Cesar Milan or the ‘Dog Whisperer’ has a knack for taking the very worst dogs and turning them into great dogs in a matter of minutes. But what is it about the ‘Dog Whisperer’ that makes him so special? How can one person experience so much success with such ruthless and vicious animals when others consider them unteachable, unreachable and unchangeable? More importantly, can those same techniques be used to put a stop to your son’s negative behavior? Join me as we probe this question and explore the fascinating world of ‘dog psychology.’
WHY CESAR’S TECHNIQUES WORK.
Is it really possible to take the very worst behaviors and turn them into great behaviors in a matter of minutes? With dogs, yes. However, its a bit more complicated when it comes to human behavior, but not as much as you might think. In fact, there’s a lot Cesar Milan and his dogs can teach us. Cesar Milan is an expert in canine psychology with years and years of experience but Cesar himself is not the miracle, the miracle is in what he teaches. Cesar’s techniques work for 3 simple reasons: they make sense, they’re easy to understand and even easier to implement. It’s not difficult to uncover the secret behind Cesar’s secret formula because he has no secrets. Cesar shares his knowledge freely to anyone willing to listen, much like a Sunday preacher relentlessly repeating the same sermon, giving the same instruction, never deviating from the same fundamental lesson. Cesar’s focus has always been on the fundamentals and that is why they work and that is also why he has experienced so much success. The good news is, you can experience some of the same success, with a little practice.
Now I don’t want you to think I started watching the “dog whisperer” with the sole purpose of helping parents help their son behave better; I started watching it for the same reason most people watch it, I’m a dog lover. Yet, I was a sceptic. Considering the many unfortunate encounters I’ve experienced with vicious dogs throughout my childhood, I was sure the show was a fake, yet another part of me whispered, “What if this guy is for real? What if he really can rehabilitate these dogs into lovable companions in a manner of minutes?” Well, I had to find out for myself and with one episode I was hooked. Why? Because Cesar deals with real life issues! No gimmicks, no acting, no lines, no fabricated plots, just real people with real problems being taught simple techniques that not only worked, but were super easy! It was about the 10th episode when I realized Cesar was teaching his clients exactly what I was teaching my parents, only Cesar’s version was simpler, stripped down to its purest form and it was then that I began to make a connection… why should I not do the same thing… take a process as overly complicated and confusing as rehabilitating young men and making it even simpler, easier to understand and even easier to implement for parents who knew nothing about Forte Strong and our curriculum. That was when I decided… it was time to go back to the fundamentals.
FUNDAMENTALS ARE THE KEY
There are 4 basic fundamentals that I teach on a daily basis, very similar to Cesar’s approach, that will help put a stop to your son’s bad behavior. Remember, focusing on the fundamentals is the key! Think about it, those who are the best at what they do focus on the fundamentals… the top businesses do it, the top teachers do it, the top athletes do it, the top coaches do it, then why don’t we all do it? Well, because its hard. Because it takes discipline and consistency. Let’s face it, we’re human and as humans we want things to be easy and not only do we want it to be easy, but we want it to be new and different and shiny and cool. It’s human nature to be constantly looking for new ways to get things done easier, faster and cheaper but unfortunately that doesn’t always mean better. So ask yourselves, when it comes to dogs what is the easiest and fastest way to control a dog’s behavior? You could buy a video surveillance system to keep track of him when you’re away from home. You could give him special toys or gadgets to keep his mind constantly occupied so he doesn’t chew up the couch. You could even give him some special pills to help him be less anxious or depressed (yes, they make pills for dogs too). But do these gadgets and pills really solve your dog problems? The answer is no and the same can be said when it comes to your son; gadgets and pills and money and material things don’t solve the behavior problems and they never will. Yes, they may help a little but they don’t solve the real issue because these type of solutions are a quick fix solution rather than the long-term solution. Parents, especially those with busy and hectic schedules often rely on quick-fix solutions to solve long-term problems instead of long-term solutions for long-term problems. So, before we begin to look toward new drugs and new gadgets and new toys, we must first realize that bad behavior isn’t new… and neither are the techniques that can put a stop to it. Cesar doesn’t use the latest gadgets or special treats to get his dogs to change their behavior or any kind of quick-fix solution; instead he uses a bit of discipline at the right time and in the right way to drive his success and it starts by practicing the fundamentals each and every day… yes, the fundamentals!
“Dogs have integrity. But many humans measure integrity materially, with money. That’s how disconnected and unbalanced we have become.” – Cesar
I’m really excited about this blog series because I believe Cesar’s approach can help parents feel more confident and more empowered when dealing with their son and his bad behavior. Although ‘rehabilitating’ a dog is much different than rehabilitating a young man who is exhibiting signs of entitlement, manipulation and/or defiance, the techniques are surprisingly similar and best of all, they’re… you guessed it, easy. In fact, parents can implement these techniques today, but mastering these techniques will take time. These techniques will be easy to implement early on but remaining consistent and resilient when things get tough won’t be and that’s where discipline comes in. Now, are you ready to start learning how to put a stop to your son’s bad behavior? Then let’s begin.
THE 4 FUNDAMENTALS: Balance, Integrity, Love & Leadership
BALANCE: Balance is the first fundamental step crucial to your son’s success. It sounds easy but make no mistake, it’s not. Cesar will be the first to tell you that when he enters a home with an out-of-control dog it’s always the result of a severe imbalance within the home. In essence, Cesar’s job is to quickly identify the cause of the imbalance and then educate and train the owners how to bring the home back into balance. Of course, this isn’t always an easy process.
