Hailing Cesar: Times looks at Millan’s empire
With “The Dog Whisperer” starting its sixth season, his new magazine hitting the stands last month and his fourth book going on sale, the New York Times Saturday took a long and mostly complimentary look at Cesar Millan and the empire he has built since crossing the border illegally 20 years ago.
Proclaiming him a “cultural icon” the article recounts how the once-penniless native of Culiacán, Mexico (he became a U.S. citizen this year), became a dog trainer to the stars, then the world.
One of his first clients was Jada Pinkett (before she added the Smith) who in the early 1990’s was 20 and starring in a television sitcom. Millan helped Pinkett take control of her four Rottweilers, and they went on to become friends. When Millan told her he wanted to be on TV, the article says, she told him he wasn’t ready, and needed to study English.
Pinkett and Will Smith started recommending Mr. Millan to friends in the entertainment industry, starting with director Michael Bay, who needed help controlling his 230-pound mastiff, Mason. He’d later go to the aid of Oprah Winfrey, former Disney chief Michael D. Eisner and director Ridley Scott, among others.
In addition to books, a magazine and a television show, Millan and his wife, Ilusion, runs Cesar Millan Inc., a constellation of businesses that coordinates Millan’s speaking engagements and executive leadership seminars;, and puts out a line of products including DVD’s, collars, organic dog food, fortified water, shampoos and toys. His website, cesarmillaninc.com, grosses annual sales in the mid-seven figures, according to a company spokesman.
The Times article devotes only one paragraph — tssst! — to the debate over Millan’s macho leader of the pack techniques:
Not everyone agrees with Mr. Millan’s methods. “Positivist” trainers like Ian Dunbar reject the idea that a submissive dog is a happy dog. Mr. Dunbar advocates treating dogs as companions, not followers. While Mr. Millan uses his hand like a mother dog uses her mouth — to nudge dogs to behave — Mr. Dunbar shuns physical corrections and relies instead on treats and rewards.
Despite any controversy, Millan’s fame and empire are only expected to grow. This summer, the National Geographic Channel struck a deal with Fox to syndicate “Dog Whisperer” next fall.
(Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic Channel)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 12th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: books, celebrities, cesar, cesar millan, dog, dvds, empire, jada, magazine, mexico, millan, national geographic channel, new york times, pinkett, products, publishing, smith, techniques, television show, training, whisperer