With continuing criticism of his methods, a suicide attempt in his not-too-distant past, and his reign as TV’s “Dog Whisperer” having ended, you might think Cesar Millan’s eight years of snowballing fame was starting to head in the other direction.
Probably, you’d be wrong.
Just two months after the “The Dog Whisperer” concluded its run – and two years after the death of his favorite dog, divorcing his wife, and dealing with a deep depression — a new show, a new wife and a new book (his seventh) are all on the horizon.
On top of that, he’ll be the subject of a documentary. In ”Cesar Millan: The Real Story,” airing Nov. 25 on Nat Geo Wild, he talks publicly for the first time about the overdose that almost took his life, according to the Associated Press
“It’s rare when someone with his level of celebrity is willing to completely open up and share the struggle and hardship it took to find success and happiness,” said Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager of Nat Geo Wild. “Cesar doesn’t hold anything back, and I’m certain our audience will feel even closer to him for it.”
Millan, 43, rose to fame in 2004, when his first TV series, “The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan,” became National Geographic’s top-rated show.
His success story began in Mexico, where he worked on his grandfather’s farm in Sinaloa, and began working with dogs in hopes of becoming a trainer. At 21, unable to speak English, he crossed the border and lived on the streets for two months before getting a job as a groomer and walker when Jada Pinkett hired him. It was Pinkett, before she hooked up with Will Smith, who got him an English tutor when she learned he wanted to be on TV.
He’d go on to build an empire after that, starting a magazine, a philanthropic foundation, a rehabilitation complex, selling his own line of dog products and writing books. (His seventh, “A Short Guide to a Happy Dog,” is due out Jan. 1.)
In 2010 — amid all his fame and fortune — came some misery. He’d sunk into a depression after the death of his pit bull, Daddy, and a divorce from his wife and the mother of his two children. That May he attempted suicide by drug overdose.
“I felt defeated, a big sense of guilt and failure. … I was at the lowest level I had ever been emotionally and psychologically,” he wrote in on his website.
He turned to his dogs for comfort and support, and got more of that from a new human love in his life, Jahira Dar, who now lives with Millan and his youngest son in Los Angeles. He calls her “the one,” and says he plans to propose soon.
His new show, “Leader of the Pack,” will premiere on Nat Geo Wild Jan. 5.
While it will feature his “pack-leader” training philosophy, the new show, filmed in Spain, aims to increase rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of the species that has brought him fame, fortune and solace.
“A dog would never see me as a Mexican or immigrant or think things people say about me,” the AP article quotes him as saying. “Dogs don’t rationalize. They don’t hold anything against a person. They don’t see the outside of a human but the inside of a human.”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cesar, cesar millan, daddy, death, depression, divorce, documentary, dog whisperer, dogs, leader of the pack, nat geo, nat geo wild, national geographic, new, overdose, pets, program, suicide, television, the real story, trainers, training, tv
Lucy, a husky mix from Greenville, S.C., has been named the worst behaved dog in America by Camp Bow Wow, the pet care franchise — and as winner of that dishonor she’ll receive some much-needed training.
Camp Bow Wow reviewed hundreds of entries in its national “Bad to the Bone” contest before deciding on Lucy, an obedience school dropout who chews so much her nickname is “The Destroyer.”
Owned by Eve Memmer, Lucy will receive a full year of services from Camp Bow Wow and formal dog training from a Camp Bow Wow Behavior Buddies certified trainer, according to a press release.
“We’re so excited to have won the ‘Bad to the Bone’ contest,” said Eve Memmer. “Lucy is a close part of our family – we love her dearly. But she’ll chew on anything in sight, she dashes out of doors and lunges at other dogs when she’s on a leash. Lucy is in need of some serious dog training …”
The 60-pound, 11-month old husky mix once used her teeth to bend the bars of her crate and escape. She has tried a training class before, but it produced few results.
“We’re eager to see Lucy’s transformation from naughty pup to star pupil,” said Heidi Ganahl, CEO and founder of Camp Bow Wow. “All dogs need a little direction when it comes to training and behavior and we anticipate that Lucy’s lovable nature will outshine any mischievous conduct.”
