February 20, 2013

Dog Whisperer

I’m sure we have all seen the dog whisperer, Cesar Millan, on TV at one point or another. He is famous for his dog training and rehab regime that specializes in curing violence and aggression in large breed dogs. You may have seen him on his hit show on the National Geographic Channel, Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, but he has a large presence elsewhere in other media as well. He has published several books such as How to Raise the Perfect Dog, a magazine titled Cesar’s Way, and videos exposing his beliefs about dog psychology. He even has been depicted in the South Park episode TSST. The episode centers on the character of Cartman, the morbidly obese hateful and manipulative child, and his mother’s attempt to “train” her son to be a good boy by hiring the Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan. The episode’s title plays off of the phonetic sounds that the Dog Whisperer is famous for using.

In 2002 he founded the Dog Psychology Center in Los Angles in order to help facilitate his rehab programs. The Center out grew its location and subsequently closed in 2009 in order begin construction of a new larger facility. The facility has yet to re-open.

Millan’s unique methods have gained the attention of celebrities such as Virginia Madsen and Jada Pinkett Smith who have lent their support and endorsement. Celebrities are not the only ones who have given their approval; the Humane Society of the United States gave Millan their Genesis Award for his efforts in dog rehabilitation.

The Dog Whisperer technique is fairly straightforward and utilizes canine psychology as well as biological and behavioral observations in order to effect change. Cesar gives the following advice for creating an effective and respectful relationship with your dog.

1. Walk in front of your dog.

Walking in front of your dog allows you to be seen as the pack leader. Conversely, if your dog controls you on the walk, he’s the pack leader. You should be the first one out the door and the first one in. Your dog should be beside or behind you during the walk.

2. Use a short dog leash.

This allows you to have more control. Attaching the leash to the very top of the neck can help you more easily communicate, guide, and correct your dog. If you need additional help, consider the Illusion collar. Always keep your dog’s safety in mind when giving corrections.

3. Give yourself enough time for the dog walk.

Dogs, like humans, are diurnal, so taking walks in the morning is ideal. I recommend setting aside thirty minutes to a full hour. The specific needs of each dog differ. Consult your vet and keep an eye on your dog’s behavior to see if his needs are being met.

4. How to reward your dog during the walk.

After your dog has maintained the proper state of mind, reward him by allowing him to relieve himself and sniff around. Then you need to decide when reward time is over. It should always be less than the time spent focused on the walk.

5. Keep leading, even after the walk.

When you get home, don’t stop leading. Have your dog wait patiently while you put away his leash or take off your shoes.

6. Reward your dog after the walk.

By providing a meal after the walk, you have allowed your dog to “work” for food and water. And don’t forget to set a good example by always picking up after your dog!

Image Credit: Photos.com

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