Cesar Millan’s “Junior” is Canine Non Grata in Ontario

The ignoramuses behind Ontario’s Pitbull ban grant exemptions for show dogs but not for Cesar Millan’s dog “Junior” who could actually teach them a thing or two about Pitbull behavior.  Millan is currently on a speaking tour of Canada and his appearances normally include live training demonstrations with Junior.  But when he came to Ontario and requested an exemption for his non-show dog, Ontario’s Attorney General Chris Bentley refused:

Bentley acknowledged that by facing off against such a popular pit bull champion, he could face the wrath of legions of dog owners.

“I’m a dog lover,” he said Wednesday, mentioning his 15-year-old springer spaniel, Clover. “She deserves the same type of protection all of our pets would have.

I wonder if Mr. Bentley is aware that so many Springer owners have reported aggressive behavior in their dogs that a blanket term for the behavior – Springer Rage Syndrome – was coined.  While the name may be a misnomer, the idea of judging an entire breed based on various incidents within that breed should, one would think, ring some kind of bell.

14 thoughts on “Cesar Millan’s “Junior” is Canine Non Grata in Ontario

  1. Admittedly I’m not a Cesar fan, but WHAT THE EFF?!

    You don’t want “Junior” to help people become more aware of their dogs because your springer spaniel is old? I’m missing the connection. He believes this one highly monitored and trained dog will find and demolish his dog, yes? Oy. Just Oy.

  2. I was at the Hamilton show in Ontario (which was great, by the way… if Cesar ever gives up dogs he’s got a career waiting in comedy).

    As you know, we are a hockey country – so he’s been doing his tour in local hockey jerseys, and it just so happens that our local team is the Hamilton Bulldogs (it was great, every sign in the stadium says Go Dogs Go – talk about a perfect venue, lol).

    He brought up Junior and the fact that he couldn’t bring him, and while he truly appeared to hold no animosity towards anyone for it, claiming instead to simply be “respectful” the crowd went NUTS.

    It was one of the biggest responses he got the entire night – a stadium of dog lovers booing our own government.

    I was very, very proud.

  3. Springer Rage is a real, though thankfully rare disorder. It’s ironic that Bentley can keep performing the mental gymnastics needed to defend a ban against short-coated dogs that happen to have a muscular build while he owns a dog of a breed that can inherit a real (and untreatable) disorder that causes terrible, unpredictable aggression.

  4. Springer rage is indeed rare, but nasty, nasty biting springers are, alas, common as dirt.

    Way more common than problematic pit bulls.

    In sixteen years as a trainer, I have never worked with a springer where the presenting issue was NOT aggression. Never.

    I had a springer that I loved very much when I was a child, so this pains me greatly, but it is the truth.

  5. Janen, I do have to correct you slightly.

    Springer Rage has shown some susceptibility to anti-epileptic drugs. Researchers used to believe that this was because Springer Rage was, at its heart, a seizure disorder that manifested as aggressive outbursts.

    However, anti-epileptic drugs are commonly used in conjunction with or in place of anti-psychotic drugs in treatment of mental diseases such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

    While you are certainly correct that Springer Rage is real, rare, inherited, terrible and unpredictable – it is not, in fact, untreatable. While I will concede that treatment is not without risks (frequently these medications lose their effectiveness over time, and if early signs are not noticed the dangers are obvious) the treatment of any aggressive animal is dangerous to the handler.

    1. After many years of living with a dog that had partial seizures I’ll stick with referring to Springer Rage as “untreatable”.

      Fortunately my dog wasn’t aggressive and his seizure activity didn’t present as aggression – but like most cases of epilepsy it also wasn’t 100% treatable.

      Even if medication can reduce episodes to a “minimum” I would not be willing to live with, train, foster or help a client with a dog that was afflicted with any kind of epileptic rage. Springer or not. Once an episode has been triggered there is absolutely nothing you can do to treat that animal. Your only option is to protect yourself, your family, your friends, your other pets and anything else that can get in attack range.

