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Episode 211 - Holly’s Terror


"I always say that the dog usually isn’t the problem, and the case of Holly and her terrier Lexi is a perfect example. She can’t hike with her friend Ellen because of the dog, but it’s going to take my help, a llama, and some lessons in confidence before they can get back on the trail. My next challenge is to teach a woman with a dog-aggressive dog how to be calm and in control by challenging her to walk her dog off-leash — past a lot of other dogs."

 
 

Q&A with Cesar

I identify with Holly, I understand intellectually what to do but I’m not sure how to put it into practice. How do I exude the right energy on the walk?

Stop understanding intellectually and follow your instincts by turning off the voice in your head. On the walk, you shouldn’t be thinking about the past or the future. Focus on what’s happening right now. Pay attention to the smells, look at nature around you, and listen to the sounds; just enjoy being out and about with your dog. If you see someone else approaching with a dog and your dog has issues, ignore them. If your dog is playful, look forward to a pleasant encounter. Finally, keep moving forward. Your dog will follow because that’s what they’re programmed to do.

It was cool that Cesar used the llama to train Holly to be more assertive, but I don’t own a llama. Is there an exercise I can do on my own to learn how to be calm and assertive?

I use Lorenzo because he can be intimidating — he’s tall and weighs over four hundred pounds — but he can be controlled with a single gesture because he’s not dominant. The worst he can do is spit on you. If you don’t have a llama and want to learn how to be calm and assertive, you have to find something that scares you, whether it’s skydiving, speaking in public, riding a rollercoaster, whatever... find that thing you’re afraid to do, bring a friend if you need to, and do it. Conquering fear will show you how to be calm and assertive.
 

Like Linda, my dog is always super excited when she sees me. I realize that over-excitement triggers bad behavior. How can I control her excitement?

You have to force yourself to not acknowledge it. When we come home and our dog becomes an excited, bouncing ball of joy, it can be enticing to greet them with affection, but this just make the excitement worse. To control her excitement, ignore it. Practice no touch, no talk, no eye contact if she’s in that state, and don’t acknowledge her until she calms down. Eventually, she’ll learn that she doesn’t get your attention until she’s in a calm, submissive state. This doesn’t mean she doesn’t miss you or love you. It means that you’ve become her Pack Leader.
 

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