Bringing a dog into a new home can be a stressful experience, whether it’s your home or the White House.
So dog behavior expert Cesar Millan, aka “Dog Whisperer” by fans of his reality show on National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild, is not too surprised to learn that President Joe Biden’s dog, Major, allegedly arrested an unknown person at the White House. Major and Champ left the White House for a “previously planned” trip to Delaware shortly thereafter, though First Dogs was back at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. on Wednesday afternoon.
Millan told MarketWatch that he immediately contacted the White House, offering to lend his services.
“We are waiting and ready to help,” said Millan, whose new series “The Way of Cesar” will premiere on Nat Geo Wild in August. agree on how to welcome Major into this new way of life. ”
“In order for a dog to bite, it feels it is necessary to defend its territory, or it feels the need to protect its family – or when it is afraid or distrustful, it can bite, too,” says Millan. . The dog may also need clearer rules, boundaries, and limits.
And this is a doggy dilemma that can be shared by Many Americans have adopted or raised a pet because the pandemic allows them to work or spend more time at home. Indeed, animal rescues have reported record numbers of adoption and rearing over the past year. So it is not too surprising that many people sided with Major, a 3-year-old German shepherd dog that the Bidens had rescued a few years ago, when they learned of the chaos.
So how does the First Family – and families across the country – help their dogs settle into a new home?
Millan, 51, has over 25 years of experience helping human best friends and humans see with the eyes – or rather from the nose, because this is how our dog friends actually see the world. He has begun restoring aggressive dogs in California, but will be the first to tell you that the dogs themselves are not the problem.
“I train people,” he said with a laugh. “My clients are Harvard graduates, but they can’t take a Chihuahua away.”
And the root of the relationship between people and their fluffy babies comes from a good place; People considered their dogs part of our family, says Millan, so we started to treat them like a human, and forgot to treat them like a dog. Indeed, overall Americans have dropped about $ 99 billion for their pets by 2020, according to the American Pet Products Association, up from $ 95.7 billion the year before.
“Dogs follow instinct. They don’t know Google exists. They didn’t know Elon Musk existed. They don’t know politics. What they know: the pursuit of happiness, unconditional love, and hard work. ”
So dog owners often assume their puppies understand things beyond their grasp – such as moving into the Executive Mansion and all the stress that entails.
“It’s a new environment. Those are the new ones. And this particular place is a lot of stress. “Millan said. And while the president and first lady have embraced this tension and made the decision to move into the White House and its “chaotic routine”, dogs have no more say in the matter than a child. toddler.
“Way [Champ and Major] see it, they just showed up from place to place one day. And for us, the White House is a very iconic home in the world, a very powerful house – but in the dog world it’s just a house where people don’t sync, ”says Millan. “So you have to let the dogs adapt their way.”
And that includes introducing the dogs to the Executive Villa and the reason they will be accessed in a controlled manner, and ensuring that all those who will come into contact with the dogs on a regular basis stay in. on the same page about where dogs can go, how dogs should behave in each space, as well as the basics like how people should reach dogs.
And German shepherds like Champ and Major are working dogs, which means they need work to do. That includes plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to release excess energy that can turn into stressful tension and flare-ups of aggressive actions, like barking and biting.
“If he was allowed to move too much, as a German shepherd, he would start ‘patrolling’,” said Millan. This goes back to what White House press secretary Jen Psaki said about Major’s change: that the smaller dog “was surprised by a stranger and reacted in a way that resulted in minor fish injuries. multiply. ” Millan recommends that you regenerate that extra energy by having Major run on the indoor treadmill, or having him pick up a ball and bring it back when he’s out.
When the Major is inside, Bidens and their team can keep him in “a calm, surrendered state” by assigning him a “job” in each White House room, such as a specific position where he should sit, stand or lie down in each room. “He needs to know exactly what he’s doing in the Oval Office: here on the right or left, sitting or standing. You must let he I know. He couldn’t choose, ”said Millan. “It’s like how soldiers or Marines are trained to do their jobs. That is the kind of discipline. “
“I know that this is his house, but he needs to know how to ‘stay’ in his house.”
And if 50 people entered the room, they also needed to be taught not to run to the Major and to touch him. “Tell them he’s working,” says Millan, similar to how service dog owners gently remind others not to pamper or make eye contact with their dog while he is on the job. my job.
And Millan loves to lead First Family, White House staff, animal handlers, Secret Service and anyone else in regular contact with Champ and Major through a seminar to help everyone. on the same page about taking care of dogs – as well as a literal group walk with dogs.
“It was wonderful that Major could go with all the people he lives with, like a herd, to see and bring everyone together into a community,” said Millan. “For a dog, that’s the best thing in the world: walking with your pack. His goal in life is to make sure this set is amazing. ”
This is something your family can do too, especially when bringing a new dog or moving into a new house or apartment. Have all the adults and children walk the dog around its new neighborhood, and introduce it to each room in the house. “He shouldn’t go all the way by himself for a day,” said Millan. “Teach your dog’s manners from day one and do it calmly, confidently as if you’ve known him for a million years.”
In fact, everyday walking (or better yet) would give humans and canines a nice world right now, says Millan, noting that the average American dog spends around 23 hours. indoors, a total of just about an hour of walking outside. who I am.
“If he goes out for an hour, it’s not that he’s living the best of life,” says Millan, likening it to people who made home-order meals a year after the COVID-19 pandemic. .
“Look at us! People are going crazy,” said Millan. “So now we can have empathy and compassion for what we’ve done with our dogs before. “The best we can do with a dog in America is to walk it for as long as possible and make sure family members get involved.”