Chapter 1 Identifying Instability "There was something I had never told him, that no one ever had. I wanted him to hear it before he went. 'Marley,' I said, 'You are agreatdog.'" - John Grogan,Marley and Me How do you know that your dog is unstable? If you are like the majority of my clients, you justknow. Your dog gets aggressive with other dogs on walks and at the dog parks. Or howls for hours when you leave the house. Or compulsively runs away. All this is puzzling to you, because the family dog from your childhood was perfect or that is the way that you remember him. In the amber glow of your memory, your beloved Blackie was mellow, obedient, and content to stay in the background. He was naturally social, and always got along with strange people and dogs. He fetched and returned the tennis ball, walked beside you to school, and never peed in the house. So why does your current dog dig up your garden? Why does he hide under the table when the garbage truck drives by? What in the world is up with him when he manically spins in circles when he gets excited? Of course, like most of my clients with unstable dogs, you simply accept that your dog was born with something missing or has some sort of mental disorder. Or, if your dog was adopted from a rescue organization, you create a story that he had such a traumatic experience in his past placements that he will never be able to forget the terrible abuse he suffered during those dark, lonely years before he met you. So of course, he will never be stable, and you should not complain, but instead, remain tolerant and feel really sorry for him when he pees all over your sofa whenever you turn the television on. How could you criticize him when he bites anyone who comes near his food dish, knowing what he's been through in his short but traumatic life? You decide you have to pay the price to live with an unstable dog, because of everything that happened to him before. You owe it to him. They'reAllGreat Dogs The truth about dogs is, they don't feel bad about the past. They don't dwell on their bad memories. We are the only species that does that. Dogs live in the moment. If they feel safe and secure in the moment, then any past conditioned behavior can be reconditioned, provided we give our time, our patience and our consistency. Dogs move on often, very quickly. They like everything else of Mother Nature naturally want to return to balance. Too often, it is we, the humans, who are unknowingly preventing that balance from occurring. We are human beings and one of the most beautiful things about our species is that we have empathy. When someone including an animal who we care about is in distress, we feel bad for them. We hurt when they hurt. But in the animal world, hurt is a weak energy. Feeling sorry is a weak energy. The kindest thing we can do for our animals who have suffered in the past is to help them move forward into the present. In short, that uncontrollable, neurotic monster you are living with is just waiting for you to help guide him on the way to becoming one of the world's greatest dogs! Marley & Me John Grogan's bookMarley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Doghit the best-seller list in November of 2005 and, as of this writing, is still in the top ten. It's easy to see why this fun-to-read, touching tale of a lovable but out-of-control family Labrador, Marley, could easily be the life story of many of my clients dogs. Marley is usually destructive, rarely obedient, sometimes obsessivMillan, Cesar is the author of 'Be the Pack Leader Use Cesar's Way to Transform Your Dog . . . and Your Life', published 2007 under ISBN 9780307381668 and ISBN 0307381668.