CESAR MILLAN – THE DOG WHISPERER
“I rehabilitate dogs. I train people. I am Cesar Millan, and the world knows me as the Dog Whisperer.” Cesar Millan is an avid pit bull enthusiast and trainer of pitbulls as well as all breeds of dogs.
Born in Sinaloa, Mexico, Cesar Millan had a childhood that was markedly different from most other people. He adored and grew up among the farm animals in his grandfather’s ranch, and dogs became his favorite right from his formative years. The other children mocked at him with labels such as “the dirty dog boy”, but he leant a deaf ear to all such criticisms. He knew what he wanted, and that was to become the “best dog trainer in the world”, a vision that he had been nurturing and harnessing since the ripe age of thirteen. An immigrant to the United States at the age of 21, Cesar Millan found himself alienated in a land which was known for its opportunities, not having mastered the foreign tongue. He was reduced to the status of a homeless, devoid of shelter or friends or family, until he finally found himself his dream job, to become “a dog groomer and dog walker”. He notes that back then, he was wholly unaware that “walking dogs off [the] leash was illegal”.
His biographical details include his marriage in 1994 to Illusion, and their two sons, Andre and Calvin. Cesar is closer to Calvin as he sees his own personality reflected in him. Things turned sour for Cesar Millan when catastrophe first struck him in the form of a divorce, and the death of his most beloved pet, Daddy. Daddy was succeeded by his “protégé”, as Cesar puts it, in the form of Junior, another pit bull.
Soon Cesar Millan climbed the ladder of fame and Jada Pinkett became his patron of sorts. He became known for his easy-going attitude in the midst of aggressive dogs, and became recognized as a pack leader with dexterity. Jada Pinkett helped him in his rise to fame as a celebrity, and also offered to pay for Cesar’s English tuition lessons. Cesar’s dreams came true when an article of his was published in theLos Angeles Times, and this paved way for offers from a number of television production houses. Cesar Millan is best known for his popular T.V. series, Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, which first premiered in the year 2004, on the National Geographic Channel, making him the ‘Dr. Phil’ of dogs! Also, Cesar Millan has a massive fan following on the leading social networking web sites, Twitter and Facebook. He applauds his fans for being a highly engaging community, where they discuss dogs and their issues in the most smartest and passionate of ways.
Cesar is known for his best achievement till date, the DPC, or the Dog Psychology Center. His vision turned into reality when he had the good fortune to start a center for training dogs in South Central, Los Angeles. Cesar admits, that
“At the time, I was surrounded by a community of drug abusers, graffiti-covered buildings and an overall negative energy. This was no place to make a dream come true. But with the support of friends and family, and the luck of a vacant parking lot, that dream took roots.”
What initially started off as a mere vacant parking lot that was squalor-ridden, soon became Cesar Millan’s haven, or as he describes it, “a palace!”. He fondly recalls experiences with his pack of dogs, his favorite being the daily trips to the Mexican meat market. The DPC has now relocated to the picturesque and idyllic hills of Santa Clarita, where Cesar hopes to continue doing what he does best, “rescuing dogs, rehabilitating them and then placing them in good homes.” He wishes to go back down memory lane and relive his days at his grandfather’s farm, teaching children to “learn the natural way of life”, almost echoing Wordsworth’s aesthetic beliefs.
“The DPC is a growing and changing place with a lot of potential to be more than I ever dreamed. She is evolving every day and will hopefully become that place of education, rehabilitation and community that she was always meant to be.”
Two other achievements that are noteworthy by the same token, are Cesar’s The Millan Foundation, as well as the Mutt-i-grees, a curriculum for children at school. The former was founded on February 14th 2007, the day of love, with love and affection as its very motive and motto. The organization provides “financial support and rehabilitation expertise to animal shelters around the world”. Their main objective is to sensitize people towards the plight and condition of dogs and cats that are at animal shelters, waiting for a home and family to belong to, instead of being cruelly put to death or euthanized.
“My many years of experience in the rehabilitation of dogs of every breed and background have taught me that most animals can make excellent companions, and that all many of them need is the proper care and a second chance.”
