Sand Dollars

Hyannis Dog Whisperer

Written by Brian Tarcy


HYANNIS – “Everybody respects Griffin,” said Augusto De Oliveira, who had just led 90-pound Griffin and seven other German shepherd dogs along West Main Street across from the Melody Tent and then back home, down Betty’s Pond Road. By “everybody,” he means the other seven dogs, although it would be easy to think he means, literally, everybody.

Almost home

Almost home

Griffin is 3 years old and the alpha dog in De Oliveira’s orderly eight-dog pack. De Oliveira, 22, originally of Brazil, is the owner of Griffin Shepherd Kennels of Hyannis, where he keeps Griffin’s pack, and three puppies that are already sold. He breeds German shepherd puppies. His next 30, not conceived yet, are already sold, he said.

Cute. Eight German shepherds from 90 to 65 pounds, stare you right in the face and because of the confidence that De Oliveira exudes to both his dogs and any human around, all you can think is, cute.

While on the busy road, he had his dogs on leashes, but he said, “I always have my dogs following me off-leash. I can control what ever they do. I can read them. I can tell whatever they’re about to do.”

And it was true, as if he had a magic wand or he spoke “Dog,” as he demonstrated by getting all eight dogs to lay down, follow him, and even sit for photos. A video he has posted on Facebook is an astonishing display of his command over the pack, even in the face of other barking dogs.

In the title essay in the book “What the Dog Saw” (2009, Little, Brown and Company), Malcolm Gladwell wrote about Cesar Millan, host of The Dog Whisperer that aired for eight years on The National Geographic Channel. “Combinations of posture and gesture are called ‘phrasing,’ “ wrote Gladwell, “and the great communicators are those who match their phrasing with their communicative style – who understand, for instance, that emphasis requires them to be bound and explosive.”

Of the famous TV Dog Whisper, De Oliveira said, “A lot of people compare me with him.”

Combinations of posture and gesture. Griffin and the pack get it. And De Oliveira gets them. “My dogs live as a pack. They know each others’ place in the pack,” he said.

There are two males, 3-year-old Griffin, and 1-year-old Jake. “Griffin is Jake’s father,” said De Oliveira. “Jake grew up knowing Griffin is more dominant. Griffin became confident and dominant early, because he was the only male. Now, he sometimes shows dominance to Jake.”

Augusto De Oliveira, Hyannis Dog Whisperer, who has a pack of eight German Shepherds.

Augusto De Oliveira, Hyannis Dog Whisperer, who has a pack of eight German Shepherds.

There are six females. Harmony, 6, is the oldest. Hannah, 4, the smallest dog at 65 pounds, is Jake’s mother with Griffin. “She is a very dominant female,” he said. “All the other females respect her in the pack.” Sadie is also 4. Jenna, 2, has three puppies at home right now from Griffin, said De Oliveira. Savannah is 2 and Priscilla, at 1-1/2, is the youngest of the pack, he said.

“I can only can breed them when the female is in heat,” he said. “You can tell because they bleed. There are little drops of blood in the first week. They not ready to mate yet. A week later, when they stop the bleeding, they are ready to breed. Griffin automatically knows she’s in heat. A week after she started heat, he’ll be with her the whole day. He’ll make sure no other males come near her.”

It takes 63 days to have puppies, he said. He keeps his puppies a minimum of eight weeks. “People come from all over the country,” he said. “I don’t ship puppies. They come to me so I can meet them first.”

De Oliveira said he learned about dogs while growing up on his grandparents 100-acre farm in Brazil “in the middle of nowhere.” There were farm animals, he said, adding, “my grandparents always rescued dogs.”

He was born in the United States, and moved back and forth between here and Brazil a few times when he was very young. He settled in Brazil until he was 18, when his family wanted him to move the USA to learn English. He has been in this country for four years.

Some of the pack

Some of the pack

When he came to the America at 18, he lived in Dennis with his aunt, he said. “I worked as a dishwasher the first year I was here,” he said. “I didn’t know anyone. I got my first dog at a pet store, a chocolate lab named Priscilla.” He does not have that dog anymore, but he used to take the dog everywhere, he said. People noticed how well behaved Priscilla was, he said.

