Cesar’s Dog Training Advice: Barking, Biting, Feeding
Cesar participated in a live chat on Facebook answering dog behavior questions from his fans. Out of the thousands of submitted questions, Cesar answered 15 in the hour-long chat. You may be able to find out helpful tips and advice for yourself as well!
How to Train Small Dogs
Unusual Feeding Routine
Dog Barks Viciously at Other Dogs
Dog Bites Visitors’ Feet
Question from Dog Whisperer Season 3 Guest
Dog Eats Too Fast
One-Year Old Dog Afraid of Everything
Dog Sniffs Everything on The Walk
Dog Hates Neighborhood Kids
My Chihuahuas Constantly Fight
Dog Aggressive On Leash
Dog Sniffs Other Dogs’ Urine
Dog Scared of Traffic and Bags
Dog Too Old to be Trained
Brandy Despang: Suggestions for little dog training...Seems nearly impossible.
Cesar Millan: About suggestions for training little dogs, which you say seems impossible. The size of the dog makes no difference—Pit Bull or Yorkie, my advice is the same. The tools may be different, but your energy and approach otherwise should not be. So, I suppose my suggestion for little dog training is this: “Don’t treat them any different just because they’re a little dog.”
Jennifer Klein: Hi Cesar! :) How are you? I have a question about my dog’s feeding routine. Every time we feed her she goes and smells the food and backs away with her tail wagging and then gets shy about going back toward the food. After a minute of dancing around the food she will finally go eat. We have never scolded her for eating. We have no idea what could be causing her to do this. Thank you!
Cesar Millan: About your dog’s feeding routine—when she goes and smells the food and backs away with her tail wagging and then gets shy about going back toward the food. It sounds like you’ve been watching her do this, and that may be the problem. I can’t be absolutely sure because I’m not there to see what you’re doing, of course, but try setting the bowl down, then ignoring it and your dog—no talk, no touch, no eye contact.
Jessica A. Schweitzer: My Corgi/Beagle mix probably needs more socialization but I thought I'd ask the MAN :) She barks viciously at every dog we walk by on our walks. BTW we walk and jog everyday for at least an hour, but rarely go to the dog parks.
Cesar Millan: About your Corgi/Beagle mix who needs more socialization. This is a very common question which I hear all the time, and my response begins with, “How do you react when you’re walking with her and see other dogs?” Quite frequently, without knowing it, the human will see another dog long before her dog does, and what’s the reaction? “Oh no, another dog, mine will bark,” and then they tense up on the leash and have just sent the wrong energy: “Something here is making me nervous.” Boom. Your dog senses the threat, and is ready to be aggressive. You need to learn to not react to the possibility of walking by other dogs first, so that you won’t draw your dog’s attention to them. Next is to learn your dog’s energy—that first sign that she’s about to bark, and then apply the correction right before she does. It takes patience and practice, but it can be done!
Laura Gimenez: Why does a Yorkie bite the feet of people who visit his owner’s house without any reason? Happens all of a sudden and nobody understands why. He is six years old and is treated like a human. Because of this nobody loves him. He is not aggressive all the time but when so...seems like if he is really capable of causing a serious wound. Thank you in advance.
Cesar Millan: To us, a dog that bites the feet of guests in our house appears to make no sense or without any reason. However, to the dog, there is a reason: the people are not respecting the rules of the house, they're not waiting when they enter to let the dog come to them and allow them to proceed.
Debra Ellifson: Hi Cesar, we have a three-year-old Springer Spaniel that has started whining to get everything he wants. It is constant. How do we get him to stop?
Cesar Millan: When a dog whines it's a sign that he wants someone to remind him NOT to do the unhealthy behavior. I know this from watching dogs in a pack and at home. Whenever a dog in a pack whines, he is immediately corrected. But a dog in a house who whines gets taken out and learns that the whining leads to human movement to find out what the dog wants. For example, Junior only whines in the morning to let me know that he needs to go to the bathroom and uses whining to wake me up softly. Any other time during the day, when Junior whines I correct him with the “tsch” command.
Crystal Raida Klooz: My question is do you remember me and my dogs, Sophie and Riley from season 3? When you came to my house in Ohio...
Cesar Millan: I remember—how are you guys doing? Stay calm and assertive. Watch the new season this Saturday at 8 p.m. on Nat Geo WILD!
Katarina Vujovic: How to prevent my dog eating so fast? He started doing that when we got a cat. They are separated, but he still does that. He is an 11-year-old Pit Bull. Thank you. Katarina, Montenegro.
Cesar Millan: There are special plates with cones for fast-eating pups that make them lick. The other thing you can do is lift the plate from the ground—this raises the neck of the dog which slows the dog down because they can no longer use their paws. The reason this fast eating started with your dog when the cat entered the picture is the competition that was created. This is normal pack behavior.
Donna Oliver-Dafoe: I have an Akbash he turned one in November and he is afraid of "everything"...how can I break him of this? He has been like this since we got him as a 10-week-old pup.
