If you’re sometimes disappointed that your dog isn’t behaving like your best friend…well, it’s probably you who has the issue, and needs to understand your dog better. Unfortunately, when things go wrong they rapidly get worse, with humans often losing patience and attempting to control their pets by yelling and fruitlessly tugging on the leash.
Cesar Millan is a teacher of empathy. Having briefly lived on the streets himself in an alien country, far from his family and friends, he can identify with the thousands of stray animals on city streets, whose lack of a home is no fault of their own. He developed his ability to understand and communicate with dogs while still a child growing up in Mexico. The special gift led to a wildly successful career in dog rehabilitation, which in turn led to Millan becoming a celebrity. If you’re a fan of his TV show, or just want to better understand your pooch, you can now see the “Dog Whisperer,” as he is known, in person at the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) this Friday, April 6. Millan will reveal his techniques of communicating with dogs and share other tips at the live seminar, which starts at 8 p.m.
Millan will discuss at length canine psychology and explain why owners, for example, need to become the pack leader in their relationship with Fido. He’ll talk about why and how you can tap into the power of instinct and energy for a better relationship with your dog. He’ll show how understanding your dog can be an effective tool in correcting behavioral problems.
Millan, a best-selling author and popular star of the hit TV show Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, produces instructional DVDs and has his own brand of pet-care products, including organic dog food, health aids, olfactory toys, natural treats, leashes, ergonomic collars and specially designed, breed-specific beds, among other items, sold at Bed, Bath and Beyond and Petco. He tests his products on his pack of dogs at his Dog Psychology Center in Santa Clarita, California.
Millan’s success is all the more remarkable given that he entered the US as a non-English-speaking poor immigrant from rural Mexico in the 1990s, when he was 21. He lived on the streets of San Diego for a month until, following his ambition, he landed a job grooming dogs. From early childhood, when he spent time at his grandfather’s farm observing the dogs, he’d had a special fascination and connection with canines. Watching Lassie and The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin on TV as a teenager, he was inspired to move to California someday and become the world’s best dog-trainer.
He moved from San Diego to Los Angeles, where he washed cars to support himself before starting a freelance dog rehabilitation service, treating the most extreme cases. Soon his business was attracting celebrity clients – Jada Pinkett Smith, wife of Will, was a key supporter – and opened his Dog Psychology Center, designed to rehabilitate troubled, aggressive and condemned dogs. The Center, which housed a pack of 30 to 40 “unadoptable” and abandoned canines, was eventually moved to the Santa Clarita Valley, where it now takes up over 43 acres and includes a sheep-herding area, swimming pool, obstacle course and hiking trails: Dog Paradise for sure.
After an LA-based production company approached him about creating a TV series around his unique practice, a pilot was developed, which was sold to the National Geographic Channel, where it became the cable network’s top-rated series its first season. Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan is now in its eighth season.
The recipient of many awards, from a Special Commendation from the National Humane Society in 2005 to Emmy nominations for his TV show to the Michael Landon Award for Inspiration to Youth through Television, Millan launched the Millan Foundation to aid the rescue, rehabilitation and placement of abused and abandoned dogs in 2007. The Foundation promotes spaying and neutering of dogs in an effort to reduce the euthanization of millions of unwanted animals each year, including a public service announcement directed at the Hispanic population. He has partnered with Yale University to launch a curriculum for schoolchildren that teaches the social and emotional intelligence underlying compassion for other people and animals.
Millan has toured the US, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and Europe. His influence is beginning to go global, with the formation of a partnership in 2011 with Powwow, a Vértice 360 media and entertainment company, to create content for the Spanish-speaking audiences of Latin America and Spain.
Tickets for his seminar at UPAC cost $55 general admission, $50 for Bardavon members and $90 for Golden Circle seating, which includes a VIP Meet & Greet. Contact UPAC at (845) 339-6088, visit www.ticketmaster.com or call (800) 745-3000.