the face, ears, neck and shoulders! Doh, so simple!
Then they take Miles out to a town centre and walk him around making him leave food on the ground (which they do just by walking him past it quickly on a thin slip leash). Then they take him to meet some other old dogs and hes fine, he has some pretty good social skills.
Cesar tells us that street dogs ALWAYS have fantastic social skills... mm. Some do.. some, do not.
Next its Eddies family again and they are going to feed Eddie and Miles together - yay, and we already know Miles has issues with other dogs or people near his food so, heres an AWESOME idea, yes, lets give the approx 10 year old boy the food to give to the dogs!
He does, and actually without a human interfering, its ok... until Eddie tries to take a look in Miles's bowl and then Miles tries to eat out of the bowl of food Eddie has left and Cesar tries to get the Dad to wade in - he half heartedly pushes Miles away and takes the food away but Cesar says thats not good enough.
He brings in the food bowls again and Eddie and Miles - Miles now wise to this game wants nothing to do with it but Eddie, poor sucker, tries to take the food and Cesar gives him a few jerks on the leash and tsst tsst stuff, then the food goes away and they let the dogs loose.
Whilst they are talking, Eddie tries to hump Miles and Miles tells him to sod off by quickly snarking in his direction. Eddie takes this pretty well and Cesar actually correctly explains that its ok, Miles didn't like that and told Eddie so, and Eddie respected it.
Then they take the dogs for a walk and theres some stuff about how Eddie pulls on the lead and Cesar tries to make the Dad walk both dogs and the Dad as enough of Eddie pulling so drops both leashes and walks away. Miles follows and Eddie says 'wow, ALL OF SPAIN, SEE YA' and the Mum has to run after him and get him back! (The shot of Mum running back with Eddie on the leash is pretty funny, you can see that Cesar and the rest of the family are quite a long way away now and I am betting Cesar just said yeah, ignore him, he will come eventually, and Eddie didn't!)
The final decision is, Eddies family get to keep Miles.
Cesar says its clear that Eddie and Miles love each other (Eddies face at this point is like YEAH, RIGHT!) and the two dogs should grow old together.
In the 4 weeks later catch up, Eddie and Miles do seem to be getting on pretty amicably, though Miles still looks stressed (could just be hot) and apparently prefers to sleep under the table and not on his bed. The shot of the family walking them shows that Eddie still pulls on the leash and Miles is as good as gold!
This episode wasn't massively horrific, apart from the negative behaviour thing and the hugging thing - it wasn't nice to see Cesar displaying his horrific methods with resource guarding, again, it is just SO unnecessary and dangerous!
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