Tag Archives: Cesar Millan

Moves

We dogs are very versatile in our movements. We can run extremely fast, dig huge holes and we can jump high in the air, as my friend Jojo demonstrates in this picture:

Jojo jumping

This pic is a lucky shot by Nicoline, my personal trainer. She also made this pic, it shows how well we can stand on our hind legs. Another move we excel in:

My friends

Yes we can do a lot of things, but some dogs overdo it. I mean one particular movement: bouncing.  All puppies bounce, that is normal. It is how we explore our strength and learn what our bodies are capable of. But when a dog has grown-up and he still bounces, that is not okay. At least, we dogs think so. Look at what happens when we play: when we are bounced upon, we snarl. And rightly so, because bouncing is very rude.

Oddly though, a lot of humans seem to accept that they are bounced upon. When their dogs are playing they tell each other: be careful, brace yourself for the impact! And they bend their legs, so they won’t fall when they are hit by their dog. That is a silly thing to do! Yes it is true that some dogs keep on bouncing when they are grown-up and some breeds even do it a lot, like boxers and bulls. But that doesn’t mean humans should accept being bounced upon! I mean: I don’t like begin run over by a 60 kilos bullmastiff. I don’t think humans like that either. They don’t need to, you know. My personal trainer for instance never gets bounced upon, because she is very clear she won’t accept it. Like the famous dog whisperer himself. I gather he doesn’t get bounced upon very often, too.

It is all about respect, really. We dogs do not accept it when another dog bumps into us and I think humans should act the same.

Advertisements

Fun, companionship & love

The American dog whisperer Cesar Millan works with a formula that every dog owner who wants a friendly, balanced dog has to follow, in his opinion. It consists of three basic principles:

  1. Exercise
  2. Discipline
  3. Affection

In that order. So first you have to make sure your dog gets all the exercise she needs, then you have to discipline your dog (set rules and stuff like that) and after you have done all this, you should give her affection. The exercise part is for the body, discipline is for the mind and affection considers the heart, he writes.

Veluwe3

I think it is nicely said and he probably did a lot of thinking to put a complex subject like this into three simple words. But from a dog’s perspective he is not entirely right. I would translate this formula in three different words, meaning different things. This is my formula:

  1. Fun
  2. Companionship
  3. Love

I will explain this. When you have a dog and you want a good relationship with her, you will have to work together. Of course this means exercising, but there is more to it. You don’t just walk her every day for one hour (with her on the leash and you chatting to other humans), but you go out on Adventures together. You have fun. That is how you get to know each other. You won’t need to set artificial rules, because you will learn what works best for both of you while doing it. It is a natural process! Having fun together builds a strong relationship. It is a matter of the body and the mind.

Canoe

Companionship is about the mind. When you and your dog truly understand each other and you have a strong bond (because you have adventures!), you will be true companions. She will protect you and comfort you in times of sorrow, you will feed her and give her shelter. You will be a real team.

Photo 04-08-13 14 13 03

Love (and respect) is what comes from fun & companionship. When you do all of the above, your dog will love you and you will love your dog. That is a matter of the heart. Although we dogs do not distinct body from mind and heart, in our opinion they are one and the same.

Love

When you follow this formula, you will not only have a balanced dog, but a friend for life. That is worth some effort, isn’t it?

 

 

 

Who’s the boss?

One of the biggest misconceptions about humans and dogs is the ‘boss-idea’. The idea that in a human-canine-relationship the human should be the boss of the dog. If not, the dog will be the boss and this will cause a lot of trouble.

This is a ridiculous idea. It is simply not how things work and it causes a lot of trouble in the relationship between humans and dogs. That is why I will explain how it does work, in real life.

Dogs and humans have been living together for thousands of years. Not in a boss-subordinate hierarchy, but in a relationship based on mutual respect and the idea of working together. We use each others assets to obtain a mutual goal. Like food and safety. This requires a good cooperation and an understanding between dog and human. You can see how this works with dogs that really work with their human, like police dogs, herding and hunting dogs. The police officer is not the boss of the police dog and the police dog is not the boss of the police officer. They know each other thoroughly, they know each others strong points, needs and limits and they work with that. They work together, as a team.

Nowadays a lot of humans live together with dogs, but they do not work together. They walk their dog, usually not paying much attention to the dog. I see this a lot: the human is talking to another human or into this strange device they seem to carry with them all the time. The dog is sniffing the air and pulling the human on the leash to where he wants to go. There is no interaction whatsoever.

And that is where the trouble begins. Humans don’t seem to understand that they have to work with us, in order to have a good companion in us. They think we will not lie on the couch or jump over the fence or dig holes in the garden or whatever it is that they don’t like, just because they told us they don’t like that. So when we do, they’ll complain to other humans that their dog is not listening and they will probably hear that they “have to be the boss”.

But this is not how it works. Look at the tv-shows of Cesar Millan, the famous dog whisperer. A lot of humans seem to think that he is the guy who promotes the conception of a human being the boss and the dog the subordinate. But I see something else. The dogs he works with are usually bad mannered or downright crazy. He has to be clear with them from the start and that may seem bossy. He sometimes even pushes a dog to the ground, forcing him to be subordinate. Whenever I see this in his show, I look the other way. I think it is embarrassing for the dog, his friends will never take him serious again. If Mr. Millan would do that to me, I would certainly bite him. Happily, he hardly ever comes to Holland.

