The Dog Whisperer

February 2007


Celebrate St. Valentineís Day the whole month through by sharing daily affection with your pet dog, but only when your dog is in a calm-submissive state. If you donít know what this means, you havenít yet heard of Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer. Cesar is a dog psychologistĺhe rehabilitates dogs and trains owners.


Cesarís television program on the National Geographic Channel features dogs with problems most of us never could have imagined. A Chihuahua named NuNu snarled and attacked anyone other than his owner. This fireball of teeth and noise could draw blood just like the big dogs. Another case involved Kane, a Great Dane who was afraid to walk on shiny floors. As a puppy, the owner tried to comfort Kane after he slipped on a linoleum floor and crashed into a glass wall. The nervous-excited behavior projected by the coddling human taught Kane to fear shiny floors. It got so bad that the owner had to unfurl a rolled-up carpet for the dog to walk on when entering the vetís office.


Cesar stresses that the key to balanced dog behavior is The Walk. Walking our dogs daily not only gives dogs much needed exercise, but it also establishes the correct bond between dog and owner. In the dog world, dogs are either leaders or followers. Since there can be only one leader in a pack, the owner must be the pack leader and the dog must be a follower. If this isnít the case, the dog will be unbalanced. Unbalanced dogs do not know what is expected of them and will misbehave, sometimes to the point of dangerous aggression.


During the walk, the dog should heel and be in a calm-submissive state of mind. The owner must project calm-assertive energy. Dogs understand energy, not words. In the dog world, dogs follow a calm-assertive pack leader. The pack leader does not ďaskĒ followers to follow. The followers know the leader by the energy he projects. Remember that dogs are descendents of wolves; their brains are hardwired based on their ancestry.


Cesar reminds us that dogs need exercise, discipline, and affectionĺin that order. Giving a dog 100% affection without exercise and discipline is a recipe for disaster. Dogs need structure; they need rules, boundaries, and limitations. One of the biggest mistakes dog owners make is giving affection while a dog is nervous, fearful, or aggressive. Affection reinforces and intensifies these undesired behaviors.


Check out Cesarís New York Times Bestselling book (or audio book) Cesar's Way at your local library. For a quick tutorial, view his webpage at or watch one of his shows. You may not believe it now, but your life and your dogís life will change for the better.