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Do you know a good... canine life coach?

Do you know a good... canine life coach?

Every famous pawrent is a fan of Tamar Geller’s advice

Every famous pawrent is a fan of Tamar Geller’s advice

Catherine Nixey | February/March 2020

Meet Tamar Geller, canine life coach. Because a dog is for life coaching, not just for Christmas.

But I don’t own a dog Don’t worry. No one does. “I don’t believe we own the dogs,” says Geller. Rather than refer to humans who follow canines around as owners, she calls them “pawrents”. It’s a good point: both dogs and children involve a prolonged period of toilet training followed by increasingly ruinous financial expenditure.

Any famous “pawrents” on her client list? Every famous pawrent. Natalie Portman and her Yorkie are fans. So too are Oprah and her “fur-children”. Not to mention Lady Gaga and her pups.

Are those euphemisms? No. And watch your tongue. Geller used to work in intelligence in the Israeli Special Forces. She “can’t really talk about” what her role was, but it was serious enough that when she left she chose to work with cute puppies instead. Admittedly via a dream in the desert that told her, “You need to work with dogs.”

Does she deal with any tougher breeds? Absolutely. Geller has also worked with Iraq veterans through General David Petraeus, who led American forces in Iraq in 2003, not to mention Rupert Murdoch and his labradoodle. “Rupert”, apparently, “is the sweetest, sweetest dog pawrent.” Dogs, Geller says, are important for celebrities because “the dogs don’t know the titles. The dogs don’t know the size of the bank account.” As Geller told Oprah, “Your dogs don’t know you’re Oprah.” And as Oprah said: “Wow.”

Rupert is a good boy then? Stop there. Geller dislikes terms such as “good boy”. And don’t even mention the phrase “a good dog”. That, in her vernacular, is “BS”:“‘Good dog’ means nothing. Ever.” Instead, she describes what is going on in an appreciative, sing-song voice: “Siiiiit.” Or “Staaay.” Or “Become the most significant media mogul of the 20th ceeeentury.” And so on.

So how does she train dogs? Geller doesn’t. She trains pawrents. To be precise, she trains pawrents to get dogs to “fall in love” with them, in part through displays of affection. She kisses her dogs, for instance. “I’m kissing their faces…Kisses, kisses, kisses. All day long.”

And if you don’t have a dog to kiss? Not a problem. This method, says Geller, is not just for dogs. “Once you practise this method of dog training, it changes your whole life.” You can, she suggests, use it on your husband, your children, your boss…Albeit probably with fewer kisses.

She says: Dogs “bring light, they bring truth, they bring purity”. They are our “best life coaches, sent to teach us how to connect to our sweet self”.

They say: Woof.