Cesar's Rules: Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog

Cesar's Rules: Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog


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The dog training book you’ve been waiting for from the bestselling author and star of National Geographic Channel’s Dog Whisperer.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Cesar Millan shows you how to communicate well with your dog and shares the most effective and humane methods for teaching your dog how to be a happy, well-behaved member of your household. In Cesar’s Rules, he addresses:

• The most popular training techniques, including positive reinforcement and using a clicker
• Ways to teach basic obedience commands sucha as sit, stay, and come
• The importance of balance, and why a well-trained dog does not necessarily mean a balanced one
• How to use your dog’s own natural inclinations to create better behavior
• The methods and theories from a variety of renowned trainers, including Bob Bailey, Ian Dunbar, Joel Silverman, Martin Deeley, and Mark Harden
• Encouraging and honoring your dog’s instincts
• And much more . . .

Filled with practical advice, anecdotes, tips, and trouble-shooting techniques from Cesar and his colleagues, this is the ultimate guide to a well-behaved and well-balanced dog—from a new puppy to an old dog who can still learn new tricks.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307716873
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 10/04/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 95,179
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Founder of the Dog Psychology Center in Los Angeles, CESAR MILLAN is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Cesar’s Way, Be the Pack Leader, A Member of the Family, and How to Raise the Perfect Dog. He is the star of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, National Geographic Channel’s top-rated show. In addition to his educational seminars and work with unstable dogs, Cesar has founded the Millan Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping shelters and rescue groups.
MELISSA JO PELTIER, an executive producer and writer of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, has been honored for her film and television writing and directing with an Emmy, a Peabody, and more than fifty other awards. She lives in Nyack, New York, with her husband, writer-director John Gray, and stepdaughter, Caitlin.


Los Angeles, CA

Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:

Culiacan, Mexico

Read an Excerpt



My Evolution from Training Dogs to Training People

The television set was an old black-and-white Zenith made of plastic that was supposed to look like wood. When you walked into our Mazatlan apartment, you could hear it before you could see it as you walked down a narrow hallway into the living room with a floor of large black- and-white tiles and a couch against one wall. My mother loved to watch her telenovelas-the daily soap operas that were so popular in Mexico. My sister loved the program Maya, which was about an elephant. But me? I had only two favorites: Lassie and Rin Tin Tin.

I still remember the way the Rin Tin Tin television show opened. Over a distant shot of a low-lying fort set in a cradle of mountains somewhere in the American West, there came the sound of a bugle playing reveille. At the sound of the call, American cavalry officers in Civil War-era uniforms rushed from their posts inside Fort Apache to fall into formation. Then there was a cut-the one I always waited for-to a shot of a magnificent German shepherd dog, sitting stoically on a rooftop, his ears pointed high, on alert to the bugle call. When Rusty, a little boy, joined the formation line, Rin Tin Tin barked, leapt off the rooftop, and got into the line of soldiers, just as if he were a soldier himself. By the end of the opening credits, I was filled with excitement and anticipation, wondering what incredible adventure Rusty and Rin Tin Tin would face this week.

Then there was Lassie. None of the dogs on my grandfather's farm looked anything like Lassie, with her downy cream-and-white-colored coat and her elegant, pointy nose. Our dogs had raggedy coats and muddy faces, but Lassie was always meticulously groomed. Every week Lassie's boy owner, Timmy, would get into some sort of trouble, but Lassie would never fail to save her master and help Timmy's parents teach him a life lesson, all within the span of one thirty-minute show.

By the time I saw Lassie and Rin Tin Tin on television, I was nine or ten years old and already entranced with dogs. From as early as I can remember, I was fascinated by, drawn to, and in love with the packs of working dogs that lived with us on my grandfather's farm in Sinaloa. They weren't pretty like Lassie or obedient like Rin Tin Tin, but sometimes I felt more a part of them than I did my human family. I never tired of just watching them-the way they interacted and communicated with one another; the way the mothers so effortlessly but firmly raised the pups; and the way they managed to solve disputes with each other quickly and cleanly, usually without even fighting, then move on to the next thing without bitterness or regret. Perhaps in some way I envied the clear and simple rules of their lives compared with the complexity of the human interactions in my own close but sometimes troubled family. All I knew then, however, was that dogs fascinated me, took me out of myself, and made me want to spend every spare minute learning everything I could about them.

