What a tiny dog taught me

“The dog is a reflection of your energy, of your behavior. You have to ask "What am I doing?' That's the right question to ask." Cesar Millan

I admit it - I love watching Cesar Millan, aka The Dog Whisperer - and I don't even own a dog.

I can't help it. I had known about him for years and even watched a few episodes of his show back when he first started in 2004.

But it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I got sucked in big-time. So far Lucas and I have watched every episode of Cesar 911, almost the entire first season of the Dog Whisperer, as well as the 2-hour celebrity edition of the show.

You could say we're slightly obsessed.

It's because the show, and Cesar's entire philosophy really, is actually self-development disguised as dog training.

He teaches that 99% of dogs who misbehave do so because they lack a strong pack leader. That means the dogs aren't the issue...the owners are.

If a dog doesn't have a strong pack leader, they feel they have to be the leader. This self-imposed pressure leads to common issues like dominance, aggression, and separation anxiety.

According to Cesar, the key to being a strong pack leader is to be calm and assertive, know you're in charge, and the dog will happily follow you.

At first, this was really painful to accept. You see, I've owned one dog in my life. Buddy was with me through the sick years, and I got him specifically to love me through the hard times.

Buddy was adorable as hell, but also totally neurotic. And learning dog psychology from Cesar, I realized I was the one who had trained him to act crazy. I put my need for affection above his need for a leader.

It was a hard pill to swallow for an avowed dog lover like me.
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Now I feel like I have a second chance to be a good pack leader, in all areas of my life. I recently practiced my new skills with my friend's dog, Teddy. Teddy's appeared in previous newsletters because, like Buddy, he is so frickin' cute. But also like Buddy, he can be pretty high-strung.

Knowing that my behavior was the key, I used Cesar's techniques in a calm, assertive way with Teddy...and they worked like a charm!

It was like he was a completely different dog. But I was the one who had changed. I calmed myself, focused on being a leader for him instead of focusing on how his cuteness could please me, and his entire demeanor shifted for the better.

I immediately began to see how this new energy could translate into other aspects of my life. Suddenly I felt more confident and excited about being a leader in my business and in my life.

And all it took was a walk with a 13 pound dog. Crazy, huh?

Not really, because animals (dogs in particular) are such wonderful mirrors for us. Because they feed off our energy, they show us exactly where we're at energetically at any given time. Even a dog who has misbehaved for a decade can change very quickly if we become the strong leader they need us to be.

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The same principles work with our fellow humans. Think of strong leaders you've encountered. Was their energy all of the place, or were you drawn to them because they felt like they had things under control?

People follow energy just as much as animals...animals just do it more naturally. CLICK TO TWEET

Your turn: have you ever wanted a situation to change, then realized that you needed to change first? Please tell me about it on the Shift Bars Facebook page. This pack is always looking for new members!

I woof you,
Emily