“Personally, I believe the only reason to euthanize a dog is if he or she is very sick and no amount of effort or money is going to cure him or her…”
This Saturday, the “world’s most renowned dog behavior specialist,” Cesar Millan, is coming to Chrysler Hall.
Millan, aka The Dog Whisperer, is the pack leader for us of us who train dogs for a living. I was overjoyed to get the opportunity to ask Mr. Millan some questions about dog walking, dog dialects, and when it’s time to put an aggressive dog down.
AltDaily: I am a dog trainer and am very thankful to you for the emphasis you place on the importance of walking your dog as well as making sure they have enough exercise. Could you give me a few words of encouragement for my clients on this issue?
The Dog Whisperer: Birds fly, fish swim, and dogs walk! In nature, dogs migrate with the pack to find food and water. The walk is one of the best tools we have to bond with our dog and establish pack leadership. It’s important that your dog is next to you or behind you, and you should walk with your head up and shoulders back. Send the message to your dog that you have everything under control.
In your years of experience what do you think about the evolution of the dog? They have gone from the yard to the bed… is this good for the dogs?
Dogs have found themselves in an odd predicament by living with humans. In the wild, dogs don’t need humans to achieve balance. They have a pack leader, work for food, and travel with the pack. When we bring them into our world, we need to help them achieve balance by fulfilling their needs as nature intended them to be. This takes exercise and discipline before affection, and always maintaining your calm, assertive pack leadership.
Do the bully breeds speak a different dialect of dog? What I mean by this is if all dogs speak English, it seems to me bullies speak with a very heavy Southern accent. When they play they are so verbal and physical, not for the faint of heart. What is your experience?
To me, energy is much more important than breed. A dog is energy first, then species then breed. Behavior is not about the breed, but about the human behind the dog. All dogs, no matter the breed, require the same basic fulfillment formula of exercise, discipline, then affection, but breeds do take on some different, unique characteristics. Before getting any dog, I advise people to be prepared, do their research, and get a dog with an energy level equal to or less than your own.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I like all types of music, anything fun that I can dance to. My pack at the office often organizes mariachi bands for me for special events!
When is it time to put an aggressive dog down?
Personally, I believe the only reason to euthanize a dog is if he or she is very sick and no amount of effort or money is going to cure him or her, and they’re just going to be in pain until they pass away naturally. Different solutions need to be found for managing behavioral problems. Even dogs with neurological problems who cannot be rehabilitated in a regular way deserve to have alternative treatments looked at.
My clients have two questions. The first one is, do you have an internship program? If so how do you apply?
Unfortunately at this stage I don’t offer an internship program but I hope to be able to offer some education and training programs at some point in the future. People can sign up to our newsletter at www.cesarsway.com for information about upcoming programs and events.
If you could offer one piece of advice to a rescue organization when dealing with a dog that has no history, what would that be?
All dogs should be treated as though they have no history and assessed based on their energy levels and current behavior. Dogs do not live in the past and neither should we.
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