Achieving Balance and Harmony


A Boogie Boarding Beagle, a Protective Shepherd Mix, and an Aggressive Lab/Beagle Mix

Season 2 | Episode 13 | Eppie, Lady and Snoopy

Cesar meets a Beagle with a passion for Boogie boarding, a Dalmatian/German shepherd dangerously protective of her owner, and a Lab/Beagle mix that became alarmingly aggressive after moving to a new area.


Animal, Dog, Breed: Snoopy

We tend to forget that human beings created dog breeds. From the first wolves and “proto-dogs,” humans selected certain dogs for special traits and physical features and manipulated their genetics so they would fulfill specific needs that we had. In my opinion, most dogs, even mixed breeds, still have that genetic disposition, that “cultural background” that gives them skills that allow them to accomplish things that actually go beyond just being an “average” dog.

For a beagle like “Snoopy the Sniffer,” it’s in his DNA to know when he smells something; he must track it down, and then howl. When the dog in him doesn’t have enough activity to be fulfilled, the breed in him takes over. In a beagle, that frustration comes out in an excessive amount of howling and sniffing.

It’s important to remember that all dogs are “animal” first, “dog” second, and “breed” third. Even though the breed in them has certain needs and tendencies, if you fulfill the animal and dog first, through exercise, then discipline, and then affection, you can avoid a frustrated dog’s genetic tendencies from going over the top and driving you crazy.

It’s Not Nice to Tease: Lady

Teasing your dog may seem funny or cute, especially when the dog is young and “gullible,” but it’s not fun for the dog. It just creates frustration, and that frustration has to go somewhere, whether it takes the form of aggression, dominance, or fear.

I have many clients who adopted powerful-breed dogs as a puppies, such as pit bulls or Rottweilers. They enjoyed playing dominance games with the pups, like tug-of-war, or teasing games like hiding a ball. The problem developed as the dog got older and stronger and got used to winning the tug-of-war games, making him the dominant one in the household. In a teasing game, the older, stronger dog can take its frustration out on the teaser, establishing dominance.

In a dog’s natural pack, they play, but they don’t “tease” each other. Don’t inflict this quirk on your dog.

Finding a Compatible Companion: “The Battle for Eppie”

Your dog’s energy should be the same or slightly lower than yours. Before you adopt a dog, make sure the dog’s energy is compatible with yours. Someone with a laid-back personality may not be well suited to a dog like a miniature pinscher, a breed known for its high energy. An athletic person who may want a running companion may not want to consider adopting the sleepy Shih Tzu.

I feel that the dogs in my own pack have each in their own way taught me how to be a better man. There are times, however, when a person and a dog are simply not compatible. How do you know when to throw in the towel? I counsel my clients to work as hard as they possibly can on their leadership skills, their calm-assertive energy, and on mastering the walk with their dog. This needs to happen every day, for a minimum of two months. If after all that time of honest hard work, they truly cannot commit the time, energy, and discipline it takes to make the relationship work, then it may be time to think about finding a more suitable owner for that dog.

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