I have a new hero in my life: Cesar Millan.
Have you heard of him? – The Dog Whisperer? We recently switched our cable service and while surfing through our 500-ish channels (man, it’s overwhelming!), I landed on Millan’s show on The National Geographic channel and was instantly drawn in to the way he was educating owners on handling their dogs.
We’ve had Lucy for just over 2 months now, and although things are going incredibly well, there is still so much to learn. I found out quickly that I couldn’t apply any kind of natural maternal instinct to get into her head, and I’ve been laboring every day to crack her puppy code. Watching Millan’s show has made that process SO MUCH easier!
If you’re not familiar with Cesar Millan, he works more with dog psychology than dog training. Everything he applies is based on
nature’s law, and specific to dogs, the law of the pack. It’s crucial I become the pack leader to my puppy in order to get the results and the behavior I want. Millan’s mantras include things like “exercise, discipline, affection – IN THAT ORDER,” “owner = calm/dominant, dog = calm/submissive,” and the constant reminder that your pet is not your baby, but “animal first, then dog, then breed.” He also talks a lot about energy, and how your dog will sense your energy even before any words are spoken or corrections are made. So basically, you could be saying one thing, but your energy could be saying another.
And here’s where things get tricky for me. My energy is one confuddled mess most of the time. I’m tired, I’m weary, I’m taxed. I’m trying to communicate with my body language to Lucy that I’m indeed the pack leader, but my energy is saying I’d really just rather be a lone wolf. My puppy has me more figured out than I do sometimes.
Millan often says that he rehabilitates dogs, but TRAINS humans. Trains them to “be in the now,” to be balanced, to feel inside first what they wish to project on the outside.
I had no idea when we adopted our puppy that I’d begin to learn more about myself than her. But here we go!