Camp Bow Wow’s efforts to reform misbehaving dogs won’t end with Lucy. Fifty of the “Bad Dog” finalists have been entered into the next phase of the contest known as the “Face Off,” whose winners, determined by Facebook voting, will receive a gift certificate for Camp Bow Wow or Home Buddies services.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bad dogs, bad to the bone, behavior, behavior buddies, camp bow wow, chewing, contest, dog training, dogs, eve memmer, greenville, husky, leash, lucy, lunging, misbehavior, mix, naughtiest, pets, south carolina, the destroyer, trainers, training
Brody, Diamond and Ella Mae graduated yesterday, meaning they will be leaving the prison where they’ve lived for the past 10 weeks and going to homes with new families.
The three dogs were members of the 16th graduating class of A New Leash on Life, a program in which inmates give shelter dogs the training they need to be welcomed into new homes.
The inmate trainers, all of whom received certificates, also get something more out of the deal — pride, self-esteem, and a job skill, for starters. Several of them spoke about what they’d gotten out of the program during yesterday’s ceremony, noting that dog training requires, above all, patience, compassion and love.
The program at Forsyth Correctional Center, a minimum-security state prison in Winston-Salem, is operated by the Forsyth Humane Society — and it’s one of 16 in prisons statewide.
Dogs from the shelter are referred to the inmates who, with help from professional trainers, straighten out any issues the canines may have, often while simultaneously straightening out their own.
Brody, Diamond and Ella Mae, all wearing bandanas and mortarboards, were each brought in front of the stage with their trainer, and later demonstrated their agility and obedience skills in front of the audience in a nearby field.
Brody, to the left, a one year old pit mix who was originally rescued from a kill shelter as a pup, departed after the ceremony with his new family, Dan and Denise Nelson and their daughter, Mari. They first came across him on the Internet, and later met him at an adoption fair before visiting him at the prison.
Diamond, a Rhodesian ridgeback-boxer mix whose energy level was more than her previous owners could handle, left with her new family, too — but not until after demonstrating her skills on the prison’s agility course.
Ella Mae was destined for a new home as well.
Humane Society officials announced the next three canine members of the program, who will arrive at the prison this week. They’ll include two energetic husky mixes, Jonah and Dude. Dude ended up in the shelter after wandering alone into a pet supply store.
Inmates in the program are guided by professional trainers, provided through the Winston-Salem Dog Training Club, who donate their time to the program. The program receives no state or federal funding, and the humane society covers all medical care, supplies and expenses.
Forsyth Correctional Center launched the program in 2009, but it has been operating at some other North Carolina state prisons since 2004.
You can find more information on the New Leash on Life program — whose slogan is “Changing men’s lives one dog at a time” — here.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: a new leash on life, animals, brody, diamond, dogs, dude, ella mae, forsyth correctional center, forsyth humane society, inmates, jonah, new leash on life, north carolina, pets, prison, prisoners, program, rehabilitation, rescue, second chances, shelters, train, trainers, winston-salem, winston-salem dog training club
“Whispering” may suffice in his dealings with dogs, but, as some are reporting it, Cesar Millan is paying big bucks to ensure his now ex-wife’s silence.
“‘Dog Whisperer’ Cesar Millan silences canines with muzzles — and his ex-wife with cash,” is how the New York Post put it.
“It seems … Cesar Millan has been handed a slice of ruff justice by his former wife,” said the Daily Mail.
Under the terms of a divorce settlement, Millan will pay his ex-wife Illusion a lump sum of $400,000, $23,000 a month in spousal support and $10,000 per month in child support for their two sons, TMZ reports.
In return, Illusion agrees to keep confidential any “intimate, personal and/or private information about the other party . . . including details of their personal and/or sexual relationships” and any “photograph, film, videotape, recording.”
