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I like big books.

Be the Pack Leader: Use Cesar's Way to Transform Your Dog . . . and Your Life

Be the Pack Leader: Use Cesar's Way to Transform Your Dog . . . and Your Life - Cesar Millan Meh. In all honesty I think the only part of this book really worth reading was the appendix that gives step by step instructions on how to deal with common dog problems and issues and how to adopt a calm assertive frame of mind when dealing with animals in general so that you're not acting out of frustration, but really doing your best to communicate with them on their terms. It's a helpful reminder against anthropomorphizing our closest animal companions and for creating new relationships with them on that recognizes the fact that they're dogs, not people - and it's not disrespectful or mean to treat them as such. It's just as wrong to treat a human being like a dog as it is to do the opposite. It demeans who they really are. Mr. Millan does a good job of creating activities and solutions to problems based on the evolutionary and biological developmental needs of dogs that seem to make sense and work fairly well in practice too.

Seriously though, a whole chapter on leashes and collars? Over thirty pages. -_-. Maybe it's just me, but the whole "energy" thing got a bit redundant and New Agey. I don't mean to devalue the psychological benefits of visualization or the role that attitude plays in our interactions with one another, but I have to admit that when Millan went on about transferring his energy to a dog through his eyes and his touch, he kind of lost me. I have no doubt that animals are awesome at reading body language, and I think many of his experiences and those of his success stories could be chalked up to changes in attitude and consistent application of new rules established by the owners of the dogs highlighted, but I'm no dog psychologist or zoologist.

From a reader's perspective, this book is easy to digest and well-organized. It tends toward repetition and by the end you can hear Millan's voice in your head and can easily identify which of his few catch phrases he's going to use a paragraph in advance of when he actually gets to it. In short the book (and his show) have three main points:

1. Treat dogs like dogs and not like people.
2. Establish rules, boundaries and limitations and then enforce them consistently.
3. Exercise the hell out of your dog so he has less energy to do destructive things. (Okay, there's more to this one than that, but the basic idea is there when applied to dogs that are discipline problems).

Worth it if you really love dogs or are having specific problems like bad leash behavior or over-excitement. If you've seen the show, you probably have all the answers you're going to get and I'd pass on this one.