Dear Mr. Millan,
My name is Charlie, and I’ve snuck onto my people’s computer to write this note. I want to thank you for your book, Cesar’s Way. I haven’t read it myself, seeing as how I’m a dog and all, but ever since my people read it, I’ve noticed some big changes around our pack. It sure wasn’t anything I did, so it must have been your book!
From the first day I met my people, I was very confused. When they came and picked me up, they were talking in high-pitched voices, knelt down on my level, and came right to me, only getting louder and higher in tone the more nervous I got. When I started whining on the drive home, they just kept talking in their squeaky voices and petting me, making me think that they WANTED me to be upset. They’re a strange breed of folks, these Faulks. (Or maybe it’s just humans in general!)
Once they brought me back home, the confusion continued as they treated me like a person. (A very handsome person, of course, but a person nonetheless.) I tried to learn the rules of my new pack, but I was getting very antsy, since I couldn’t understand what was going on most of the time and because I NEEDED MORE EXERCISE! I would try to show them this by jumping all over them, but they’d just say, “Awww! He’s so excited to see us! Aren’t you such a good boy, Charlie?!!!” I became frustrated and even more puzzled as the days ticked by.
Over time, it all became clear to me as they allowed me to pull them through their neighborhood on a leash, as I barked as loudly as I could when they weren’t getting me my food fast enough, and as I won every game of tug-of-war (sometimes even nipping them in the process). What became clear, you might ask? Well, that I was the leader of this peculiar pack. Me! I’m not naturally dominant, but after Buttercup (their very bossy dachshund) passed on, someone had to step up, and I was happy to do it. They continued petting me, hugging me, and talking to me in their excited voices, which only confirmed what I had long since guessed — my people were crazy. I was doing them a favor by leading them, and by showering me with their affection, they were praising me for doing so. Sure, they taught me how to go outside to do my business and how to obey a few commands, but I was still in charge every other minute of the day.
But that’s all changed, and I sure am glad. I got a little scared at the vet (who wouldn’t?!) and growled at a few people, and Jenn, who was reading your book, said that she didn’t want me to become a “red zone” dog. She kept talking to my other people about how my number one need in life was exercise, followed by discipline, followed by affection, in that order. She pointed out the places in your book where you wrote about how all dogs need a calm-assertive leader who will work hard to make sure that we dogs have a balance in our lives, not trying to make us into four-legged people but just letting us be dogs. She said that a dog who was fulfilled as a dog and confident of his place within his pack would not be fearful, aggressive, or out of control. All four of my people agreed that I was worth the hard work.
I had no idea what they were talking about, of course. But soon, things started changing. My jogs became longer, my people insisted that I walk beside them and not in front of them, and several times a day, Jenn was playing fetch with me (and making it hard by hiding my rubber chicken!) and working on commands with me. She showed me that my job in this pack was to run with her and Wes and even more importantly, to be calm and patient with Ana and Emma. (Which is a challenge, especially when that little Em is constantly running around singing my name!) Every day I was learning to let my people lead me, and I started to see that they weren’t as crazy as I thought. They made boundaries clear to me, rewarded my good behavior, and kept working with me until I broke some bad habits. Even mealtimes got better, as Jenn helped me to calm down before I ate with a few simple commands. Every night I go to bed feeling fulfilled and content with the exercise I’m getting, the mental challenges, and the affection. (And most nights I’m so tired from my exercise that I go to my bed without even being asked!)
All that to say, I’m one happy dog. I’m getting the exercise that I need, learning to be disciplined and “a gentleman” as Jenn says, and actually enjoying the affection my people give me, instead of being confused by it. I would recommend your book to all the people I know, but I’ve already learned that I can’t get books off the shelves. (Yeah, that was one of the bad habits that I had to break.) So, I’ll just have to trust that Jenn will recommend the book on her own.
So, what would your four-legged friend say if he/she could talk? (Or write, if he/she, like Charlie, is more comfortable using that type of communication.)