An aggressive one-eyed Australian shepherd needs special treatment. Banjo, a traumatized black and tan coonhound is terrified of people, and Kisses, a not-so-pretty-in-pink Maltese gets a little too excited when guests drop by.
Not So Pretty in Pink
Little dogs like “Little Miss Kisses” can sometimes get hyperactive if they don’t get enough exercise, especially when they spend a lot of time indoors. But because they are so small, many owners don’t think they need as much exercise as bigger dogs. The metabolism of small dogs is often faster, so they actually need more physical activity during their day to keep them calm and balanced!
Of course, I recommend multiple daily walk with the pack leader–every single day. Because small dogs have tinier legs, you don’t have to go as far to wear them out, although I recommend at least 45 minutes in the morning and at least a half-hour at night.
Many owners do not realize they can use their own homes to help their small dogs work out their energy. Have them follow you up and down the stairs a few times during the day or try strapping on a small dog backpack for a trip around the block. You can also try putting them on a treadmill for a short but effective, energy-draining workout.
Running Scared: Banjo’s Story
Banjo, a coon hound from Omaha, Nebraska, spent his whole life in an animal testing lab, treated only as an object: No warmth, no bonding, no dignity. He was also terrified of people and scheduled to be put to sleep. Luckily, he was rescued in time by Beverly and Bruce, who tried for four years to rid him of this fear. A vet eventually told them there was no hope. He’d been too traumatized. But since I believe that there is a 99% chance that any dog can be rehabilitated, I was hoping I could help.
Beverly and Bruce had been making the well-intentioned mistake of giving him affection while he was exhibiting unstable and fearful behavior. It is the worst thing you can do for a scared dog because affection can actually reinforce the behavior.
If you are trying to approach a fearful dog, remember, no touching, no talking, no eye contact. Resist the urge to pet him, no matter how much you want to comfort him. Try facing sideways and not directly at him. If necessary, turn your back to the dog. And then let him come to you, not the other way around. Let him smell you and become familiar with your scent. This way, he gains trust.
With Banjo, I actually walked backwards toward him. Later in the session, I instructed his owners to drop the leash and walk away from him. Eventually, he got the message: I must follow.
Kobe Out of Bounds
After losing an eye in an accident as a puppy, Kobe’s behavior became aggressive; his owners consumed with guilt. While it’s only human to feel badly when a pet becomes injured in our care, it’s even more important to stay calm and assertive around the dog. Remember, dogs can assess our emotions through the energy we project. We can actually add to the trauma by showing affection while they’re in this unbalanced state.
Look at it this way, when a paramedic arrives at an accident and tends to an injured person, you don’t see him or her crying out, “Oh my gosh, you’re bleeding all over the place! I feel so bad I didn’t get here sooner!” Animals are willing to move forward from trauma, but they can’t if we don’t give them healthy leadership to depend upon.
If you’re having trouble coping with a pet’s injury, try talking to a friend or even a therapist. You can also use your faith to get through tough situations, meditate, practice martial arts, go to a movie, or do any number things to help us deal with pet stress. As a pack leader, you need to be in control in order to help your dog recover.
Cesar cures Spike's depression with a new friend. Buster, an eight-year-old blue heeler/Australian shepherd mix, is supposed to play the role of family alarm dog, but he does his job a little too well. An American Staffordshire terrier's unconventional skin graft gives Cesar ideas for a different kind of rehabilitation—as a "Biker Dog."
Overprotective Guard Dog
Some scientists believe that guarding and alarm barking were among the many reasons humans and dogs “joined forces” thousands of years ago. The dogs surrounding the humans’ camp would bark and alert them to danger. Today, we often take advantage of that quality in dogs. But it’s important from the beginning of the relationship for the human to set limits and determine how much is too much regarding guarding.
Guarding is an activity, just like digging and barking. So as pack leader, you have to condition him when to start and when to stop. A police dog, for example, is conditioned to go after bad guys, but when there are no bad guys around, he must know he is not allowed to attack. That behavior is controlled by the handler.
