What ALL Dogs Need
trainer Cesar Millan (a.k.a. The Dog Whisperer) says that there are
three things needed to keep your dog in a balanced state of mind and
body. While I don't necessarily agree with all of his methods, I do
believe that he has a good grasp of this concept and that everyone
should apply these three simple words into their training regiment.
Exercise, Discipline and Affection.
To create a healthy dog in mind, body and spirit, it is important to
give your dog exercise on a regular basis. Exercise allows your dog
to burn calories and use it's muscles. This will keep your dog
physically healthy. It will also help your dog deal with mental
issues such as anxiety, frustration and boredom. If ANY of these
three items are allowed to build up in your dog, it will trigger
many different behavior issues. All of them bad!!!! It is
recommended that a dog have at least 20 minutes of hard exercise
every day to maintain it's current state of mind. If your dog is
currently exhibiting behavior issues, longer walks, (as much as an
hour or more) is recommended.
Discipline (in this case) doesn't mean applying correction. It means
providing proper instruction. Rules and boundaries are essential to
achieve a well-balanced pet of any kind. Setting rules and
boundaries for your dog is no different than setting them for your
kids or your friends. Just like you would never dream of letting
kids run wild and destroy your house and car, your dog needs to be
under the same type of supervision. And when the dog does something
that you don't like, you need to correct the behavior at the second
owners do not want to apply needed discipline when they see unwanted
behavior because they think that it's being mean or because they
don't want to hurt the dog's spirit ... but it does nothing of the
sort. By setting rules and boundaries for your dog, and then
praising the dog for good behavior, you are showing the dog what you
like and you are also reinforcing the dog's self-esteem and building
Affection can be
expressed in many different ways. The most common expression of
affection is petting and stroking. Other forms include cuddling,
hugging, kissing, playing together and giving food or treats.
Affection is important, but it should ONLY be giving to a dog if the
dog is calm, submissive and completely under control. By giving
affection at the wrong time you only encourage that state of mind.
So many people write
to me describing themselves as “dog lovers,” but then
think that the term means their dogs should have no
disciplinary consequences for anything they do. It’s
often hard for me to communicate to them that for any
dog, “love” must include exercise, rules, boundaries,
and limitations first. Affection comes after that.
Cesar Millan - The