The acclaimed dog-behavior expert and star of TV’s "Dog Whisperer" is in San Francisco this week filming new episodes. The show airs at 8 p.m. Fridays on the National Geographic Channel.
What cases are you working on in The City? Yesterday we did a bulldog-Lab mix. It brought me back to just before 9/11, when I was coming to SanFrancisco [before the TV show] to work on a similar case. It’s pretty hard. The dog is biting its owner and lunging at people on the streets.
Any other cases? I don’t know yet. People send tapes, and the producers decide who’s on. We get the most extreme cases, dogs that already have bitten somebody. The producers also look for humans who can explain their stories well.
Do you see certain types of difficult behaviors in certain breeds? Aggression is not a breed thing. It’s a state of mind, and it comes from how the human is with the dog. There are four levels of energy, regardless of the breed: low, medium, high, very high. The idea is to get a dog in your same level or lower than you.
Have you noticed differences between dogs around the world? In America, dogs are viewed by their names first, breed second. And dogs live behind walls. It’s an unnatural point of view. I went to Italy, Capri, and when people took siestas at noon, all the dogs in town took them, too — off leash. It’s almost like Mexico, where I’m from.
Do you have dogs at your home? Yes. Among them are Minnie the Chihuahua mix; Lucy the pit bull; Louis the Chinese Crested; Daddy the pit bull; Coco the Chihuahua; and Sid the French bulldog.
What’s next for you? I’d like to open Dog Psychology Centers across the country.