It’s been a perfect year since The Dog Whisperer left the airwaves. The program was a reality show that followed the adventures of Cesar Millan, a trainer with an infamously fabulous record for modifying the behavior of dogs. It left the Nat Geo Wild channel last September to spend an eternity on Netflix.
Those who are still searching for dog advice will be pleased to learn that Columbus has its own version of Cesar Millan: Angie Winters. And while others might refer to her as the “Dog Whisperer”, she’s more comfortable with a different title, saying, “I usually call myself a Dog Behavior Consultant, or Behaviorist.”
Winters says her training methodology isn’t typical. She doesn’t use lots of dog treats, for example. Instead, she says her successful methods center more around developing a better leadership relationship between owners and their dogs.
For Winters, it’s not about following commands, it’s about setting a tone. She explains, “Dogs already know how to read us. They watch our behavior very closely and they quickly assess whether we are respectful leaders, or not. If not, they generally do one of two things. They either step up to be the leader… or they become very insecure and fearful.”
Winters adds, “In a dog’s mind, there must be a leader or the whole pack (family) is in danger.”
And so, if you’re trying to figure out how to manage an unruly canine, here are the three giant mistakes she sees the most in owners.
- “Most dog owners want to be a leader to their dog but don’t know how or, mistakenly, think leadership means being harsh.” Winters advocates firm structure and clear “yes” or “no” commands.
- “Humans read their dog’s over-excitement as happiness.” In fact, Winters contends this sort of over-excitement is often anxiety and anxiousness instead.
- “People talk too much.” She says that dogs look more at body position than a jumble of words that might be emitted.
Less words: more message. Got it.
But if you need more words, you can check out www.angie4dogs.com.