A dog with three legs, one eye, or hearing-impaired does not see him- or herself as disabled—they just instinctively learn to adjust, as you will see with Holli the Motorcycle Dog. And it is important for those of us who have disabled dogs not to feel sorry for them. Remember, they do not think of themselves as victims unless that is the energy we are projecting onto them.
Grieving a Lost Friend (Virginia Madsen)
I can’t even begin to count the number of clients who call me in with problems they’re having with a dog they’ve brought home right after another has died. This segment features one of them—my friend, actress Virginia Madsen.
In the natural world, grief is a very weak energy. What happens when the new dog meets his new family, who haven’t finished grieving their previous pet? He reacts to their very low energy level, often leading him to feel the need to protect and dominate this weak energy.
How do you know when the grieving process is finished and you are ready to take a new pet into the family? Well, I think of grief like a glass of water. Only when you are finished do you want the glass to be refilled. And like some people nurse a drink, people can nurse grief for weeks and months until it finally subsides and they are ready to move on.
The difficult truth is that we simply live longer than our pets. The key to learning to deal with the death of a pet is not only accepting it as a part of life, but also knowing you provided them a life that they enjoyed to the fullest.
Cesar helps Molly, a blue heeler in Nebraska, get over the trauma caused by an accident involving her owner's pickup truck. Jane, an American Eskimo/border collie mix in Chicago, fears the outside world and just won't go for a walk. Genoa, a golden retriever that seems to be trapped in a nightmare, rampages throughout the house every time her owner comes home.
Wilshire, a hyperactive Dalmatian in Los Angeles, runs amuck in Firehouse 29 and the city attorney threatens to take him away if he doesn't shape up. Cesar tries to clear Wilshire's spotty past and make him a role model for fire dogs everywhere.
Next, Cesar travels to the Lone Star state, where he meets Butch, an overly aggressive English bulldog and tries to rein in his out-of-control behavior.
Blood, Sweat, and Tears
Contrary to popular belief, it's not always necessary to use physical corrections with a territorial dog in order for him to see you as the pack leader. And, although dogs are naturally prone to protect their space, you will see that an aggressively territorial dog like Butch does not respect his pack leader. However, you can win a dog's respect by "outlasting" him psychologically. In other words, it's often just a contest of wills.
A dog sees things in terms of cause and effect, so when you move away from a place or object he is guarding, the more it reinforces his belief that he "owns" it. By not backing away from the situation, you can actually begin to recondition him to realize that he doesn't have that power. Dogs are familiar with this strategy. For example, cattle dogs don't physically touch cattle when they're herding, but they make the animals think they're going to.
One thing to always keep in mind is that this doesn't happen overnight. Like every aspect of training, you must have patience!
Four Alarm Fire Dog
By now, you know my mantra: Exercise, discipline, THEN affection. And, when raising a puppy, it's important to keep in mind that everyone in the human "pack" needs to be on the same page when it comes to a training strategy. In the case of Wilshire, some pack members didn't seem to understand that while he was receiving those three components, by mixing up the order, they were in fact reinforcing his bad behavior. I see this happen a lot with my clients. It's called "intermittent reinforcement," and it is a sure way to get a dog not to respect your authority.
With wild dogs, the entire pack pitches in to raise the pups, which quickly learn to submit to and take direction from the adults. It can be the same with domestic dogs if we learn not to stray from the natural principle. By following the exercise, discipline, affection formula, the dog gets the same behavioral cues from everyone he interacts with, just as he would in nature. He'll then begin to accept all human beings as the pack leaders.
Cesar shows mail carriers in Roswell, Georgia, how to deal with close encounters of the four-legged kind. Next, Cesar meets a pair of Pomeranians that flip out when left alone and a Swiss mountain dog that turns vicious at feeding time.
The two strongest primal drives in animals come from mating and food, and many dogs will often turn territorial or dominant with both. In this segment, we’re focusing on food aggression. This has nothing to do with the breed, but more with their primitive selves and survival instincts. For example, puppies learn to protect their food from their littermates.