      I love dogs but no one should have to live with that. And IMO it would be (or should be) criminal to subject a minor to it.

      1. I respectfully disagree.

        We not only had an epileptic (ironically enough, the Golden I mentioned) but our rescue along with our sister rescue had a specialty in these hard to place dogs.

        Many of them had aggressive outbursts during seizures, and the vast majority of these dogs went on to be placed (in adult only homes – no epileptic dog was ever placed with children, on that we are in complete agreement) once their epilepsy was under control. Only two had to be euthanized, and only after all other options were exhausted.

        But you missed my point. Springer Rage was always *assumed* to be a seizure disorder because anti-epileptic drugs worked. Most anti-epileptics have the same effects as antipsychotics.

        My belief is that these animals suffer from a mental disorder, and depending on the severity of the case and the response to the medication by the individual animal, there CAN be resolution.

        To say that either Springer Rage or epilepsy is “untreatable” is factually incorrect. I’ve been through it, and I know it can certainly feel that way sometimes, but I’ve also seen dogs go from weekly seizures to seizure free – some with serious medication, some with none at all.

        Nicholas Dodman has actually chronicled numerous cases of “rage syndrome” that were effectively controlled using phenobarbital. In “The Dog Who Loved Too Much” he talked about hooking a Chessie up to an EEG and with stimulation getting “abnormal readings” from the part of the brain responsible for emotions and behaviour. He attributed this to seizure activity although was never able to make a concrete determination.

        I believe he had the right treatment, wrong diagnosis. As I mentioned, what led them to this diagnosis in the first place was the positive response to the medication – at that time I doubt that a veterinary behaviourist had any idea that psychologists were using these same drugs to treat psychotics.

  6. Heather, my own experience with springers as a breed is similar, although I’ve been unable to pinpoint a cause for this – most of the dogs I’ve known have come from working lines.

    When I was growing up most of the handlers around me were getting out of springers for this reason. In fact, this is the reason my first dog was a Golden while many around me had springers and labs (we were beginning to see aggression in field lines of labs as well). Whenever anyone asked me why I chose a Golden I always said it was because I had never heard of one attacking the handler for trying to remove the goose…

  7. Banning something because it might do something makes no SENSE to me.. Ontario is the same province that makes the laws (provincially and federally) lets murder’s walk free and they have proven they will do more than MAYBE cause harm… Goes to show that Ignorance rages widely.. how about educating oneself before banning a breed because you will lose a vote!! I am so sick of this behavior!!!! I am SO glad that I don’t live nor do I ever want to live in an area that allows bad behavior from the humans that created the “stigma” of the breed. Bans the breed and still allows the idiot humans to carry on.

    1. I’m sorry about this, but once again I have to point out a factual inaccuracy.

      Criminal legislation is FEDERAL in Canada, including murder. The provinces have nothing to do with it aside from enforcement.

      While our justice system is imperfect, Ontario actually has the LOWEST murder rate per capita in the entire country. In fact, the homicide rate in Canada per capita is about 1/3 that of the US.

      So yeah, I suppose ignorance does “rage widely”. Next time you’re going to make such an inflammatory comparison, try doing the research to back it up before writing it down and pressing “submit comment.”

      And really, if you want to compare legislation, we have had equal rights for LGBT individuals and couples, including marriage since 2003 in Ontario (the first province to do so) and 2006 throughout the entire country.

      The fact is that the DOLA legislation squeaked by and is a VERY uncharacteristic piece of law for both our province AND our country.

      In FACT, Winnipeg is the ONLY other city in the entire country to ban a breed.

      On the other hand, the entire COUNTRIES of Australia, Bermuda, Ecuador, France, Germany, UK, Ireland, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and Venezuela have breed specific legislation, the overwhelming majority having outright bans on Pit Bulls and other breeds.

