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Episode 202 - Kicked to the Curb

"I don’t just rehabilitate dogs. Sometimes, I save families, which is what I had to do for Ron and his German shepherd Savannah. His lack of self-confidence led to him being banished from his own family pack. Meanwhile, I save a young couple from eviction because they — and their dogs — are too rambunctious for the neighbors."


Q&A with Cesar

Like Ron, I didn't socialize my powerful breed dog as a puppy. She is 3 years old now and definitely anti-social. What can I do at this point?

You can socialize! A dog doesn’t have to be a puppy to be rehabilitated, and I’ve even seen senior dogs go from being dog-aggressive to becoming socialized. The key is for the owner to maintain calm, assertive energy and project confidence and leadership. If you’re relaxed in a socialization situation, your dog will be, too. Remember, since dogs are pack animals, they want to get along with each other. It’s your energy that can make the situation go bad.

My dog is the opposite of Savannah — he doesn’t pull, he stops! How can I master the walk with my dog stopping to sniff everything on the way?

On the walk, you need to have the collar high on your dog’s neck, behind the ears, not at the bottom, which is the strongest part of his neck and which will make him lead you. With the collar at the top, you have the most control. For the first half hour of the walk, keep your dog’s head up, with him next to or behind you, and correct him when he tries to sniff. Once your dog has mastered the ability to walk with you without sniffing, then use five minute “sniff breaks” as a reward for walking properly.

I have a barking poodle too! I realize it’s not the breed, but she is little and very cute, so people aren't afraid to approach, and every time they do the barking goes off. It’s embarrassing! What should I do?

It would be nice if people knew to practice “No touch, no talk, no eye contact” with strange dogs, but they don’t. It can be hard to resist approaching the dog, especially if it’s cute. Some people whose dogs need space tie a bright yellow ribbon onto their leash as a warning. There are also vests that say “Do Not Pet Me” which serve the same purpose. Also, check your own energy and learn to not anticipate the unwanted behavior on the walk. Finally, socialize your dog by working with her and people she doesn’t know in a controlled environment.

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TV: "Cesar 911" appears in the U.S.A. on Nat Geo WILD. Check local listings.

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