Then Lassie and Rin Tin Tin came into my life through television, and I began to wonder if there wasn't something about dogs I was missing. You see, at first I was totally fooled by these professional performing dogs. As a father, I used to watch my son Calvin watching kung fu movies on television when he was younger, and I could see by the look in his eyes that he believed the guys were actually fighting each other. He didn't realize that the fight was choreographed by a stunt man behind the scenes. Well, I was the same way in my beliefs about Lassie and Rin Tin Tin. As primitive as television may have been back then, it did a great job convincing a naive little Mexican boy that there were amazing magical dogs in America that were born being able to communicate with humans, march in the army, and always manage to save the day. Before I even knew that there was a trainer behind the scenes, signaling to Rin Tin Tin to jump off the roof, I got it into my head that somehow, someday, I just had to get to America to meet these amazing dogs that could talk to people, leap over fences, and get mischievous little boys like me out of the trouble we were always getting into!

I think I believed Lassie and Rin Tin Tin did the things they did all on their own because the dogs on our farms seemed to do everything we wanted of them without being told or coerced by us to do it. They would naturally follow my grandfather out into the field and help him corral the cows. They would naturally accompany my mother or sister along the road, as guides and escorts. We didn't reward them with food every time they followed us across the river or when they barked to alert us of a predator in the area. We did ultimately reward them-but always at the end of the workday, with our leftover meat or tortillas. So I already knew dogs that seemed to be able to communicate with people. To my mind, Lassie and Rin Tin Tin were just a cut above that.

By the time I realized that Rin Tin Tin and Lassie were specially trained dogs, I was a few years older and living with my family in the city of Mazatlan, always wishing for the weekends when I could go back to my grandfather's farm and be with nature and the animals again. Instead of being disillusioned by the discovery that humans were manipulating those dogs' behaviors, I was even more excited. You mean, there are people who can make their dogs do these things? How? What are their secrets? It became even clearer in my mind that I would have to get to America as soon as possible to learn from the Americans about creating these amazing behaviors in dogs.

One weekend when I went back to my grandfather's farm I decided to see if I could teach some of the dogs there how to do specific behaviors. First, I tried to teach the dogs to jump on command. I started with my leg. I'd stick it out in front of me and hold a ball right on the other side. When they'd go over my leg to get it, I'd make the sound "Hup!" Gradually I raised my leg higher and higher until they were jumping right over it. Within the span of a day or two, I could make the dogs jump over my back when I bent down and said, "Hup!"

These dogs were already conditioned to respond to what humans needed from them-not in a "trained" way, but as part of doing their job. And it was a job they wanted to do, because it challenged them and fulfilled their need for a purpose in life. Doing their job was also the way they survived from day to day. We didn't use leashes for our dogs on the farm. I couldn't imagine a dog on a leash. Other than every once in a while when my grandfather would get the old rope from the barn to do something like get a donkey out of a ditch, I didn't know what a leash was until I moved to the city and saw rich people walking their dogs on leashes.

Because of their lifestyle, my grandfather's dogs naturally wanted to follow me, and they naturally wanted to please me. When the dogs were in a playful state, I caught the energy of that moment and used it to create something new. And they didn't ask for anything in return except, "What are we going to do with our time?" I learned that I could teach them how to crawl on the ground just by encouraging them verbally and letting them imitate me crawling. Dogs are great at copying behavior-that's one of the many ways in which they learn from one another when they are pups. And dogs' brains crave new experiences. If a dog finds what you're doing interesting, and he is interested in you, and it's a challenge for him, he naturally wants to be a part of it. The learning experience, the figuring it out, becomes such a thrill to a dog when it's fun.