      In the US, there are city-based bans in the states of Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

      So tell me, notimpressedwithOntario – where DO you live? Because let me assure you that there are much worse places to live than Ontario. No, I do NOT defend the breed ban in any way, shape, or form. However, I believe that DOLA as a whole was a step in the right direction – the only errors are the pieces of the bill that name or describe breeds or types.

      DOLA was passed because serious dog attacks really were on the rise. We live in a VERY liberal province/country – and one that is not very litigious. The things that serve as discouragement in other countries such as lawsuits just don’t exist here. For example, when I was 8 I had half my face taken off by a dog I knew very well. We were in the yard, I was standing still, and this great dane/lab cross (with his owners present) attacked me from behind on the left side leaving me permanently disfigured.

      We had NO legal recourse. They refused to put the dog down even though they had three small children at home and I was in the hospital. We had to sue. The judge was unable to euthanize the dog because it was the first offense (the dog was euthanized after enough neighbours called and threatened to take matters into their own hands) and we ended up coming out with $10,000 – which barely covered the legal fees, let alone plastic surgery.

      We NEEDED new laws to protect innocent people from irresponsible dog owners. (By the way, I now work with aggressive dogs, so this is NOT a “all dogs who bite should be destroyed” issue)

      After decades of innocent people falling victim to vicious dogs, the people were rabid for some kind of policy change, and a few individuals took it upon themselves to institute laws that fed their own stereotypes and prejudices. The law, I assure you, will be repealed. Things simply move slowly in government.

      For you to suggest that the Ontario government/people choose to ban breeds while allowing criminals to walk free is frankly offensive (along with being factually inaccurate). For you to suggest that we have murderers walking our streets thanks to our justice system (despite the fact that the current murder rate in Canada is about 1/3 of the rate per capita in the US) is highly offensive.

      I apologize for this rambling comment, but as much as I agree that the breed specific sections of DOLA must go as soon as possible, to make that argument using lies just makes those of us who are really trying to reverse the law look utterly ridiculous.

      1. Kim I don’t have time read your entire rant… You should start your own blog.

        But YOU ARE WRONG. Pitt Bulls are also banned in Richmond BC and Coquitlam BC. So before you attempt to write the book on fact checking and claiming only 2 cities in Canada ban breeds.. Perhaps your energy could be put to better use actually helping repeal these laws rather than trying to explain why the gov takes so long to do things.

        look forward to reading your new blog!

      2. Kim you are so full of s**t. All your factual information about murderers and the murder rate in Ontario being the lowest in Canada in complete bulls**t. I don’t care if Canada has a third of the murders that the U.S. has, Canada still allows murderers walk free after very short prison sentences. What does the U.S murder rate have to do with Canada having extremely lenient sentences for murderers? Here is a fact for you – Ontario has a higher murder rate per capita than Quebec, P.E.I, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador. Murderers in Canada are condsidered innocent until proven guilty, the opposite is true for dog owners under your charter violating government in Ontario. Its called reverse onus. They are guilty until proven innocent. Have fun being taxed to death while living under the North Korean government of Ontario. Which, by the way, is also one of the poorest provinces in the country right now. Bye

    2. hehehehe… give that another good try, would ya?

      Not only are there no breed specific bans in Richmond, BC, but they are the first county in Canada to ban the SALE of puppies from retail outlets. Richmond is a LEADER.

      As for Coquitlam, there IS a restriction, meaning that while off the owners property a humanely fitted muzzle be worn. There are no purchase or sale regulation, dogs passing through are welcome as long as they follow local law, and no speuter oridinances have been passed.

      So if you’re complete ok with total BS being passed off as “fact” in defense of breeds that deserve our respect and dedication, that by all means, stick up for someone who can’t do a modicum of research and belittle some who prefers to make a case before presenting a conclusion

      Frankly, without a factually based cased, a “conclusion” is simply your opinion, and it just so happened that a few irresponsible owners and the the assumptions OPINIONS of legislators is what got us in this mess.

      Know who drowned us out?

      Check out notimpressedwithOntario’s post for just a teensie tiny taste.

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