Time for walkies with 'whisperer' Cesar
MEXICAN "dog whisperer" Cesar Millan, who has trained dogs for Oprah Winfrey, Scarlett Johansson, Will Smith and Nicolas Cage, will be bringing his new show, Trust Your Instincts, to the Royal Concert Hall next year.
The tour will cover a variety of pooch-related topics, including: why our modern world is confusing to a dog; and how to read your dog's body language.
"Everybody loves dogs and different cultures have a different way of loving them, but something they all have in common is their lack of knowledge they need to keep a dog balanced," says Millan, 43, who has 20 dogs, a llama and a horse.
"Through the seminars, I want people to understand how dogs' instincts are triggered by humans' moods and energies.
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"Love is not the problem. Everyone loves their dogs. But dogs respond to calmness and in humans it's more difficult to teach calmness than assertiveness.
"Americans, for example, know very well how to be assertive with dogs, but not calm."
He adds: "Humans do respond well to my training techniques but they can quickly go back to their old habits. I try to give them reminders and stickers to help them."
Millan, who brought his previous tour to the Capital FM Arena two years ago, believes that Westerners spoil their dogs. "Dogs where I come from in Mexico are skinny," he says. "People don't feed them cookies like they do over here. Most people don't even have cookies for themselves! So the dogs are skinnier, but they don't have psychological problems.
"Here, dogs are chunkier but they do have psychological problems. Their needs aren't being met."
One of the key techniques he employs is scent.
"We use the nose of a dog all the time when we need it; for rescuing, to sniff out drugs... but we don't use it in training. Scent is what makes a dog a dog."
"For one dog that wouldn't stop barking, I used a bandana around his neck like a collar, scented with lavender oil. It had the effect of redirecting the dog's attention and relaxing it.
"In another situation in Palm Springs, there was an aggressive dog who tried to bite his owner's face when she kissed him. I told the lady to put her pet parrot on her shoulder before she approached the dog.
"And when she did this, the dog licked her face.
"The dog had more respect for the parrot."
Millan grew up on a farm with numerous dogs and he believes that was how he managed to learn so much about their nature.
He says: "My school was the farm, my teachers were the animals. At an early age I learned to be at one with nature. I also learned a lot of what I know from my grandfather.
"When I moved to the city, I noticed that dogs behaved differently and that people treated them differently. I started helping people to control their dogs and I thought 'this could be a profession' "
Cesar Millan's Trust Your Instincts 2013 UK Tour comes to the Royal Concert Hall on Tuesday, April 16. Tickets are £39.50 from the box office, call 0115 989 5555 or go to www.trch.co.uk.