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My friend is a dog whisperer

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I am fascinated by the Dog Whisperer show on the National Geographic Channel with Cesar Milan. My husband and I like to watch the show and try to predict what advice Cesar will give to the owners. It's actually settled some minor arguments we have had between us on how to control the dogs - hubby was letting the dogs on the couch at their will, and I didn't like it - we now make them ask us first before they can join us on the sofa - all thanks to the show!

But I digress. I knew my friend was a dog behaviorist and I've gotten advice in the past from her on our boys. She's trying to get her business more established and as we talked thru it one night, I find out that she is 1 of 10 people in the entire U.S. with advanced certification in Amichien Dog Listeners® school.

A local radio station interviewed Cesar Milan the other morning and afterwards, plugged my friend as a person who makes house calls in the area. I am so excited for her and really want her to be successful. She is volunteering her time for various rescue groups across the city and has actually brought around dogs that went feral when they were abandoned.

Has anyone watched the show and are you getting any good things from it? What do you think of "whispering"?
post #2 of 29
Gee Amy would your friend come here and stop our german shepherd pup from killing birds in mid air and eating our bedroom floor?

I just ordered the Dog Whisperer's training tape. I watch the special as much as possible and think that Cesar is magic when it comes to dogs.
post #3 of 29
I love the dog whisperer! How i'd love to look into doggies minds like that.
post #4 of 29
That show isn't on in Perth unfortunately! I would LOVE to do that for a job - yay for your friend!!!

MA that is SO funny about your pup....sorry, I know it's probably not funny to you but I just keep picturing him gnawing away on your floor silly boy.

Another book that is completely wonderful is `The Dog Listener' but Jan Fennell, but it's more to do with adult behaviours than puppy. Great book though, and part of what inspired me to become a dog trainer in the first place.
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
Gee Amy would your friend come here and stop our german shepherd pup from killing birds in mid air and eating our bedroom floor?

I just ordered the Dog Whisperer's training tape. I watch the special as much as possible and think that Cesar is magic when it comes to dogs.
There is a woman in England who has 5 books out on dog behavior (Jan Fennell). Dani has also trained with Jan and we are trying to get her to Kansas City for a fundraising book signing gig. Jan is personal friends with the horse whisperer and is coming over to visit him this spring, and while she is in the country.....

Jan's tactic for training is all centered about natural pack behavior. When you watch Cesar's show it clearly follows the same strategies. After talking to Dani for a while, it became clear to me why it was actually easier for us to control 5 dogs than it was to control the 2 we have now. They had their own order in the pack, and we established alpha roles over all of them early on. When we weren't around to correct their behavior, the other dogs did it for us.

I talked to Dani about the fact that our dog Spike hunts down bunnies. It's a "simple?" matter of catching them in the act and immediately applying discipline that the pack would apply. I think it's harder with puppies as the pack allows for some level of inappropriate behavior. I used a technigue once of banning my greyhound from the pack for 2 weeks when he killed a feral cat. I caught him in the act, applied the discipline of banning and it stopped 1000 years of behavior bred into him. Dani helped put my actions into perspective.
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitEKats4Eva!
That show isn't on in Perth unfortunately! I would LOVE to do that for a job - yay for your friend!!!

MA that is SO funny about your pup....sorry, I know it's probably not funny to you but I just keep picturing him gnawing away on your floor silly boy.

