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Cesar Millan Live: In Step With the Dog Whisperer

Short Description of Cesar Millan Live: In Step With the Dog Whisperer

Cesar Milan Live


State Street, Schenectady



Ever since Cesar Millan and 'The Dog Whisperer' stepped into our lives with one of America's most popular tv shows, we have forever changed the way we look at our four- legged friends: They are dogs, we are people, and however much we want them to be people, they will always, always be dogs. If Cesar, who appeared at Proctors Saturday, learned one thing: Upstate NY is doggie heaven. If ever I get reincarnated as a pooch, this is where I want to be, with the vast parks, open meadows, sparkly lakes, and yes, people who would love me. The show, “Cesar Millan Live”, was a two hour hilarious hands-on presentation of common mistakes we all make. “I used to be the Mexican kid with the pack of dogs. Nope, not in America. The Mexican kid wasn't good enough. Now I'm the Dog Whisperer.”


“Our dogs love us unconditionally,” Cesar continued about Man's BFF. “But we love them conditionally. Something happens, and it's the dog's fault. It is never the dog's fault—it is your fault. We have messed our dogs up in the head. This is why I focus on human modification.”


Cesar took us back to the days of the farm he grew up on with a hilarious stage slide show. “True, our dogs were thin, but they were balanced.” The crowd roared. “You see,” he continues, “American dogs need to be on behavior drugs. Mexico has a big human drug problem, but trust me, the dogs are drug free.”


He traces the problem to America's move from instinctual to intellectual. Dogs from their Wolf days stayed with their instinct. We try to reason with dogs, treat them like they are human, reward their bad behavior and even ask them opinions. “Where else do you put dogs in strollers and walk your kids on a leash?”


“I always see people holding their hand palm down as they approach a strange dog mumbling cutsie things. This is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen. That dog smells you before you even see it—why hold your hand down? He knows you are there.” When a dog is born, it has smell, then hearing, then sight. A full 60-plus percent of its cognitive ability comes from smell. As the dog ages, it loses sight and hearing, but never smell.


If the dog wants to greet you, you let him come to you. When a child says, “Can I pet your dog?”, the answer is “no”, unless the dog wants to engage. If the dog walks up to the child, it is ok to pet, it is expressing a willingness to engage. If the child comes to the dog, the child is entering the dog's space and that could be a threat. “The dog snaps, and suddenly, we own a vicious dog that needs to be put down.”


One common complaint: 'My dog jumps on everyone when they walk in the door.'


“Look at your own reaction when you come home,” Cesar told us. “The dog greets you and you feel sorry for yourself and happy someone is thrilled to see you and you get all excited. So you act excited in your high-pitched voice and everything else. So the dog gets more excited and jumps on you because you are happy, and the bad behavior develops.”


Separation anxiety? “The dog goes with the pack. So they watch us walk around, get our coats, grab our car keys, and they are wagging their tail thinking they are going with us and bam, we close the door on them. 'Stay here, I'll be right back.' The problem here is, the dog is now feeling abandoned. You slammed the door in their face. You should tell them upstairs to stay in their favorite spot, then get your keys and coat and they know ahead of time they are not traveling with you.”


The dog walk remains the most painful experiences, even though it should be one of the most joyous times. Cesar ties the lunging dog into the energy we carry in the leash, into our actions and reactions when we see another dog. “I have different names for dog walkers,” Cesar said. “My favorite is the treasure hunter who lets the dog walk them all over. Then, you see another dog, and what do you do? You tie the strap around your wrist, grab onto a tree, and tell the other walker they can pass.”


Now, I have read pretty much all Cesar's books, and I can tell you flat out, I have resolved a lot of issues, but never the lunging dog issue. I have done the 'tshhhht', the poke in the ribs, you name it, but my dogs go into a lunging stance when another dog is a mile away. The encounter is never a nice one, and I usually end up looking like an incompetent idiot. Both my dogs were rescues. The younger one used to be fine, but learned all the bad habits her older sister taught her.


As in the books, Step 2 was missing here in the presentation. I gave my dog once to a trainer, and he walked past ten other dogs and my pooch did nothing. The trainer came back to me and said, “They lunge because they think they are protecting you.”


How we turn that instinct off, I do not know.


Cesar was as entertaining as he was educational. This was a delightful, family- friendly show. Yes, dogs may be forever instinctual, but yes again, we love them near and dear to our hearts, and we all learned a lot last night how to better understand our best friends.

--Richard DiMaggio, didyouweekend.com


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Address: Proctors, State Street Schenectady

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