Monday, January 25, 2010
MY DATE WITH THE DOG WHISPERER
Today I have asked a guest to write an article for my blog about her experience going to a Cesar Millan, “Dog whisperer” seminar. She had often told me how much she enjoyed that day and because I happen to watch his programs every week, I thought it might be an interesting subject to read about. I thank Dawn Restuccia for her time and effort to write this article for me. I hope the rest of you enjoy reading it as much as I did.
MY DATE WITH THE DOG WHISPERER - Dawn Restuccia
I attended a Seminar conducted by Cesar and Illusion Millan in May of 2006 at Bentley College in Waltham, Mass. Though the ticket price was dear, I can honestly state that it was the best $160 I could have spent.
Cesar was accompanied by another speaker; a Veterinary Nutritionist from California who discussed raw feeding. He was both entertaining and educational, explaining the need to bring the dog's digestion back to his natural state and the benefits that can be garnered from feeding a raw diet.
When Cesar took the stage, the entire stadium was on its feet and erupted in thunderous applause. He is an amazingly unpretentious person; reminding me a little of one of those sweet mixed bred dogs that follows you home from school...all wags and smiles. He is incredibly engaging in person.
The next three hours were packed with information surrounding issues such as how our dogs perceive the world as opposed to how WE perceive our dogs! He explained that by excessively humanizing our companions, we are effectively ignoring their "animal, dog, breed, name" state of being. With the use of short video clips from previous "Dog Whisperer" segments, he walked you through his methods of calm, assertive training that have worked so well for so many owners in need.
While there were no actual dogs allowed in the hall, Cesar gave a VERY believable facsimile of their behavior under certain circumstances and when he emulated a "red zone dog" there was NO confusing EXACTLY how that dog would appear! The seminar depicted several of the more common issues that owners have with their pets; outlining each and explaining in more detail the method utilized to correct the behavior, not only for the DOG, but for his OWNER as well. He discussed "Rules, Boundaries and Limitations" at length; apparently many of us struggle with this one...and exactly how you could help your beloved Fido achieve a submissive, calm state of mind.
The audience was allowed to submit questions and several were chosen for him to respond to. The one that I personally found most helpful was the issue of "the walk" and how best to enjoy spending this type of time together. One of my four German Shepherds is affectionately called "The Eveready Bunny"...a nod to the fact that she is usually in warp overdrive and not amenable to a leash. Using the method that Cesar demonstrated, I was able to get her under control in a short lesson or two! I have since used this technique with ALL of my German Shepherds with enormous success. I have even helped a few other owners who find themselves in similar straights!
Cesar took a moment to discuss his feelings regarding spaying or neutering your companion dog. I'm sure we all know the problems inherent in pet overpopulation as well as the health benefits that come with age appropriate spay/neuter. That being said, quite frankly, I had never looked at it from his perspective; it really opened my eyes. He simply stated that it is his opinion that when an animal is intact, you are not seeing the true personality of that animal...you are seeing their drive to reproduce or to maintain alpha status in the pack. Bitches are driven by fluctuating hormonal levels..and dogs, when confronted with a bitch "in season" are blind to anything else around them.
The entire proceeds of the days event was over $16,000 in ticket and book sales which went to the Massachusetts Society for The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
As the disclaimer states at the beginning of all of the "Dog Whisperer" segments, "Do not attempt this without consulting a professional". I felt that this Seminar was a great introduction into the Cesar Millan method of training and led me to seek out local trainers who employ his methods of positive reinforcement coupled with "exercise, discipline, THEN affection".
Dawn Restuccia, Pres.
Last Hope, Safe Haven
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My thoughts: I personally love watching Cesar handle his toughest cases. These are the type of dogs that most people wouldn't know how to handle no less live with. But watching him handle some of these tough cases just reinforces my belief that MOST dogs can be trained to be good citizens.
My rating: Cesar Millan method of training: (4), His books and DVD’s - educational: (4), entertaining: (4)