Sunday, April 23, 2006

Learning from Cesar, The Dog Whisperer

I'm reading Cesar's Way --the book by Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer. It is fascinating. His story and his understanding of nature, energy and dog vs human psychology not only make for a great read, but also a great educational experience.

When working with dogs, Cesar uses this philosophy: Exercise, discipline, affection--in that order. Most Americans do the following: affection, affection, affection. Most of our canine companions are missing fundamental aspects of their physiological and psychological well-being because we do not understand their world. We anthropomorphize them into our "furry children" and do them a great disservice. No wonder they have the plethora of behavioral issues and health issues!

Cesar was on The Diane Rehm show last Thursday. One caller was lamenting her dog's issue when Cesar asked how much exercise the dog got on a daily basis. The caller remarked that the dog was walked "3-4 minutes" every day. Cesar just chuckled. One of his main points is that our dogs do not get nearly the exercise their physiology demands; they have way too much energy to expend on a daily basis and when this is pent up, issues arise.

But isn't the "3-4 minutes" of exercise per day thing just like us? We neglect not only our own physical and mental health, but that of our pets. No wonder we are a culture of neurotic, depressed, overweight idiots! We think our technology and our manipulation of fundamental biological principles--Mother Nature--is the answer to a healthier, longer live. We do not work with nature, we work to overrule it. That is our mistake.

Stay tuned for a future post on Cesar's concepts of "calm-assertive" energy when dealing with pack animals. I think Cesar should consult with private male high schools. The whole "exercise, discipline and affection"--in that order, along with the use of "calm-assertive" energy might go along way toward managing the fine young men at my husband's school. Now, I'm not suggesting they are anything like dogs, but I'm fairly certain they don't get anywhere near the physical activity they need to, on a daily basis, be in the "calm-submissive"--relaxed and receptive, as Cesar says--state that would best facilitate learning. Makes perfect sense, right?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I just finished reading Cesar's book and agree completely with your post here.

In martial arts, we have a similar phrase: "empty cup training"; if you have anger or negativity, train harder until you're nothing but an empty cup (no emotions left).

In this post you state, "[s]tay tuned for a future post on Cesar's concepts of "calm-assertive" energy when dealing with pack animals. I think Cesar should consult with private male high schools."

I agree. Did you do a follow-up post on this?


P.S. That's one beautiful dog in the picture!