With our pets, you’ll find that some dogs naturally submit to you when you remove their food; others naturally protect it, which can create a dangerous situation. You have to learn how to block them from practicing this behavior. This goes for you or any other family member or pet. Tune in to find out how I helped this family deal with this problem. The one thing they know now is that feeding time is a great time to assert a calm-assertive leadership role with your dog.
Please Don’t Go!
In the wild, dogs don’t often separate from each other. They sleep, eat, travel, play, and find comfort with their pack. It’s a very different way of life for our dogs. And when I see a case of canine separation anxiety, I find that the dogs aren’t mentally or physically ready to be left behind when their owners leave the house.
The good news is that you can condition your dog to deal with your absence. The best way to do this is by leaving him tired before you go. By developing a routine of morning walks or runs of at least 30 minutes, you’ll deplete your dog’s anxious energy and his body will instinctively settle into a resting mode.
Remember, don’t feel guilty for leaving your dog behind. You could actually diminish the effectiveness of your walk by projecting a weak or sorry energy, and he could end up anxious all over again! Leave your home without fanfare, so your dog will not be in an excited state without a way to cope with his unexpressed energy.
Protecting Yourself From a Charging Dog
I’m often asked, “How do I protect myself from a strange dog that starts acting aggressive or charges towards me?” For most people, this is a very scary scenario, but there are tools you can use to try to diffuse the situation.
If this happens to you, stand still, remain calm and assertive, and do not make eye contact. Remember, when we are clear and focused, animals will mirror our energy. In other words, if I move, so will the dog. If I stop, so will she. Relax, and don’t move until the dog walks away.
You can also use physical tools to guard yourself against a potential dog attack. Try carrying a walking stick, tennis racket, or umbrella. These should NOT be used to hit the dog, but props you can use to claim your space!
Again, if the dog is coming towards you, stop where you are, stay calm and assertive, do not make eye contact, and have your prop in front of you. When the dog realizes you mean no harm, she will back off and you can move forward.
A poodle in Omaha harasses house guests so bad that visitors no longer come over; a rescued shepherd mix named Sara is overly aggressive; Maya's chaotic behavior is too much for its owner to handle.
I’m frequently asked how to teach children to behave around dogs, but particularly excited dogs. Children move rapidly and tend to be high-energy already, and overly excited dogs can knock over or scratch a small child. It’s very important that they learn proper human-dog “etiquette.”
When meeting any new dog for the first time, you need to teach kids my “No touch, No talk, No eye contact” rule. Do not approach the dog. Let him come to you and the child first. Allow him to sniff and find out who you are. He must be comfortable with you before you reach out and give affection or invite the dog to play. By practicing this rule and asserting their position, they will soon understand the basic fundamentals of pack leadership.
The body language of an over-protective dog, such as Sara, a shepherd-mix, can often escalate into the dangerous “red zone.” When I saw her, her ears were forward, eyes fixated, mouth closed, and body poised in a kind of hunting “ready to attack” mode. It was predatory stance; ready to charge.
It’s so important to be able to read your dog’s body language. You’ll see with aggressive dogs that they will often display trigger signs before reaching that dangerous state. If you know what to look for, you can block or redirect that escalating behavior or “snap them out of it.”
For example, with less aggressive cases, you can throw a ball to redirect her attention or use quick phrases such as, “Come on, come on, come on!” In more serious cases, you will need to block and use more assertive commands such as “No” or “Stay.”
Remember, no matter what you do, you must remain calm and assertive. Frustration, fear, anger, or anxiety will only reinforce unwanted behavior in an uncontrollable and unbalanced dog.
This segment shows how an overly excited dog makes for an uncontrollable walk. Remember in the dog world, excited doesn’t always mean “happy,” although we often think it does.
A happy, healthy walk starts with you. Be calm and assertive from the time you put on your shoes and pick up the leash. Don’t anticipate or visualize any “bad” behavior from the dog. If she starts jumping around in anticipation, stop what you’re doing and wait until she becomes calm-submissive. For a dog, learning to be patient is a psychological exercise in itself. She’ll soon begin to understand that this calm-submissive behavior will earn her the reward of a walk.
