The following excerpt is reprinted from an article in ,the AKC Gazette with permission from the American Kennel Club, Inc. We hope it will give you an impression of our beliefs, and what the George Alston Seminars are all about!
The Dog Whisperer
by Jan Mahood
photos by Chet Jezerski
“Dogs are folks.”
That’s what George G. Alston tells 20 eager participants
in his two-day Handling Clinic for Advanced, Beginners, and Observers. While he explains his philosophy to the group of owner-handlers, their dogs wait in crates for the action to begin. .
“Each dog is an individual,” says Alston. “You have to learn where your dog’s buttons are. What motivates him?
“As a kid I learned that dogs have temperaments and feelings. You have to be able to
look into their eyes and tell what they want.” He has no time for people who say they love their dogs, yet treat them “like inanimate objects.”
Alston holds as many as three clinics a month, traveling all over the United States to teach amateur handlers how to beat professionals at their own game in the highly competitive conformation ring. His classes, sponsored by all-breed and specialty clubs, sell out quickly. Once a year he holds a super-advanced, all-blackboard clinic for 200–350 handlers—professional and amateur alike—who have graduated from his program.
Alston has already learned what motivates some of the dogs he’s about to meet. While the owners walk their dogs outdoors before the session, he watches the interplay between dogs and humans. “I’m very observant,” he comments matter-of-factly.
After summarizing the course, he calls owners and dogs into the large, rubber-matted indoor ring. Some already work smoothly as a team. Others are spinning like tops, owners tangled in their dogs’ leads.
“Where’s my dog’s button?” challenges the owner of a Golden Retriever. Alston hunkers down next to the dog and whispers something. The dog sniffs Alston’s ear, as if telling a secret.
“He tells me if you scratch him behind the ear, he’ll do anything you want.”
A Brittany without a clue cavorts around her owner. “Ma’am?” Alston says as he approaches, every inch the soft-spoken Southern gentleman. He takes the lead. He looks at the Brittany. She looks at him. He makes a subtle movement with his shoulder and almost imperceptibly bends a knee. She settles down. He adjusts the lead and she falls into step, gaiting beside him around the ring. “I love it when a plan comes together!” crows the “dog whisperer".
This is a link to an interview of George telling some of his history.