Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan

  (Redirected from The Dog Whisperer)

Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan is a reality television series that featured dog trainer Cesar Millan's work with problem dogs. After nine seasons, the series finale aired on September 15, 2012.

Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan
StarringCesar Millan
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English, Spanish
No. of seasons9
No. of episodes162
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)MPH Entertainment, Inc.
Mobile Video Productions, Inc.
Original networkNational Geographic Channel (2004–11)
Nat Geo Wild (2011–12)
Original releaseSeptember 13, 2004 (2004-09-13) –
September 15, 2012 (2012-09-15)
Related showsCesar 911
External links

Episodes of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan featured guests' problem dogs, introduced through documentary-style footage and an interview with the owners. Millan offered suggestions on how the owners could become their pet's "pack leader", consistent with the theory that dogs are pack animals. He used behavior modification techniques and the philosophy that exercise, discipline, and affection are required "in that order" for dogs to be healthy and balanced.[1]

The series premiered on September 13, 2004, on the National Geographic Channel in half-hour episodes and in 2005 was expanded to one hour and moved to prime time. In 2011, the series aired its seventh season broadcast in more than eighty countries worldwide.[2] Produced by Sheila Emery and Kay Sumner in association with MPH Entertainment, Inc. the program has an estimated audience of 11 million American viewers per week.[3] A number of entertainment-industry professionals have appeared on the program, including Virginia Madsen and Jada Pinkett Smith.

On June 5, 2014, Litton Entertainment announced a family-oriented revival/spinoff of the show, Dog Whisperer: Family Edition, which airs on The CW Saturday mornings as part of Litton's One Magnificent Morning block. It began on October 4, 2014.[4]

Program formatEdit

The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan is a documentary-style reality television program centering on animal behaviorist Cesar Millan[5] as he works to rehabilitate dogs with behavior problems ranging from excessive barking, to behaviors that could leave the owners little choice but to medicate or euthanize their dogs if not corrected.[6][7]

Millan said in a number of interviews that the program is not a guide to training, but a demonstration of his rehabilitation techniques.[5][7][8] Each episode begins with the statement, "Do not attempt the techniques you are about to see without consulting a professional"[9] and repeats warnings that viewers should not attempt the behavior modification techniques at home.[1]

Viewers are introduced to the difficult dogs, and their owners, through home-movie style footage of their dogs engaging in the behavior its owners find problematic. A voice-over describes the situation briefly; the owners tell their story, and Millan arrives. Program publicity states that Millan does not review the "audition" videos of the dogs and has no advance knowledge of the situation unless the dog's behavior makes it a potential danger to Millan and the crew.[10] Millan conducts an interview as the owners describe the issues at hand. Millan then usually offers suggestions on how the owners may alter their own habits to become a "pack leader" for their pet. He goes on to demonstrate behavior modification techniques with the dog and shows his expertise at establishing dominance over the troubled canine. Millan frequently brings one or more of his own dogs to a training session, which Millan describes as transferring another dog's "balanced energy." Sometimes, the dog is taken to his Dog Psychology Center where it stays with Millan's own dogs for days or weeks.[11] Each episode ends with a demonstration of the dog's altered behavior and the astonished pleasure of the owner.

Episodes feature the owners and families whose dogs are being rehabilitated. In inviting submissions, the producers look for a wide variety of dog problems, including unusual phobias, obsessions, fearful behavior, aggression, or any other unique situations that Cesar could help transform. They ask owners for anything interesting or funny about their dog, and request a short video showing three instances of the problem behavior. Occasionally the program calls for particular types of dogs for themed episodes, such as "spoiled rotten" dogs for Beverly Hills Divas.[12]

On occasion Dog Whisperer is taken "on the road" with episodes recorded in U.S. cities other than Los Angeles, and from the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.[13]


The Dog Whisperer chronicles the work of Cesar Millan, a Mexican American, who runs a rehabilitation facility dedicated to treating dogs with behavioral issues.[5] Millan spent his childhood in the city of Culiacan in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico. However, his favorite place was his grandfather's ranch where he was captivated by the wild dogs on the property.[14][15] He spent so much time with the dogs that locals called him el perrero meaning "the dog boy". His fascination with dogs extended to television, and his favorite programs featured highly trained dogs such as Lassie.[14]

By his teens, Millan had decided that he wanted to be a Hollywood animal trainer, and he moved to Los Angeles, where he worked for a dog grooming store, and then for a limousine company.[14] He ran a dog training business from a van before opening the iconic Dog Psychology Center in South Los Angeles, where he focused on rehabilitating especially aggressive dogs.[16] His expertise with dogs was publicized primarily by word of mouth and Millan soon developed a clientele that included entertainment-industry professionals. Millan's first mention in the national mainstream media came in People magazine in December 2002 in an article describing his work with action-film director Ridley Scott's Jack Russell Terriers.[14]

Millan is a self-taught dog trainer who established a reputation for working with aggressive breeds and hard to handle cases at a San Diego dog groomers,[17][18][19][20] subsequently developing a celebrity clientele.

