Training people to control dogs

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Have you ever been in a situation where you are minding your own business and then get startled by wild dog barking.

You could be taking a job in your neighbourhood or entering a restaurant when that happens. Of interest is what usually follows – the reaction of the owners.

If you’re lucky they will probably apologise and try to calm down their beast, but in most cases they frown at you and accuse you of aggravating the dog. The latter happens to many of us a lot and there are arguments that come with it.

According to dog expert, Cesar Millan (pictured), most owners are wrong for accusing the humans that their dogs bark at because they don’t understand the dog’s thought process.

The star of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan comes to our screens with yet another show, Cesar to the Rescue where he uses unorthodox methods to understand irate members of the canine family.

“Dog Whisperer was on air for 10 years and I announced to the world that I wasn’t doing it anymore. Fans of the show panicked and funny enough when I looked into who was worried about my leaving TV, I discovered that it wasn’t the dog owner but their neighbours.

“We received several letters with requests that I should go in the field and help dog owners understand their hostile pets,” he said.

Calling his line of communication the Cesar 911, Millan noticed that there was still a demand for his knowledge in dog behaviour. “Most owners are in denial when their dogs attack innocent people. The owners tend to blame the victims of all sorts of speculations as to why the attack happens. In one episode we have the owner of a restaurant who loves dogs and he lets customers bring their dogs. The problem is that when he comes with his own dogs they bark viciously at the patrons. They just get up and leave and the business is losing money,” he said.

“If you see my dog bark at you and I tell you that it is okay, he won’t bite, you are not going to believe me. Instead you are going to look at me as an irresponsible dog owner.

“So this is what we are dealing with on the show. We focus a lot on how the human makes the dog unstable,” he added.

While on the Dog Whisperer, Millan showed a thorough understanding of the dog’s mind, but on Cesar to the Rescue, the dog trainer focuses on the dog owner’s mind and behaviour to illustrate how that affects the personality of a dog.

“This time we are focusing on how the human makes the dog unstable. The human is the source of the problem. And I am going to show you how your energy and frame of mind, and beliefs, affect your dog. So now we are going to show how you can improve the stability of your mind by changing your attitudes,” he said.

Given that the dog has always been called man’s best friend and yet some dogs are not that friendly, we had to find out from Millan if everyone is cut out to be a dog owner.

“There are three kinds of people in the world. There are fearful people, ignorant people and the people who are cruel to animals.

“People who are cruel to animals should not have dogs. But for the people who are afraid and those who are ignorant, it is just a matter of knowledge.

“I don’t think I can change the minds of cruel people but the ignorant people and the fearful ones can be taught over time to understand dogs,” he said.

So next time you see an angry dog, remember the following advice as it might save you from an attack.

“When a dog is coming towards you, he’s telling you to leave his territory. So the way you stop its movement is by stopping because to the dog, that translates to you claiming you personal space and they respect that. You can see this when a cat is attacked by a dog. The cat stops, faces the dog and it doesn’t move. If it runs, then the dog chases because they are predators. They can smell fear and when they do they pounce,” he said.

 

• Cesar To The Rescue premieres on May 4 at 6pm, on National Geographic Wild (DStv Channel 182).

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