Another book that is completely wonderful is `The Dog Listener' but Jan Fennell, but it's more to do with adult behaviours than puppy. Great book though, and part of what inspired me to become a dog trainer in the first place.
That's funny - I must have been posting at the same time you were and missed this. If we can get Jan into town, I will get to spend some time with her. She would most likely stay with Dani, who lives a few miles from me. That has me really pumped!
post #7 of 29
This morning a flock of geese flew over the pasture while China was out there with me. I thought she was going to break her back the way she was leaping in the air, jaws snapping trying to catch these geese that were thankfully high in the air. It is pretty eerie, even bird dogs don't kill birds, they flush them out. I called the breeder and she just laughed when I voiced my concerns.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
This morning a flock of geese flew over the pasture while China was out there with me. I thought she was going to break her back the way she was leaping in the air, jaws snapping trying to catch these geese that were thankfully high in the air. It is pretty eerie, even bird dogs don't kill birds, they flush them out. I called the breeder and she just laughed when I voiced my concerns.
That's irresponsible of the breeder. She should be more concerned when one of her pups shows such a high prey drive. It could get to be a real problem as I'm sure you are fully aware! Ruby catches and kills birds, too, this is why she is never, ever allowed unsupervised around the cats. Although she's not good with the cats anyway, and I'm sure China is fantastic.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany
That's funny - I must have been posting at the same time you were and missed this. If we can get Jan into town, I will get to spend some time with her. She would most likely stay with Dani, who lives a few miles from me. That has me really pumped!
That would be fantastic for you! I started employing Jan's techniques with the puppers and it was amazing the difference it made - took about a day and a half for them to stop jumping up, and everything else just fell into place from there. She's wonderful and, I believe, truly understands the nature of dog!
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
This morning a flock of geese flew over the pasture while China was out there with me. I thought she was going to break her back the way she was leaping in the air, jaws snapping trying to catch these geese that were thankfully high in the air. It is pretty eerie, even bird dogs don't kill birds, they flush them out. I called the breeder and she just laughed when I voiced my concerns.
That's too bad the breeder didn't take you seriously. I would be miffed too..
I am guessing that China is from working rather than show lines? hence the serious prey drive?

What training method are you working with? I hear Volhard is good for motivating and re-directing drives, specifically working with prey drives in GSD's, AFAIK.
post #11 of 29
I love him. I have been watching him for a while. He has a dvd. It seems he understands that the dog needs rehabilitating and the OWNER needs the training. I had an old english for 13 years and a yellow lab for 14 1/2 . I just got my first pair of cats 2 months ago. *big cheesy grin* I am not as familiar with cat behavior as I was with the doggies. I am learning. This site has been a great place for me! Thanks everyone!!
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by reddicequeen
I love him. I have been watching him for a while. He has a dvd. It seems he understands that the dog needs rehabilitating and the OWNER needs the training. I had an old english for 13 years and a yellow lab for 14 1/2 . I just got my first pair of cats 2 months ago. *big cheesy grin* I am not as familiar with cat behavior as I was with the doggies. I am learning. This site has been a great place for me! Thanks everyone!!
Unfortunately cat's are simply not motivated the same way that dogs are. My husband often makes the mistake that the cats are also a pack and have that clear pecking order, and that we must have an alpha male and alpha female cat. Don't try the dog whisperer techniques on a cat - they simply won't work!

Welcome to the world of cats! Dogs are just so easy to read at times which is why cats fascinate me so much - their mysterious nature is so compelling to watch!
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
This morning a flock of geese flew over the pasture while China was out there with me. I thought she was going to break her back the way she was leaping in the air, jaws snapping trying to catch these geese that were thankfully high in the air. It is pretty eerie, even bird dogs don't kill birds, they flush them out. I called the breeder and she just laughed when I voiced my concerns.
This may sound really odd, but one of the things that Dani does with her dogs is to thank them for performing their "pack" behavior, but uses that as a signal for them to stop. It's natural for a dog to bark at a stranger at the door, but the barking should stop when you, as alpha, acknowledge their presence and welcome them into the house. Her signal to them to stop is simply "thank you". If the dog continues, you have lost your control as alpha and must re-exert it. I hadn't considered this for other types of behavior (such as prey drive), but I suppose something similar may work.
post #14 of 29
I think I may have caught a really lucky break. A friend of mine called me earlier and she is throwing a party for Cesar tonight- she lives in NY. She interviewed him several years ago and so she is hosting this party. She is going to ask him on my behalf about China and her strange traits. I can't believe the timing, and I just hope she does get a chance to talk to him. I will let you know if she does and what he says.
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
I think I may have caught a really lucky break. A friend of mine called me earlier and she is throwing a party for Cesar tonight- she lives in NY. She interviewed him several years ago and so she is hosting this party. She is going to ask him on my behalf about China and her strange traits. I can't believe the timing, and I just hope she does get a chance to talk to him. I will let you know if she does and what he says.
I'll ask Dani about prey behavior specifically when I see her this weekend also.

