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Healthy Pets

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The Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan Talks Canines, Kids, and Finding Balance

How does an internationally renowned dog trainer and author stay healthy?

What's the biggest mistake dog owners make with their pooches?

The biggest mistake I encounter is humans who don't fulfill the dog's needs as an animal. Instead, they treat the dog like a human. They shower him with affection, but don't provide physical or mental stimulation. These dogs are bored, so they find other outlets for their pent-up energy: barking, chewing, and other unwanted behaviors. Affection is wonderful -- everyone loves sharing affection with their pet -- but it should be saved until after exercise and discipline has been accomplished.

When you're with dogs, it's clear that you are the one in charge. Who is the pack leader in your household?

My wife.

What have dogs taught you about raising your two sons?

With both dogs and children, you often teach by the patterns you set. If every morning you sit right down to breakfast without having exercised, you are teaching that the reward comes before the work. In this country, people often forget to be grateful. They feel entitled. I want my sons to respect our humble beginnings, to be balanced boys, not unstable men. We have enough of those.

What's your best health habit? Your worst?

My best health habit is probably meditation. I take time to focus myself several times a day. It helps me to stay balanced for what my day throws at me -- an aggressive dog, meetings, a frustrated owner, whatever. My worst habit is probably eating a big meal after 6 p.m.

Do you have a personal health philosophy? If so, what is it?

My personal health philosophy is the same philosophy that I use with dogs: Never work against Mother Nature. I really believe in organic food and natural treatments. Of course, traditional medicine is important as well, but sometimes the root of the problem is your diet or your exercise routine. Paying attention to your mental, emotional, and spiritual health can help your physical health. They are all connected.

Dogs need a balanced, centered life in order to thrive. So do people. How do you balance work and family?

I love what I do, so it is not really a job.

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