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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.
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.
- Welcome to Cesar Millan's Official Web Site
Transform your dog and your life by understanding canine psychology and establishing pack leadership.
- Cesar Millan Products
Dog Psychology Center Products ...balance...women can embrace the pack leaders within themselves." Cesar Millan
- Tips From The Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan
National Geographic Channel star Cesar Millan discusses his new book
- Dog Whisperer | National Geographic Channel
Dog Whisperer follows Cesar Millan, renowned dog behavior expert, as he goes directly into the homes of dog owners - without any prior information about the dog's case - and documents the remarkable transformations that take place under Cesar's calm,
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
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