Channeling Cesar Millan

November 18, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Coeur d'Alene, Life, North Idaho 

Cesar Millan has transformed our household into a bunch of Dog Whisperer wannabes. Being as that we’re in Idaho (and not just Idaho, but NORTH Idaho!), we’re not expecting Cesar to come toolin’ down our cul-de-sac in his Jeep and camera crew in tow anytime soon, so we’ve had to resort to the next best thing: throw all of his episodes into our Netflix queue and start “shushing” our dog ourselves. And our next-door neighbor’s dog. And our next-door neighbor on the other side. And our neighbors down the street and basically any dog that comes around our neighborhood.

Now one thing to keep in mind, shushing other people’s dogs is not really a recommended activity if you want to keep civil relations with your neighbors, that is unless they’re all watching Cesar Millan too. Which, happens to be the case in our neighborhood–so its all good. But keep in mind, when you deal with other people’s dogs, its not entirely unlike disciplining other people’s children in front of them–it just doesn’t sit too well with most people.

It’s an interesting phenomenon how we are blind to our own children’s (and dog’s) disobedient tendencies. We tend to rationalize it away and apply the excuse that it’s “their temperament” or it’s because “they’re that way because they’re Rottweilers” or “because they’re Irish” (I’m mixing kids with dogs–sorry), but the point is, we rarely look at the situation honestly and conclude that, “it’s me. I’m not a good dog owner” (or parent–but I’m afraid that’s gonna have to wait for another post).

After watching oh, say, some 20-30 episodes of the Dog Whisperer, we finally realized that we were the ones responsible for our dog’s behavior and that we were just enabling his desire for structure by allowing him to be the one who called the shots since we weren’t and not realizing that we were supposed to be the dominant pack leaders (yes, all of us). The video series has been a fascinating psychological study of not just dogs (which is what you’d expect) but even more so about people and how we in America have uniquely anthropomorphized our animals and projected human emotions and reasoning onto these wonderful creatures and have forgotten that what they really are is; dogs. Yes, I said dogs! They’re D.O.G.S.! And that means, that you’re the boss–not their parent (did I just mix species again?).

Can I Get Any Cuter?So, bottomline, is that rather than learn some neat tricks on how to “train” obedience into our cute, little alpha dog, we learned how to “project calm, assertive energy” and recognize that we are humans, and that our little Cody, while still being the cutest dog in the world (see left), is a dog and not a human. And after a few weeks of putting it into practice, we now have an amazingly obedient dog. So, on top of his cuteness, he’s now obedient too. Which pretty much makes him the perfect dog. Thanks Cesar!

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