If you have heard the term “Dog Whisperer” it is probably in relationship with Cesar Millan from his popular TV series, but the methods that Cesar uses have been around long before he was dubbed the “Dog Whisperer.”
Many people believe it refers to someone who has a natural or mysteriously effective way of dealing with dogs. In reality, there is nothing that is mysterious about what is happening. They do not have the ability to read a dog’s thoughts and convey these to the owner.
So what is a dog whisperer? Is this the type of training that you want to use for your dog? Let’s take a look to get a better understanding of how dog whisperer training works compared to other training methods.
What Is A Dog Whisperer
A Dog Whisperer is a person who has the ability to “read” the dog through a combination of keen observation of body language and has an understanding of how this relates to the dog’s genetic behavior in Mother Nature. It is a combination of intuition from spending many years observing dogs and their social behavior in their natural environment and interacting with them.
They use what is already a dog’s natural instincts and communication style, making it easier for the dog to understand. A Dog Whisperer uses dog training and behavior modifications. The best do have a gift for handling dogs, but they also rely heavily on science based best practices from years of research about dog’s learning behaviors.
It refers to a master trainer/behaviorist. It is about getting results with a technique that works well for you and your dog.
How Dog Whisperer Training Differs From Standard Training
Dog Whispering methods of training offer a natural way to communicate with your dog different from regular dog obedience. Dog Whispering is based around how canine families function in the wild and how their families are structured. It is considered to be a way of communicating and interacting with dogs naturally, the same way dogs would communicate with each other.
It is centered around understanding dog psychology – pack dynamics, body language, the relationship between humans and dogs, and energy. It is based on the belief that hierarchy needs to be established and that there is safety and security through leadership. Also, there needs to be positive outlets for energy in order to have a stable and content dog.
To be able to achieve this, it requires humans to have a thorough understanding of how a dog sees the world and what makes them happy and motivated. There needs to be a healthy relationship between dogs and humans, both need to benefit and feel fulfilled.
It is much simpler for humans to understand dog language than to teach dogs to understand why we act the way we do. That is the reason that many believe studying dogs natural actions and working with how they interact is a better and easier way of training.
Healthy relationships are based on mutual respect and trust. This is the same type of relationship you need to build with your dog. It is essential to treat a dog with dignity and as a dog, not as a human. (This is not necessarily my belief, but rather the belief of trainers using this method. I have a problem of not treating my dog with the same respect as people and love that I give my family.)
Dogs are pack animals and require leadership from their pack leader. It is important for there to be overall harmony through effective communication and that this leadership to be fair and consistent.
If your dog is happy to follow you and accepts you making decisions for them in all situations – not just at home – you will know you have earned their trust and respect
Controversy Surrounding This Training
Cesar Millan has said that you need to handle your dog with “calm-assertive energy.” Giving him plenty of exercise, clear boundaries and rules, and lots of affection when the time is right. Your dog is a dog, not a human, and is to be treated like one.
The American Humane Society has criticized some of Millan’s methods used to subdue dogs with shock collars, by pinning them to the ground or by tightening their collars. They have since resolved most of their issues, but others have also rallied against this method of training.
The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior also issued an article which denounces Dog Whisperer methods, saying they lead to “An antagonistic relationship between owners and their pets.” Click here to read the entire article. It is under Dominance Position Statement.
Dog Whisperer Training Tips
Dog Whisperer training is largely based on you being the leader of the pack, and how that translates to your dog doing what you want them to do. You need to understand what the leader means to a dog to understand this method.
Real leaders will always decide the best interests of the entire pack at all times and are trusted with the packs’ safety and survival. If you want the role of pack leader, you need to consistantly show you are worthy of being followed. Your character is always being monitored by your dog. If you rely on treats or threats to get the behavior you want from your dog, you won’t impress or earn his admiration.
You need to understand the state of mind your dog is in, in order to work with them on their behavior. Dogs natural state of mind is to be calm, stable and “in the now.” When dogs are in this calm state of mind, they are more able and willing to learn and cooperate with you. For you to have influence over your dog, you need to have influence over their state of mind. This is the only time you can truly do effective training. Trying to teach your dog tricks when they are anxious or hyper active will give you very limited results.
To be a good Dog Whisperer, you need to be a natural born leader and problem solver with great skills of observation. You need a love for dogs, be calm, no fear of dogs, assertive energy, great teaching skills, patience and persistence and a belief there are no bad dogs, just humans who don’t understand dogs.
What is a Dog Whisperer? You now know that it is a style of training used with dogs. Are you set to train your dog with these methods?
If you decide to train a dog with the standard method of treats or clicker or using a type of Dog Whisperer training as the pack leader, you need to have a positive attitude when training. Dogs respond to the energy that you have and the mood of the trainer or owner. Having a negative energy will influence the dog and he will respond with an unwanted behavior. You should have a positive attitude at all times during dog training.
The happier you are and the more joy and peace you feel, the happier your dog will be. They feed off your energy.
It is my opinion that a combination of standard training along with some of the ideas of the Dog Whisperer methods are the best solution for training a happy well-behaved dog. I do believe your dog needs to know you are in charge and the leader, or they will quickly try to take over. They need to respect you are in charge, but they are also members of our families and should be treated as such.
I, myself, struggle with one of the beliefs of Dog Whisperer training. I understand that you need to establish that you are the alpha dog, which means you go first at all times, but going out the door before me gives my dog great joy, and I really like giving my dog joy and happiness. This is way I won’t ever make it as a Dog Whisperer trainer.
If you decide to hire a trainer for your dog, and you are going to follow the Dog Whisperer method, be sure you are getting what you are paying for. Ask them about their methods and beliefs of training to ensure they really follow the Dog Whisperer methods and that they aren’t just using the popular term. From reading this article, you should have a pretty good understanding how they will be training your dog, and what will be expected of you to reinforce this training.
Lastly, I have two suggestions for you. One is a book, and one is a leash. Both will help you be a better trainer. You can purchase both of them now by following the links provided.
This book is written by Ryan Matthew. He was a military working dog handler, has trained dogs in explosive and narcotic detection and has owned two successful dog training businesses. The book also includes all aspects of dog ownership, to picking out the right dog to health issues including end of life decisions.
Slip Lead Dog Leash
Easy to slip on or off when training – no clips, used by professional trainers and handlers, no collar needed. You can check it out on Amazon from here.
Please leave any questions or comments below. Let me know what type of training you have used for your dog and if you are running your dog’s life or if he is running yours.