The foundation also has programs which facilitate and garner healthy, sociable relationships between humans and dogs. Among these, is the Shelter Stars which came into being in the year 2009, and works towards finding homes for shelter animals, giving them “positive lives” to enter into. The DEAR or Daddy’s Emergency Animal Rescue fund, is one which provides care to “victims of abuse, violence, man made disasters such as hoarder and puppy mill rescues, and natural disasters such as hurricanes, fires, and earthquakes.” In the form of additional grants, the organization also undertakes spaying or neutering of dogs in the light of reducing dog overpopulation.
Dog Psychology Center
This is the Dog Psychology Center that is featured in Cesar’s Millans Book “Cesar’s Way” as well as on his TV show the Dog Whisperer.
The Mutt-i-grees on the other hand, working in tandem with North Shore Animal League and Yale University, proposes to revamp curriculum by incorporating such novel concepts as humane education, embracing learning in the context of intelligence as well as social skills. Students will also learn to be empathetic, show respect towards all species, counteract bullying in schools and consequently undergo a positive change “in their interactions with peers, adults and animals”.
Cesar has also been declared as the national spokesperson for the 18th Annual Pet Adoption The organization in question has rescued up to 300,000 animals through these annual events. They hope to encourage people to adopt animals from the animal shelter rather than buying brand new pets at a fancy pet store.
The Series - National Geographic channel, now renamed as Nat Geo WILD, are the illustrious broadcasters of the seventh season of the successful series Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan. The series showcases episodes and brings to light the issues and behavioral patterns of canines who are labeled and termed as aggressive, but are handled beautifully and authoritatively by Cesar. Like most reality shows, this series is no different in the way it approaches the show’s basic format, where Cesar visits random people’s homes and trains their dogs without prior notice of any kind. The series encapsulates his principles and beliefs that all dogs need “exercise, discipline and affection”. Cesar does not encourage people to make eye-contact, speak or touch dogs when meeting them for the first time. He is against dog owners bestowing excessive affection on their pets, and urges them against this, as it can cause greater imbalance in the dog if it is not in a “balanced state of mind”. He also uses vocal marks while training his dogs, which forms a unique sort of communication on a non-verbal level. His success and accomplishments have been attributed to his unique sense of “a sort of uber-balanced mien”.
The Dog Walk - Cesar Millan brings to light the importance of dog walks, both as a necessary tool for exercise as well as an opportunity for the dog and its owner to bond.
“The walk is the foundation of your relationship.”
The owner should always consider himself to be the pack-leader, in a calm and assertive manner. Cesar Millan advises owners to use shorter leashes to better guide their dogs, as well as walking for up to an hour to ensure that the dogs are physically fit. It is important to reward dogs after they have obeyed or listened to you, so that a healthy and friendly relationship is maintained. To help facilitate these dogs, Cesar endorses in products for canines such as his famous Illusion Dog Collar and Leash System, as well as the Dog Whisperer Dog Backpack.
Among Cesar’s other accolades include his DVD releases like People Training for Dogs, Becoming a Pack Leader, Your New Dog: First Day and Beyond, Sit and Stay the Cesar Way and so on. His books include Cesar’s Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems, A Member of the Family: Cesar Millan’s Guide to a Lifetime of Fulfillment with Your Dog, How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppy hood and Beyond, and others. Cesar Millan has also received numerous awards for his selfless service towards the canine family. These include a Special Commendation by the Humane Society of the United States Genesis Award Committee, the Michael Landon Award for Inspiration to Youth Through Television, an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Program, and also a meritorious recognition by the Annual Impact Awards Gala.
To conclude, borrowing a quote from Cesar Millan, he epitomizes the American Dream of the go-getter in these lines.
“I hope that I can be an inspiration to everyone out there who is trying to live their dreams. Even though the odds of succeeding were against me, I tried to never think about the negative. . . The dream was always at the forefront. When you’re poor, you have nothing to lose and nothing to be afraid of. Holding onto the dream and having nothing to lose is what helped me succeed.”