Episode 110 |

Oprah’s Dog Trainer Tells All: Tamar Geller

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This Week’s Guest:

If you’re an animal lover, you’re going to love this episode! So many people think that dog training needs to be about obedience, commands, and tricks. The truth is that this is an unnecessarily authoritarian approach, and that treating your dog with mindfulness, love, and respect can help forge a deep connection that eliminates behavioral issues.

A good friend of mine, Tamar Geller, is here today to walk us through her approach. Tamar is truly a dog whisperer; she’s a dog trainer and coach for Oprah, Jon Stewart, Ben Affleck, and more. Her methods have proven results, and don’t involve imposing an artificial hierarchy on dogs or forcing them to be submissive to commands. Tamar, the author of the New York Times bestseller The Loved Dog, instead offers a mindful, heartfelt, heartwarming alternative.


Find Out More About Tamar Here:

The Loved Dog
@tamar.geller on Facebook
@TamarGeller on Twitter
theloveddog on Instagram


In This Episode:

  • [01:41] – Tamar starts by explaining how being a pet owner can be about being mindful, not just about tricks and techniques.
  • [04:05] – Do Tamar’s theories and techniques work with cats too, or are they specific to dogs?
  • [05:50] – Tamar offers a couple of alternatives to the term “owner,” but clarifies that she doesn’t mind the term herself.
  • [06:44] – What are some tips for someone whose dog seems to want to be in charge, or insists on misbehaving? As she answers, Tamar clarifies that dogs don’t care about being in charge.
  • [08:03] – Tamar talks about the needs that dogs have. It’s when these needs aren’t met that dogs can misbehave or act out, she explains.
  • [12:39] – The first thing you need to do with a misbehaving dog is figure out which of these needs aren’t being met. Tamar offers an example of a recent case in which she had to assess a dog’s needs. She then clarifies that each individual dog has two primary needs, and talks about why it’s important to figure these out.
  • [18:44] – Tamar offers an example that Tony Robbins uses, and applies this to dogs. She says that we can’t expect dogs to know how to meet their needs in the right way if we only say “no!” when they do it the wrong way.
  • [22:08] – Tamar lists several of the influences and resources that she uses in her method. She then describes why a dog might refuse to come at the dog park, and what to do about it.
  • [25:20] – We hear about the problems with simple obedience.
  • [27:14] – Stephan draws out the concept that Tamar has been explaining, relating it not only to dogs but also to people and even technology.
  • [28:49] – Tamar addresses a misconception about dogs, which is the expectation that dogs give unconditional love.
  • [34:05] – Stephan points out that a dog is a reflection of you, and if you have a short temper, it will reflect that back on you. Tamar then explains that 99% of the aggression she has seen in dogs isn’t dominance, but rather nervous aggression.
  • [38:48] – In Tamar’s first book, she started by telling a story about her experience in Thailand several decades ago. She retells this story, and applies it to dog training.
  • [42:18] – Tamar describes the Hoffman Process and reveals how powerful it is.
  • [49:14] – Stephan talks about his multiple experiences with Tony Robbins’ Date With Destiny program.
  • [51:24] – “Your quality of life will depend on how comfortable you can be with discomfort,” Tamar says, applying the concept both to dogs and people.
  • [53:52] – What would be an example of getting out of the rut of characterization with regards to your dog? As she answers, she offers advice on how to train your dog in a way that he or she will understand.
  • [58:00] – Stephan brings up the example of teaching a dog not to run out the door as soon as you open it.
  • [60:29] – Tony Robbins has a saying: “Trade your expectation for appreciation, and everything will change.” What would be an example for how listeners could do this in regards to their dogs?
  • [64:36] – How can people get in touch with Tamar to work with her?


Links and Resources:


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