WASHINGTON — He is best known as the “Dog Whisperer,” and Friday night on Cesar Millan’s Nat Geo Wild show “Dog Nation,” Millan is showcasing the power of guide dogs for wounded veterans.
“A guide dog for a vet is a perfect way to give them back their freedom,” Millan said.
Millan spoke to WTOP about this special episode, which airs Friday at 9 p.m., and shared some behavior-changing tips dog owners can use with their four-legged family members.
The episode was shot here in the nation’s capital and focuses on a blind Gulf War veteran who, instead of using a cane, now has a dog to guide him along busy sidewalks and keep him out of danger.
When it comes to physical or emotional help, dogs are one of the most popular animals to train to become a guide or source of support. “When you give a dog a purpose, when you give a dog a meaning, he finds happiness in that,” Millan said.
How do you deal with a dog that has separation anxiety?
Millan said exercising your dog is key, because the dog will be in a tired state and not try to follow you when it’s time to go to work. Also: Pet parents should help their dogs get into a relaxed state before leaving — don’t just say goodbye to them at the door.
“A lot of times people say goodbye to the dog and then they close the door and the dog stays, so the dog doesn’t have the completion of going to a resting state,” Millan said.
What to do about a dog that pulls hard on the leash?
Dogs usually try to drag owners around when they are excited, Millan said, and sometimes being in a relaxed state when getting a pet ready for a walk will help.
“The human makes the dog super-excited before he goes for the walk, and so the dog gets excited and starts pulling,” Millan said.
The dog may also need a human who is a bit more active during the walks, according to Millan, who said that’s why viewers have seen him from time to time on Rollerblades when taking a dog outside.
What about dogs who bark and jump a lot?
Exercise is again key for solving this problem, according to Millan. Dogs that exhibit this behavior in many cases don’t understand discipline, he said.
“At home, people don’t play the authority figure or they don’t play the role model of head of the household, so the dog becomes the head of the household,” Millan said.
An exercise, discipline and affection model is used in the military, he said, and the method helps with raising dogs as well.