Every weekend at the farm I'd try to teach the dogs a new behavior. I wasn't using food rewards to get this behavior-that strategy wasn't yet in my mental tool kit. But the dogs wanted to be with me and wanted to do what I wanted. When you have a dog that is eager to do things for you, he doesn't need food rewards. And to make him eager to do things for you, you have to motivate him with something he wants. What I was offering these dogs was a challenge, plus the entertainment value of it all. It was fun for me, and it was fun for them-an overall positive experience for all of us. By the end of a few weeks I could get them to jump over me, crawl under me, and jump up and give me five. The dogs were happy to be doing it. And with verbal encouragement and just my general enthusiasm, I let them know very clearly how happy I was that they were doing it for me. The outcome was a deeper bond between us.

To me, that was the whole point. Ultimately, you want your dog to do things for you just because you love him. And he loves, respects, and trusts you.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Millan’s wizardlike facility with dogs—the calm he brings to them, the confident way he handles them—is mind-blowing.”
“[Millan] arrives amid canine chaos and leaves behind peace.”
—Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker

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Cesar's Rules 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 90 reviews.
k2k9dogs More than 1 year ago
Cesar's new book Cesar's Rules: Your way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog, is Cesar Millan's FIRST book about dog training. Many people incorrectly refer to Cesar as a dog trainer. He is not a dog trainer. He trains people to understand dog behavior, and he rehabilitates dogs who have problems. So, this is his first book about training, like I said, and it's a good one. For many years, Cesar has been criticized for his "training" methods. During the research and writing of this book, Cesar got together with dog trainers who use all sorts of different methods -- and even collaborated with a few of the trainers who criticized him the loudest. This is a great book for skeptics who believe there is "only one way" to train a dog. Because Cesar worked and collaborated with people who disagree with his methods (and by the way he does NOT disagree with theirs!) this book is also about agreeing to disagree, being open-minded, and working together "across the aisle" with people who have different viewpoints from your own. A must-read for any dog enthusiast, and of course any Dog Whisperer fan.
CJAnderson More than 1 year ago
I am so excited to have this book to give to family and friends who resisted Cesar because they believed another technique was better, NOT that it was possible to have the best of all worlds for the benefit of the dogs. What is even more important to me, is that there is yet one more tool available that will help those rescues who would chose to have problem dogs euthanized, rather then worked with for behavior solutions outside their chosen program path! I am so grateful that these trainers who once cared more about fighting for their way, have opened their hearts and minds to become willing to find the common ground and ways that the different solutions can work together for the benefit of dog owner and dog! I will not even consider using techniques from those whose pride and territorial responses are a "my way or the by way dynamic" No size fits all! Now their openness and win win attitude means that I am free to find my own way, including their techniques that fits my knowledge, skills, time and resources for the betterment of the dogs that I help and my lifestyle's needs. This 55 year old college teacher has been able to save over 55 dogs who were about to be euthanized for 'problem behavior, or help rescues who had adopted dogs who developed problem behaviors in their new homes, change those behaviors to good dog, and even work with dogs at adoptathons so that they became comfortable enough under those stressful conditions to stop the behaviors that kept them from becoming adopted, to find their forever homes! One of my most favorite sections, is the chapter about how Dogs teach humans with the different and unique ways that their natural breed abilities are helping humans teach, heal, empower and learn the truth of their own natural selves and skills, in partnership with dogs! How cool that this book hit the New York Times Best Seller list in the opening week! The most exiting element here is the ability to integrate all the techniques and share our successful experiences from all the trainers mentioned in this new book of how our experience of integrated solutions has helped our dogs or the dogs of others! Together we may be able to help others who still continue to war, instead of heal for the benefit of those dogs still being given up on! Thanks to all these professional contributors from all training and behavior styles for the willingness to build bridges, to become part of the solution for these lost souls, instead of the problem which costs these animals their homes and their lives!
Akilahmom More than 1 year ago
This is a great book with so many options of training. A bridge to those who want to know all different types of training and a great way to see how they integrate into each other. Melissa Jo Peltier once again does a masterful job of putting Cesar's thoughts and ideas down on the page in a flowing, easy to read and interesting way. Cesar gives his ideas and methods and we also get to hear from all sorts of trainers as well....from positive only to those that mix it! Well worth reading, especially if you are following Cesar's other book, Your new dog, First Day and beyond.
