Cesar Millan doesn’t suck

Hi All
We ordered a couple of training collars from Cesar Millan’s website back on October 1st this year.  They were NOT cheap just on $120 with postage for 2 bits of nylon that probably weigh not much more than 50g total and that probably cost Cesar about tree fiddy from China. You need a bit of information about the desperation of 2 penniless hippy students to get them to part with this considerable sum of money on the off chance that they might work. American Staffordshire Terriers are a fantastic breed of dog. They are big, bouncy, amazingly friendly, loyal, intelligent dogs and we have two prime specimens. They have such a bad name, not because they regularly hunt out and scoff people’s babies, but because the people that like the big muscular looking dogs are loser wankers who want to affect a specific tattooed, snarling dog look and that drag this most misrepresented of breeds down into the gutter with them. You lay down with wankers, you get up with a bullet in the head and they walk away with a slap on the wrist and go and buy another poor Am staff/pit-bull and train it to fight. Stop blaming the dog people, start dealing with the problem, the idiots that are doing this to them. All that aside, they are NOT easy dogs to walk. They have a low centre of gravity and necks like bulls and that gives them amazing pulling power. Walking an excited American Staffy is like trying to wrangle a tank. Everything excites dogs and unless you can exert your will and yourself in general over them, you have bucklies own chance of getting them to even pay attention to you, let alone stop dragging you down the street like a rag doll. The problem is that they stop thinking and start sniffing and once the nose is on the go, you can forget about getting that brain back into gear until whatever it is that they are sniffing loses interest OR you are able to remove said noses from that smell.

The Illusion collars are designed for these types of dog. They are designed to sit high up on the dog’s neck and allow the person being dragged along behind them to get their attention when they give a tug on the lead. A dogs head will follow the lead ONLY when the collar is up in the right position around the top part of their neck. If it’s down low on their neck, they just see it as a challenge to pull harder and it would be amusing to see if it were not so incredibly frustrating to be on the end of the lead when an Am staff starts powering down the road in 10th gear and their poor hapless owners are heels into the gravel being dragged along by sheer pulling power. This alone makes other people walking by scared, apart from the poor dog’s reputation in the news. Our boys love everyone. They want to jump up and kiss everyone. Everyone (apart from people in the know, and they are few and far between) thinks that our boys are trying to rip out their jugulars, when they are actually saying “Hi there, its Emo Dog and El Chupacabra and we are very excited to see you and we are SUCH amazing dogs that we would like to jump up, give you a kiss and let you pat us and bask in our amazingness…” we need to show people that our boys can be well mannered and gain back respect in the community for this breed and so we need to teach them to walk well on the lead first up and this is where the illusion collars come in.  We figured that if they could help us walk Emo dog and El Chupacabra more effectively, that they would be worth every cent that we paid. We knew that it would take a while to get these collars but after a month we took our tracking number that we got with the confirmation email that the collars had been sent, and we went hunting…we found that they had been posted but that they had not yet reached Australia as after entering the tracking number into the Australia Post website, it came up with a big blank. After 4 weeks you would think that a parcel would be here so I sent a polite email to the site asking for them to look into it. I didn’t hear back and after another week (now 5 weeks on) I sent an email saying that if I hadn’t heard from ‘someone’ regarding this matter that I would have to assume that this matter was not being dealt with and issue a chargeback on my credit card (thankyou Stewart for that most useful piece of information). Now I would like to think that someone was looking into my complaint BEFORE I brought up the possibility of issuing a chargeback to my bank account. I got a letter yesterday saying that the website would send me out some more collars immediately. Fantastic! A great situation for me and Cesar is only out tree fiddy for the lost collars. Someone out there decided that they might like to try some illusion collars on their dogs. Most probably someone involved in the USPS as there are so very many of them being fired regularly for pinching interesting parcels, but either way, we are going to get the collars that we bought and paid for well over a month ago without having to fight it through the banking system and that makes me very happy. This process must be rorted regularly by unscrupulous people out there claiming that they didn’t pay for something, got ripped off etc. in our case, it has allowed us to get what we are rightfully owed. Justice system 1, empty bank balance nil!

This is an illustration of an American Stafforshire Terrier wearing an illusion collar. We chose this colour for Bezial, and Earl is getting a black one.

Here’s what Steve has to put up with lately when he is walking both dogs because my knee won’t allow me to be dragged behind my chosen tractor (Bezial)…

This is a good cartoon representation of what Earl does. He is highly excited on his walks and just wants to drag and sniff EVERYTHING.

Now Bezial…

As you can see…when Earl pulls out the front, and Bezial ‘resists’ its not going to be a very pleasant walk for Steve!