The lesson continues when you reach the front door. You must leave first and then give her permission to follow you. If she’s barreling out ahead of you, not only is she displaying dominant behavior, but it can lead to accidents.
It’s okay for your dog to be excited about going for a walk, but you both will enjoy it a lot more if she’s in a calm-submissive state before the leash is on.
A couple of adopted basset hounds have a bad case of sibling rivalry over food, treats and their owners' attention. A dingo mix from Australia hasn't adjusted to her new life in California, and takes it out on other dogs. An overly protective poodle has it in for a pair of new puppies. Can Cesar help these troubled pets?
Dueling Basset Hounds
There is a misconception that when dogs fight, you must only discipline the one that started it. But we could notice the fight twenty seconds after it started and have no idea from the energy of the dogs who started it.
Dogs move through states of mind and emotions much quicker than people, so my personal philosophy is to always discipline the dog with the highest level of intensity at that moment. The dog that started the conflict may have submitted right after the fight began. And, by going after the dog with the highest level of energy, you control the pack; they learn that a certain level of intensity is never acceptable to the leader.
The ultimate goal, of course, is to create a fight-free environment. Do this by learning to read your dog’s body language and energy, and assessing and correcting the situation before the fur starts to fly.
People often ask me how to handle big and powerful dogs. Powerful breeds can indeed be dangerous in the wrong hands, and I always recommend people call in a professional to help them assess and get control of their particular situations. Often though, it’s not necessarily the size or breed of a dog when it comes to physical control. It’s all a leadership game.
My friend Jada Pinkett Smith is a 100-pound woman who controls a pack of four 100+ pound Rottweilers all at the same time. It’s not her physical strength that commands respect, it’s her psychological strength and the power of her intention.
My client Betty McVay has beaten cancer twice, and it was that determination and inner strength that we channeled in helping her achieve a leadership role with her beloved dingo-mix, Aussi, a dog much more physically powerful than she is.
Mental strength is uniquely human and the key to controlling animals that are more physically powerful than us. Once you get the hang of it, the power of our minds and our energy are better than any leash or collar.
It makes no sense to put a group of dogs together in a home and immediately expect them to be “friends.” I’ve been called in to help a lot of households where a small pack of two, three, or four dogs weren’t getting along and causing fights.
Usually, the owners have missed all the warning signs of this type of aggression. It tends to begin with nervousness, tension, dominance, insecurity, or anxiety from one or more members of the pack.
The best solution for this type of situation is to insist on calm-submissive behavior from all your dogs before you introduce them to each other. As pack leader, you must be the one in charge and directly address the trouble makers before their aggression goes from one to ten.
If the situation has already escalated, which is when I’m called in, sometimes you have to temporarily separate the unbalanced dog or dogs from the others to prevent an attack. In this segment, I’ll show you how I helped this family reintroduce their combating canines, but before you try it with your own dogs, make sure to consult a professional!
An Italian greyhound bites the hand that touches his toys; a 125-pound mastiff expands his grudge against the mailman to include skateboarders and other dogs; and a Yorkie has a shocking dislike of home appliances. Can Cesar help?
If you find yourself laughing at your dog’s bad behavior, stop! To a dog, the energy he senses equals affection and excitement, and a good pack leader knows to never reinforce unwanted deeds. Make sure you’re able to distinguish harmless play and dominant or territorial behavior. Using the exercise, discipline, then affection rule will keep your little court jester from taking over control of your kingdom!
The Life of Riley
Large breed dogs like Riley don’t necessarily need big yards to live happy lives. Last time I was in New York City, I saw big dogs that lived in small apartments, yet appeared perfectly calm and balanced. Dogs’ needs are not met inside the house but outside through regular exercise and play. And because this burns energy, once inside, dogs tend to relax and remain calm and submissive.
Remember, it doesn’t matter if you keep your dog in a crate or on the grounds of a country estate. They will always be anxious and unbalanced if you don’t provide the proper exercise, discipline, and affection, in that order.
