I used to watch a lot of The Dog Whisperer. Recently, I’ve been watching It’s Me or the Dog, which I like better. Cesar Millan and Victoria Stilwell have very similar approaches to fixing bad dog owners, but I think Stilwell is better at explaining steps. Millan can model things, but he can’t teach the owners exactly what to do. He relies too much on abstract phrases like “pack leader” and “calm, assertive energy.”
In either case, though, it’s quite obvious many dog owners who think they have problem dogs are really just problem owners, usually because they spoil their dogs and treat their dogs like babies instead of like dogs. Dogs don’t handle baby treatment well, so they act out or become neurotic. And many breeds of dogs require a lot of exercise and don’t like being cooped up in a house for ten or twelve hours at a time.
Get it through your thick heads, people! Dogs aren’t babies. They’re dogs. And you can still love your dog without spoiling it. In fact, if you really did love your dog, you wouldn’t baby it. And both you and the dog would be much happier.
You need a license to drive. Why don’t you need a license to adopt a dog? I think all potential dog owners should be forced to watch (A Clockwatch Orange style) 16 hours of It’s Me or the Dog before being able to adopt a dog. Or many of these supposed dog lovers would really be better off with a cat. Seriously. Cats don’t mind being spoiled. Cats don’t mind being stuck in a house all day (as long as you play with them a little bit when you get home). Cats are already toilet trained. Cats groom themselves.
If you want a baby, have a baby… or adopt one. If you want a dog, treat it like a dog and love it like a dog. If you think you want a dog but don’t want to put the energy into training it properly and exercising it well, get a cat.