We are aiming for this…

This is Mr. Nigel-Reed-dog-behaviourist-London apparently. He appears to be walking 2 wolves. I don’t know how he got hold of 2 wolves that would be somewhat out of their natural habitat in London, and next, I have no idea how he got those 2 wolves to walk on a loose lead next to him. I would imagine it would involve some sort of stun gun or brain implant. Either way, well done Mr. Nigel-Reed-dog-behaviourist-London. I doubt that we will get such good results as these, but to be able to walk the dogs without flying out behind them and if we don’t have to come back from our daily walks feeling like we have entered an Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling competition and lost…badly it will be an amazing accomplishment for both the boys and for us.

That brings me back to my title for my post today. We have always liked what we saw with Cesar Millan and regularly watched his show. An hilarious episode of South Park had him working on Cartman. If you haven’t seen that episode, go watch it on youtube, it’s hilarious…I will wait here…I promise…go watch it…back now? Ok, good wasn’t it :o) (just smile and nod and pretend that you went. It’s easier that way I promise you…). Cesar has more than his fair share of detractors. Some of them doggy do-gooders who want you to put your dog first at all times and forget that you ever had a life before you got your dog. You know the sort, “walk your dog at least 100km a day or he won’t get the stimulation that he needs” and “never give your dog any food that you haven’t paid over $120 for a 10kg sack of specialist dry grub”…those sort of unrealistic people who would have a blind fit if they saw how most third world dogs live every day. The others are just plain old jealous of him because he has been so successful. Coming from being a Mexican migrant who couldn’t even speak English to where he is today just goes to show that he is doing something right (or he has excellent PR people…) and there are more than enough nay-sayers out there that will yell up a storm if they think that someone else is taking away any of their potential clients/profits by any means. Who cares if what he does works (in their minds), it’s not what they are advocating so it must be bampf! Anyway, thankyou Cesar for re-sending our tree fiddy collars. We will use them daily, we will think of you should we EVER get Earl to stop pulling forwards and Bezial from dragging back and both of them walking parallel to each other and we will offer up a little prayer to God to say thank you for allowing you to rise up through the ranks of dog trainers and for giving us a chance to actually enjoy walking with our tractors. To these 2 Hill Williams from outer Sidmouth Tasmania, you most definitely do NOT suck :o)

A meal of cooked brown rice, tinned chopped tomatoes, a can of borlotti beans and some veggie stock powder most definitely DOES suck. I tried to make something ‘interesting’ last night. I combined said items and put them into the warming oven to heat through while we were making our bread. I took it out after I had eaten a few slices of that cheese, onion and potato pie and just stood there looking at the most unappetising mass. At least it was a hot mass, but that won’t get me to eat it and I am NOT fussy! I just threw it over the deck in the vain hope that Yin would bring his girls and remove the stain on my cooking repertoire. Not only did he not eat it, but he ran away from it. I don’t blame him. It looked a whole lot like Steve and I had tied one on last night and threw up over the deck. At least the sparrows are not fussy…ech! I am getting a bit bored with steamed veggies. I love them, but like anything else, if you only eat something exclusively, it loses its edge very quickly. Steve says that he could eat cheese sandwiches forever and never stop loving them. I don’t know whether to be sceptical or jealous at that one! I have a sneaking suspicion that even the delights of cheese sandwiches would wear thin after having them day in, day out. Steve is very armament that they won’t. It’s supposed to be 23C today (your days are numbered weathermen) but it’s cold enough for us to be lighting the wood fire. I love being able to change the feeling of our house by simply lighting a fire and getting all the benefits of hot water, free cooking and ambiance (oh yeh, and clothes drying if Earl stops dragging the clothes off to lay on them that is…). It makes my frugal heart sing and goes a long way to making me feel less guilty for spending a small fortune on this stove. I guess nothing that is worth it is cheap, and if it IS cheap, there should be some ‘splainin to do’ before you purchase said ‘cheap’ item or more fool you when the police come around to take it back to its rightful owner or your Chinese import fake falls apart.