One of my boys has a touch of bird dog in him. When he was younger, he was absolutely fascinated by birds flying overhead and would run on the ground under them to chase them. None of them were close, most were way overhead but caught his attention and once that attention was on the bird, it was very difficult to divert it back to us. I can't tell you what finally broke him of that habit - I'd speculate that he just found other things to interest him. We did start an active game with sticks outside that probably helped (he loves sticks).
post #16 of 29
We have tons of balls, throw toys, kongs outside and inside. She goes on two walks a day with me- weather permitting 45 minutes long. We walk her back to the back pasture by the creek and let her off lead and let her run for 30 minutes at least 3 times a day. She does not bark at strangers, she would lick you to death. She has boundless energy and she was just spayed three days ago as well. She eats carpet, floors, wallpaper, blankets it's insane. I have several dog behavior books that are imo worthless in regards to her. She is very badly bred but she is wonderful with the baby kittens and the older cats so at least that is a plus.
post #17 of 29
I hope you can find something that helps you with her because she sounds like a wonderful dog in a lot of ways! And easy on the eyes too!
As for eating the floor - I hear concrete flooring is making a comeback!
post #18 of 29
Hee hee! Don't tempt me! I look at her every day and just shake my head and think "cats are so much easier to undertand then dogs!"
post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
We have tons of balls, throw toys, kongs outside and inside. She goes on two walks a day with me- weather permitting 45 minutes long. We walk her back to the back pasture by the creek and let her off lead and let her run for 30 minutes at least 3 times a day. She does not bark at strangers, she would lick you to death. She has boundless energy and she was just spayed three days ago as well. She eats carpet, floors, wallpaper, blankets it's insane. I have several dog behavior books that are imo worthless in regards to her. She is very badly bred but she is wonderful with the baby kittens and the older cats so at least that is a plus.
I'm going to ask questions that I anticipate Dani will ask me:
Does she attempt to go after birds while on leash and if so, what is your response to that? If off leash, what do you do? Same questions for her destruction in the house - is this done in front of you or when she is alone and how do you respond?

My most destructive (and sneaky) dog ever was a female shepard mix while still a pup. She ate thru my kitchen wall and garage wall, and would jump over the fence to swim in the pool while we were at work, always getting out of the pool and jumping on her side of the fence when she heard our cars pull up. She would sit by the gate wagging her tail sopping wet with a clear trail of water from the pool steps over the gate. She knew she could only swim when we invited her with us so she snuck in her laps while we weren't looking. Smart dog - frustrating with her destruction which she grew out of.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany
I'm going to ask questions that I anticipate Dani will ask me:
Does she attempt to go after birds while on leash and if so, what is your response to that? No, she does not even pay attention the birds unless she is running free. Our neighbors are farmers and she is fascinated by the ducks, geese and chickens when we are on lead, but seems more afraid of them then anything, backing away and cowering when they honk at her.



If off leash, what do you do? What can I do? By the time she catches them in mid-air they are dead. She then knows she did something not right because she races straight to the house to the back door. By the time I catch up with her, she has a half-eaten bird I need to dispose of.



Same questions for her destruction in the house - is this done in front of you or when she is alone and how do you respond? This is done when we are home. The floor is being torn up (we are remodeling) an endless job, There are holes in the floor leading to under the house. My best guess is because she has a phenomenal nose on her, she is catching the scent of the wild animals (long gone) and going after them. She has brought to us several petrified animals she has found long dead by whatever killed them, mice, birds, squirrels, moles. She is constantly with her nose to the ground scenting and when she finds a scent she either eats the source of it or starts digging to find it. I put her in time-out in her cage for about 10 minutes when she kills birds. I understand this is not her fault- as I said, she was badly bred.