Anyway, when you see his show, take a better look at what he does after his so-called disciplining the dog: he starts working with them. And that makes sense.  He makes sure they get the exercise they need. He investigates their special needs and works with that – he lets them herd sheep, for instance. And what is very important: he really interacts with the dog, all his attention and focus is directed to the dog. That is what makes him a dog whisperer. The same applies to my personal trainer, the Dutch dog whisperer. She is there, she focusses on her dogs. She knows them and their needs and she works with them. You can see the result: we are a happy pack.

Nicoline and friends

So here’s the clue: you do not need to be a boss, but you have to build a relationship with your dog. When you have true focus and attention, you will receive the same from us. We will get to know each other and work together. Sometimes the human will tell the dog what to do and that is fine – this is a complicated world and following the human directions may keep you safe. Sometimes the human will depend on the dog, because we have certain abilities that humans have not. Like tracking down tasty bits of pizza. Or finding the best way to cross the ocean!

Hike4

Not every dog can be a police dog or a herding dog. But you can go out together and have Adventures. Enjoy the weather, enjoy being outdoors, have fun. Do games together. Forget about being boss. Be together. That is what makes a human-canine-relationship one of the most special relationships in the world.

Dominance?

Humans and dogs have lived together for ages, but still there are a lot of things humans don’t understand about us. For instance: humans categorize dogs in being ‘dominant’ or ‘submissive’. A dog that is bossy they call dominant. They say it is his character, they believe he will always be a dominant dog. But that is not true, because every dog is dominant, now and then. It is not his character, it is the situation that matters, and the way we interact in this situation.

Maybe humans think their dog is dominant because he behaves in a bossy way when he is with them. For instance: there is a little dog living on the other side of our street – she is a mix chihuahua / Jack Russell. She usually goes out with her female human, barking all the time and snapping at other dogs. But last time I met her, she was walking with her male human. She was as sweet as a cheesecake, walking next to him, not barking and not even once pulling the leash. Does she have a dominant character? No, of course not. She is only bossy when her female human is with her. She reacts on the situation.

If you want to learn more about dogs, just look how they behave when they are with other dogs. When a dog is well balanced and social, you will see that sometimes she is bossy and sometimes she is not. Me, I grew up in a shelter amidst a large pack of dogs. One learns how to behave in such an environment, believe me! I am not a very submissive dog, I can be really bossy sometimes. But not all the time. When I meet a dog that is friendly and playful, I am friendly too. With my Staffordshire friend, for instance:

Social 1

Sometimes, when I meet a dog who behaves a bit bossy, I like to challenge him. I don’t care how big he is (this one for instance is huge, but when I stand on my long hind legs I can be very tall!), it is the energy that counts. By the way: some humans think this looks like fighting, but it isn’t. It is only measuring forces.

Social 3

And sometimes I meet a dog whose energy of that moment tells me to show respect:

Social 2

Humans will say he is more dominant than I am, but this is not true. He is more dominant in this situation. If he would walk into my house, or try to steal my food, I would certainly fight him and chase him away. Like I said: it is the situation that matters and the way we interact in this situation. This includes the humans that are around. Did you ever wonder why every dog gets calm and submissive when Cesar Millan is near? Because his energy is very clear. Only dumb stubborn dogs challenge him and we all know what happens to them!  Same with my personal trainer, Nicoline. She walks with a lot of dogs and we all respect her. There are some dogs in our pack that humans would call dominant, but with her none of us is.

It is true that some dogs are more bossy than others. But no dog is bossy all the time. This whole idea of dominant dogs that will always be dominant in any situation is a huge misconception. Don’t believe it.

Throw ball!

I am very relieved. Yesterday Cesar Millan’s show was in Amsterdam and we did not go. Mr. Millan must have told M the show was booked, as I asked him! Thank you, mr. Millan! I will be forever grateful. Because now we went to do fun things this weekend.

We went to a campsite in the woods, with our campervan, and stayed the night. It was very nice: quiet and sunny and with lots of interesting smells. Just outside the terrain the ground was all messed up, burrowed by something that smelled like wild boar. It was mouth watering!

We took some long walks and, the best part of it, P threw balls for me. He threw very far, so I had to run very fast. This is us, playing:

2014-09-21 10.26.20

Polite note to the great Cesar Millan

Oh no. We haven’t been home for some weeks and M is already making plans for a new adventure.  I don’t like it at all and since I am in it too, I have to do something about it. That is why I am writing this note, a very polite note to the famous Dog Whisperer himself. I do hope he will read it. This is it:

 

Dear mr. Cesar Millan,

I am writing to you as the humblest of dogs. My human M and I are huge fans of your work. We watch all your tv-shows and we think it is awesome that you show people all over the world how to give their dogs a good life. It is Education with a capital E.

This month you will visit Holland. M has plans to go to your show and that is the reason I have to write you. Because, you know, it would be a good idea if she would not go. A theater show is very different than what you do on tv, right? I mean: it could be a disappointment for her. She would have to sit in the back of the huge theater and not see everything right, for instance. Most importantly: she would learn a lot of things that are not useful to her, because I am already a very obedient dog. Can’t get more obedient than this, I swear. I already have my own personal trainer, a real Dutch dog whisperer, and that is enough for one dog to handle.

In other words: M doesn’t need this. It is way better if other people, people with bad mannered dogs, go to your show. Let’s leave room for them.

So can you please, please let her know that your show is booked? Sorry, full, no more tickets left? I will be forever thankful to you and pay even more attention when we watch your new show on tv.

A polite paw from your humble servant,

Bubbles