PackLeader More than 1 year ago
Another great book from Cesar! His other books dealt more with fixing dog behavior and creating a balanced dog by balancing yourself. This book goes a new direction - into obedience training. Cesar spends time with some of the most accomplished dog trainers and shares their methods. Amazing training tips to get a dog to do anything from basic obedience to advanced behaviors and tricks used in movies. I learned a lot of tips from this book that should help my dogs earn even more titles in obedience competitions and help me become a much better dog trainer.
flashallen13 More than 1 year ago
Wow! This book is just another great one in Cesar's series. Cesar's philosophy of "all ways are good that don't harm the dog" is truly shown here as he spends time with and learns from some of the very trainers that have publicly criticized him! This is such a great resource for those that want a well behaved/mannered dog as well as a dog that knows obedience commands. They truly do go hand in hand and now Cesar, along with the many trainers he interviewed and spent time with, tell you how you can have that dog!
Cheryl712 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy the way that Cesar brings in other experts on dog training to show other ways to do what he does so well. I am currently using some of these tricks to help bring out the best in our new German Sheperd with anxiety issues.
Pilar_G_M More than 1 year ago
I just finishing reading his book. I always read any dog book, cat book or animal book in marked. I am an animal lover and I love to know everything about animals behavior. I am also working with dogs as a groommer and trainner and also in rescue dogs with shelters. I was impress with this book because he is very open minder to always learn more about animals. The book shows many diferent opinions from diferent experts in dogs, shows a great knoleges of history of training and dog behaviors modification and understanding of dog nature. Trys to make people be open minder to unify all this tecniques to help dogs, not to use only one metod, the most importand is to help the dogs and I love that concept. His spierit of iniciative for always keep learning from others and for keeping studding and his love for dogs impress me and is very contagious. When I started I couldn´t stop reading...it is very adicted! I finished in only 2 nights! It Best book ever read about dogs! Good bless you Cesar Millan for be how you are and for helping so many shelters with your job and love for animals. Pilar G.M.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would say this is the best training book EVER!!!! Please read! It is amazing!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Incredibly informative, chock full of real life tips you can use. Reads like a good beach book, thoroughly enjoyable.
LiteraryMusingsBlog More than 1 year ago
I recently adopted a 10-month-old husky mix. I have some dog training experience left over from my 4-H years, but I needed a little something to guide me. I already knew I respected Cesar Millan from watching his various TV shows; in my mind, picking up one of his books was an obvious choice. I didn’t expect to appreciate Cesar’s Rules as much as I did. Cesar’s Rules is not a book for professional animal trainers. Cesar makes that pretty clear throughout. However, he does share his knowledge to provide people with ways to give their dogs a fulfilling life. One way he does this is by sharing theories and techniques from other professional trainers. That’s probably one of the biggest reasons why I respect Ceaser - he truly wants to help people give their dogs the best life they can, even if that means someone else’s methods might work better. The most surprising aspect of Cesar’s Rules was how well Cesar’s principals mirror my own principles I use in my classroom. Positive reinforcement almost always works better than punishment. Anticipate problems and set your dog (or child) up to succeed. Find what really makes your dog (or child) happy and use that as a reward - maybe it’s food, maybe it’s cuddles, maybe it’s getting to chase a squirrel up a tree (hopefully that isn’t something that a child would see as a reward, but if it is, more power to you, I guess). I also learned the importance of seeing my pup as an animal, then as a dog, then as a husky mix, then as my pupper. Many people see their dogs as tiny, furry humans, and while dogs are very social and seem almost human, they aren’t - they are dogs. They have instincts and abilities different than ours. Just like we get frustrated when we feel like we can’t do what we’ve been created to do, so do our dogs. Cesar taught me to look for things that will challenge my dog’s natural instincts and abilities. What a better way to bond with your dog than to fully engage in what they are at the most natural level? I recommend this book to anyone who has a dog, from the most experienced dog owner to a newbie. There’s a little bit of something in Cesar’s Rules for everyone. Plus, it’s nice to read the opinions of other professional trainers, who may differ from Cesar in some aspects.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE his show!!!!!
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