The world’s most famous dog expert and global television personality Cesar Millan is due on these shores very soon (17 November – 26 November), on his 'Unleash Your Packpower' tour. The live shows are full of practical tips and tools for raising a calm and balanced dog, as well as guidance on how providing energy and leadership can transform your dog. petpages caught up with Cesar ahead of his visit in the hope of benefitting from his doggie sixth sense and to find out what pets he calls his own.
What are some of the most common psychological problems dogs face?
“Basically, a lot of instability and inconsistency from the humans around them.”
What is the secret to gaining a dog's trust?
“By being calm, assertive and consistent.”
It’s not just humans that are increasingly obese – why are our dogs getting fat?
“Dogs mirror human habits and most humans practice selfishness, which the dog then mirrors. Anything a human does, a dog is going to imitate. He has no choice but to mimic what he sees in the environment that he lives in.”
Can you teach an old dog new tricks?
“Yes, definitely – that’s a large part of what my show is all about. I’m showing you how a three year old can be transformed, or how an 18 month old can be transformed with simple techniques.”
How do I keep my dog calm during storms/fireworks etc?
“Every dog is different. Here are just a few steps I would recommend:
- A person must take the role of a paramedic. Like a paramedic, you can’t feel sorry for the dog when it is under stress. You have to work at calming it. By being calm the dog will start to mirror you instead of increasing its terror.
- Redirect the dog's focus – for example, you could put him in a swimming pool. He will forget about the sound of the storms and the fireworks because he will immediately have to focus on the situation he is in. Redirect his focus by changing the mind of the dog from one state to another. Or put him on a treadmill.
- You have to note that every dog is different and use whatever tools you have available. Empower yourself so you can empower your dog.”
What approach should I take with a reclusive dog?
“A reclusive dog is a dog that doesn’t trust. That dog will get more help from being around a group of dogs. Many times a dog just needs another dog to help them, just like we need another human to help us out with our problems. My approach is different because I use other dogs to solve problems sometimes - not tools or food or anything like that.”
What do I need to look for in a breeder?
“That’s a good question. I personally would like to make sure the breeder has a few generations that he has bred for - at least 20 years. I want to see the pedigree to see what has been in the bloodline. Look at the dog's parents; look at the network of breeders, find out from them if the breeder you are buying from is disciplined about who they sell a dog to. Also, find out if there has ever been a puppy in the litter that was weak or ill. That tells you a lot. Ultimately you’ll pay a price but it’s worth it.”
Are you familiar with our very own breeds, the Kelpie and Australian Cattle Dog?
“I love them - what’s not to love about a cattle dog? I wish I had a cattle dog in Mexico when I was growing up. I know my grandfather would have loved to have one around. He would have watched a cattle dog work for hours.”
Some people call your methods outdated – how do you react to this?
“The method isn’t what people usually have a problem with. What people have a problem with sometimes is the technique and the outcome, and what they miss is the teaching behind the technique. What they are missing is the energy I put into working with a dog. And if you don’t see that, then I respectfully disagree because I think I teach people quite well. The awareness I have created is that people are to blame, not dogs. That is an awareness that I have brought into this world. Generally speaking it is people that have never seen me work who disagree with my methods. So instead of judging, people should work with me like a pack so we can teach people the way. After all it is the outcome that matters.”
What pets do you have at the moment?
“Right now I have two chameleons, two turtles, 23 birds and two canaries. Junior, Coco, Apollo, Maven, Louie and three other pitbulls as well as Lola the baby Chihuahua. Oh, and August a greyhound I rescued in Spain.”