Why Paramedics Don't Offer Cookies, and Other Wisdom from the Dog Whisperer

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Do you give your dog affection, affection, and affection - then wonder why you need help? Lots of guilty looks were exchanged among audience members (myself included), as a packed crowd of dog lovers found tough love plus laughs during Cesar Millan's session.
True pack leaders need to start with exercise, then discipline, then affection - and dogs and people will be better for it, Cesar explains. Dogs are a different species, and they relate to us on a primal level. They use "Nose, eyes, ears -- in that order. Their nose = our eyes. 60% of what they take in comes from smell."
Cesar says he never hears a client say, "I flunked obedience school." Hmmm... He also finds it interesting that in his native Mexico dogs are thinner, often walked off-leash, and don't tend to have psychological issues. Dogs in our country tend to be "chunky and have issues."
And dogs don't know if they're living in the White House or the poor house. Guess who Cesar considers some of the best-behaved dogs? Pit bulls owned by homeless people in LA's inner city. These well-loved dogs get exercise but aren't overindulged. They see their owners as pack leaders, says Cesar, "and yet I have clients who call me because they can't walk their Pomeranian."
Our dog's behavior is influenced by what we do and how we react to them. For example, when we feel sorry for a dog during a thunderstorm and say, "Awwww, it'll be okay - poor baby, here's a treat" we're reinforcing their fear. He says to think of it this way: iif you were in an accident would you want the paramedic to say, "Wow, you poor thing...you *are* in really bad shape - want a cookie?" Probably not.
Cesar also autographed advance copies of his new book, Cesar's Rules, for some lucky event-goers. Now we just have to practice exercise, discipline and affection when we get home.
Catch up with Dog Whisperer episodes on cable's NatGeo channel, and follow Cesar on Twitter @cesarmillan and at cesarsway.com, where he highlights October as National Adopt-a-Dog month. P.S.: petfinder.com and breedrescue.org are great resources to help you find a new best friend.
Photo and post by Deb Silverberg.

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