What do you think about “Cesar’s Way”?

cesar milanI just finished reading Cesar Millan’s book, Cesar’s Way. The book was a little redundant, but to his credit even though you read about the same topic over and over, you still feel compelled to continue reading. I felt there was a lot of “name dropping” and self praise, though you have to admit that the man has made a name for himself despite the fact that he came to the US illegally in the early 90s, so those methods are working for him.

As you probably already know Cesar’s Way is a book about one man’s interpretation of Dominance-Based Training. The idea is that if you can convince your dog that you are the leader you can automatically get him to do what you want. Does that somehow seem to good to be true? Well, not for Cesar, he has had tremendous success with this method and he has also helped (in his words) thousands of dogs become happy, healthy and balanced.

So how does someone put these methods to work for themselves? The path to convincing your dog that you are in charge is not an easy one. You must remain the pack leader 24-7, you must be sure that you are “calm and assertive” ALL the time you are around your dog.  In every situation you must enforce the rules you have set up for you dog or he could resort back the same behavior as before. Consistency is key. Also you must follow Cesar’s plan for success which is a balance of, exercise, discipline and affection in that order.

In my opinion many of the methods that Cesar puts forth make sense and seem to work. I am not a fan of positive reinforcement as the only means to train your dog. However, at the same time I don’t think most people can be disciplined enough to completely adhere to Cesar’s methods and therefore they don’t work as magically as they do on TV for the average person. They simply become an unhealthy aggression over your dog, which I don’t believe Cesar would agree with either.

I have watched Dog Whisperer on National Geographic Channel many times. I really enjoy the show and most of the techniques Cesar uses seem to make sense, but there is a school of people out there who disagree with “Cesar’s Way.” There is no doubt that Cesar is dedicated to his dogs. His daily routine would put many athletes to shame. He starts his day with four hours of exercise with the dogs at his Dog Psychology Center.  While the dogs are resting after the four-hour workout he goes to work behind a desk so to speak. Then he feeds the dogs, and works some more until it is time for them to go rollerblading which can take him a few hours. Then back to the center for a game of ball with the dogs. Which puts us near the end of the day, but Cesar’s day is not over, since the dogs are tired it is easy for him to do one on one work the individual dogs as needed. Whether or not you agree with Cesar’s methods, they work for him and he is clearly doing what he thinks is best for his dogs.

Read the book and decide for yourself if “Cesar’s Way” is the best or even the only method for you and your dogs. Happy reading!

If you have already read the book I would love to hear your opinion! Feel free to comment below.

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DIY Pet Pillow

sweetdreamsI don’t know about your pups but our dog just started sleeping with us. He is all over the bed all night long. He goes from laying peaceful between us, to laying on my husbands head, then on my feet, then spread eagle across our legs…well you get the picture. My husband could sleep through a hurricane, but I am light sleeper so this decision to let him sleep with us has led to some sleepless nights for me. Therefore we (and by “we” I mean “I”) are going to try for a modification to this sleeping pattern. I have used one of my sweaters to make a pillow case to place on the floor next to our bed. It was a pretty rudimentary design for the “pillow case,” but it worked out well and he likes it. First, I started by using a sweater that I was ready for the rubbish pile. I wore it around the house for the afternoon just to get a little of my scent on it. Then I made the pillow case. The plan is to get him to sleep on it around then house then move it to the bedroom. He will do a “sit stay” pretty well, hence I don’t think it will be too troublesome to get him to sleep on the pillow. However, we shall see.

I have added a quick overview of how I did my pillow. I stitched mine by hand you may want to use a sewing machine in that case you would not stuff the pillow first, but last.

pillow final

P.S. For the pictures I just used safety pins to hold it together. You could potentially leave the pins if your dog is not much of digger. Mine likes to scratch at his pillows to fluff them and I chose not leave the pins fearing he might unhook one and poke himself.

DIY Dog Agility Course

Border_collie_weave_polesWell, it is DIY Friday. I like to post DIYs on Friday for those of you who are weekend warriors and like to take on projects over the weekend.This particular post will mostly likely take more than a weekend to accomplish.

Exercise is an essential part of a dog’s life. If you want a dog who lives well into his old age then making sure they get exercise is necessary. I think everyone likes a dog that is well-behaved and there is no better way to get a well-behaved dog than to bond with them. A dog that is bonded to its owner will want to please them and acting out is usually seen less. Agility Training is a great way to bond with your four-legged friend and also exercise at the same time. Another reason agility is an excellent choice is it can cross over all of the categories of exercise; mental, psychological, emotional and physical. agility

Agility does require a lot of time. Training a dog to do agility is time-consuming but rewarding. Some dogs just seem to be born for agility and take to it with less training time, there are other dogs that will just never be suited to agility no matter how well you train them, and there are some dogs that with a little patience and a lot of focused time can become agility experts. But where do you start? If you have ever shopped for agility equipment you will know that it is very expensive, and if you are just doing this for fun it might seem a little too much to spend that kind of money on play equipment. So, I have found a few places where you can buy it affordably and/or build your own.

***Also there are some things to know about agility before you begin training your dog based on youtube videos or other training materials. Such as for young dogs agility can be harmful for their growing joints, please see your vet before beginning any type of physical training with your dog.

I have included some of the basic components of a typical Agility Course. There is no need to make a full course if you are doing this only for fun, but if you plan to train for competition then this list is not exhaustive and you may need to add to your collection.

Weave Polls

Jump Bars

Hoop Jump

See-Saw

Dog Walk or A-Frame

Pause Table

Dog Agility Shop has several DIY plans but also very affordable complete sets.

Dog agility
Click to go to DogAgility Shop

Happy Training