People Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan busts some canine myths

Cesar Milan has been called the Dr Phil for dogs. He has rehabilitated gazillion dogs with problems in his super popular show “Dog Whisperer With Cesar Milan” (National Geographic Channel, Monday to Sunday at 9 pm ). In an email interview, Cesar talks about his methods and more.

Why do dog owners never seem to figure their dog out however much they think they do, or however much they love them?

Because they're trying to rationalize the dog. The “why” only exists in the human world — why, why, why. “Is” exists in the animal world. And so, the more the human spends time in the intellectual world, the less he knows the dog.

When did you discover you had an intuitive understanding of dog behaviour? Can everyone develop your skills or do you have a special gift?

I believe that the only gift I have is where I was raised and who raised me. That's definitely a gift. But, when it comes to dogs, it's in every human being to be instinctual. It's just the world is focusing on becoming more intellectual because money lives in the intellectual world. You don't have to have honesty or integrity to create money. But, to have a relationship with a dog, you must understand the principles, which are honesty, integrity, loyalty because you can't buy any of those from a dog. You must earn it.

So, knowing that the fundamentals are so important, a human just has to reconnect to that part which he needs to learn to gain trust, respect and unconditional love. What is the most common mistake that people make while raising their dog?

They're not consistent. If they're raising a dog — the shortest stage in the life of a dog is puppyhood. It's from birth to eight months. A lot of people say, “Well, he's a puppy. He's going to grow out of it” or they have this mentality of, “He doesn't need to be trained until he becomes a year old.” No, you need to fulfil the dog's needs just like the mother or the pack would do.

So, understanding the simplicity behind raising a dog is very important and consistency is key. You will see that it is the consistency that allows the dog to imitate or to be conditioned to the behaviour that you're looking for.

There is a stage where the dog does all he knows. That's when you do the imprint. From two months to four months, he just wants to follow. And then from four months to six, they become more playful. So, that's when you introduce the toy and you tell him what the games are going to be in the future. Then between six and eight months is when you set rules, boundaries, and limitations. As of six months, in their mind, the dog is becoming an adolescent. It's like a kid that is 13-years-old.