Lake Harriet Dog Whisperer

Citizen Kanine Curtis JohnsonI’m intrigued by people who have special insight into animal behavior: horse whisperer Buck Brannaman, livestock consultant Temple Grandin, cat listener Jackson Galaxy and dog whisperer Cesar Millan. A few weeks ago I discovered Minneapolis’ own dog whisperer on a walking path around Lake Harriet.

It was a sight to behold as this man approached with his entourage; he was surrounded by a dozen dogs of various breeds, sizes and colors. What was even more impressive was how well the dogs behaved when they stopped for a poop pick-up. The man set down two handfuls of leashes, turned his back on the pack, and walked about twenty feet to a trash can. He never looked back, never showed a single sign of anxiety that the dogs would make a break for it. The only dog that wasn’t sitting perfectly still was rolling on its back in what looked like a state of nirvana.

Everyone in the area stopped to gawk at the spectacle. An older gentleman sidled up to me and said, “What do you say if your kid came home from college and said, ‘I want to be a dog walker?’” The gentleman clearly didn’t get it. We were watching someone who was much more than a dog walker; he was a dog whisperer teaching an advanced dog socialization class. Few people could do this job so well.

A woman ran over to the dog whisperer and asked the name of his business. I could only hear something about canine – and he said the name was spelled out in the website address. I later Googled “Lake Harriet dog walker” and came upon the website for Citizen Kanine ( From the website I learned the name of the business owner and dog whisperer extraordinaire is Curtis Johnson. Visit his site to learn more about his story. If you’re ever down by Lake Harriet, keep your eyes open. You can’t miss the pack when it’s coming your way, and Curtis’ calm leadership is a sight you won’t soon forget.


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