Controlling one dog off the lead can be difficult at times, controlling six would be something of a problem even for Dr Doolittle, but for leader of the pack and dog whisperer Augusto Deoliveira, it’s apparently a walk in the park.
The remarkable sight of Augusto strutting confidently along pavements and across roads in Boston while a pack of six German Shepherds stay close to his heels without a lead in sight has captured the imagination of dog-lovers across the globe. The YouTube video featuring the dog whisperer in action has since gone viral with nearly ten million views.
The Mirror reports that the 23-year-old dog whisperer was brought up on a farm in Brazil where he was surrounded by dogs and discovered that with training, he could lead groups of them like a canine’s version of the Pied Piper.
Augusto, who now runs Griffin Shepherd Kennels in Hanson, Massachusetts, lives, breathes and sleeps dogs. According to the Daily Mail, the dog whisperer trains all breeds but specialises in German Shepherds and claims he can guide up to 15 free-walking dogs simultaneously.
“My dogs do this because they know me as part of the pack. I spend a lot of time with them. I feed them, they can sleep in my room, I exercise them. I do everything with them.”
“Because of the way I train them, to them I’m the leader. In any given situation they will look at me for direction. They just following my body language and the commands I use in training.”
Augusto first found fame after posting a video on the internet in 2013 of himself walking five untethered dogs through the quiet streets of a small Hyannis village. He recently decided to go one further and walk six German Shepherds through the busy streets of Boston.
“It’s quite a different thing for the dogs because it’s an environment they are not used to, with lots of noise and distractions. I start with the dogs on a lead so that they can get used to walking and gradually remove the leads one-by-one.”
“The dogs all know they must remain in the same position and not change the formation. A lot of people are shocked; they can’t believe that so many dogs can walk through the city in a group, off the leash. Some people are afraid of German Shepherds but lose that fear when they see my dogs because they can tell they are focused and well behaved. Overall I get a variety of different reactions from people. In general they are very impressed and it makes their day.”
Augusto is happy to train all breeds of dogs and insists that although a lot of people compare him to TV dog whisperer Cesar Milan, he has his own techniques.
“We train all breed of dogs and a lot of people send them to us as puppies for training before they begin lives with their new owners. Some people want to get a dog that’s already fully trained so the puppies live here until they’re older.”
“Often it’s people who are afraid that they’re going to fail if they get a puppy and they can’t train the dog properly themselves. Or maybe they live in a small apartment and need their dog to have obedience training before their new family member moves in. Sometimes it’s just people who want to enjoy a dog that is already trained.”
Not everyone is a fan of Augusto’s methods, and critics have slammed the dog whisperer for what they perceive as removing the natural instincts of the dog and introducing his own. A Facebook page has been set up which claims to “expose this man’s lies” and accuses the dog whisperer of training his dogs through a strict regime of brutality and terror.
Some have even suggested that the only reason the German Shepherds refuse to leave Augusto’s side is because they are used to wearing shock collars and are in fear of being shocked.
What do you think the real secret is? Are the dogs simply following Augusto out of free will because they are pack animals and perceive him as the Alpha male or does their obedience come from a place of fear?
[Image Via barnstablepatriot.com]