This book outlines Cesar's core phlosiphy. He explains that of the over 65 million dogs in the USA, many people consider dogs as one of thier children. He thinks that in most cases this is not good for the dog. His recommendation is to give your dog exercise, discipline, (and then affection) everyday.
Cesar attempts to teach readers that All Dogs need rules, boundaries, and limitations just like people. Those who treat their dogs like humans, often "spoil" them which is the cause of imbalance.
Cesar is not a certified dog trainer and is a self proclaimed animal behaviorist. With no formal training but many years of practical real life experance, he believes that most dogs need to have a strong leader who must always be an "alpha" presence in the dog's eye. If an owner is not a "pack leader" he says that the dog will become the leader and will become unbalanced because it is not capable of doing the job.
When this happens, Cesar says not to worry, because any dog can be rehabilitated. The hardest part is to retrain the owners.
Cesar says he does "heavy-duty rehab". He deals in dog psychology. He connects with the dog's mind and natural instincts to help correct unwanted behavior. He doesnt use words or commands. He uses his "calm and assurtive" energy and "touch" to redirect the dogs he works with.
The first chapters deal with his childhood. He talks about how he grew up on a farm in Mexico with dogs that ran loose in natural "packs". They usually got along together and rarely fought. The dogs worked on the farms as herders, guardians and protectors. They scavenged for live food, ate a few human scraps, and formed their own society. They would interact with humans, but weren't considered "pets."
At 21, Cesar decided to come to the U.S., (illegally at the time) with no money or contacts. He crossed the border and got a job as a dog groomer in California. [He makes it clear that he paid back all he owed to the government and is now an American citizen.]
Once in the states, he saw that dogs were treated much differently. He saw the good (ppl treated dogs with love) and also saw that they were out of control because they had no proper training.
He got several jobs in the dog industry and got the reputation as "being good with" tough cases. This launched his career.
The later chapters deal with his experences and the deployment of his tecniques.
Cesar's positive energy, enthusiasm and love for dogs come thru very clearly in this book as he shares his knowledge about dogs and teaching techniques to other human "pack leaders."
The last chapter sums up his purpose: "Fulfilling our dogs first, then fulfilling ourselves." You will discover something important about yourself and life in general from dogs: Dogs teach us to live every moment to the fullest.
My summary of this book:
While some of his methods are antiquated "at best", I agree with his basic phylosiphy. Dogs need our leadership. Were we differ is on the "pack leader" thing. To me, leadership should be on a "best friend" basis. Bonding with your dog is a much more effective way of connecting to your dog's mind. Unfortunately this is not an instant thing, so it doesn't make good TV. IMO, Trust and respect are given much easier and completely with friendship than it is with a firm hand.