Dog Training By Cesar Millan
A dog’s mother begins training puppies from birth. She makes them wait for food; she controls when they play and how far they travel. Adult dogs need these same rules, boundaries, and limitations from you, their pack leader when dog training.
A pack leader doesn’t project emotional or nervous energy, so neither should you. In the wild, the pack leader uses calm-assertive energy to influence how the dog interacts with his surroundings. She enforces these laws in a quiet way, as is the case when a mother picks up a puppy by the scruff of the neck if he strays outside the den.
Ownership of territory is very important. Dogs in the wild claim space by first asserting themselves in a calm and confident way, and then communicating this ownership through clear body language signals and eye contact. A dog who understands that you, as the pack leader, own the space in which he lives will respect your asserted authority while dog training.
Waiting is another way that pack leaders assert their position. Puppies wait to eat, and adult dogs wait until the pack leader wants them to travel. Waiting is a form of psychological work for the dog. Domestication means dogs don’t need to hunt for food, but they can still work for it.
Establish your position as pack leader by asking your dog to work. Take him on a walk before you feed him. And just as you don’t give affection unless your dog is in a calm-submissive state, don’t give food until your dog acts calm and submissive. Exercise will help the dog, especially a high-energy one, to achieve this state.
The true test of leadership is knowing your pack. I want to know my pack and what fulfills them. This is what creates balance. Then formulating a dog training plan, setting an intention, and following through is what creates even more strength in your relationship, bond, and its depth. To me, that’s respect, both of the needs of your dog and yourself.
This is what distinguishes the true pack leader from the rest. They are honest. They are real. They accept. They are in touch. They are present. They are respectful. They are balanced. And they know their pack.
In all of these ways, the pack leader in nature sets rules, boundaries, and limitations for her pack, and in doing so, nurtures her dog’s healthy state of mind.
How to Be Calm and Assertive
Dogs use constant energy to communicate. Energy is what I call beingness; it is who and what you are in every moment. Dogs don’t know each other by name, but by the energy they project and the activities they share. They know humans in the same way.
As humans, we too are communicating with energy – whether we realize it or not. And, though we may attempt to persuade, explain, and rationalize all day long, these energy signals are the only messages getting across to our dogs.
The first energy that a puppy experiences after birth is mom’s calm, assertive energy. Later, the puppy will follow a pack leader who projects the same calm, assertive energy out of association. As pack followers, dogs return a calm, submissive energy that completes the pack balance. It is important to understand that most dogs are born to be submissive, because there can only be so many pack leaders.
When a naturally submissive dogs lives with a human that does not lead, he or she will attempt to right the pack balance by filling what they see as a vacant pack leader role. This is how behavior problems develop.
To establish yourself as the pack leader, you must always project a calm, assertive energy. This natural balance (calm, assertive leadership with calm, submissive behavior) nurtures stability and creates a balanced, centered, and happy dog.
Of course, many people ask me, “How do I learn to project calm, assertive energy?” This is where a very powerful human ability comes in handy: Imagination. Imagine someone who inspires confidence in you – a parental figure or mentor; a famous leader or hero; even a fictional character. How do they carry themselves, and what in them inspires confidence in you? Now, imagine that you are this character, real or fictional. Stand like they would stand. Move like they would move. Take long, deep breaths. Relax your body, but keep your head up, shoulders back and chest out.
When I was appearing on “Dog Whisperer,” I used this technique with a woman who could not control her dog on the walk. She chose Cleopatra as her inspiration. Once she began carrying herself as she imagined an Egyptian queen would, her dog started to pay attention and show calm, submissive energy in return.
When you become comfortable with the feeling of being calm and assertive, communicate with your dog with your energy and body language only. Don’t be surprised, once you’re projecting the right energy, if your dog spontaneously sits next to or follows behind you wherever you go. Now you’re ready to continue the conversation in a balanced way.
Through all of my interactions with people and dogs, one thing I know for certain. The world is an animal-loving, dog-loving place. The balance is what’s thrown off. So I have made it my mission to continue spreading this message of balance around the world. If we can do this with one dog, and one human at a time, maybe we can eventually bring that into entire communities and countries, so we can all live as my greatest teachers (dogs) do – mindfully aware, and emotionally in tune.