He began getting work as a dog trainer, and also started raising and breeding German shepherds. He earns $80 to $100 an hour as a trainer, he said. And he sells his puppies for $1,500 each. At 22, he owns his own house, he said.

“I train all breeds,” he said. “I raise raise German shepherds. I train dogs, especially bad dogs. Those are the people that come to me. There’s always a reason why a dog is acting a certain way. I can tell by their body language, their eyes, the way they look at you, everything.”

One issue he faces with bad dogs, he said, is, “Anyone can go out and get a dog. That’s a problem. They have no idea how to communicate with a dog. They treat them like a baby and use human psychology on a dog. That becomes a problem. And the dog may develop aggression.”

“If someone never had a dog, they should go to a professional trainer,” he said. “If you fail with that dog, it’s going to become a big problem.”

“You have to have a way to communicate with the dog,” said De Oliveira. “One of the main things is to exercise the dog. You have to be willing to put in the time to train and socialize a puppy for people and other dogs. And choose a puppy from the right breeder. You need a good start from day one. If there is no socialization, it makes your work so much harder.”

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— Brian Tarcy

About the author

Brian Tarcy

Brian Tarcy is co-founder of Cape Cod Wave. He is a longtime journalist who has written for the Boston Globe, Boston magazine, the Cape Cod Times and several other publications. He is the author of "YOU CAN'T SELL RIGHT FIELD; A Cape Cod Novel." He is also the author or co-author of more than a dozen mostly non-fiction books, including books with celebrity athletes Cam Neely, Tom Glavine and Joe Theisman. His previous book was, "ALMOST: 12 Electric Months Chasing A Silicon Valley Dream" with Hap Klopp,who created the iconic brand, The North Face.
For more information, see
Brian is a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan with a long-running NFL predictions/political satire column connecting weekly world events to the fate of his favorite team, now at


    • Anyone can appear “amazing” by training with shock collars – even you. What this person can’t seem to do is create obedient AND joyful dogs, just ones that blindly follow because they know there’s no point in resisting. (Read Sidman, 1967)

  • Augusto is so good at what he does. I follow him each and every day to see what he and his pack are doing. He is such an amazing human being, and his pack is an amazing pack.

  • I keep up with August on facebook. I love when he has time to answer a question. I’m from NH and I am considering calling him to see if I can come to stay at the Cape for a week and have him train me and my dog. She is a rescue who is afraid of everything. I have brought her as far as I can and I think it would be well worth the visit to build her confidence and after reading his Facebook I think he is the right person to take her to.

  • I am raising and training one of Augusto’s pups… Gustav, 8 months old. Gustav is an amazingly smart and obedient door. He is learning all sorts of things I was never able to teach other dogs, such as opening doors from both sides. Gustav is in obedience training now, and is going to start Search and Rescue training soon.

    Augusto is pretty picky about where his pups go and how they will be handled. For example he refuses to ship young pups because the trauma. I had to drive to Cape Cod from Ohio to gather up Gustav. I was okay with that because I agree with Augusto – if you won’t go 1000 miles out of your way for a Furever Friend, you shouldn’t have a dog.

  • Hi I’m from Australia, I follow Augusto’s page everyday, he is an amazing young man. Love how he treats animals. Just love his pack. If only we had more like him.

  • My wife Leslie and I have a Griffin Kennel pup. Ada is just 15 months old now. She is very special to us. We spent a lot of time finding the right breeder. What I liked immediately about Augusto was he made it very clear to us, just because we wanted one of his puppies, did not mean we would get one! He had to understand our commitment to her first. He interviewed us more than we did him. He is an extremely intelligent and caring person. If you are lucky enough to get one of his pups, you also get Augusto’s commitment as well. He will help you with any issues. He wants you to have a wonderful relationship with your dog and he knows how to help!

  • Hi, I am from Malden and Augusto is a very good friend of mine. I was fortunate to have the opportunity of seeing how he works with his pack and how much he loves them in person. I love walking around with him and his pack and watching people turn their heads, and staring at him and his pack, or want to ask him tons of questions, or take pictures of him and his pack. We did this pretty much on a day-to-day basis which is how I really got to know Augusto. When I say that he truly knows how to read a dog, he does. He knew what my Kaiser was gonna do, or how he was gonna act. He is truly an amazing trainer, and an amazing, fine young man. He is very well educated. He is an extremely hard worker and very rarely does he spend time away from his babies. He loves his pack very, very much and I saw that love in person. I saw how amazing he is with his pack. He is my dog whisperer…..

