I love watching Cesar Millan, Dog Whisperer on cable TV. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the program is Cesar a dog trainer who does not train dogs. According to him, he rehabilitates dogs while training their owners. Cesar takes a very basic and practical approach, assuming the role of the Alpha male and encourage herd behavior. Sometimes he becomes more of a dog than the dogs themselves, and seek to change behavior, it always seems to work. At least on television Cesar emphasizes that the problem in most cases the dog’s behavior is that the owners treat their pets too much to people. He stresses three rules: exercise, discipline and then affection, strictly in order of priority. He argues that most domestic dogs do not get enough exercise. In nature, dogs have to walk long distances to cover their territory and obtaining food. Short bursts of running around the house or in the garden did not do the trick. He recommends to walk your dog at least 45 minutes a day. Many shoes have been chewed as a result of all that pent up energy. Secondly, to the chagrin of many owners, I am sure, “he emphasizes discipline of affection. As much as you think that the wiggles would be held and stroked all day that just is not the case. Dogs looking for leadership from the Alpha male, or sometimes alpha female of the pack if they do not find that leadership, they reluctantly take on that role. So, hey guys, let’s tear up the kitchen trash can seem like a perfectly reasonable command to the new leader, but not to the owner of the house. Moreover, he argues that because dogs do not have very good knowledge of English, they respond much better to physical commands a jerk on the leash, or a tap of the foot than to say things like "No!” Or “Down Boy!” ; I used to know someone who was an avid hunter. He had a couple of beautiful hunting dogs. The dogs spent much time in the woods chasing prey, and they seemed happy to do it. Sometimes at night were in boxes in the basement to sleep. It seemed like a cruel practice at the time, but now that I think about it, there is not much different than an Alpha Dog Nipping a member of the flock in the neck and forcing him down on the ground to sleep. As long as the dogs were out of the box the next morning, fed and runs over the ground, they seemed very happy. I am convinced that dogs need and want discipline. Too many times we think somehow that they are “just like us” and in no way can understand the modern world. Scroll through the pages of a recent pet magazine were ads for organic and holistic pet food, pet greeting cards, pet yoga, spa and massage, clothes and places to take your dog on vacation. A local artist would paint a portrait of your dog for $ 250.00. This is the Chinese Year of the dog and there is Bodhi toys in the form of Lotus flowers, T-shirts with calligraphy on them for your dog, and even a book about developing your dog “spiritually.” I suppose it is no wrong with all this, but really it’s more for the owner’s satisfaction than anything else. While you’re dressing up Fido and show your friends how sweet he looks, he is probably wondering why you did not sniff their butts when they came in and establish your territory. What kind of an Alpha leader are you? Just remember the key things that will keep your dog well-balanced and happy: food, exercise, discipline and love. In that order.