I was up late the other night watching The Dog Whisperer on the National Geographic Channel. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Cesar Milan is a dog behavior specialist. He has been called the Dr. Phil for dogs. He works with dogs with behavioral disorders and their owners and he is amazing at what he does.
So why am I blogging about the Dog Whisperer? Well as I watched him work with an extremely aggressive pit bull and her owners, I aw that some of his techniques and philosophies applied to teaching children. Now don't get all offended, I'm not saying that kids are animals or dog like. Rather, I am saying that the techniques to modify maladaptive behavior whether it be in a child, adult or an animal are very similar. Here's his philosphy:
"In the wild, a dog's very survival depends on a strong, stable and organized pack, where every member knows its place and follows the rules established by the pack leader. The pack instinct is perhaps the strongest natural motivator for a dog.
Cesar Millan teaches that, in order to
properly fulfill both our dogs and ourselves, we need to become our
canine's calm, assertive pack leaders. A dog that doesn't trust its
human to be a good pack leader becomes unbalanced and often exhibits
unwanted or anti-social behaviors. Cesar does not "train" dogs in the
sense of teaching them commands like "sit, stay, come, heel." Rather, he
rehabilitates unbalanced dogs and helps "re-train" their owners to
better understand how to see the world through a dog's eyes. Sounds a lot like parent coaching!
Cesar counsels people to calmly, assertively, and consistently give their dogs rules, boundaries and limitations to establish themselves as solid pack leaders and to help correct and control unwanted behavior. He doesn't believe in "quick fixes," even though changing some behaviors can appear to happen in a relatively short period of time. None of those changes will "stick," however, unless the human acts consistently with his/her dog every day to keep unwanted behaviors from returning. In Cesar's opinion, no one should ever hit or yell at a dog to correct unwanted behavior." - from http://www.dogpsychologycenter.com/dpc-philosophy.php
Now think about this in terms of your family and child. What kind of pack leader are you? Please post your thoughts and comments...I'd love to hear from you!
And for more on Cesar Milan and The Dog Whisper, go to http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/dogwhisperer/. For the record, I don't know Cesar Milan or work for the National Geographic Channel :)
Originally posted on July 23, 2006 on www.minti.com