In 2002, after he was profiled in a newspaper article, Millan received offers from a number of producers, and chose to work with Sheila Emery and Kay Sumner. They teamed with MPH Entertainment, Inc., which had been involved in successful reality-based cable shows, to produce a pilot. The producers had preliminary talks with Animal Planet, but the Network would not commit beyond a single pilot episode.[21] The National Geographic Channel expressed interest in the program, ordering 26 half-hour episodes, on the proviso that MPH provide the required deficit financing.[3] Under this agreement MPH and Emery/Sumner retained the copyright to the show.[3] The channel retains control of television distribution in the United States and Canada.[3] MPH and Emery/Sumner control worldwide home video and foreign sales and share that revenue with the channel, allowing them to create and market various video collections.[22] The name of the program was similar to Paul Owens' 1999 book The Dog Whisperer. Owens, a reward-based trainer, has distanced himself from the program and now calls himself "the original dog whisperer".[23]

The show premiered in 2004, gradually gaining audience attention, by word of mouth.[3] For the first season, the series wasn't positioned in prime time and the channel did little to promote the show.[3] However, in Season 2 it was expanded to an hour and moved to a prime time slot.[3] In 2009 the National Geographic Channel agreed with Fox to syndicate the series in the Fall of 2010, bringing it to a channel with exposure to approximately 50 million of the USA's 120 million households.[3] A journalist for The Times questioned Cesar Millan on his motivation for producing the program, and quoted him as responding, "The goal that God and I have together is the whole world transformed through a dog."[24]

In 2006, former publicist Makeda Smith[25] filed a copyright infringement suit which stated that in 2001, she and her partner branded Millan as "The Dog Whisperer" by conceiving, producing and directing what they say was a pilot named "The Dog Whisperer", featuring Tichina Arnold.[26] The $5,000,000 lawsuit was settled out of court.[26]

During the program's fourth season, the show celebrated its centennial episode. The program is broadcast in more than eighty countries worldwide, where it is alternatively known as Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, Dog Whisperer, or The Dog Whisperer.[2] At the debut of the sixth season of the Dog Whisperer, a New York Times article estimated an audience of 11 million American viewers each week.[3] In 2011, following the start of its seventh season, all repeats and future episodes were moved to Nat Geo WILD. The ninth and final season of Dog Whisperer began airing in July 2012; with Millan going on to star in the 12-part series Leader of the Pack in 2013.[27]

The following year, Millan's new series Cesar 911 debuted on Nat Geo Wild, with the first episode airing March 7, 2014. While not a direct continuation of The Dog Whisperer, it focuses on his continuing work with troubled dogs.


Daddy was an American Pit Bull Terrier integral to Millan's work and the show.[28] Daddy was originally owned by rapper Redman.[29] Daddy became known for his calm temperament, tolerance for smaller dogs, and capacity for empathy.[29] Millan employed Daddy's temperament to rehabilitate dogs, train dog owners, and serve as a role model for a breed often associated with aggressiveness. Daddy appeared frequently in episodes of the Dog Whisperer,[30] with Millan referring to him as his right-hand man.[31] According to Millan, Daddy "never made a mistake — never, never. He's never displayed aggression or any other negative behavior. He's just always helped me."[32] In 2009, Millan added "I have never had a dog like Daddy. I've been astounded by his intuition, consoled by his affection, and awed by his silent empathy."[33]

Celebrity appearancesEdit

Jada Pinkett Smith, who helped Millan achieve his goal of having a television show,[3] participated in the program's 100th episode[34][35] along with other celebrity guests including Patti LaBelle,[36] Virginia Madsen,[37] Ed McMahon[38] and Daisy Fuentes[39][40]—all having worked with Millan on earlier episodes with their dogs.

