The Edmond Sun

Arts & Entertainment

March 10, 2014

‘Dog Whisperer’ helps dogs on new ‘Cesar 911’ show

PITTSBURGH — Best known as the “Dog Whisperer,” Cesar Millan is a world-renowned dog trainer who came to the United States from Mexico as an illegal immigrant and became a celebrity training dogs for the rich and famous. He is the author of several best-selling books, including “Cesar’s Way,” “Be the Pack Leader” and “How to Raise the Perfect Dog.” He also founded the Dog Psychology Center in California. The Millan Foundation rescues and supports abused and abandoned dogs.

His show, “The Dog Whisperer With Cesar Millan,” took the brand to the next level. While his professional life was off-the-leash successful, his personal life was in the doghouse in 2010. His wife filed for divorce, and his beloved dog Daddy died. But he found his way back, and the 44-year-old stars in a new show on the NatGeo channel, “Cesar 911.” It premiered Friday at 9 p.m.

Q: What do you think makes the relationship between dog and humans so special?

A:
I think this is where the human can actually be himself. Most people want to look good. You don’t want people to know your weaknesses, so you are not really free. A dog actually provides a really awesome platform for you to be you. He will accept you as who you are. It really goes into the soul of the human, the emotion of a human, not the physical body of the human.

Q: How have your training techniques evolved since you first started?

A:
I think the only thing that has changed about me is how much I focus on the human and prepare the human. In “Cesar 911,” that is what people are going to see. In “The Dog Whisperer,” you see an aggressive dog and a guy comes in and he rehabilitates the dog and then he goes. Now you are going to see how you, the human being, trigger everything in your dog — the good, the bad and the ugly. I want us to take responsibility for what we are doing wrong.

Dogs aren’t born unstable. We make them unstable. If a dog lives with a human who is afraid, the dog has no choice but to be afraid and to overprotect the human. Most people see the dog’s aggression or fear, but they never take the time to find out where he learned to be afraid. So parents who are afraid of dogs can only teach kids to be afraid of dogs.

Q: Why do you think pet owners have started to treat their dogs more like real companions with clothes, pampering and sometimes lack of discipline?

A:
We live in a very selfish society. We are going to keep fulfilling ourselves by utilizing the dog as a source of fulfillment. You see now people are not getting pregnant until they are 30 or 35, which is uncommon in the history of humans. Humans have decided to prioritize their careers and financial status, but (they) still have an empty space. So the dog came in and somebody obviously said, “Let’s dress the dog up!” The human starts fulfilling his own little story, his own little dream. That’s when the Louis Vuitton bags (carrying cases for small dogs) came into the picture and this extravagant approach toward the dog. I am not saying it is wrong. I am saying this happened, not because the dog asked for it.

Q: It seems grieving for a pet has become more acceptable.

A:
We do and we don’t. Obviously, we kill millions of them — 4-5 million (each year). Of course, the one that serves the community we are going to have more empathy for or the one that represents something closer to us. But the ideal would be to actually honor all of them and do less killing. Most of the dogs don’t have a problem. It is just over-population. But nobody is worried about those. I am saying we have to be fair to all of them.

Q: I was reading about your life. You went from being an illegal immigrant to a celebrity. Was it hard to not let the fame and money go to your head?

A:
You know, when animals live with money or celebrities, they don’t know they live with that. As you know, my clients are celebrities and very wealthy people, but the dogs don’t know. When you let things go to your head, that means you are different. You are something better than somebody else. If you do that in front of a dog, he is going to imitate that and become anti-social.

This is when your roots are so important, where you come from is so important. Being humble and growing up poor helped me stay grounded. I did have motivation and inspiration to take my family to a different economic platform but not because I was going to be better than somebody else. You know what I mean? I think it has to do a lot with moral values and where you were raised and who raised you. I’ve got great parents. I still listen to what my mom says, to what my dad says. They still can influence the way I behave.

Q: You have experienced some dark days, but you pulled yourself out. Was it faith and family that helped?

A:
It was a combination of many things. The pack had a lot to do with it. My pack, when I came here to the ranch, they saw a human like they never saw before in their life, and they all started licking and nudging, reviving me. Sometimes you don’t want things to happen, but it has to happen for a certain reason. Sometimes you don’t get the dog you want but the dog you need. You don’t get the situations you want, but the situations you need. It really brought focus back.

Now I am going back to leading my life the way I wanted to. One of my dreams was to have many different species on my ranch. Now we have a llama, we have a horse, we have a tortoise, we have chickens, we have chameleons, we have guinea pigs. We are giving workshops. I did not stay true to my core beliefs. So, you know, some things needed to happen.

Q: Do you find certain breeds of dogs easier to train?

A:
Because I’m not looking to train a dog, I am just looking to allow the dog to have the stability he should have regardless of breed. Some rules, bounds and limitations are applied to all dogs. Everybody, regardless of the breed they have, they want a social dog. My focus is on the balance and the well-being of the dog, for him to maintain a natural state of mind.

Q: You say the No. 1 thing a dog needs is exercise.