When clients become afraid of their dogs, it presents a major roadblock to rehabilitation. To get past the problem, there first needs to be established trust and respect between owner and dog and I would recommend seeking the advice of a professional. In other words, if you don’t trust him, he can’t trust you back.
After working with a trainer, you must continue to practice with your dog on your own. Have your spouse, partner, or a friend become a “coach” and observe how you interact with the dog, making sure the energy and body language you are sharing remains calm and assertive.
A Hollywood couple had to turn down work because their French bulldog failed the Doggy Daycare entrance exam. Three Jack Russells began to fight each other when their owner got a serious boyfriend. A couple of beagles were fine walking together until one started howling at other dogs. Cesar works his canine magic.
There are lots of hunting breeds that live in big cities and owners need to be able to manage and control their natural hunting instincts. For these dogs, it’s all about senses: Getting the scent, spotting prey, and going after it.
Some dogs do have a lesser hunting drive and may never have a problem, but more determined dogs need to be able to channel the drive using any available resources.
The trick is to redirect his attention from your cat or the park squirrels by creating a kind of scavenger hunt for him, using his own toys or your old clothes. Let him get the scent of the object you want him to find, then hide the prize behind a tree or under a bush. It’s a great way for him to satisfy his desire for the hunt!
Doggy Day Care
These days, it’s a reality for many working people to board their pets while they’re away or to use a “dog day care” facility. This can be a very emotional process for many dog owners because you’re entrusting your beloved dog to a stranger.
Research a number of facilities before making a decision. Dog day care can be a fantastic pack experience for your pet if he is socialized on a regular basis. A reputable day care facility will turn away a dog with behavioral problems right from the start. Since they have a “pro-pack” approach to taking care of dogs, so insecure, fearful, aggressive, or dominant dogs do not make good candidates because it takes one unstable dog to send the whole place into chaos.
There is a huge downside to consider if you’re thinking of adopting a dog to fill a personal gap, such as the loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or a job layoff.
When you are in mourning, animals sense a weak human energy. So when you’re at your emotional lowest and bring a dominant, anxious, aggressive, or high-energy dog into your home, they’re going to automatically assume the leadership position, which can sometimes be dangerous.
It’s much more important to have balance in your life in order to create a home for your new dog where you are the calm and assertive leader. Of course, people have the best intentions when they adopt a pet, but it’s best to rescue yourself first!
After the death of his star companion Marley, Marley and Me author John Grogan gets a new yellow Lab. Just like Marley, Gracie needs lessons in respect. Ultra-cool Paul Frank Industries lets employees bring their dogs to work, but Bella and Big Boy are making office life “ruff.” Cesar steps in.
Dogs as Co-workers
I love the idea of dog-friendly workplaces and thrilled that some companies are beginning to experiment with it. According to Pet Sitters of America, creators and sponsors of National Take Your Dog to Work Day, studies show that pet-friendly workplaces boost employee morale, raise productivity, and even keep employees from rushing home from work to take care of their pets. Here are my thoughts about making a happy workplace for both you – and your dog – to enjoy.
First, dogs that are brought to the office should have a vigorous morning walk. I recommend at least 30-45 minutes. This way the dogs will be at a lower-energy or resting mode.
Second, everybody has to agree to a pack leader environment, so the dogs see the workplace is controlled by humans. For example, if a dog misbehaves and the owner isn’t there to discipline him, another employee should step in and remind the dog of the rules, boundaries, and limitations.
Third, set the rules for when co-workers want to approach the dogs. They should not touch, talk, or make eye contact until the dogs are in a calm-submissive state.
Fourth, owners should be in control of the dog at all times.
During breaks, try to walk the dogs as a pack. It doesn’t have to be a long walk, but instead of using the time to simply let the dogs smell all the new things around them, you should walk in a migrating mode, bonding as a pack.
A psychiatric social worker who would love to have her four French bulldogs certified for pet therapy work can’t because the dogs are out of control at home. A miniature schnauzer’s compulsive spinning drives her canine housemates wild.
