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Episode 204 - SOS!


"Toby is a huge source of calming energy for Tristan, who has Asperger’s, but his behavior may get him removed from the household. In order to teach Toby’s family how to create harmony and balance, it’s going to take my entire pack and family, and time. Next, I have to solve the problem of Vada, another dog with too much energy and not enough discipline."

 
 

Q&A with Cesar

My dog is a chaser like Toby. How should I correct that, Cesar?

Chasing is an instinctual behavior that comes right from a dog’s prey drive. A domestic dog shouldn’t have that instinct if they eat regularly. They don’t need to hunt because those needs are fulfilled. But if other needs are not fulfilled, they can redirect this frustration into stalking, hunting, and chewing. The first step is to drain their energy with a long walk, then redirect their instincts through games that satisfy their prey drive, like fetch, letting them capture and “kill” rope toys, and so on. And, of course, you have to claim your territory over things they shouldn’t chew.

Toby’s owner was the source of his insecurity. I have a nervous dog, does it mean I’m nervous — even if I don’t feel that way?

Not necessarily. Some dogs are naturally more nervous or anxious than other dogs, and these dogs require stronger pack leaders who are as calm as possible. They do not do well with people who are overly loud or high energy, as this just makes them more nervous. Although it can be difficult, the best way to deal with your nervous dog is to give her space. Practice no touch, no talk, no eye contact. Let her come to you when she is ready, and give her a safe spot to retreat to when she wants, like a kennel or bed.

Like Vada, my adult rescue has a biting history. How can I make sure to put a stop to it now that she is with me?

Vada was being destructive because she didn’t have an outlet for her instincts. Since she was from a herding breed, I had her owners redirect her with agility training, which provides an outlet for the instinct. Determine what your dog’s breed instinct is, then fulfill that. For example, if it’s a sledding breed, load her down with a backpack on the walk or let her haul a cart or pull you on rollerblades. Scent hounds do well with search and rescue. A trainer can help you determine the need of your breed and select the proper activity to fulfill it.

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


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