Mediaplanet spoke with Cesar Millan, star of Dog Whisperer, about how pet parents can improve their animal’s wellness.
 



Mediaplanet: What’s the best way for pet parents to have a healthy relationship with their animals?

Cesar Millan: My philosophy is to first achieve trust, respect, and love with your pet. Once you can do that, you’re on the way to cultivating a healthy relationship. The way I train a dog is how they naturally learn: nose, eyes, ears. The energy I use when I teach is calm, confident, loving, and joyful. Be sure to reward ideal behaviour with food, toys, and praise. 

You are a huge advocate for pet adoption. What can dog owners do to ensure dogs feel comfortable and safe in their new home?

It’s normal for a dog to feel a sense of confusion, especially when it is from a shelter or a rescue organization. The right thing to do to start their new life and to help them live in the moment is to begin your relationship with them with the longest walk you can provide. This will give the dog time to drain pent up energy and will also provide them with a sense of direction to follow its new family. Then, make sure your home environment is one where there is a lot of tranquillity, love, and a set of rules, boundaries, and limitations that will help them adapt instinctually to their new family and new life.

There are so many pet food options on the market — what should pet owners look for when choosing products that help their companions feel their best?

Look for foods with protein, vitamins, oils, calcium, fibre, and minerals as key ingredients. Currently, there is a great focus on human-grade pet food, so do your research and keep your options simple. 

What do you believe is the best method for feeding dogs?

Food should always be given after exercise in order for a dog to retain his ability to work and to stay polite or peaceful. It's important for a dog to be calm and patient. Dog owners should also try to ensure dogs keep their distance from food before it’s given. This will allow them to identify the food ritual as a calm, respectful activity throughout the day and will also eliminate territorial, aggressive, or possessive behaviour. Always feed a calm mind — it's the safest state of mind to promote during feeding time, especially when children are around.