And a vet clinic asks Cesar to help a severely abused Lab/chow/shepherd mix learn to trust humans again.
If your dog has experienced an injury, it’s important that his mental health gets healed as well as his body, which means reintroducing him to the pack as soon as he gets the okay from the vet.
Remember, like humans, dogs are social creatures. Their pack is their life. Just make sure the dogs he is with are balanced. If he’s been away from social behavior for a while, these dogs will help to gradually build his confidence. Plus, a controlled situation is best as opposed to a public dog park where the atmosphere can take on a free-for-all feel and make him feel anxious and frustrated.
The pack is a hierarchy, which means while there is always one leader, there is also the one at the bottom, with everyone else kind of ranking in between. Often, the weakest dog is treated the worst. And this behavior cuts across all species—remember trying to fit in in high school?
Keep in mind, dogs sense weak energy and it’s a law of nature in the animal world that the group collectively try to stabilize that unstable energy for the health of the pack, or in our case, the family.
How Many is Too Many?
People often ask me, “How many is too many dogs for my pack?” Of course, it depends on where you live. People who live in small city apartments aren’t going to have as much room as someone who lives on a farm. But I don’t think the number of dogs you have matters as much as the energy you project. If you aren’t your pack’s leader, even two dogs, especially high-energy dogs, can create chaos.
Singer Patti LaBelle is afraid of her guard dog, an aggressive 150-pound South African boerboel. A Chicago art teacher wants to unify her adopted Rottweiler/shepherd’s dual personality. Cesar takes creative control.
Fearful Aggression vs. Dominant Aggression with Special Guest Patti Labelle
Fearful aggression in dogs is often mistaken for dominant aggression, but the two are very different, as are the ways they need to be handled when it comes to rehabilitation and balance.
If you happen to be walking and spot an aggressive-looking dog in a gated yard, a fearful dog will first back away without focusing on you. He may bark but will only become aggressive if and when he finds himself cornered. Stop all movement when you see the dog back up. Don’t make eye contact. If he doesn’t sense a threat, he won’t go into that aggressive state.
A “red zone” dog just moves forward without hesitation, almost like he’s got you in his sights. Again, if you’re walking by a gated house and a dominant-aggressive dog rushes towards you, don’t panic and don’t make eye contact. Stay calm, don’t move, stand firm, and own your space until the dog backs off.
Pack Leader Power!
Much of what I teach is not about “dog training;” it’s about empowering people. So how do you increase your power or intensify your presence? Human beings take four different approaches: INSTINCTUALLY, which any animal can help you with, especially dogs. They don’t think, they act and react. You can also empower yourself INTELLECTUALLY, using a role model such as Tony Robbins or anyone you find motivating. People are also empowered EMOTIONALLY through people who express and feel love; and SPIRITUALLY, becoming empowered through a higher power.
I feel that knowledge is power, especially when it comes to dog rehabilitation. Once you own your personal power and become a calm-assertive leader in your own world, then you will be able to communicate better with the dog in your life.
A new puppy has “Young and Restless” soap star Michael Damian’s cat cornered, MTV’s “Downtown” Julie Brown wants to unspoil her Yorkie, and a 120-pound Rottweiler needs anger management training.
The Case of Dog vs. Cat
When you’re trying to create a pack with your dog and cat, you need to block the predatory instinct of the dog and the fight-or-flight mode of the cat. I’ll give you some suggestions on tonight’s episode. The key is changing the energies of both animals to calm-submissive. Think about it in terms of the animals on a farm. There are many different species, but they all tend to submit to each other and get along.
It also happens during moviemaking! While filming the movie Babe, different species were put together on the set during filming. Humans conditioned them to co-exist, but neither the humans nor the animals were nervous, aggressive, or tense and, as a result, it was a great looking shot! Your home can be as calm as that movie set if you commit to becoming the pack leader.
Sweet and Sour Candy
As I’ve said many times before, our moods and emotions are huge factors in the energy we project toward our pets—and people—in our lives. Becoming self-aware and conscious of the energy we are projecting can help us live a better life.
