By Carrie Cousins
The title is a little misleading, but this book surely sends dog owners in the right direction.
Cesar Millan, star of “Dog Whisperer” on the National Geographic Channel, shares his philosophy on living with a dog.
Most of what he describes in the book, which mixes anecdotes and interviews with other dog trainers, is less about actual training and more about how to help a dog develop manners.
Some of his tips are rather obvious for those who already have four-legged housemates, but the book is a great lesson for beginning dog owners.
His advice is practical and can be practiced at home by most pet owners.
From his first rule of basic fulfillment: “Let your dog be a dog,” to more intermediate techniques such as guiding a dog with hand signals or clicker training, Millan’s words and advice are simple and clear.
He does not preach his way or even claim it to be best, rather he offers varying opinions on training and dog behavior. He talks to other trainers, from Hollywood’s Mark Harden, who works with a pair of English shepherds on the HBO series “True Blood,” to professional master-trainer Bonnie Brown-Cali, and shares the advice of a veterinarian and dog behaviorist
The biggest lesson to take away from “Cesar’s Rules” is to understand your dog. Take breed and personality type into consideration and try to find a pet that suits your personality.
He emphasizes that no one technique is the only way to train and that having a dog with good manners is what most owners desire.
Millan also explains the instincts of dogs and how they function, such as the pack mentality that he talks about often on his television show.
The book is well-written and simple. It is a quick read with many lists and examples. Later chapters also feature photos and diagrams as teaching aids.
Millan’s descriptions of how he came to be a “dog whisperer” and how he developed his training philosophy are also interesting. The details help readers who may not be familiar with Millan and his history trust his techniques.
The book would be a great resource — or gift — for any new dog owner.