Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cesar Millan and Good Books about Dogs

I never was much interested in Cesar Millan, his books or his show. That was all to change, and Joey had something to do with that.

The months after our dog was hit by a car provided me the time to read and learn a lot about dogs. How much have you read about dogs? About your breed? Here are some of the books, and what I learned from each:

I read the book How Dogs Think: Understanding the Canine Mind, by Dr. Stanley Coren, in which Dr. Coren said that dogs, being pack animals, would need to hide any signs of weakness or pain from the pack, as doing otherwise would put them at peril and at risk of being abandoned by the pack. Of course Joey would come home and sit quietly, never whimpering, always stoic, his tail wagging in gratitude and friendship.

I think it's important to understand the pack mentality. Dogs are not people, no matter how many little coats and socks we put on their feet. They are animals and have a long history that precedes domestication. And I believe we need to value and appreciate that history.

Cesar Millan is one of my favorites. I don't read his books but I do see the NatGeo shows and I love watching whether it's on the TV or if I'm on an air flight and his program is being shown. I really recommend you watch his shows. Cesar writes a lot about the energy from a human to a dog. People are not aware of the energy that emanates from them - but a dog is. They sense it, they smell it, they know it in ways we cannot possibly perceive. And they react to it. And one of the things that I really like about his show is that the owners go through a process of understanding themselves, how they react to their dog and what kind of energy they put out, and how the dog reacts in turn. He is clear that dogs are not humans, and we need to work with THEM and what they bring into life and into the relationship.

A lot of people are very opposed to Cesar. I've read comments on blogs - they think he's mean! I think he respects the dog, and out of this respect comes love, and that his perspective is something we all need to learn from. Any time I can watch one of his episodes, I do.

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