  • Augusto is a great dog trainer. Stay away from clicker and treat trainers, especially if you’re having aggressive behavior problems. Find someone who understands pack behavior and doesn’t use psychology that mirrors their own fears and insecurities.

    • Excuse me? Uh no, clearly you don’t understand clicker training, or how positive reinforcement even works. Gee, my pup’s sire is IPO3, won National championships, and obedience titles, trained with clicker and positive methods. What psychology that mirrors fears and insecurities?? LOL Oh kinda like Augusto believing he’s the all powerful pack leader alpha?? You do realize that’s been debunked by the scientific and dog behavior community?? Wow. Just. Wow.

  • I love how Augusto shocks and inbreeds his dogs.

    The town (and law) are finally catching up to him and they raided his place last month.

    Good riddance.

  • yeah ok.. he is NOT who he says he is.. he is a liar.. and when asked about questions dealing with anything negative, he removes the post, and bans you from his FB pages. his contracts are one sided.. he INBREDS his dogs, produced 17 litters in 22 months.. charges INSANE amounts from 2000 – 5000 PER DOG , he does compete with his dogs in any sport, Griffin was titled by someone else NOT HIM.. his bitches have no titles, he has produced sick pups, with genetic / severe defects in which 1 has died from, but he continues to breed the same ones together. he breeds every heat cycle as young as 8 months, and many other lies he has spewed to his “FOLLOWERS” people need to wake up and learn the difference between a BYB puppy mill and an ETHICAL BREEDER who only breeds 1 litter from a single bitch a year and only after she has been medically tested on her eyes, hips, elbows, heart, and tested for DM. he obviously has DM carrier dogs, due to one pup has come back as a carrier..

  • Tom, Phelicia: Good grief people, get a life. Augusto is a hard working young man with great dogs, a positive attitude, and a talent for training.
    His prices are not outrageous….try looking at other breeder prices.
    Chill, and quit picking on him
    Central America.

  • Augusto has sold sick puppies and then refused to take responsibility for them. He claims to be a master trainer, but his training tips that he posts are copied from the real dog whisperer Cesar’s website. He uses shock collars and ignores leash laws. He feeds his pets roadkill from dumpsters, not bothering to freeze to kill worms.

    He is a fraud, fake, charlatan. Go to Griffin Shepard Kennels Exposed, read the proof, educate yourself…. Or you can continue to be a mindless lemming.

  • I have seen this guys training videos.. he is a HORRIBLE trainer who uses fear and pain to get the dogs to submit. PLEASE do not bring your dog to this thing I noticed about this article.. what happened to his chocolate lab Priscilla? The article says he got her when he was 18 as a puppy I presume because he got her from a pet store, he is only 23 now.. so what happened to her?? It just says He no longer has that dog. Trust me… from what I have seen he is not the type of trainer anyone should entrust with their dog.

  • Ive been in the dog business for over 20 yrs. I understand all the different methods of training. Augustus is not as good as people think but if he helps the majority of people who seek out his training services its better than them not training their dog at all. Ive competed in dog sports and trained 3 shepherds and several other working breeds. His dogs are easy to train because they are so soft. There is nothing wrong with that it just gives people the wrong impression. I have found many (not all!)trainers who primarily use shock collars often do not know any other way. Ive trained dogs without pinch collars or shock colllars. Sometimes it takes longer but in the end my client understands learning theory so they often can solve issues or train behaviors on their own. Most trainers do not want this because it means less business for them long term. I like to educate my pet owners about their options. There are many tools and methods to train a dog. We may not agree with all of them but id still rather see a dog trained and stay with its owner than given up because someone didnt want to try to train their dog a different way. Unless of course they are going to a better home;).

  • Shock collars are cruel – always have been and always will. Never used by a professional dog trainer.

    You only have to look at his dogs when he is walking them to see they are ruled by fear.

  • Do those dogs look happy and enjoying their walk? Just about as much as we would enjoy a walk with this man if he had us in a shock collar and if we raised our heads or looked around we would get a harsh jolt!! How sad they really look. That is not training that is abuse!

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