Cesar Millan, Trainer: The Dog Whisperer - One of Mexico's Famous Exports

Cesar Millan was born on the 27th of August, in 1969, in Cuilacan, Sinaloa, Mexico. Millan entered the United States at twenty-one years of age, knowing no-one, and speaking no English. This determined, charismatic, self-taught, professional dog trainer is now in his sixth season of a wildly popular television series. His show, "The Dog Whisperer," is broadcast in more than eighty countries worldwide, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Chile and the United Kingdom.

Son of Felipe Millán Guillen and Maria Teresa Favela de Millán, Cesar grew up working with animals on his grandfather's farm in the Sinaloa region of Mexico. He very early demonstrated the trade-mark, natural way with dogs, which earned him the nick-name "El Perrero", which means "the dog boy." At the age of thirteen, while the family was living in Mazatlan, he declared to his mother that he would one day be the best dog trainer in the whole world.

Casear Millan and his pit-bill, Daddy - Photo from mydogtraining-101.com
Casear Millan and his pit-bill, Daddy - Photo from mydogtraining-101.com

Starting work as a dog-groomer, he began working with aggressive dogs, gaining a reputation for being able to handle any animal. As he became better known, gathering clients and supporters, he was able to create the Pacific Point Canine Academy and later, the Dog Psychology Center, in South Los Angeles.

The area was quite rundown and he was originally offered what was in effect a huge, bare lot, rent free. As Cesar Millan says on his web site "cesar's way":

"When my wife and I opened up the Dog Psychology Center, it was located in a very bad neighborhood in South Central LA. There was graffiti all over the place. There were drug users hanging around.

Believe it or not, my neighbors credit me with cleaning it up! People were intimidated by a guy walking around with so many big dogs off-leash – Rottweilers and pit bulls. I didn't set out to do that, but it was good for my business too. People want to feel safe about the place they leave their dogs, and when we first moved in, the area did not inspire confidence"

From unknown immigrant to the bestselling author of three books, and co-founder of a monthly magazine, Millan is currently working with Yale University to create a children's curriculum based on his work.

Cesar Millan with "Daddy" - Photo from open.salon.com
Cesar Millan with "Daddy" - Photo from open.salon.com

Millan's approach to improving dog behavior starts with teaching dog owners to understand their dogs. He teaches the owners to understand that dogs are pack animals, and that they will respond with their best behavior to a human who functions as their pack leader - a "calm-assertive pack leader".

To Cesar Millan, most inappropriate dog behavior results from their human pack leader not understanding the dog's needs, and also from treating the dog as if it were a person, or a child, and inadvertently rewarding (and thereby increasing) unwanted behavior.

According to Millan, to be well-balanced, a dog needs first of all, challenging, and interesting exercise, secondly, clearly communicated rules and limitations, or discipline, and finally, appropriate affection. He further states that it is the owner's responsibility to fulfill these needs for the dog.

While encouraging dog owners to give affection, Millan points out that affection should only be given when the dog is in a calm state - a balanced state of mind. Too often, owners give affection when the dog is fearful, anxious, or excited. To give affection at such a time can reinforce the imbalance - the fearful or excited state of mind. According to Millan, most dog owners give a great deal of affection, but very little discipline, and they are even more lax about making sure their dog gets enough exercise.

He also promotes walking the dog. He believes this is important not only for the dog's exercise, but also for the owner and dog to bond, and for the dog to recognize its owner as its leader, as well.

Part of his training teaches owners to watch their dog for subtle clues in the dog's posture, movement and facial expression. Being aware of such physical cues of the dog's state of mind will help the owner to eliminate poor behavior before it arises or escalates.

As well, he encourages owners to become aware of the physical and emotional cues they are giving their dogs through their own attitudes, internal emotions and physical posture. He helps dog owners to learn how to project a calm energy, so that they can affect their dog's behavior in a calm manner, often without the need for speaking at all.

Before shows such as "The Dog Whisperer" and its British counterpart "At the End of Your Leash" became popular, and dog training information became so widely disseminated, we used to think, when we saw a dog behaving badly, "There goes a dog that needs some training." Now, when we see dogs behaving badly now, we are more inclined to think, "The owner of that dog needs some training."

As well, though I would not advocate all of his methods be applied wholesale to raising our children, I feel there are some interesting parallels in how we react to our children's misbehavior, and in how well they usually respond to a calm, assertive parent.