My most destructive (and sneaky) dog ever was a female shepard mix while still a pup. She ate thru my kitchen wall and garage wall, and would jump over the fence to swim in the pool while we were at work, always getting out of the pool and jumping on her side of the fence when she heard our cars pull up. She would sit by the gate wagging her tail sopping wet with a clear trail of water from the pool steps over the gate. She knew she could only swim when we invited her with us so she snuck in her laps while we weren't looking. Smart dog - frustrating with her destruction which she grew out of.
I think that is what is so perplexing with China, she knows she is doing the wrong thing, and she does it in a sneaky way, and if we come into the room, she automatically slinks off into her kennel. Her favorite trick is jumping on the feeding platform and eating the cats' food. She waits till we are elsewhere in the house, then we hear her jump up there and come in to bust her, and by the time we arrive, she is back in her kennel with a mouthful of food. Mike yells at her, I keep telling him that yelling isn't the answer, but he does it anyway
post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
I think that is what is so perplexing with China, she knows she is doing the wrong thing, and she does it in a sneaky way, and if we come into the room, she automatically slinks off into her kennel. Her favorite trick is jumping on the feeding platform and eating the cats' food. She waits till we are elsewhere in the house, then we hear her jump up there and come in to bust her, and by the time we arrive, she is back in her kennel with a mouthful of food. Mike yells at her, I keep telling him that yelling isn't the answer, but he does it anyway
Thanks for the insights. Dani is coming over in the morning and I'll see if she has some ideas for you. Fish tank carbon works wonders on eliminating the smells of dead critters in the walls and under floors (just a thought).

I pondered my shepard mix, Nita, a bit more today as she sounds a lot like China (she's been gone many years so I had to think for a while). Nita had her first spinal x-ray at age 10 months and by the time she was 4-1/2 years old, her spine had fused into an arc and paralyzed her (inoperable and in extreme pain we released her). I had just moved here and my vet was still new - he had never seen such advanced arthritis in a dog so young and wouldn't believe me when I told him her age. She was 6 weeks old when I adopted her so I knew her age. It was clearly a genetic disorder.

You said China was poorly bred - could she have some genetic disorder waiting to rear its ugly head? Dogs with health problems seem to like to chew thru things - it's almost like they need to do something to keep them distracted from their pain. That is usually the first sign that I notice that a dog is ill.

I just shared your story with my husband. His advice: build a stainless steel room and keep her there until she outgrows it. (groan)

I will ask Dani tomorrow.
post #22 of 29
lol thanks for the idea, but the remodeling doesn't call for a stainless steel room Any stainless steel we have around here goes into building knives.
post #23 of 29
M.A., China's catching birds in midair really isn't all that unusual. My sister's Viszla has been doing it for years (she kills more birds than all three cats together). We had a Boxer whose "hobby" was catching blackbirds in midflight. I made the mistake of doing Agility with him, thinking it would burn off excess energy, etc., and was soon told by the "Agility experts" that that was the wrong sport for a dog with excessive jumping behavior. They were right, as he seemed to think I'd be pleased when he jumped the coffee table, sofas, fences, etc.. We switched him to swimming in the summer, and hiking in the winter, and the excessive jumping stopped.
post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 
Talked to Dani this morning. Remember her perspective is in the line with Jan Fennell, who studies wolf pack behavior as a method of managing dog behavior. She differs from Cesar Milan in that Cesar is more about submissive control versus natural pack behavior. Submission is a big part of it but not all of it.

I said prey drive and her immediate response was that the majority of dogs with an overpowering prey drive are having dominance issues. China as a pup is still trying to find her place in the "pack" and apparantly has strong alpha abilities. An alpha takes control of the food situation and one with strong alpha traits has an overpowering drive to go for food. Puppies instinctively try to exert their natural abilities and those are ultimately influenced by the pack. You are her pack and you have the ability to influence (rehabilitate the dog and retrain the owner).