Millan and his wife of 16 years separated in June 2010.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agreement, cesar millan, child, confidential, divorce, dog, dog whisperer, illusion, national geographic channel, payments, photos, settlement, silence, spousal, support, television, terms, trainers, training, videos
Neighborhood Pit Bull Day — a day to love on and learn more about your pit bull — is coming to Baltimore this Sunday (July 10).
The one-day event provides free resources, products, education and services to pit bull owners. It’s one of many being held around the country by Best Friends Animal Society, aimed at defusing the negative stereotype and helping communities “understand what loyal members of the family pit bulls can be.”
The Baltimore event will take place, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Carroll Park.
It’s free, and it will offer leash and collar trade-ins, microchipping and low-cost vaccinations, spay and neuter vouchers, a photo booth and advice from trainers and vets. Kids and families and pit bulls are welcome.
The events kicked off June 4 in Tampa, and are being scheduled in communities whose shelters see large numbers of pit bulls.
Upcoming events are also scheduled in Carlsbad, Calif., on August 27; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., on September 10; Salt Lake City, Utah on October 29 and in New York City and Los Angeles on October 30.
“This is a day of celebrating the community and family pet owners. We would like to see all pit-bull-type dogs and their families have a fun way to gain access to the resources that are out there, that’s what this event is all about,” explained Jamie Healy, manager of Best Friends’ Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls program.
Made possible by a PetSmart Charities® grant, this Best Friends program is dedicated to promoting responsible guardianship of pit-bull-terrier-type dogs, as well as reducing euthanasia and improving the pit bulls public image.
Best Friends currently has five shelter partner programs across the country in Tampa, Florida; Baltimore, Maryland; Washington, D.C. and San Diego and Rancho Cucamonga, California.
(Photo by John Woestendiek: Mike Reed and his three-legged pit bull Topaz, who I met a couple of years ago during a trip to Los Angeles)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal shelters, animals, baltimore, best friends, carlsbad, carroll park, collars, dogs, education, event, image, leash, los angeles, mike reed, neighborhood pit bull day, neuter, new york, perceptions, pets, photos, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, public education, rancho cucamonga, resources, salt lake city, shelters, spay, stereotypes, tampa, topaz, trainers, vaccinations, veterinarians, vets, vouchers
I am not a professional dog trainer; nor do I play one on TV. But this week — with my cast of visiting holiday dogs — I’ve been forced to call upon the techniques of Cesar Millan, Victoria Stilwell and all the other dog trainers whose books I have read and whose television programs I have viewed.
I have employed their methods, and experimented with a few of my own. (Don’t worry, friends who have left their dogs with me — none of those involve electrical shocks.)
While I am a strong proponent of quietly and patiently addressing bad canine habits, of redirecting a misbehaving dog’s energies elsewhere, I’m also trying to get some work done during the holidays. So I can’t devote full time to the task. Also, I’m just providing room and board, and — even if some of my wards may be exhibiting behavior in need of correcting — it would be presumptuous of me to take on the role of dog trainer.
Nevertheless, to avoid total chaos, I have had to enforce some discipline, and being as I’m often in the next room, there are times a simple “tsssst” just won’t cut it.
Instead, after four days working with my visiting dogs, I have become … (insert theme song here) …
“The Dog Shouter.”
It will probably be a few months before my Dog Shouter* (trademark pending) books, videos and magazine hit the market, but for now I will share with you what I have found to be the singlemost effective tool in my dog training arsenal: yelling at the top of my lungs.
My most miraculous results — and I regret that I didn’t videotape this – came with Lucas, the barker.
Lucas goes into barking sprees for no apparent reason. Sometimes, he will stare at me and bark for three minutes or more, not stopping when I pet him, or talk to him, or try and soothe him, or even when I shout No!” But when I screamed no, as loud as I could, I mean really, really loud, he immediately went silent, and stayed that way. I don’t know if my scream established my dominance, or just scared him. But it worked.
My techniques also met with astonishing success in dealing with Darcy, the visiting Boston terrier who has taken to leaving reminders of herself about the house. She knows better, and I’m pretty sure she’s doing it to assert herself amid all the larger dogs. Twice, she has pooped within minutes of coming back in the house from outside.