I also quite enjoy this particular quotation from Cesar Millan. I feel it has a lot to say about us as a species, especially decision making abilities when it comes to politics and/or religion:

"Humans are the only animals who will follow unstable pack leaders."

© 2010, Text by Elle Fredine, All rights reserved

© 2010 RedElf

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26 comments

ralwus 6 years ago

that man is awesome, I hope he sees this one.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for your great hub.


febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 6 years ago from Indonesia

My parent have dogs and when I still stayed with them, I learned that it really important to understand dog's feeling, I know sometime it looked silly but dog is like a kid I think, they really need to play and be loved, thank you for sharing this encouraging story, wonderful hub!


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Thumbs up RedElf! What a clever idea to feature this unbelievably talented man in this week's Hubmob. I can never get enough of Cesar!,,He's one of my heroes and I don't even have a dog! Well done and thanks for a riveting read.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

I like watching his program. He offers some good training advice. I tell my dog Buddy to watch it too.


msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

This is where I am: akkhhh

"While encouraging dog owners to give affection, Millan points out that affection should only be given when the dog is in a calm state - a balanced state of mind. Too often, owners give affection when the dog is fearful, anxious, or excited. To give affection at such a time can reinforce the imbalance - the fearful or excited state of mind. According to Millan, most dog owners give a great deal of affection, but very little discipline, and they are even more lax about making sure their dog gets enough exercise."

Thanks!!

I am looking for a time when I can leave and they won't get traumatized...


Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 6 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

My son has a pitt,and cesar has opened people's eyes that this breed can be just as good a pet as any other when treated right. Thanks for the hub


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Thanks, RedElf. This is well-written and very interesting - a real tribute to Cesar Millan.

Especially related to his quote: "Humans are the only animals who will follow unstabl pack leaders." Ain't that the truth?


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, ralwus. That would be great!

Hh, so glad you enjoyed it - I had a lot of fun finding just the right videos ;)


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Right you are, febriedethan. It's always great to see people playing with their dogs! I think they both enjoy it equally.

GL, thanks - I don't have a dog right now either, but I still watch his shows faithfully.

I'm glad you share that with Buddy, it's always best to know what "the kids" are watching.

msorensson, hopefully that will come with time and patience.

Granny's House, I have really changed my mind about them, seeing them on his show - especially his buddy, "Daddy".

Thank you, drbj. He is certainly worth celebrating!


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

We watch this in the UK and I love it. Caesar is just amazing


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

I love his show. great hub.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Hey, ethel! We love him here, too!

Hi, Pamela99! Thanks so much!


tony0724 profile image

tony0724 6 years ago from san diego calif

Hi RedElf whenever I go to visit my Mom over by LA she always watches his show. I have watched it a few times myself because I dig dogs.


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California'

I love the show - and have been using his methods to train both my boyfriend, his dogs and me LOL...great hub - very enjoyable reading :D


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

It's an interesting show, tony. Some people don't approve of his methods, but I have seen him get amazing results. A lot of dog owners I know could really use some help ;)

Hi there, Enelle. You are most welcome - does the method work on the boyfriend, too? Just kidding ;)


borge_009 profile image

borge_009 6 years ago from Philippines

Wow. This is truly amazing hub


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, borge_009 - he's a pretty amazing guy ;)


Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas

Thanks for the background information on Cesar. I, too, have watched his show and admired his ability to communicate with dogs. He is an interesting and amazing person.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Most welcome, Smireles. I have learned a lot just from watching his shows.


TnFlash profile image

TnFlash 6 years ago from Tampa, Florida

Excellent Excellent Excellent Hub! Dog Whisperer is one of my favorite shows. As a long time dog owner and former dog breeder, I find Cesar to be the best dog trainer alive. I learn tons of tips and tricks from his show. Good Work!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, Flash - I love his show, too.


johnyater profile image

johnyater 6 years ago from Hamilton, Ohio

RedElf, this is a skillfully written hub on amazing man who overcame insurmountable odds in his transition from a simple dog-groomer to one of the most recognizable dog trainers in the world. Thanks for sharing this endearing story with us all.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Hi, johnyater! Thanks so much. I really enjoy his show and ideas. It was a fascinating hub to research.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain

I came to this from your link on Redgage this is a fascinating hub. We also watch this program on TV in Spain he really is popular all ovr the world.

I love the way he deals with dogs and their owners and I love the way you have written this hub. It is full of interesting facts and interesting videos and well worth voting up.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, maggs224. I found his shows and his stories inspiring! I appreciate the up-vote!

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