No talk? Ha! Not in my house. Just this morning I was complimented by a neighbor we met on our walk on how super attentive Davie is. I gave her a "leave" command when she focused on the neighbor's Cocker spaniel, and she instantly shifted her focus back to me cause it's practiced to a default, and then I kept her attention by being chatty and telling her how sweet and brilliant she is and she was totally glued to me, prancing beside me in a perfect heel and with perfect attention. We looked fantastic and I keep my reputation for another day. And, by the way, Davie was off-leash, like she usually is in our neighborhood.
I talk to my dogs - all the time. Dogs have receptive human language skills, and why one would deny them the opportunity to learn what we mean when we open our mouth beats me. Both our girls know many words and respond to the ones that are really relevant to them even when they are part of a sentence. And that is not unique. Many of my friends and clients who treat their dogs like we do report the same.
The downside is that our dogs are paying attention when we talk all the time and respond when they hear a word they know. When I casually ask Mike if he wants to "go" for a leisurely stroll around the block, Davie and Will erupt in noisy, excited barks. Maybe that's why Millan doesn't talk to dogs? The association to certain words takes them out of the calm-submissive state.
No look? Not happening in my house either. The opposite happens. Eye contact is the very first thing I teach a new dog, and is also what I emphasize with my clients. Suzanne Clothier, author of the book "If Bones would Rain from the Sky", says that offered and prolonged eye contact is a sign of deep connection and I agree.
When Davie and Will offer eye contact, or respond to their name with eye contact, I know that I have their attention and can follow up with a command. If they offer it in a new situation, it is a signal that they are unsure and I can take action to make them feel relaxed and safe again. And if they see a squirrel and make eye contact, they are asking permission to chase - eye contact as the canine way of saying "please" or "I want".
Accepting eye contact from strangers is an important thing every dog should learn. Especially dogs that fear people; are insecure around them. They become more reactive when they feel paid attention to. Paying attention to a dog by looking at him is exactly what people do. Especially people that fear dogs. Millan can tell his visitors at his compound not to look at the dogs, but in real life, if you walk your Amstaff or Rottie down the street, people will look. You can bet on that. What you gonna do? Yell nonstop "don't look at my dog"? Not functional, which means that every dog should be desensitized to accept eye contact.
No touch! That also doesn't happen in my house. Anybody who knows us and our dogs knows that they live in paradise. The price they pay is to have my hands in their hair, and being hugged and kissed.
Having said that, Millan does have a point with the no-touch rule. Many dogs become hyper-aroused when touched, especially with fast and repetitive patting. In that state they are squirmy, grabby and mouthy. Often I meet clients with an already charged up juvenile, and hands-on patting or pushing, or even stroking, causes her to go over the top.
Some people can't keep their hands off a dog who's sleeping. I know, they are super cute when asleep, but everyone has the need to chill undisturbed. If constantly interrupted, the dog becomes over-stimulated and again overly charged up. Just because your dog wants to lay beside you doesn't mean she wants your hands all over her all the time.
I frequently recommend to back off a little with the touching and give the pooch some space.
And definitely hands-off as far as strangers go. I have a strict rule: unless my dogs want to be touched by someone we meet on the walk or park, and they clearly indicate that, which almost never happens, I don't allow anybody to touch my dogs - like I wouldn't allow just anybody to hug my child.