Choosing the right dog for your home is key to your happiness as well as the happiness and well-being of your canine friend. Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan shares his advice on how to choose the right dog and what we all can learn from our pawed pals.
How to choose the best dog
SheKnows: How can people choose the dog that will suit them the best?
Cesar Millan: I always say that a person who wants to adopt a dog should look at energy first. Certain breeds are known for certain energy levels. If you are the kind of person who prefers to sit inside with a good book and keep things nice and quiet, a high-energy dog is not a good fit for you. But if you wake up at five o'clock every morning and run three miles, then go hiking in the mountains in the afternoon, you would do well with a very high-energy dog. Your dog's energy should always be equal to or less than your own.
First-time dog owners need to self-reflect
SheKnows: Do you have advice for first-time dog owners?
Cesar Millan: Every first-time dog owner is different. There is no one kind of dog that would make a good fit for that whole group, even as a general rule. People who want to adopt a dog for the first time should take some time for self-reflection. Once they have identified their own energy and what they want in a canine companion, they should do their research. Would-be owners should take time to get to know the dog before they fall in love. Don't fall for cuteness or feel sorry for them or get overexcited about getting a dog. Think about becoming part of a foster group first and get a taste for what life with a dog would be like for you. Know you're ready and know your energy and lifestyle before you adopt.
Lessons learned from dogs
SheKnows: What have you learned from dogs?
Cesar Millan: I have learned so much from dogs! The most important lesson, though, is to live in the present. Dogs don't harbor resentment or hold on to past trauma. They live in the moment and move on. This is such an important lesson! Dogs have taught me about forgiveness, about being "one" with the universe and about being humble. Dogs don't know fame or status or wealth – they just know who is their leader, who they follow and what needs they have instinctually. And they love unconditionally. That is the true beauty.
The world is a dog-loving place
SheKnows: So which do you prefer – humans or dogs?
Cesar Millan: I can't say that I prefer one to the other, but I have had fond relationships with both. Through all of my interactions with people and dogs, one thing I know for certain: The world is an animal-loving, dog-loving place. The balance is what's thrown off. So I have made it my mission to continue spreading this message of balance around the world. If we can do this with one dog, and one human at a time, maybe we can eventually bring that into entire communities and countries, so we can all live as my greatest teacher – dogs – do: mindfully aware and emotionally in tune.
More from Cesar Millan
Cesar Millan Puppy Profiles: Junior
Meet Junior, the pit bull puppy featured in Cesar Millan's new book How to Raise the Perfect Dog.