While most of us would probably politely decline an invitation to play pet parent to a pack of German Shepherds, gifted dog whisperer Augusto Deoliveira from South Carolina can’t think of a better way to spend his life than surrounded by his favorite breed.
And his commitment to dogs doesn’t stop there. On top of the day-to-day responsibilities that come with owning 20 German Shepherds, Deoliveira devotes his time to training thousands of other canines who may otherwise have been put to sleep.
For 27-year old Augusto, there has never been a time in his life when he wasn’t obsessed with being around dogs. “I’ve always liked to train animals...to communicate with them in a certain way,” he explains. “Even when I was three years old my parents noticed me playing with dogs and trying to communicate with them. From that point on, I knew I wanted to be a dog trainer.”
He may still be young, but Deoliveira is proud to say that he’s already been training dogs for 14 years, an impressive feat that not many others his age can lay claim to. When asked what the secret is to being a dog whisperer, he gives a simple answer: “It’s a matter of really understanding the dog and having the dog be able to understand you.”
Sure, but for most of us, deciphering our furkids communication isn’t all that easy, so how exactly does Deoliveira manage to captivate pretty much every canine that he comes into contact with?
“When I first meet a dog, the first thing is to evaluate them, to see what works for that particular dog and then go from there.” He describes negative behavior as a habit that dogs often repeat either due to association or because of boredom. He’s quick to point out that he has strict and clear boundaries with his own hounds to prevent havoc at home.
“Some of the most important rules at my house with all the dogs is no barking and no playing in the house. They have 10 acres to run around, the moment they come in they’re not allowed to play with each other. They’ve learned by association that the house is a place for them to chill and relax and cool off and not a place for them to rough house.”
When people see Deoliveira out with his dogs off leash, intrigue abounds and questions around his training methods are common. “To the people who think you need shock collars to train your dog to do what I do with my dogs, they need to ask the hundreds of clients I have trained. I have never had to use a shock collar to train a dog. I believe that my methods are a lot more effective than a shock collar and a lot safer,” he explains.
If you’re wondering how long it takes this gifted dog whisperer to train a dog to walk off leash without there being any issues, the answer might surprise you. “On average, it takes me about one month of one hour a day sessions to train a dog that’s not a puppy,” says Deoliveira. “What I’m talking about here is not having your dog off leash in a field....it’s actually being able to have your dog off leash around a lot of different distractions and the dog knows to stay next to you.”
Those that have witnessed Deoliveira working his magic on their own dogs have nothing but praise for the talented young man whose methods have saved thousands of dogs who would otherwise have been put down.
“Sometimes people bring a dog to me for training that was on the way to vet to be put down...for behavioral issues! And to be able to turn those dogs around and just see the hope in the face and the joy of knowing they don’t have to put their dog down because they’ve found a solution is just very rewarding for me.”
Kathryn is a freelance writer with a passion for creating health and wellness, travel and wildlife content. Originally from New Zealand, her nomadic lifestyle has her currently fur baby-less. She scratches her pet parent itch by stealing frequent cuddles with any neighbourhood cat kind enough to indulge her.
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