Saturday, May 02, 2009

Dog Whisperer in Argyll

It’s official. I am a secret Dog Whisperer. I was reading in yesterday’s Guardian about the Dog Whisperer beloved of Sky watchers and owners of troublesome pooches – Cesar Millan, who has made his fortune changing the behaviour of dogs who drive their owners nuts. And there they were: his Top Training Tips.

A brief summary will give you an idea. You begin with no touch, no talk, no eye-contact with the dog. This, apparently, honours the canine way of getting acquainted.
[I never look at dogs. I pretend they're not there. Even ones I know well]

You mustn’t begin a relationship looking for a soulmate. Apparently this shows if you give the animal a name too soon.
[That's easy. I would never own a dog, so other people have to call them names. I like human soulmates, myself]

You mustn’t attempt to humanise the dog. It’s a dog. It won’t listen to you.
[Golly, do they listen to me. I just say "no" and they listen. Great]

Doggy fulfilment is based on exercise, discipline and affection – in that order. Too many dog owners feel that if they practise the authority figure bit then their dog won’t love them. This, apparently, is all wrong.
[The dogs I practise my skills on with greatest regularity appear to love me, despite my best efforts. I hadn't read this stuff when I met them]

You shouldn’t approach a dog on first meeting. You wait. Apparently this makes the dog respect and trust you.
[I never, ever make up to a dog. It's a pity they're not human, as they don't reciprocate]

You mustn’t talk up a walk before you go. The walk is, apparently, about bonding and creating a pack experience, not going to Disneyland.
[And did you know that dogs can understand spelling? Even W-A-L-K sends them into paroxysms of awfulness]

So there you are. I've been a dog training expert for years and not known it. But you know, it does work, all this stuff. Mrs H's dogs charge to the door, barking madly, see it's me and skid to a halt. They never, ever jump up on me. I just need to work out how to get them to avoid me altogether when we're indoors ... Anyone?


  1. A Dog Whisperer you are, then? Hmm...

    It sounds to me as though Mrs. H just has a loveable, friendly lot, as opposed to the reserved, rather snobby Scotties of mine!

    If you think Millan has all the answers, you must have read Dr. Spock and followed his lead in raising children!!! hehehehe

    I guess Millan always makes training look so easy, particularly on a TV series....Many of my Scottie "friends" watch this man as though he were the end-all to everything "cur", but I found him a bit tiring.

    Naming a dog too soon will ruin your relationship with the dog? Interesting...I often thought poor little Murphy was disobedient as a result of his Irish name. Angus? hehehe....Now, there is a TRUE Scotsman!!!!!!!!!(can you say stubborn???)

  2. Cesar Millan came up with his dog whispering system, not by observing dogs, but by observing wives in their natural habitat. As a husband I am constantly subject to all the techniques you mention. And I don't even get my tummy rubbed if I do what I'm told.

  3. "Cesar Millan, who has made his fortune changing the behaviour of dogs who drive their owners nuts."

    Not entirely true. Mostly what he does is change the behaviour of the owners. I admit to being a Cesar groupie and I've often heard him say it's the owners he trains, not the dogs!

    P.S. We were perfect dog owners who knew exactly how to train dogs... until we got our own. :-)