I have some more expensive wants on my list. I would like a large water tank to collect rainwater for our use and I would like some solar panels to collect free electricity (to be fed back into the grid and stored as credits would be the ultimate revenge on the greedy overpriced electricity providers). We will get these one day as they are most probably going to be something that everyone has to have at some time in the future when the price of electricity and water skyrocket through the roof and become luxuries to those of us not in the upper middle class working brackets. We have planned as best we can to try to minimise bills that are heading to the moon. We are so lucky not to have any debts at this stage in our lives and need to keep it that way because the odds of ever finding gainful, let alone well paid work in our neck of the woods is slim and next to none. We are most pragmatic about that. We realise that there are a lot of people out there looking for work and most of them have debts, families and are having trouble making ends meet. We are incredibly lucky to be in the position that we are in. It’s not easy being a student and trying to make ends meet on the lowest centrelink payments that 2 people can get but we are most grateful that we are still getting payments at all. While I am on the subject of Centrelink payments, can anyone enlighten me as to why students get less per fortnight than unemployed people? You would think that students are out there trying to advance themselves and get better job opportunities and that the government would want people to do this, but there is no incentive to get off your bum when you are unemployed and go back to better yourself. It’s simply not worth it. I get $70 a fortnight less than each of my unemployed daughters. I don’t get any of my studies paid for but I do get a capped fee. If I was unemployed I would be a burden on society. My chances of finding a job (even at my age) go up with every qualification that I get. If I want to start a business (the most likely chance for me to re-enter the workforce in Tasmania), my chances start to look almost likely because we have all of the qualifications needed to start our own business and run every facet of it, including doing our own accounts. I guess what I am trying to say is that the government should stop putting people in the too hard basket and just doling out handouts. I will be the first to admit that the handouts that they are doling out equate to making someone live on $32 a day which is barely subsistence and anyone out there saying that people are sitting on their bums doing nothing and getting paid handsomely to do so, have a go at living on $32 a day and then come back to me and tell me what a life of Reilly it is because I can’t for the life of me see why someone would choose this over a well-paid job.

Even if Steve and I never manage to find a job, we are learning all sorts of life skills and ways to make our money stretch to its maximum while being able to share what we are learning around. I think that if the government wanted to deal with the spiralling unemployment rates, that they should first take a long hard and most importantly HONEST look at how many of us are hiding behind studies, disability and other labels that are really just unemployed because when you factor all of us into the equation, there’s a fair few of us ‘unemployed’ out here. After you recover from your heart attack because you now know that you have BUCKLIES AND NONE chance of getting re-elected at the next election (and that is coming from someone that votes labour!), how about telling the waiting electorate that you realise that there are some people out there that are just never going to get jobs. There are some people out there who are not suited to working with people. Those people that fall through the cracks in society and who end up battered and bruised going through the ‘employment agencies’ that are effectively just churning out figures so that they can get paid. After you admit that a certain percentage of the population is simply unemployable, give them the option of getting their payments and doing community work for these payments. I am not talking about work for the dole; I am talking about people actively choosing to do some form of work for their payments. Not to be exploited, but to volunteer thus saving the community lots of money. Then you free up the remaining jobs and people that actually want to work and even up the odds a bit. You won’t be forcing 60 year old men to go up against 17 year old boys for jobs. You won’t be forcing disabled people out into the job market unless they want to be there. You can get rid of all sorts of excessive public servants who exist only to deal with all of the problems that the enormous machine called “Social Welfare” creates and save what could be a not inconsiderable sum. You will be in a win-win situation. If you want to work, there’s a better chance that you will get work. The government is already paying people who don’t want to work; now you give them the option of doing something that they actually want to do (volunteer of course) rather than forcing them into working in op shops as slave labour. Perhaps there could be a feasibility study into creating all sorts of volunteer positions in all sorts of industries. If the people that want to remain out of the workforce were not treated as bludgers, but were seen as valuable volunteers saving Australia millions, that would go a long way towards restructuring the hopelessness that is starting to become part of large populations of society that come from welfare families, live in welfare families and are giving birth to children that will never know any different. Yes there are people ripping off the system. There always will be but if you give people choices that make them feel valued, if you set up a system to educate these people to give them skills to perform these volunteer positions, if you allow people to choose to opt out of the workforce without the only alternative being becoming “Fregans” who have to skip dive, then you can start to stop lying about the state of unemployment and start to do something positive that will actually work. Maybe I should run for parliament? I am most certainly opinionated enough! I don’t think that I will because my skeletons in my closet are nowhere near as bad as my temper is and I couldn’t see myself playing nice with smug, overpaid politicians any day soon…