If your dog sees you as pack leader, she can lend a emotional hand (or paw) when you’re feeling low. But if your dog is the dominant one and doesn’t see you as pack leader, she may react negatively to your bad moods.
Remember, our moods are language to our dogs and while we can fool another human with lip service, we can never fool our animals!
Sometimes “dog people” forget that not everyone embraces dogs like we do. And when you own a big powerful dog, especially if it’s breed with a “bad” reputation, even well-mannered pooches can be scary to guests. But it’s not good for a dog to have to be locked away in a room whenever people drop by. There are some easy techniques that can help break the ice and tear down the preconceived barriers between your pet and your guests.
Humans are visually-oriented and a lot of people react to the color of a dog. Lighter-coated dogs tend to get more positive reactions than darker-coated dogs, which can sometimes appear to be more intimidating. If you own a dark-colored dog, whether it is a black Lab, Poodle, or Rottweiler, try putting a colorful bandana on him, which to a nervous guest can make him appear less threatening and lighten the mood.
A second idea is to condition your dog to sit or lay down a certain distance from your guests. Again, the idea is visual and psychological. They understand the dog is in the room and under control, but not too close.
Now, if you have a friend over who is obviously fearful and not open to the idea of being in the same room as your dog, I would move him away from the situation and not expose him to that energy, which can make him anxious.
An Australian shepherd is so devoted to his owner he breaks leashes to be with her; a neurotic beagle makes trouble for a pack of foster dogs; and an Italian mastiff puppy fears riding in cars. Can Cesar help this troubled trio?
The Stubborn Mastiff
To help Promise overcome her fear of cars, I tried a different technique than the one I used for Kane the Great Dane’s shiny floor-phobia from Season One.
She didn’t seem to have a physical fear of vehicles. When I challeged her to jump into our Dog Whisperer production RV, she not only willingly complied, she relished the challenge!
I wanted to get her into that same excited, playful mood when it came to getting into her owners’ car. And once I realized the problem was all psychological, I took it from there, using the environment around us to work Promise through this problem. You’ll see how on tonight’s episode.
Remember, you only get what you want from a dog when she is willing to do something. If at first she’s not getting it, don’t punish her; calmly redirect that energy. This is why I always say the only “training tool” you need is your calm-assertive energy. You just need to keep your eyes–and your mind–open.
City dogs are faced with constant stimulation from a plethora of unique scents, dizzying sounds, and things whizzing by them—often at high speeds! Because this is far more stimulus than their natural environment could create, this sensory overload can cause a dog stress.
Now stress is not good for a dog, no matter where they live. But I try to emphasize to my city clients that they try and get their dog out of the urban environment at least a few days a week. This doesn’t mean you have to pack up and head to the country. Leash up and head to the nearest park or trail. If you think about it, almost every city has a quiet hideaway: New York City has Central Park, Los Angeles has Griffith Park (not to mention tons of canyon paths), Atlanta has beautiful Piedmont Park, etc. The idea is to get the dog closer to nature, release pent-up energy, and reduce stress.
Separation anxiety not only occurs when an insecure, high-energy, or anxious dog is left behind at home, but also, as in the case of Debbie and Joe’s “baseball dog,” at close range.
The truth is, it’s in dogs’ nature to be with its pack 24 hours a day. But in order for them to live with us, they have to learn to become somewhat independent, and this can create anxiety.
Your dog must learn that you can be in the same room, but you are doing something else and he is doing something else. If you give the dog attention all the time, he learns to become addicted to it. You open a door and he’s right there. You go to the restroom and he’s right there. He becomes your shadow.
Anxiety comes from a lack of being challenged and not being able to understand detachment. When you exercise your dog and he reaches his limitation, he’ll naturally go into resting mode. He’ll stop following you simply because he’s tired.
Cesar is called in to restore the peace at a "not-so" dog friendly apartment complex. When the residents of a North Hollywood apartment building moved in they assumed their pets would get along—they were wrong. Will Cesar be able to give these dogs an attitude makeover?
