“When people saw this man walking his pack of six German Shepherds without leashes, they were left in awe at the blind obedience the dogs were displaying. Some of them even thought that the man was mistreating the dogs into submission. But when they finally discovered his secret, they were both shocked and amazed.
The moment people first saw Augusto de Oliveira on the streets of Hyannis, Massachusetts, they were starstruck. Here was a man in his early twenties walking a large group of German Shepherds closely huddled together. From onset, everyone could see that the dogs were working together as a unit, displaying incredible cohesion and discipline, and at the center was Augusto, their proud owner, clearly honored as the leader of this pack.
This incredible display of brute strength coupled with total submission was mind-boggling and naturally caught the eyes of many onlookers, leaving people with more questions than answers. The more they tried to figure out how Augusto was achieving this result, the more suspicious the situation became.
Many people owned dogs as well, but none of them had ever been able to train them like Augusto was doing with his pack of German Shepherds. Even other dog trainers and animal experts found it difficult to understand how these dogs could move in such unison under such unusual conditions.
And when an onlooker dared to wander a little closer to the pack, they discovered something unbelievable yet extraordinary. None of the German Shepherds was wearing a leash, yet they were all moving as if they were connected to each other with the kind of harness used to bring together a sled dog team.
It was as if invisible cords bound them together. Each dog knew its place and fell into line by the command of Augusto’s voice. The dogs had the discipline of an army platoon. They also never had scuffles where one tried to assert its dominance over another one, and none of the German Shepherds gave any time of day to other dogs passing by. They completely ignored the barks of other dogs behind fences or on their owner’s leashes. They were focused on their pack and their leader, and nothing else.
People would stare in awe at Augusto and his dogs as they went for their daily walks around the streets and parks of Hyannis. Some were so impressed to observe such out-of-the-ordinary behavior that they often asked to take a picture. With a single command, Augusto could get the dogs to come to an abrupt halt and pose for a picture. The moment that the fans were satisfied, Augusto would give a whistle, and the dogs would fall in line again, each maintaining their specific position behind his legs.
In no time, this young man and his pack became the talk of the town. Whispers behind hands became the norm, and this gossip soon led to the belief that something much more sinister was going on. Some neighbors and onlookers were, in fact, very suspicious of this man that only surrounded himself with his dogs socially. Augusto was awkward, very few people ever visited his house, and he looked like he didn’t have any human friends.
In the evenings, self-appointed investigators would spend hours outside his apartment, peeping through the curtain and listening for any clue that might explain how such a meek man was getting all those fierce dogs to obey him. They suspected that he might be mistreating them into submission, and some even went through his trash cans to try and expose him.
One such neighbor was a nosy lady that had dedicated her life to the rescue of stray animals. She was convinced that Augusto made use of electric shock collars to enforce obedience in his dogs. This same woman went around the neighborhood to gather support for a petition. She wanted the authorities to get involved and investigate this so-called abusive dog owner.
Augusto could have probably dissipated all these doubts himself if he had clearly explained his training methods. But whenever he was asked about them, he remained very secretive. Unknowingly, this reluctance to confess contributed to the suspicions. At most, he would divulge that it had taken him a lot of devotion and patience to fine-tune his methods to the level where he could walk his dogs in public without the necessity of using leashes.
To be fair, everybody knew this was true. It was no secret that he had dedicated his life to becoming an expert dog trainer. Augusto had grown up with German Shepherds, a herding breed known for their courage and loyalty. These dogs have a strong propensity for guarding what they deem precious and will not hesitate to put their lives on the line in defense of their loved ones. Anyone could see that this pack of dogs would protect Augusto with their lives. But this blind loyalty eventually became the feature that probed the police to follow up on the elaborate complaint of potential animal abuse.
In some people’s minds, there was no way that these dogs were simply being obedient because they respected Augusto. Their owner must have been employing some sinister methods of torture to compel them to unwavering obedience.
If nosy neighbors and uninformed citizens would have taken the time to do their homework, this intrusion of privacy could easily have been avoided. Although Augusto made a life for himself in Massachusetts, he had grown up in Brazil. As a boy, he was surrounded by German Shepherds and had immediately shown a keen interest in animal behavior. Augusto would spend hours amongst the dogs on a Brazilian farm. It was almost by chance that he had discovered that he had a natural ability to influence their behavior.
When police officers entered his apartment, they were stunned by what they saw. Augusto and his canines were leading an unusual and different kind of lifestyle. There were no signs of dog kennels or pens where Griffin, Harmony, Jenna, Priscilla, Hannah, and Savannah slept. Instead, the dogs all shared a bed with Augusto. No couch or carpet was off-limits for Augusto’s companions and friends. This was a man who clearly ate and breathed dogs.
At a loss for clues, the police solicited the help of animal experts who closely observed Augusto for a few days. They scrutinized his every action and thoroughly checked the apartment. After a few days, they were ready with their report.
The good news was that the police could not find any signs of neglect or abuse of the German Shepherds. On the contrary, these were animals living in dog heaven. Although the police and animal rescue services appreciated the vigilant members of the public who looked out for the interests of vulnerable dogs, this particular case had proved to be a complete false alarm. The dogs Augusto owned were treated like royalty, getting the best food and care possible. Their owner loved them like his own children.
Despite being outraged at the idea that people might think so lowly of him, Augusto managed to find a silver lining in this odd situation. Soon after the investigation, in fact, he turned his hobby into a lucrative career in business.
Augusto was able to establish the Griffin Shepherd Kennels, where he would dedicate his time and efforts toward training dogs to be highly disciplined and obedient to their owners. Many owners sent their puppies to Augusto, and within a few weeks, they collected well-behaved, fully trained dogs that could easily adapt to small apartments or any other environments. Although he trained all breeds, German Shepherds were his specialty.
This talented man closely guarded his secrets to his training methods but was willing to share that his dogs saw him as part of the pack. That could only be established by spending a lot of time together. The fact that Augusto personally fed his dogs twice a day, allowed them to sleep with him in his room, and devoted ample time to exercise with them urged them to accept his leadership. When dogs are familiar with the body language and commands of the owner and regard them as the leader of the pack, this results in the kind of unity and discipline that was displayed whenever people saw Augusto walking with his dogs.
Not only can Augusto guide his own six German Shepherds untethered through the streets of Hyannis, but he claims to be able to guide up to 15 unharnessed dogs at the same time without incurring in any accident. In recent times, he has even ventured into the streets of Boston, where his dogs still behaved with utmost discipline despite the added noise and completely different environment.
His methods have given him an extraordinary reputation while making him an internet sensation since 2013 when one of these videos went viral. Would you be able to approach German Shepherds that are not leashed on a busy street? What do you think of Augusto’s training methods? Tell us in the comments below.