“Just because a person goes to Harvard doesn’t mean he’s balanced when he graduates, and just because a dog knows how to obey doesn’t mean he’s balanced, either.” – Cesar Milan.
Every parent who has a son who’s struggling with failure to launch syndrome has a home that is out of balance. In most out-of-balance homes, honesty, respect and gratitude are replaced with their opposites: dishonesty, disrespect and entitlement. Many parents are at a loss as to how to deal with this and often wonder how it all happened to begin with. They wonder why their son lied about doing well in college, or why he quit his job, or why he moved back home expecting his mom to do all the chores while he quietly regresses further into the dark corners of his room, unwilling to go outside. Over the years I’ve heard many mothers exclaim in desperation, “My son used to be in college, he used to get good grades, he used to work and then all of sudden something happened and he came home and hasn’t left!” This is a common scene with failure to launch young men and one of the key reasons is a severe lack of BALANCE, both in and outside the home.
Let’s talk about where the imbalance begins… at home. Truth is, most of these young men know how to be a good indian (when the chief is around) but have no idea how to be a chief. What do I mean? I mean they rely on others to tell them what to do, how to do it, when to do it and why to do it… but when they leave home for the first time and mom and dad (chiefs) are now out of the picture, they are utterly lost. Simply put, these young men are dependent on others to navigate their way through the rigors of life. They depend on others to make decisions for them, to solve their problems, to overcome their obstacles and to fight their battles. This causes a huge IMBALANCE.
This failure to launch phenomenon has nothing to do with a lack of intelligence. The reality is that these same young men are usually top of their class when it comes to academics. They’re extremely smart, extremely talented and are often considered by others as extremely gifted. But you ask, “If that’s true, why do they lock themselves in their room wasting their lives away?” Because in the game of life, it takes much more than brain power to succeed. Yes, these young men have a desire to succeed, but unfortunately don’t have the “problem-solving” skills nor the confidence to achieve success on their own; in essence these young men need to learn how to be chiefs not indians. They must be taught how to grab the reigns, take charge and make decisions that involve “healthy” risks. In too many cases, well-intentioned parents have jumped-in and have rescued their son at this crucial and pivotal time in his life when he’s just beginning to learn how to be a man, in turn destroying any real chance of him gaining any kind of confidence he may have had obtained in the process. When this happens parents not only resume their role as the chief but reinforce his role as the indian, leaving their son with no skills, no experience and no confidence. This endless cycle of rescuing only creates more dependence, not independence. It creates more doubt and anxiety, not confidence. It creates weakness not strength. If you want your son to be balanced, you must be balanced and that means mom and dad need to take a few steps back and let their son make some mistakes and in fact, allow him to fail.
“Humans are the only species that follows unstable pack leaders.” -Cesar Milan
The question still remains. How do you teach your little indian how to be a chief? Well, it’s easy; indians learn how to be chiefs in three ways. The first way is through ‘example’, whether it is by a good chief or a bad one. What do I mean by that? Well mom and dad, if you’re not around to teach him how to be a chief, then your son has two options, he will either hide away into the deep recesses of his room and remain an indian for the rest of his life or he will turn to his friends for guidance and you had better hope he has good friends because if he doesn’t, you will have a lot more to worry about than getting your son to launch successfully. The second way to teach an indian how to be a chief is through ‘expectation’. Being a good example is not enough, you need to have clear expectations for him. Expectations like house chores, going to work, paying bills while gradually taking on more responsibility and accepting full accountability for the outcome, good or bad. Being fair, honest, and respectful are traits that go along way. I know you have these expectations for yourself, then why not have them for your son as well? The third way indians learn how to be chiefs is through “experience!” Gaining experience is a vital part of the learning process and your son cannot and will not become a man if this process is thwarted by a rescuing parent. Take a step back and let life do some teaching. Bottom line… lead by example with clear expectations, then take a step back and let experience help you do the rest.
A Quick Summary:
It’s not complicated, so don’t make it so. Cesar’s techniques work because they’re simple! Parents only have so much time in the day or in a week. If you want to make the biggest impact with the time you do have, focus on the fundamentals. There are 4 fundamentals: Balance, Integrity, Love, and Leadership. Balance is absolutely essential if you want your son to launch successfully. If you expect your son to be balanced then you as the parent must be balanced. Many young men who fail to launch need to be taught how to be a chief not just an Indian. Three ways you can teach your son how to be a chief are through personal example, clear expectations and gained experience.
Coming up next week:
Next week in Part 2 of this series “Can the Dog Whisperer stop my son’s negative behavior?” you will learn the 2nd Fundamental: INTEGRITY! Integrity is the bedrock for any great relationship and for any great society. From the outside it may seem as though you might have this 2nd fundamental (integrity) in the bag, but you might be surprised at what you find. Join me next week and discover whether or not your integrity is in good shape or whether it’s in need of some major repair.
About The Author
Brook Price dedicated himself to helping others early in his life. He grew up in Sunny Orange County California, then joined the Marine Corps at the age of 21 serving five and half years as a helicopter crew chief and then as chief accountant. His journey with this type of work began when he volunteered as a Young Marines Instructor during his time in the Marines, helping kids get off the street, improve their lives and develop as a leader. After his tour Brook left the Marines to pursue a career in experiential therapy by attending Southern Utah University where he majored in outdoor recreation with a minor in psychology.
Brook has seventeen years experience working for a variety of different therapeutic and transitional programs across the nation. His thirst for knowledge drove him to learn and study successful therapeutic models and programs across the country, most notably Outward Bound. Brook has experience working with therapeutic, residential, military, wilderness and transitional programs for adults and adolescents.
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