It’s still quite cold outside and the fire is starting to warm the house. It’s great that we have all sorts of heat shields to close and put down should we want to use the fire in summer. We tested it out, and when the fire is lit and kept on a low heat (like if it was just ticking over to give us hot water) with all the shields closed there is very little variance in the room temperature than when the fire is not lit. That means that we can light the fire for hot water without compromising our comfort inside when it’s hot. We have plans to build a wood fired pizza oven. We are going to customise it so that we can have both a wood fired pizza oven, a bbq built in and a conventional wood oven all built in to this external unit along with the ability to heat water as they heat up. It’s going to be interesting to see how we manage this. We also want to build a low chimney that we can smoke food over as well (as seen on a Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall program not so long ago) so that we can externalise our cooking through the hotter months at minimal cost. Once we get our veggie garden established and up and running, we should be able to grow most of our own vegetables because we plan on having a large area set aside for growing them. It goes a small way towards trying to get a little bit of control back from the supermarkets. I eat a lot of frozen veggies at the moment and only 2 nights ago I watched a program about how most of the vegetables that I was eating had been routed through New Zealand from China where production is not monitored and where the use of chemicals that are no longer allowed in Australia are freely available and utilised. I don’t want to put my health into the hands of people that might be using these products. I want to grow my own food and know where it is coming from and that is why people are racing out and trying to grow their own food. That plus the prices that supermarkets put on everything. Have I ranted enough in this post? It was mainly to thank Cesar Millan for not ripping us off and for giving us back a little bit of faith that there are people out there with a shred of human ethics, but it seems to have dissolved into my observations about the world. There is no doubt that it’s a different world to what it was when we were kids, but that’s what every generation says. Every day comes with new challenges and also with new delights. I am just amazingly glad to still be here to be living it! :o)

I just wanted to share these pictures that my daughter put on her blog. If you want to see the rest of the photos, you can go to her blog. I can’t put my daughters photo’s on my blog as I dare say they wouldn’t like me making that decision without asking them (see…I am learning girls!) but I CAN put my picture on here. I figure I have a future as Kid Rock’s double/stunt person. I just have to get myself some sort of fitness so that I can perform feats of ‘daring-do’. That was a pretty short career wasn’t it? :o).

And I appear to be getting into character as “A magician” by trying to prestidigitate those cufflinks in this next photo…

Ok, we are finalising everything that we have to hand into sensei Nick on Friday. This course hasn’t been easy. What was the hardest part about it was reaching the highest standards that we could and then adding another 15% on top of those standards to achieve the minimum standards of sensei Nick. He is a hard man to please, and we are stubborn people so his high standards force us to rise above his challenging demands. It’s been an ‘interesting’ learning curve working on this Diploma. At times my temper met up with my stubborn nature and I didn’t know whether or not to toss it in or exceed my comfort zone to the max, just to show sensei Nick that he really shouldn’t underestimate people. I think that we have shown him that you can’t pick someone that is going to finish a course by first impressions. I remember when we first talked to sensei Nick about doing our Diploma. I guess a lot of people think that they can just hop straight into their Diploma of Horticulture from Certificate 3 and that it will be a doddle. We have been told numerous times by people that have attempted this course, and had difficulties, that it’s really hard. They weren’t joking! It’s been a case of 2 heads are better than one and having each other to bolster the other one when we were not quite sure what we were doing, and also the fact that we both excel in different areas, meant that we were able to work together and pull ourselves screaming and kicking through this course. I think that our ability to work alone and to not need a lot of help gave us a massive edge. We love studying from home. It gives us a degree of freedom that you just don’t get when you have to attend classes. We study when we want, we do what we want and we are good at setting aside enough time to accomplish what we need to, to fulfil our requirements. It’s all about organisation and I have said this time and time again when speaking to classes at the Alanvale Polytechnic.

When you get to our age, you study because you want to, not because you’re forced to. That’s why mature aged students tend to do better than students straight out of school. I can’t say that it’s been all roses, but it’s been a lot more interesting than I thought that it would be. It’s also been a great spring board for Steve and I to make choices about what we want to do next. We are going to be undertaking our Diploma in Landscape Design next and after that, we are contemplating going to university to attempt a degree in Landscape Architecture. I wonder if sense Nick would have bet money on us coming this far, let alone going further? I can’t blame you Nick. I would imagine that you get a lot of people unable to make the leap between cert 3 and Diploma. We are just amazingly lucky that fate pushed us into business and finance before we were able to do horticulture and inadvertently enabled us to succeed where we might otherwise have failed. To be honest, Steve and I are too stubborn to fail and would have kept going even if we didn’t know what we were doing. We don’t like to give in. That’s where working from home is good because if we get stuck into something, we often work on that for as long as it takes. Not having to worry about anyone else, apart from the boys, out here, also gives us the ability to structure our days around what we want to accomplish. This gives us a degree of flexibility that gives us the greatest chance of success with our studies. Sometimes you just have to take what fate hands you and run with it. We seem to be being pushed in this direction, so who are we to deny fate? How’s that? You get political ranting’s, you get gardening, you get the odd recipe, you get information about our lives AND you get philosophy! You can’t ask for more than that apart from perhaps the winning lotto numbers. But if we knew them, we would most probably put our own lotto ticket on folks. Sorry if that sounds selfish, but we would give you all a share :o)


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pinky
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 11:08:33

    I LOVE Cesare Milan. If his collars can tame your hounds then they will be worth every peso! By tame, I mean for them to see YOU as head of the pack and do what they are told on your walks in the wilds. Remember the wolves in the picture you posted? I actually thought they looked a tad dazed, like they were looking at him going ” i dont recall agreeing to not eat this meat on two legs”.


