April Fools – you can’t fool your dog!
by Cesar Millan
Dogs communicate through energy. They have senses that we can only dream of having and of course they experience the world through their nose first, then eyes, then ears. This is why they know someone is coming to your front door before you do, why they can alert you to danger before you see it, and why they come to your side when you are down. They can feel it. I work with people all the time who say to me, “I AM calm and assertive!” and I say to them, “Look at your dog. He knows you are not.” Trust me, April Fools or not, you can’t trick your dog!
A dog’s nose can be an amazing asset and the key to a fulfilling relationship with him because it satisfies his heart and mind. But if scent-driven energy isn’t channeled properly early on, it can get him into trouble. If that instinctual need isn’t fulfilled, it can create boredom, which in turn leads to bad behavior. We say dogs can “smell fear” and in my opinion, that’s been very true. They can read people better than anyone or anything. When I want a true read on a person, I introduce them to the pack and that tells me everything I need to know. If my dogs don’t want to interact or back away, then I know something in that person’s energy is off.
We need to surround ourselves with calm and balance as much as possible. I understand how busy people are in their lives and work, just like I am. Schedules are crammed, the to-do lists are long, and it’s hard to find peace and serenity. But the more you do to eliminate negative influences, and focus of the positive, the more likely you are to feel grounded and harmonious. As humans, we have needs, whether that need is peace and quiet, or exercise, or socializing with friends, or travelling to exotic places, fulfilling those needs is the only way to live a calm and balanced life that feels whole. Think about your dog in those terms as well, only instead of it being travel or solitude, think of it in terms of “nose, eyes, and ears.” Ask yourself what you can do to trigger those instincts. But do it with integrity and purpose.
One of my clients used to “trick” his dog by saying “treat” instead of “come” because the dog wouldn’t come unless he had a treat in his hand. It worked for a time, but then eventually, the dog learned that “treat” didn’t always mean “treat” and because his owner didn’t have a true leadership role with the dog, the treat trick stopped working. The dog knew. And his owner had to find other means of getting his dog to come when called. Eventually he learned that he had to work on fulfilling the dog’s instinctual need to follow a scent (the driving force behind coming because he smelled a treat) and in turn, his respect for his owner’s leadership grew.
Remember this lesson as you work on your discipline with your dog. Don’t try to fool them into a behavior. Show your leadership through being honest and patient. Your dog will appreciate the respect of his mind.