I’m Coming to the Rescue
You probably do everything you can to fix your dog’s misbehaviors and try to have a balanced relationship, but you can’t do the same thing for other people’s dogs — unless you’re a professional trainer, of course. And, sometimes, it’s other people’s dogs that cause you bigger problems than your own.
You’ve probably got a barker somewhere in the neighborhood, or the dog that’s always getting out. You may have a neighbor whose dog is aggressive toward everything. Maybe you haven’t visited your sister for a while because her dog is out of control, or avoid the dog park because of one particular dog owner and their misbehaving hound.
You really can’t just walk up to these people and tell them they need to fix their dog. People can take it very personally when you criticize their dog training skills. But what if there were a way to blow the whistle and get help in these situations?
That’s exactly what a whole bunch of people did, and the result is my all-new series, “Cesar 911,” premiering on NatGeo WILD this Friday, March 7th, at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time. I’m very proud of this show and excited to share it with you, because it goes beyond anything I’ve done before.
Instead of helping just one family and dog at a time, I’m now helping entire communities work together to bring balance to the dog or dogs that have been causing conflict. I get called in to help a restaurateur whose dogs are scaring away customers, a family who’s afraid of their own dog, a Chihuahua terrorizing an entire dance school, and a lot more.
The best part about it, for me, is that bringing the community into it does more than just rehabilitate dogs. It heals people and reduces tension and conflict. I worked with one woman who is a cancer survivor, but her physical condition made it impossible for her to control her Italian mastiff at the dog park — or so she thought. But it wasn’t just about the dog. She was on the verge of being banned from the park, which would have meant losing regular contact with her closest friends, as well as the therapeutic benefits of exercise and a support group.
In another case, it soon became clear that the dog’s misbehavior was because of trouble in the human relationship, so I found myself having to work not only at rehabilitating the dog but counseling the couple. Then there was the college football player with a promising career that would be completely derailed if there was one more incident with his dog, because the next one would be considered criminal negligence.
I talk a lot about dogs as pack animals and humans as Pack Leaders, but we really have to expand that thinking a bit, because humans are pack animals as well. But, unlike dogs, we don’t always have the best way to solve problems in our worldwide pack. Because we focus on our intellect and emotions, we are quick to create divisions, take offense, and respond in the most confrontational, negative ways possible.
At its worst, this kind of reaction leads to war. But even when it doesn’t escalate that far, it can still tear apart friends, families, and communities. There’s an old saying, “If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.” It originally promoted VISTA, a program designed to fight poverty in the U.S. in the 1960s, but it still applies now.
The best way to be part of the solution is to take definite, positive action. If your neighbor’s dog barks all night long, don’t leave an anonymous note complaining about it. Drop by with a plate of dog treats and an offer to help them solve the problem. If you see someone having trouble walking their dog, start a conversation, brighten their day, and watch how fast the dog calms down.
We have two choices for our human pack — work together or fall apart. The most gratifying part of “Cesar 911” for me was helping to teach people in a community to work together, then watching everyone — human and dog alike — discover the balance and harmony we can have when we just trust each other and trust ourselves.
I hope you love the show as much as I do. Tune in this Friday and every Friday at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time and, who knows... Some day, I may show up to surprise you and help you find balance with your own pack.
Stay calm and trust each other!