Everything you know about dogs—from their behavior to how you care for and love them—may just be wrong.
Consider this: You think dogs show happiness and love when they get jumpy around you? Wrong, it is disrespect.
This is just one of the many misconceptions about dog psychology, and why Cesar Millan—also known as the Dog Whisperer—is touring the world. Millan is on a mission to change the way humans think about their furry, affectionate pets.
Millan arrived in Manila on Monday and will give a lecture on Tuesday at the Eastwood Central Plaza in Libis, Quezon City.
“I believe it is my responsibility to share to the world my knowledge about dogs. I want to change how humans think about dogs,” Millan said on Monday at a press conference at the Eastwood Richmonde Hotel.
As a young Mexican, Millan was surrounded with dogs. Taught by his grandfather early on about dogs, Millan learned to be affectionate and at the same time disciplinary with the creatures.
It was when the television series Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan on the National Geographic channel that Millan became a dog authority to millions of pet owners. Though the series ended in 2012, replays continue to give relevant information and insights about human-dog relationships.
This month, Millan returns to the screen with Cesar to the Rescue on NatGeo Wild. But before the series’ premiere, Millan went on a worldwide seminar tour.
According to Millan, the biggest challenge to a healthy and balanced owner-pet relationship is not the dogs but the humans themselves.
“It’s how complex humans are. They are stubborn, fearful, in denial or unparticipative. If you take the owner away, the dog and I are OK,” he said. “Dogs just want to have a harmonious relationship with humans.”
For starters, Millan said, “A dog’s world is one of instinct, perceived through nose, eyes and ears in that order. The human world is one of intellect, emotion and spirit. It can be difficult for these two worlds to communicate with each other.”
This miscommunication breeds bad habits around dogs. Millan said a common mistake of humans when they are with dogs is to get excited. He said, “The reason why I always create a calm energy with dogs is to assert that I am an authority. When the dog gets excited around you, it means he’s already getting on top of you. You are not his owner, or pack leader, but his friend.”
He added: “Energy is the most important thing with dogs, not words. It is the universal language.” He said that native dogs, or azkals or aspins, can actually understand him even if he does not speak Filipino.
Another bad habit of people is untimely adoption of pets. “People adopt because of two reasons, one is because they think [the dog is]cute, or they feel sorry [for the dog]. In America, out of 10 dogs adopted, six are returned,” he said.
For Millan, a preparation for dog adoption is a must so that future pet owners would know which dog is best suited for them.
He encouraged everyone to adopt dogs. “Six hundred million dogs die in a year because they are neglected, abandoned and disliked [sometimes]because they look weird. Dogs don’t do that to humans . . . We’re not as loving as we think we are,” he said.
What does he love most about dogs? “Their honesty, integrity and loyalty.”
The dog behavior expert said that among animal species, dogs are the ones that can adapt to human environment the most, and even do the activities their owners do, like hiking or swimming.
Millan shared a simple tip on dealing with dogs. Instead of showing “affection, affection, affection,” give them “exercise, discipline and respect.”
Pets are not allowed at his talk tomorrow since the event is primarily intended to educate dog owners.