Russian Dog Wizard – Must Hear This!

4 09 2009

Listen or Download – (NPR) Dog Wizard

NPR September 3, 2009

The rest of the world thinks Americans are crazy for the way they treat their dogs: Doggie day care? Gourmet dog food? Ultrasounds? According to Business Week, Americans spent $41 billion on their pets in 2007.

That’s all fine, but Vladae Roytapel, the self-proclaimed “Russian Dog Wizard,” says American pet owners are not giving their dogs the most important thing they need.

“Your dog needs to know you are the boss,” he says. “Humans, we don’t like having a boss so much, but your dog? He loves it! Dogs need to know the order of things. They need to know who’s in charge.”

And that, of course, should be the household human. How dog owners communicate their status to their dog makes all the difference between a well-mannered canine companion — and the kinds of dogs that keep Roytapel in business.

‘The Canine Dr. Phil’

Roytapel grew up in the Soviet Union, near the Turkish border in what is now Azerbaijan. His grandfather was a well-known biologist who specialized in animal behavior. Roytapel assisted his grandfather on his farm, working with wolves, foxes and even chickens, charting their conditioned reflexes in the same way colleague Ivan Pavlov did.

As a young man, Roytapel was mentored by a deaf-mute dog trainer who was legendary throughout Russia. Eventually, he trained dogs that patrolled the Russian-Chinese border and paratrooper dogs for the Red Army.

After immigrating to the United States about a decade ago, Roytapel focused on the dog-human relationship in civilian life. He has been called “The Canine Dr. Phil,” because he resolves relationships between the two species so well.

Human Folly Mostly To Blame

Roytapel agrees with America’s other star dog trainer, Cesar “The Dog Whisperer” Millan, that most of the problem in the dog-human equation is on the human side.

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