Meet Cesar Millan
World-renowned Dog Coach and host of the National Geographic Channel series, The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan provides tips that help you be the best pet parent.
Cesar Millan is a strong advocate for shelter animals and the Millan Foundation supports shelter and rescue groups nationwide.
Browse Cesar's Q&As:
Our girls—Molly, a 10-year-old Rottweiler mix, and Auroara, a five-year-old Lab mix—are friendly and well behaved, except for one thing. If another dog or a uniformed human walks by our house, they rush the living-room picture window. Unsuspecting folks like the fill-in postal worker are quite frightened when the Plexiglas bows under the pressure of Molly’s scratching as if she’s trying to get through to the other side. (She did this for many years, and finally Auroara joined in the fun by barking loudly as Molly scratched.) I’ve thought of blocking the dogs’ view with a piece of furniture, but I know that what we really need to do is change their behavior. I’ve tried a training device that emits an obnoxious noise as well as an ultrasonic sound that’s inaudible to my wife and me but is supposedly bothersome to dogs—and both dogs ignore it!
Neither is aggressive in other situations, and I’m positive they don’t intend to attack whoever is walking by, but we’re afraid one of them is going to get hurt by bouncing against the window. Thanks for considering our problem.A:
It’s obvious that you have everybody’s best -interests at heart, but you need to understand that your dogs’ behavior isn’t harmless. What they’re doing is being territorial, and if they were to break through the Plexiglas, the only way a passerby could stop them from biting him would be to freeze up completely. While it’s a very basic human tendency to trivialize or label as “unimportant” the things we don’t want to deal with, in this instance it’s crucial that you change your perception of your reality. By not doing so, you’re potentially putting others in jeopardy.
Having said that, I never suggest that a dog change her behavior; instead, I encourage the dog’s owners to change their -energy, because that’s what’s prompting the undesirable behavior. And you don’t need store-bought devices to do this; the only devices you need are yourselves. When dogs don’t see their owners claiming, owning, and leading in the territory we call “home,” they take control. Your dogs need to feel safe, but the physical aspect—the energy you claim to make them feel that way—is missing here; and it concerns me that it’s been missing for so long that Auroara even began to follow Molly’s lead.
Think of homeless people’s dogs. They don’t charge passersby on the street—because for the most part, they know that they “own” the 10 feet of space inside the imaginary fence that surrounds their owners. I suggest you go back to my first book, Cesar’s Way, and read some of the chapters on pack leading and displaying calm--assertive energy. There’s no activity behind it, and it is not about -taking away the dogs’ ability to protect—it’s just about taking away their ability to explode.
Submitted by Ed and Carol
Answered by Cesar Milan