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Pantops Pet Salon & Spa
Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

It's what we do -- it's all we do.

(434) 293-2424
Fax: (434) 293-8231
504 Pantops Center
Charlottesville, VA 22911

“Dog Whisperer” and Grooming

Thursday, August 17th, 2006 by Mike Cronk

I have recently been watching a great show called “Dog Whisperer” starring Cesar Millan. I was really amazed at how well-versed in animal behavior he is since he has no formal education—his philosophy comes instead from first-hand, on-the-job training. Initially he worked in a veterinarian’s clinic, then later as a dog groomer’s assistant. After my own 31 years of dog boarding and grooming, I can really endorse much of his teaching. Whereas he works with dogs that already have problems, I prefer that the dog-owner relationship be established before problems arise.


Archived from “The Paw Report:”  Issue #2, August




The dogs I personally have owned and trained are an English Setter, Irish Setter, German Shepherd, Cairn Terrier, Scottish Terrier, Cocker Spaniel and the last three have been Great Danes. The larger the dog, the more training I gave them, but all dogs need the basics.


The “dog whisperer’s” primary advice that I certainly agree with is that we need to “alpha” our pets so that they understand that they are expected to be safe and friendly in the human environment. Treating a dog like a dog means understanding their natural state in that they do have a pack instinct and if they can be in charge, they will—regardless of size!


Since we have four children and six grandchildren, training the Danes was of utmost importance. From the beginning, I established a routine of exercise and
discipline that was crucial to a great relationship where my dogs knew their bounds and remained eager to please. At least 5 days a week we went on a 3 mile walk before work and after six months I allowed them to walk off lead. At the sound of a car, they automatically came to my left side until it passed. They were happy; I was happy. Start early, be consistent and don’t give up! The extra time spent during the first six months will pay huge dividends over the rest of your dog’s 8-14 years.


If a dog, regardless of size, is trained to heel, sit, stay and come then behaving for the groomer will be a piece of cake. Grooming takes place on a table with a grooming arm holding a noose. The noose conveys the “alpha” message and if a dog is leash trained then standing on the table comes naturally. Dogs that have no concept of a collar and leash and are bouncing all over the place can be too much for us to handle safely. Go to our website ( and scroll down to read the article titled “Puppy’s First Visit” for help in preparing your dog for grooming.


“Dog Whisperer” is very informative and entertaining as well. I highly recommend that you check out the program on the National Geographic channel and the first two seasons are available on DVD. The training philosophy is also a number one best selling book of the same title. Visit for more information and Cesar Millan’s bio is available through



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