Cesar Millan: My question to you would be “How do you react when your dog acts fearfully?” Many people react to a fearful dog like they would a fearful child, by wanting to nurture them and say, “It’s okay.” This works for children, but not for dogs. When you comfort your dog while it is fearful, you just reinforce that state of mind, so your dog learns that acting fearful will earn it affection. Instead, when your dog shows fear, you have to show calm, assertive leadership—send the message that you are not afraid, and otherwise ignore the dog’s fear. Do not show affection until the dog gives the reaction you want—in this case, calmness in the face of a formerly fearful stimulus.
Seven-Duck Off: Cesar, I have a rescued Greyhound. He, on walks, wants to sniff everything. I know that's part of being a dog, but it gets a little old. What do you suggest I try? Otherwise he is a sweetheart. Thanks.
Cesar Millan: It’s natural for dogs to want to sniff everything on the walk, because sense of smell is the most important one for them. However, you should not let your dog’s desire to sniff everything get in the way of the walk. To break him of this habit, you need to use the sniffing as a reward, rather than a standard routine. When you begin the walk (in a calm, assertive way!), have the leash up at the top of your dog’s neck, and keep your dog’s head up. Don’t let him put his head down or sniff anything until you give permission, after at least fifteen minutes of walking, then allow him to sniff around and do his business for about five minutes. Repeat the walk/sniff pattern consistently. Don’t give up if it doesn’t work right away. Eventually, he will learn that walking next to you with his head up will earn him some well-deserved sniffing time.
Amanda Wright: I have a two-year-old Westie who hates kids in our home area, but if we go on holiday/away from home area he loves them. Don't know how to get him good with kids in home area (most kids on our estate are little gits, so makes it hard to socialize)
Cesar Millan: The good news is that your dog doesn't have a problem with kids in general. In my experience this sometimes happens when an owner does not like the behavior of certain kids in the neighborhood and the dog picks up on this. That means that we need to increase rules, boundaries, and limitations at home, and put dogs in situations with children that you, as an owner, trust.
Zaira Parga: I have three Chihuahuas and they constantly fight. Do you have any tips? Also I love your show and you are such a great person.
Cesar Millan: My number one question is what are they fighting for? There are two main reasons dogs will fight: dominance for position or territorial for property like food, toys, people, other dogs. The human needs to play the leadership role. In my pack, there's no fighting because I don't favor dogs due to age or any other reason—the only thing to reward is the right state of mind for the pack which is a calm-submissive state. Don't allow any kind of hierarchy to exist or fighting for position will ensue."
Carol Cruden: I have a four-year-old Miniature Schnauzer that is great at making friends when he meets them on neutral territory unleashed. If he is leashed he is an aggressive little dog. He also barks at anyone or anything in his territory no matter where we are—at home, in the car going for a drive...Thanks.
Cesar Millan: When a dog is only aggressive on the leash, then that means that the leash may represent fear and tension. The leash is an extension of yourself and can transmit your state of mind. Off the leash, the dog is calm-submissive. But on the leash, the dog doesn't feel like he's being protected and therefore needs to protect. You need to learn how to transmit a calm or assertive energy when the dog is on the leash because it sounds like one or both of those is missing. Can you learn to imitate the same state of mind you have with your dog when the dog is off leash. That's the perfect time to bring in a professional to walk you through it.
Cristine Ellis: Why does my dog sniff/lick other dogs urine? How do I stop this?
Cesar Millan: I know that in our world sniffing urine is disgusting, but in the dog's world, this is a natural way of getting to know another dog. There's a lot of information provided about other dogs from their urine and also shows that a dog is looking for a mate. Junior does it! He's being social. To deprive him of that would hurt him.
Gerardo Moreno: Hello Cesar. I have a small problem with my dog. She’s very nervous and she’s scared of a lot of things like car traffic and plastic bags. What can I do to make her feel safe and more calm. Thanks.
Cesar Millan: The way out is the way in. One thing I did with a dog afraid of dog toys was create a collar out of dog toys to desensitize the dog. You must experience that which makes you afraid. The dog got used to the sound of the plastic and once the dog realized they couldn't get away from the toys, he surrendered and got into a calm-submissive state."
Zsuzsanna Szkiba: Hi, I need your advice: my six-year-old Tibetan Spaniel misbehaves (admit, my mistake). He plays the boss, disturbs us during dinners, tries to control the leash, barks at every dog. Is he too old to get proper discipline/training? Thanks in advance :)
Cesar Millan: A dog is never too old for proper discipline and training—Daddy was in training for as long as he was with me, and was training other dogs as well; for a small breed like a Tibetan Spaniel, six years is not even “middle-aged.” I see from your question that you understand that you are allowing his misbehavior, which is a good start. You have to understand that your dog will not resent you for setting rules, boundaries and limitations. It’s the opposite—your dog will not accept you as pack leader until you do. A good place to start is with the mealtime training—you need to create a place your dog knows he has to be while you’re eating, which will involve teaching him commands like “go to your place” and “stay.” (See my Mastering Leadership Series DVD “Sit and Stay the Cesar Way” for tips on training.) A dog is never too old to learn new things, as long as his human is calm, consistent, and does not become frustrated.