Yesterday, though, I was watching her — again just a minute after coming back in — as she squatted down, looked at me defiantly, and, pardon my vividness, began to open the gate to drop her load. Immediately, I screamed a really deafening “NOOOOOOOOO!!!!.” Amazingly, the package that visibly was on its way out reversed direction, returning home for delivery at a later date.
Apparently my sphincter-sealing roar had lasting effects. Normally, she won’t go outside on her own, only on a leash. But this morning when I saw her trot into the next room, I inquired — not in a shout — what she was doing. She trotted back in, ran to the door, actually stepped outside when I opened it, and pooped in the yard.
Yet more proof that my Dog Shouter* techniques really, really work.
There is a downside to using the Dog Shouter* techniques with multiple dogs. While it manages to correct, or at least forestall, bad behavior in the dog being shouted at, the other dogs all end up feeling wrongly accused. When you shout at one — say the one chewing into tiny bits the hard rubber things the sofa wheels sit on — the others all assume “hey what’d I do?” looks and start sulking. My own highly sensitive dog Ace heads upstairs and climbs in the futon. It has to be even more confusing to Cheyenne, my blind guest, who has no way of knowing who my mouth is pointed at when I shout a blood curdling “NOOOOOO!!!!!”
Thus, employing Dog Shouter* techniques when there are multiple dogs in the household requires one to spend a lot of time comforting and reassuring the dogs to whom the screams were not directed.
I tried to specify the dog I was shouting at, saying their name before roaring, but I’d get their names confused in the heat of the moment — much like my mother used to when scolding me and my two siblings.
To be a proper Dog Shouter* – especially if one’s full attention is being devoted to their writing or, say, watching a Scrubs marathon – one must learn to identify suspicious sounds from the next room, perhaps a blanket being shredded, correctly assume who the perpetrator is, and tailor the shout to that dog: “DARCY! NOOOOOOO!
Similarly, when things get too quiet in the next room, a good Dog Shouter* — much like a good parent — will assume something is up and issue a precautionary shout: “Hey! What’s going on in there!” Or perhaps, even something more specific, even if it’s just a guess: “Darcy, you better not be humping my pillow!” The Dog Shouter* knows that, while it’s best to shout during the actual misbehavior, an out-of-the-blue shout — even if all three are peacefully resting — will serve to bring a quick halt to the hijinks and indiscretions they are most assuredly quietly planning.
I’m sure you want to know more about by Dog Shouter* techniques, but you’ll just have to wait until the books, magazine, infomercials and DVDs come out. I figure the best way of establishing my Dog Shouter* empire is to send out an audition tape of me, The Dog Shouter*, in action:
“WHAT IN GOD’S NAME ARE YOU DOING? DROP THAT, DROP IT AT ONCE!! BAD DOG. SHAME ON YOU! WHO SAID YOU COULD PLAY WITH THAT? NO NO NO! STOP CHEWING ON THAT, WHATEVER IT IS!!! DON”T EVER TOUCH THAT AGAIN!!! DON”T MAKE ME COME IN THAT ROOM!!! I MEAN IT!!! OK, HERE I COME!!! YOU’RE IN TROUBLE NOW!!! Oh … It’s just your bone … never mind.”
Who wouldn’t want to watch 30 minutes of that? Granted, it could get a little repetitious, but then so do all those other doggie discipline shows.
Animal Planet, my lines are open.
(To read all of the “Company for Christmas” series, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 26th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animal planet, animals, behavior, cheyenne, company for christmas, darcy, dog shouter, dogs, guests, holidays, lucas, multiple dogs, pets, television, the dog shouter, the dog whisperer, trainers, training, visitors
The debate raging here on ohmidog! – and in the rest of the world, too — just had a little more fuel thrown on it: A new British study says dominance-based dog training techniques such as those espoused by Cesar Millan are a waste of time and may make dogs more aggressive.