Guide to a Happy Dog
The single most important activity you can take part in with your dog is the walk. It provides exercise and mental stimulation for your dog, and affirms your position as the Pack Leader. In addition to maintaining calm, assertive energy, you should always use a short leash, with the collar located at the top of your dog’s neck. This allows you to give corrections with a quick tug to the side, which will redirect your dog’s attention.
On the walk, your dog should always be next to or behind you. If your dog is in front of you, then she is being the Pack Leader, not you. There are several ways to train your dog to stay in the proper position. One is to not allow your dog to move forward if she gets in front of you. Give a correction and stop, or change direction, and continue to do so until your dog walks behind you. You can also use a walking stick or cane, and hold it in front of your dog to keep her in place.
Mornings are an ideal time for the walk, because your dog will have woken up with full energy, but it is essential that you allow enough time for the walk—at least 30 minutes to an hour—to properly drain your dog’s energy. This time may vary, depending upon your dog’s age and needs. Senior dogs may be tired out after 15 minutes, while young and energetic dogs may take 90 minutes or more. If your dog has any medical conditions, consult your veterinarian to determine safe limits.
Remember also that the walk is not about your dog sniffing around or relieving herself. To maintain control, keep moving forward for at least the first 15 minutes, and then reward your dog by allowing her to explore or go to the bathroom. Keep this reward time shorter than the walk time, however, and continue the pattern for the duration of the walk.
Don’t forget to continue your leadership when you return home. Enter the house first, then invite your dog to follow, and make her wait as you remove and put away her leash. This is an ideal time for feeding, because your dog has just worked for a meal.
Taking the time to walk your dog is the single best method to give her exercise and help her maintain balance. It is also the best method for asserting your pack leadership in a positive way. You should go on the walk at least twice a day, allowing enough time each time to drain your dog’s energy and to maintain her calm, submissive state.
With the walk, you can practice all of my methods for maintaining a balanced dog at the same time. It provides exercise and discipline, with opportunities for some affection. It helps you to establish Rules, Boundaries, and Limitations, and can put you and your dog in touch with nature. Finally, it’s a great opportunity for you to learn to live in the moment and adjust your own energy. When you begin to put it all together, you will find that the walk is the most rewarding and productive time in your relationship with your dog, and you will both be better for it.
6 Tips for Mastering the Dog Walk
Here are 6 dog training tips on how to walk your dog and master the dog walk. When I’m out with my dog pack, I often walk about ten dogs at a time, sometimes even off-leash if I’m in a safe area. People are amazed by this, but it’s simple: the dogs see me as their pack leader. This is why dogs follow me wherever I go.
1. Walk in front of your dog.
Walking in front of your dog allows you to be seen as the pack leader. Conversely, if your dog controls you on the walk, he’s the pack leader. You should be the first one out the door and the first one in. Your dog should be beside or behind you during the walk.
2. Use a short dog leash.
This allows you to have more control. Attaching the leash to the very top of the neck can help you more easily communicate, guide, and correct your dog. If you need additional help, consider the Illusion collar. Always keep your dog’s safety in mind when giving corrections.
3. Give yourself enough time for the dog walk.
Dogs, like humans, are diurnal, so taking walks in the morning is ideal. I recommend setting aside thirty minutes to a full hour. The specific needs of each dog differ. Consult your vet and keep an eye on your dog’s behavior to see if his needs are being met.
4. How to reward your dog during the walk.
After your dog has maintained the proper state of mind, reward him by allowing him to relieve himself and sniff around. Then you need to decide when reward time is over. It should always be less than the time spent focused on the walk.
5. Keep leading, even after the walk.
When you get home, don’t stop leading. Have your dog wait patiently while you put away his leash or take off your shoes.
6. Reward your dog after the walk.
By providing a meal after the walk, you have allowed your dog to “work” for food and water.
And don’t forget to set a good example by always picking up after your dog!
3 Nov, 2013
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