Jan Fennell would tell you not to let China off the lead until you have gained full control over her. For the home you would not allow her to be in a position where she could do things that you cannot control (e.g. don't let her run loose until you fully trust her). Dani only allows her dogs off leads once they have proven that she can call them and they come to her 100% of the time, regardless of the distractions they come across. Dani also confines dogs to spaces in her house where they cannot act out, again, until she can trust them.

When China does something wrong (catching a bird or a dead something under the house), be as casual about taking it away from her as you can. If you make a big deal of it, even negatively, China will think it is a big deal and will continue to do it (woo ha, must be a good thing, look at their reaction!). A time out in the kennel after the fact doesn't really help, particularly if you ceremoniously put her in there (you are making a big deal of it), and a kennel is often a security place for a puppy, therefore you are in a sense rewarding her with security for bad behavior. You are better off finding a "banning" place that she doesn't like as punishment. This is off topic, but she also has mixed feelings about using a kennel - while some dogs gain a sense of security from them, once pups are weaned, adult wolves don't "cave".

I go back to the incident when my Greyhound killed a feral cat. I "banned" him for 2 weeks - I made him live away from the other dogs and ourselves under a (large) table in the back porch. I caught him in the act, was so angry that I made him lay down while I took care of the cat, then pointed to the door with a simple "inside", and once inside pointed to the table. When he tried to crawl out, I simply pointed back to the table and made him go back there. I didn't talk to him other than to tell him to go back to the table. The place wasn't bad, he had bedding, food, water and walks. What stopped him cold was the fact that we ignored and ostracized him so severely during this time. He was an adult with 5000 years of natural instinct to chase down small furry critters to counter. I'm not sure that I would be so extreme with a puppy, but perhaps short bursts of it will snap her out of it. When I told this story to Dani, she agreed it was the best thing to do for that situation.

If your friend is able to get advice from Cesar, I would love to hear what he says, if nothing else to see if what he advices is consistent with Dani. She acknowledges differences between her training and Cesar's training.

I hope this makes sense and can help in some way!
post #25 of 29
Thanks Amy and thank Dani as well. She has given us much to chew on. No pun intended.
post #26 of 29
I watch Cesar and he has helped me to understand how to train our dogs in a way that is not so confusing to them, and better for them. My dogs get the run of the fenced back yard, they are big and need to run. Truth be told also, I want them a little territorial when it comes to the house, so they dont lick someone who enters the property to do harm to me or my family. Thus I dont want them as passive or submissive as Cesar has his dog pack. But Ive used Cesar's techniques to have a great "walking" experience with Nala and Sabrina which was hell before. Now they both walk peacefully at my side, not tugging my shoulder out of its socket, and they ignore other people or dogs as we walk along. They love getting out of the house and their yard as well. Cesar is a godsend.
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
We have tons of balls, throw toys, kongs outside and inside. She goes on two walks a day with me- weather permitting 45 minutes long. We walk her back to the back pasture by the creek and let her off lead and let her run for 30 minutes at least 3 times a day.
I also love to watch the Dog Whisperer too. I don't have a dog at the moment...just my two cats.

Hissy - I'm going to point out something that Cesar would likely ask. Do you walk your dog or does she walk you? Sometimes when he walks a dog, he places a slightly weighted napsack on the dog's back to give the dog a task to focus on, especially working breeds. Have you tried that?
post #28 of 29
She walks by my side in a heel position the correct way. We are thinking about the knapsack idea.
post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbw999
Truth be told also, I want them a little territorial when it comes to the house, so they dont lick someone who enters the property to do harm to me or my family. Thus I dont want them as passive or submissive as Cesar has his dog pack.
Thank you! You clarified what my friend was telling me about the difference between Cesar and Jan. Cesar is more focused on the submissive behavior and Jan more so on a pack behavior. Great example!!
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