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Episode 209 - Aggressive little monsters

"I’ve seen it many times: weak human energy plus an assertive dog equals disaster. In this case, Katherine’s dog Bella, has become possessive and overprotective. I’m going to need to teach her determination and consistency, but I can tell from her energy that it isn’t going to be an easy fix. Then I’m off to the dog park to deal with the case of Isaboo, an aggressive biter — ultimately the result of a nervous dog with an overexcited owner."


Q&A with Cesar

Like Bella and Isaboo, my dog gets in fights in the dog park too. It’s nerve-wracking! How can I correct this, Cesar?

The first step is to make sure that your dog has had plenty of exercise before going to the park, to drain her excess energy. Take her on a long walk before you go there, and when you get there, you enter first and she follows you. Another important point is that you have to let go of the fear that she’ll get into a fight — if you expect it to happen, your anxiety will trigger your dog and make it happen. The first few times, bring her to the park briefly and muzzled. This will help reduce your anxiety.

Tammy was so inspirational to me because I get the calm part, but I still need to learn how to be assertive. Any tips, Cesar?

Calm is halfway to assertive, so congratulations on that! In the animal world, assertive does not mean loud, bossy, or pushy. Animals communicate with body language, and an assertive animal will place itself above others, as well as move forward when confronted. To find the assertive part, find it in your body first. Stand up straight, with your head up and shoulders back. Think of someone imposing, real or fictional, and imagine how they would move. When you do move, whether around the house or in public, do it with intention — pick your destination and calmly move straight to it.

I’m naturally an excited and anxious person, like Tammy. How do I get into the right state of mind before for the walk?

A dog’s excitement comes from energy in the body; human excitement comes from emotions and intellect. To achieve calmness before the walk, you need to move your focus from your mind to your body. Yoga or meditation are ideal for bringing calmness because they quiet the inner voice that brings all the excitement. If you want to calm yourself right before the walk, practice breathing. Sit up straight, close your eyes, inhale deeply for as long as you can, hold, then exhale. Try to think of nothing, and repeat this ten times, then focus on the moment and the walk.

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How to Watch

TV: "Cesar 911" appears in the U.S.A. on Nat Geo WILD. Check local listings.

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International: "Cesar 911" will premiere internationally in May. Please visit our schedule page for more information.