Saturday, October 20, 2007

Cesar's Way (by Cesar Millan)

Cesar's Way. By Cesar Millan

Ms. X has been waiting for this book her whole life. Cesar brings to print, to page, to life! That evasive quality of communion between man and dog. I don't know about you, furry reader, but Ms. X has always envisioned an epitomical relationship between man and dog, where the faithful canine companion trots at your heel, attentive and intune. Responsive to you slightest movements, he follows you trustingly and confidently through sunny meadows and bramble lined paths.

But Ms. X spent too much time as a kid chasing the family terrier down the road. The vision of that perfect relationship seemed just that, a vision. Unattainable, except for a lucky few that had a "knack" with animals. You know them, Dr. Doolittle, Ellie May Clampett...

Dog training was somewhat effective, the traditional methods bring obedience, and clicker training brings attention to your every movement. But traditional methods require a lot of work, a certain amount of harshness and a dependency on training and retraining commands. And clicker training creates a dog that obsesses over getting tangible rewards. There are schedules of reinforcement to implement and perfect timing to achieve. And the end of both methods were always the same, a dog that was trained, responsive to the commands he knew, but without any deeper connection.

There had to be a better way.

Cesar's Way is just that way. Cesar is one of those guys with the "knack" for animals. What has made Cesar a famous, household name is his unique ability to cognitively describe his knack.

Cesar has made it possible for every dog owner to achieve that epitomical relationship between dog and man. And it's simple. But not easy. Cesar presents a three step program, Exercise, Discipline and Affection - in that order. In 275 pages, he repeats his simple message approximately, oh, 275 times.

The Exercise part is the hardest. It means we dog owners have to get off our lazy hineys and walk the dog, at least 45 minutes a day. The more the better. And Cesar tells us why this is so important to achieving his desired dog-state of calm submissiveness. The 'calm-submissive' state for a dog is the one that allows the dog to follow us faithfully and confidently through the sunny meadows and the bramble lined paths.

Discipline is the next hardest, maybe the hardest for some owners. The single most important element of discipline is consistency. And some of us were surely hatched in the waffle maker! But again, Cesar hammers his message home oh, 275 (approximately) times, and lets us know (unequivocally) why Discipline (and consistency) are key elements of the calm-submissive dog.

Affection is the easy part. And it's a full third of the equation! That's great news for us hard to motivate dog owners. If we complete the first two parts, then Affection can be OUR reward - and the dogs. Cesar is very sensitive to our deep affinity to our four legged children, and his respect for us is reassuring.

Drawbacks to this book? Well, there aren't too many, but one thing Ms. X wishes there were more of is detailed examples of Cesar working with his pack of 40 (yes, FORTY) dogs. HOW exactly does he get them all to be "calm-submissive" at dinner time? I imagine he has many helpers, to watch and correct signs of aggression etc., More of those kind of details about pack interaction would have been fanstastic.

Hey, maybe it will be the subject of his next book! (Cesar, if you read don't have to give me any credit ;-) )

Ms. X recommends: Don't wait for Christmas to buy thisbook. Buy it right now and read it before New Years. This is the stuff of New Year's resolutions! And your dog will love you for it. An added plus? The 45 minutes a day plus of exerise will negate the need for unpleasent dieting resolutions. It's a win-win!

1 comment:

Melissa Jo Peltier said...

Hey Ms. X -
I am Melissa Jo Peltier, Cesar's co-writer. We have a new book out (just two weeks ago!) - "Be the Pack Leader" - which takes the "Cesar's Way" concept to the next level.
You can also check out Cesar's website at to find more tips and his "Mastering Leadership" DVD series.

Thank you SO much for your enthusiastic recommendation of "Cesar's Way" - we appreciate it very much! Good luck with your dog - and remember, stay calm and assertive!