  2. narf77
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 11:21:10

    Yeh, we are just glad that we are GETTING the collars and that we don’t have to fight it through our banks. All kudos to Stewart for telling us about chargebacks and their amazing ability to jog someones mind into doing the right thing :o). I agree with you about the meat on two legs. He looks pretty skinny though, perhaps he promised the wolves a snack on the run and they are on the look out for an overweight businessman?


  3. Mum.
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 13:06:04

    Maybe they’re asking when do they find a decent snack with a bit of fat on? I reckon some of those collars would be just the shot on some of our disaffected youth who like to go around bashing up old people too ! I hope you get the copllars this time, & they work well. Good luck with sensai Nick!


  4. Kym
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 18:43:33

    Well I agree with you about Cesar Millan, he has certainly helped me with my own doggies. I love them to death but sometimes Toby, the poodle maltese cross, can be a yappy dog. It’s the poodle part of him. I won’t get a poodle cross again, they are just too flighty and yippy and anything else that ends with y! He has improved out of sight since I have used the “Cesar” strategies on him. You still can’t get anywhere near my house without him letting us know, which is rather good, but now I can get him to shut the hell up once I acknowledge the fact that he is the best watch dog in the world. I can now say that I own my front door lol. If you have watched Cesar you will know what I mean. I have also used a rather long piece of wood when I walk to put in front of my sweet little ones just to remind them that they need to be next to me and that worked well. Maybe you could try that one too
    Fran??? Not sure if it will work unless you have one hand free :)…. Anyway thanks for the advice on the citrus. Bruce and I will be going for a drive this weekend to pick up some horsey poo and I will try the potash stuff. I would love to come over and see you guys. The photos are terrific. Bruce is a handy man type too and it has saved us heaps over the years. The last school holidays he finished our kitchen and it looks great. I will send you some photos, once I can find the recharger that Daniel used and definitely put back, choke choke…. Take care x


    • narf77
      Nov 09, 2011 @ 19:01:17

      Hi Kymmy, Earl loves sticks, but not for discipline, mainly for dinner. The problem that we have is that our boys are big sods and as such, tend to think that they can shove their way out of doing what they are told. Earl has only just learned to shake hands for a treat. Its not because he is stupid, but simply because he thinks that he can just wait and eventually I will give it to him. We have to constantly watch what we are doing and adjust it to suit. Its like having smart kids. I already did that once, I should be able to relax now, but we have 2 manipulative dogs that constantly complete with each other. Its like having my kids all over again! Good luck with the dung and the potash. We sound like we are mixing up magic brews! Don’t throw in eye of newt though, those little suckers are expensive in the pet shops!


  5. Kym
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 22:35:43

    H again Franny lol. Yes it is difficult with big dogs. Our boy Ben, a golden retriever, was a big strong lad and could be very stubborn too. I’m sure he was a grey hound in his last life because he would take off like one if something was in front of him like a door or a gate or the car door etc… I never got to use the big stick method on him so don’t know if it would have worked. It’s good with the littlies because you don’t have to lean all the way down to give them a quick poke if the quick pull on the lead doesn’t get through. God it sounds like we beat up our dogs doesn’t it lol. I just put it in front of their faces if they start to pull ahead and they pull back without a fuss. It took Ben about 8 years to stop being a puppy then a teenager. He was a good dog, but his tail could be lethal inside. Nothing was put on a shelf or table at his tail level or he would wag that tail of his and swipe off it would fly. Anyway hope that knee of yours improves it sounds like you need to order a couple of extras just to cope with your dogs lol. Good luck with the Diploma too 🙂 x


  6. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 06:42:53

    Maybe we should have watched Cesare Milan, might have helped with Barney, but considering he has a lot of acres to run around on, we’ve never worried about training him. Binka is just a naturally good dog. One of these days we want to building a wood pizza over outside.


    • narf77
      Apr 12, 2013 @ 16:53:32

      Bezial is sort of “good” but Earl is completely feral. He is a wonderfully loving dog BUT he has a crazy streak that makes him unpredictable. One minute he is walking along nicely and suddenly he is upside down expecting me to drag him along the ground to scratch his back…he is 50% dog, 50% wolf I think 😉


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