A:
Exercise and mental challenge. Mental challenge is rules, bounds and limitations. If you don’t have rules, bounds and limitations, you do not know what is expected of you. Many people misinterpret discipline for punishment. Discipline actually helps to prevent you from making mistakes.

So if my kids follow what I say, they will be in good shape because I already went through it. I know what I’m talking about. I am going to set some rules, bounds and limitations. I am not punishing them. I am telling them to build a discipline so they know what to do and how to prevent unwanted things. If a dog does not have rules, bounds and limitations he is going to get into trouble. If he has rules, he will know how to be in society.

1
Text Only
Arts & Entertainment
  • Oliver 7-29 Good Reads

    NOTE: Email dpeery@edmondsun.com to have your name entered into a drawing for the following titles: “Oliver and the Seawigs” and/or “The Strange Maid.” Deadline is 10 a.m. Aug. 28. Winner will be notified by return email. Winner is responsible for picking up the book at The Edmond Sun at 123 S. Broadway. All entrants must be 18 or older to win.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • jc_Earp Marlin 2 - photo credit Noel Winters.jpg Shootout of a sale

    An original article of the Wild West will be made available at auction Thursday. The rifle of legendary lawman Wyatt Earp will be part of the J. Levine Auction & Appraisal’s Summer Quarterly Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.
    Earp was an Arizona deputy sheriff and deputy town marshal in Tombstone, Ariz. He is legendary for playing a key role in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. He died in 1929 at age 60.
    Wyatt Earp collector Barry Tapp of Edmond will be selling his 1895 Wyatt Earp Marlin rifle at the auction. The rifle has an estimated value between $50,000 and $75,000. It includes authentication documentation from Tombstone Heritage Museum, according to the auction house

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Carpenter Square Carpenter Square Theatre Presents ‘Fibs’

    For two nights only, Carpenter Square Theatre presents Albert Bostick’s one-man show “Fabulous Fibs, Fables, and Folklore.”  Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 2 and 9 at the theater at 800 W. Main in downtown Oklahoma City.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Science Museum Oklahoma to exhibit Power Play

    Designed to test strength, speed, stamina, flexibility and balance, Science Museum Oklahoma’s new exhibit — Power Play — explores human physiology and the power of the human body. Power Play is now open to the public.

    July 25, 2014

  • Discard the boredom of family game night

    We’re all about families having fun together, and game night is one of the best ways to do that. But playing the same games over and over can get a little stale. So in the interests of injecting a little more fun into your family’s game night, here are some great choices that will keep you and yours engaged and laughing.

    July 25, 2014

  • OBU dance team celebrates National Dance Day

    In 2010, “So You Think You Can Dance” co-creator and Dizzy Feet Foundation co-president Nigel Lythgoe created National Dance Day in an effort to help people embrace dance and combat obesity on the last Saturday in July.
    This year, on July 26, Oklahoma Baptist University’s dance team will host a fundraiser that allows participants to dance all day for $30. The fundraiser will be in the Noble Complex on OBU’s campus.
    Cami Gower, an OBU junior and co-captain/co-founder of the dance team, said the team’s officers have been planning for their upcoming season since April. Gower is a graduate of Deer Creek High School.
    “Since then we have been coming up with better ways to reach the community with dance,” she said. “This day of dance was a great way to do it and help the team raise funds.”

    July 24, 2014

  • Never Girls Good Reads

    NOTE: Email dpeery@edmondsun.com to have your name entered into a drawing for the following titles: “The Never Girls: A Pinch of Magic” and/or “The Secrets of Tree Taylor.” Deadline is 10 a.m. July 28. Winner will be notified by return email. Winner is responsible for picking up the book at The Edmond Sun at 123 S. Broadway. All entrants must be 18 or older to win.

    July 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • garner4.jpg Family, friends remember Garner’s Norman roots

    Flowers started arriving at the James Garner statue at Main Street and Jones Avenue Sunday morning after residents learned of the famed actor and Norman native’s death Saturday night in California.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Banjo 1 American Banjo Museum offers look at past

    What do you call perfect pitch?  If you can throw a banjo through the window and onto the garbage truck!  My brother-in-law, a musician, told me this joke.  Boy, the banjo is the Rodney Dangerfield of instruments — it gets no respect.  Well, get ready to appreciate the banjo for its history and heritage — at the American Banjo Museum in OKC’s Bricktown. This cool museum takes you through 370 years of banjo history in eight minutes, then settles down to give you details which will keep you interested for many more.

    July 19, 2014 6 Photos

  • Enjoy affordable romance in Dahlonega, Ga.

    Nestled in the mountains of northern Georgia against the Chattahoochee National Forest lies a tiny town that offers an authentic peek at a time long past. The charm of yesteryear combined with the calm of nature, friendly locals and the fun of back country roads dotted with vineyards and tasting rooms results in the perfect getaway for couples in search of a romantic escape or honeymoon destination. Those headed to Dahlonega for an intimate weekend will want to consider the following itinerary items.

    July 19, 2014