Many of you may know Mr. Millan as the Dog Whisperer from the National Geographic television show. Although many of the popular dog trainers are not well regarded among dog business professionals, Mr. Millan is the real deal. Someone well regarded by his peers and someone who offers realistic advice to dog owners.
Mr. Millan was born in Mexico and writes that he had an innate ability to relate to dogs. I'm not surprised. The truth is many dog trainers become dog trainers because they have communication skills with dogs that elude so many. He doesn't mention it in his book but that's one reason dogs often do well in classes but act like brats at home
Things to be aware of before buying the book:
Although the book's subtitle states 'correcting common dog problems,' this is not a how-to manual. It's philosophy and canine psychology more than practical steps.
The chapters on famous people he's dealt with, such as Oprah Winfrey, may or may not appeal to you.
There's a good deal about Mr. Millan's personal history.
A key recommendation for having a well adjusted, obedient dog is EXERCISE. There's an old saying: 'a tired dog is a good dog' and Mr. Millan is a firm believer in that. This may not play well with couch-potato owners.
You're not Cesar Millan. He does things like running and feeding his dogs in packs that can be tricky for average owners. This won't be an issue for the owner with one or two dogs but if you have more than that, I'd be leery. There's a reason he's getting rich training dogs and you're not.
Things I like about the book:
One reason there's such a demand for dog training books is that too many people see their dogs as furry human beings and never discipline them. Mr. Millan's approach is that a dog should be allowed to be a dog. Placing unrealistic expectations on a dog is going to make the owner and the dog unhappy.
His stress on being a calm-assertive leader will prevent many problem behaviors from developing. If you're Mr. Millan or other innately gifted dog communicator, you may be able to retrain a dog with bad behaviors but most owners won't have the time or patience to do this. Listen to Cesar Millan and prevent bad behaviors.
This book is worth reading but it isn't the how-to manual many owners want and need.
Why this book
Not everyone is a fan of Mr. Millan and his methods. Some people claim they are out-of-date and we now know so much more about dog psychology now.
The out-of-date claim reinforces the fact that his approach has been around a long time. That's because it works and has worked for years. Lassie and Rin Tin Tin never attended a clicker class!
It's funny how after the 'enlightenment' that the critics claim has happened in the canine world that there is such an explosion of dog training books, tools, training aids and even drugs for dogs (doggy Prozac).
I concur that he does not stress all the popular approaches such as all-positive training or clicker training. I'm not opposed to those but Mr. Millan's way works with real dogs and real problems. As he states "I rehabilitate dogs - I train owners." If you have a dog with a problem behavior, you need to correct it - not ignore it.
One last thing as to all the knowledge we supposedly have. I subscribe to Tufts and Cornell University newsletters for dog owners. They both get asked questions such as 'why does my dog eat grass?' Know what the most common answer is to those questions - 'we don't really know why a dog does that.'
They're dogs, not people and if you persist in treating them as such, it's unfair to the dog, unfair to people and other animals who have to be around the dog and unfair to you when the dog can't meet all YOUR emotional needs.
Be a good owner which also includes being a realistic owner.
Get the book at Amazon.com.
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