Researchers from the University of Bristol’s Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences, after studying dogs for six months, conclude that, contrary to popular belief, dogs are not trying to assert their dominance over their canine or human “pack” and aren’t motivated by maintaining their place in the pecking order.
One of the scientists behind the study, Dr. Rachel Casey, in an interview with ABC News, said the blanket assumption that every dog is motivated by some innate desire to control people or other dogs is “frankly ridiculous.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 22nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggression, aggressive, behavior, behaviorists, british, cesar millan, critical, criticizes, debate, disagreement, dog, dog training, dog whisperer, dogs, dominance, leader, mentality, methods, noise, owners, pack, pinning, rewards, ridiculous, study, techniques, trainers, training
CNBC takes a look at the most famous dog competition in the world tonight in an hour long special on the business side of Westminster.
The report, “American Originals: Westminster Dog Show” is anchored by Trish Regan and delves into the inner workings of the competition, which opens Monday at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
Regan explores the cost of doing business at Westminster, the return on investment, and America’s love affair with dogs that has helped turn the pet industry into one of the largest retail sectors in the country.
Featured in the program are “Uno,” the 2008 “Best in Show” winner (the first beagle ever to secure the honor), and “James,” the prior year’s title-holder, who visit hospitalized children as part of the Westminster Kennel Club’s Angel on a Leash charity. Interviews with experts include Westminster Kennel Club historian William Stifel and dog show judge Don Jones.
It airs on CNBC at 9 p.m. Live opening night coverage of Westminster begins Monday at 8 p.m. on the USA Network before switching to CNBC at 9 p.m.. USA will broadcast the complete closing night competition, starting at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 5th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american originals, breeders, breeds, business, cnbc, competition, dog, dog show, dogs, kennel club, madison square garden, news, opening, pet industry, pets, purebred, trainers, trish regan, tv, usa network, westminster
(Today, ohmidog! kicks off a new feature, a monthly column on dog training and behavior, written by Lauren Bond and Carolyn Stromer of B-More Charming School for Dogs. To keep up with their reports, click on the Behave! tab on the right side rail.)
I’m sure that by now just about every dog person has seen the movie “Marley and Me.” We laughed, we cried, then we cried some more.
Some experienced dog owners, and trainers like ourselves, have even offered our two cents about Marley’s upbringing, saying that his owners were irresponsible, that if we owned a dog like that we would most certainly have put him in his place. We wouldn’t have allowed our couch to be eaten, or our drapes to be torn down, or our gold necklace to go in one end of the dog and come out of the other.
But the truth is we have all been there.
We’ve all been first-time dog owners, overwhelmed, unsure where to turn. Some of us, even by our third or fourth dog, remain that way.
Why won’t he get off of the furniture? Why do my shoes, hairbrush, wallet, cell phone, (insert object of choice here) always wind up in his mouth? Why can’t I come home, just once, to the trash can being upright, untouched, with all of the trash still inside? How come my “NO’S!” and “STOP ITS!” only lead to a game of catch-me-if-you-can? Is it really too much to ask of man’s best friend that he just be calm, listen to what I tell him and lay quietly at my feet waiting for further instructions?
To be completely honest … yes, it is.
Think back to the day you brought your first puppy home. He didn’t come with an instruction manual. Maybe, at best, the shelter gave you a brochure, or some information on his vaccine record and what kind of food and toys he liked. But there was nothing on how to influence his behavior, no foolproof tips for getting him to stop jumping all over guests when they walk through the front door. Or teaching him to walk nicely on leash. Or keeping him from chewing up your new Blackberry.
You might have tried staying one step ahead by reading up on dog behavior before you brought him home. There’s a ton of conventional wisdom out there, books galore, dog magazines and an entire Animal Network. How could you go wrong?
Posted by jwoestendiek January 19th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advice, b-more charming, behave!, behavior, carolyn stromer, chewing, column, communicate, destruction, dog, dogs, housetraining, language, lauren bond, marley & me, monthly, no!, obedience, ohmidog!, puppies, scolding, train, trainers, training, wisdom