Then, meet the Diaz's—and their 3 canine troublemakers. Despite owning multiple businesses, the Diaz's can't seem to multi-task when it comes to controlling their dogs. Will Cesar be able to pacify this unruly mob?
Not So Good-Fellas
Your dog doesn’t care whether you’re a CEO or a typist, a movie star or a maid, a homemaker or a homeless person. What matters most is energy you project.
When you’re around dogs, it’s very important to be aware that they are always monitoring your energy and based on that, they’ll see you as a leader or a follower.
Now you all know that dogs respond to a leader projecting calm-assertive energy, but here’s something that’s even more interesting. Once I’ve helped clients become more self-aware of the energy they’re projecting with their own dogs, they use it to their benefit in their everyday lives. They become better bosses, better workers, and even better spouses!
Learn to recognize and control the energy you project and remember, everyone benefits from calm-assertive energy!
All animals, humans included, are sensitive to the “vibes” of other animals.
So when you have a group of dogs living in an apartment complex with their people, they share an innate ability to recognize the energy of the others.
And when they’re a group of unstable dogs that doesn’t see their owners as pack leaders, they will try and create balance among each other. But the problem is, if they are unstable to begin with, their attempts to balance the other dogs can make a bad situation worse.
Meet Cotton, an American Eskimo that has taken the watchdog role too far. Cotton attacks doors and windows whenever people pass by and causes carpool chaos when kids go to school. Then meet Ricky, a Shiba Inu that has become overprotective of playmate Jordan, a Corgi. And finally meet Duke and Lila, two belligerent bulldogs that have taken on the mantra "kill or be killed." Will Cesar be able to rid these dogs of their bad attitudes?
Dogs are born with pack instinct, but there can be big trouble and destructive consequences when the pack decides to act out independentally of their human owner. That’s why it’s so vital that your dogs not question your leadership.
My clients John and Jeri Wehrle were able to create a strategy where they both walked together and switched dogs halfway though the walk. Since John was the stronger partner, he could take the strongest dog during the first 10-15 minutes, then pass him to his wife. Once the dog had reached a more submissive state of mind, it made it easier for Jeri to become established in the dog’s mind as the same kind of authority figure.
Remember, dogs aren’t born aggressive; it often stems from pent-up frustration, usually due to a lack of exercise and discipline.
When dogs first became domesticated, humans admired their protective instincts. They felt safer knowing that their dogs’ barks and growls would warn them against predators. Today, we still sometimes think of our dogs as our protectors, but when that instinct goes awry, there can be trouble.
When one dog becomes overly protective of another, the one being protected becomes the “property” of the other. But as always, if you are seen as the pack leader, any new dog you bring in to the household will automatically know where their place is in the pack. If your leadership is questionable, your dog may take it on herself to assume responsibility for the weaker members of the pack.
For busy, dog-owning families, maintaining a consistent morning routine is very important. Like many of us, your mornings are often chaotic and rushed, and your dog will pick up on that energy. If the dog is denied some type of exercise after a good night’s sleep, his frustration from a lack of physical activity, along with the whirlwind of the morning’s circus, can really create an unbalanced state of mind.
Luckily, there’s a remedy. Now what’s the first rule of a balanced dog? Exercise! You need to exercise your dog first thing in the morning. And if you have kids, then yes, you may have to wake up earlier. That’s the tradeoff when you decide to adopt a furry friend into your family.
But trust me, once you get out there and the blood starts flowing, you too will be ready to start your day with a clearer, calmer, more balanced mind! Plus, it will help to cut the chaos and create a different energy for everybody in the family. Don’t believe me? Look to your pooch to see if you’re making positive headway – his behavior will be a direct reflection of your lifestyle and energy.
At Cesar’s Way, we strive to be a single pack, and packs have rules, boundaries, and limitations. Here are ours for the comments:
Also, please note that because of volume, we are unable to respond to individual comments, although we do watch them in order to learn what issues and questions are most common so that we can produce content that fulfills your needs. You are welcome to share your own dog tips and behavior solutions among yourselves, however. Thank you for reading our articles and sharing your thoughts with the pack!