Doggie Training Dos and Don’ts

Want to bring out the Lassie in your Brutus? The Dog Whisperer's tips on proper training can help.

By Cynthia Dermody from Reader's Digest | October 2006

Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, is a canine shrink with an uncanny ability to turn even the most aggressive pooch around. Millan tells how to bring out the Lassie in your Brutus:

Wake up and walk. Most dogs are wired to be active. When they’re not, pent-up energy leads to whining and chewing. It’s a must to take your dog on a 45-minute walk or run before work. If you can, hire a dog walker for midday. “A dog that’s tired doesn’t bite, dig holes or bark.”

Touch, but never hit. Don’t be afraid to use touch to tell a dog he’s broken the rules: Millan pulls at the tuft of the neck and gives a gentle nudge — not to hurt the dog, but to surprise and correct.

Be the boss. “Everybody wants to be a dog’s best friend, but dogs don’t follow friends; they follow a leader,” says Millan.

Establish leadership from the get-go: head and shoulders up. “Remember the popular people in high school? They walk in the room and people move — act like that.” Walk ahead going out the door; only let him bound ahead if you give the okay. And be firm: Dogs need consistent structure and routine.

Go to the pros. If your dog bites or is overly aggressive, seek help from a dog trainer.