IS IT OKAY TO DISCIPLINE ANOTHER PERSON’S DOG AT YAPPY HOUR? CESAR MILLAN ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS…

Cesar Millan shares his dog behavior expertise  in the new season of "Cesar 911." Photo courtesy Michael Reuter.

Cesar Millan, pictured with Junior, shares his dog behavior expertise in the new season of “Cesar 911” on Nat Geo Wild. Photo courtesy Michael Reuter.

It’s not your dog, it’s you.

That’s what Cesar Millan, the world’s favorite dog behavior expert, continues to believe after traveling the country for Season 2 of his insightful and entertaining Nat Geo Wild series “Cesar 911.”

Millan shares his expertise to help loving (but sometimes clueless) people and dogs bring mental and physical balance to their homes.  It’s a series every dog-lover will, err…. love.

Take for example the family with a Bulldog that’s terrorizing beautiful horses on their farm.  Millan makes a surprise visit to observe the dog owner’s habits.  Minutes later, it’s fascinating to watch the dog respond to what Millan refers to as “the first proper correction the dog has ever received.”  Soon after, heart bubbles start popping above the farm.

Last week, Millan answered your questions from Facebook and Twitter.  He is the best…

Jorge from Allenhurst:  Is there a way to help our four year-old rescue pit bull’s anxiety? He shakes uncontrollably before getting in the car.

Millan:  First, congratulations on your dog adoption.  Many times this is about how the human prepares for a car ride or temporary change in environment, like a visit to a friend’s house.  The human starts thinking about the dog’s anxiety before the dog does.  Dogs are tuned into our energy and humans don’t realize how much we can taint a moment.  If the dog is anxious to begin with, the anxiety is intensified; every feeling is intensified.

If I was going to have an experience with this dog, I would take him for a very, very long walk before getting in the car.  If the normal walk is 10 minutes, I would walk him for 45 minutes and then go right in the car.  I want the dog to associate the car as a place of rest and safety. In 45 minutes the human would also relax.  Take the dog for regular rides in the car.  Do this for a month and the dog’s pattern will change.

Photo courtesy Allen Birnbach.

“Pack animal hierarchy is naturally determined by age, not size: senior, adult, adolescent and puppy… Human emotions confuse a dog’s natural instinct,” said Cesar Millan, host of “Cesar 911.” Photo courtesy Allen Birnbach.

The same applies for dogs who don’t like crates.  Crates should be considered a safe, restful place for the dog, not a place for punishment or a place to go if a dog’s energy level is above a 5.

Marty from Ocean:  Is it okay to discipline another person’s dog at Yappy Hour or the dog park?

Millan:  In reality, the dog park is the most anti-social place in America.  No one is in agreement about how to achieve harmony and balance in this social environment.  Some humans think it is okay for dogs to hump, steal or bark and some don’t.  Dogs fight as part of a pack mentality but many humans don’t like it.

Go to a park where there are clear and detailed rules on the table.  This means more than “pick up after your dog.”  I am talking about detailed rules about behavior for the dog and humans.  As a child, when you went for a visit with your mom, you knew upfront what the expectations were and the consequences if you did not behave.

No dog should come to the park with an energy level above a 5.  If they are at a level 10, I would walk the dog first.  Ideally, all dogs would be at a similar energy level when they come to the park which is the human’s responsibility, not the dog.

A Rottweiler can play with a Chihuahua but many humans are uncomfortable with that behavior.  Pack animal hierarchy is naturally determined by age, not size: senior, adult, adolescent and puppy.  A pit bull is naturally respectful of a 13 year old Chihuahua but human emotions confuse a dog’s natural instinct.

That is why I have a pack of dogs.  I want to showcase the dog in them – they naturally have honesty, integrity and loyalty from their pack mentality. It does not come from specific breeds.

Also, humans make the mistake of giving puppies a much too powerful position in the pack – and continue reaffirming that position.  The adult dog sees the human sleeping with the puppy on his chest (a dominant position) and playing eye to eye with the puppy on the floor.  These messages confuse the adult dog and then they go to the dog park and the dogs exhibit negative behavior.  The same can be said for bringing a new dog into the home.  Our nature is to be drawn to what’s new but that is a confusing message.

It takes a village to raise a child; that is no longer the case for dogs.  A knowledgeable human would see correction as good because another human has the dog owner’s back.  Observe the behavior of the human and it will give you the behavior outcome of the dog.

Millan answers more of your questions…

Jennifer from Ocean Grove:  I try and be the pack leader but cannot get my mini poodle to relax and stop barking hysterically when we are out.

and…

Karen from Asheville, NC:  We have an otherwise well-behaved one year old, 10 pound spoiled dog that loves people.  He tugs uncontrollably on the leash when we approach someone on our walks.  Help!

Millan (answers for Jennifer and Karen):  Humans focus on the behavior of the dog and interpret that behavior to the breed or label the dog as having a “problem,” which handicaps the dog forever.

These are dogs that have not been taught how to control their impulses.  It’s great these dogs are social and sweet but too much excitement becomes a negative social experience for everyone.

Walks are usually the most brain-stimulating and exciting time for a dog.  These dog’s responses are the result of too much brain activity.  We need to have their brains completely focused when they are in social situations, like walking or when a new human enters the room.

Again, humans don’t realize how much they poison a moment and that is more relevant to me than what the dog is going through.

The solution should be simple.  I would take the dogs on many long walks where they don’t come near people – maybe 10 feet away  We want them to be completely focused on their walks.  The human needs control the walks with a short leash and I want a correction sound for negative behavior.

Then, let’s start walking closer and closer to people but we stop at least five feet before we pass a human.  When the dog stops walking, his brain relaxes and the human relaxes.  The dogs need this time to reset their over-stimulated brains before getting too close to humans.  He knows what you want him to do.

After the person walks past, the humans begin walking naturally.  Don’t get excited with rewards and bring the dog’s energy back up to a 10 again.  There is another human that will pass soon and the human will have to reinforce the correct behavior again… and again.  It will become easier over time.

Watch a clip from Season 2 of “Cesar 911″ on Nat Geo WILD“.  For the first time on the small screen, Nat Geo WILD brings Cesar Millan’s hugely-popular live stage show in a two-hour special, “Cesar Millan: Viva Las Vegas!”  Millan’s Love My Pit Bull” documentary, another must-see, is airing now on Nat Geo WILD, too.

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Richard@TheBPlot.com

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