Production crewEdit

The writers of Dog Whisperer, Jim Milio and Melissa Jo Peltier, write that they put on their "writer-producer hats to focus, restructure, and help create a theme for the segment". This is followed by the "shaping of the show itself,' writing the narrations, wraps, teasers, tags, and bumpers. They went on to say that "this is all for a show where absolutely nothing in the field (save Cesar's arrivals to the dog owner's front doors) is fabricated... what we like to call the last 'real' Reality show on television."[41]

Executive producers for MPH Entertainment are Jim Milio, Melissa Jo Peltier, and Mark Hufnail. Sheila Possner-Emery and Kay Bachman-Sumner are producers. For National Geographic Channel, the executive producer is Char Serwa. Nicholas Bunker is associate producer, Christina Lublin coordinating producer and SueAnn Fincke series producer. The series is directed by SueAnn Fincke and Jim Milio. Cinematographers are Bryan Duggan and Christopher Komives. Thirty-six other crew members are involved in location management, sound recording, camera operation, music, editing, and production assistance.[42]

Reception by peersEdit

In February 2006, an article in the New York Times quoted Dr. Nicholas Dodman, director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, said that his college had "written to National Geographic Channel and told them they have put dog training back 20 years".[43] A New York Times August 2006 op-ed by Mark Derr, an author noted for his publications on dogs, criticized Dog Whisperer for its reliance on a "simplistic view of the dog's social structure". According to Derr, Millan's methodology "flies in the face of what professional animal behaviorists—either trained and certified veterinarians or ethologists—have learned about normal and abnormal behavior in dogs".[44] His theory of dominance in domestic dogs has been described as flawed.[45]

Also in 2006, the American Humane Association (AHA) requested that the National Geographic Channel stop airing the program,[46] saying that training tactics shown on Dog Whisperer were inhumane, outdated and improper.[47] By November 2009, Millan had invited the American Humane Association to the set of Dog Whisperer, at which time, according to Millan, "they changed their state of mind about what is cruel".[48] The association announced in February 2010 that despite "sharp differences of view in the past" and some lingering areas of disagreement, they shared many areas of interest with Millan.[49]

Debra Horwitz, president of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, said that the major benefits of The Dog Whisperer are that it makes owners aware that they are not alone in the problems they have with their pets, and that it provides good advice on the need for dogs to exercise and have rules. But Horwitz adds the show also has the major drawback of attributing behavior problems to dominance when the dog may be misbehaving because it is fearful or anxious.[50] Pet columnist Steve Dale said in a July 2010 newspaper column that while he believed Millan was "blessed with an amazingly intuitive understanding of dog behavior," some of the methods shown on the program, particularly those related to dominance, were inappropriate and not substantiated by science.[51]

The Humane Society of the United States Genesis Award Committee presented Milan with a 2008 Special Commendation for his work in rehabilitating animals.

Dr. Sophia Yin, a veterinarian, researcher and animal behaviorist, wrote articles and spoken about Cesar Milan's television show and methods, calling Cesar Milan's methods "based on the erroneous understanding of dominance and the need to use force or coercions [sic] as the first-line of training for all problems". She did, however, point out in the same sentence that "there are some good recommendations and lessons one can learn from it and other shows", and went on to list them.[52]


The Dog Whisperer premiered in 2004 as a half-hour program but subsequently became first in the National Geographic channel ratings and was expanded to a prime-time, one hour format.[8] In 2007, the network renewed its most popular series to that date with an unprecedented 35 episodes in which Milan travelled the show to US cities like New York and Miami.[53] In 2008, the show in its 100th episode had grown from an estimated 100,000 households per episodes per household to an estimated 1,000,000 people per episode.[54] By 2010 Dog Whisperer had been the National Geographic's top rated series for six years.[55]


In 2005 and again in 2007, Millan was awarded the Michael Landon Award for Inspiration to Youth Through Television.[56] The show received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Reality Program in both 2006 and 2007, though it did not take the award on either occasion.[57][58]

In 2008, Dog Whisperer won TV Best Variety or Reality Show at the 23rd Annual Imagen Foundation Awards, and also won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Animal Show that same year.[59] Dog Whisperer again won the People's Choice Awards in the category of Favorite Animal Show in 2010.[60][61]

In 2010, the show was nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Programs but did not take the awards.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Patterson, John (May 16, 2009). "All heel for Cesar". The Age. Australia. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Oldenburg, Ann (July 27, 2006). "Pack is back: A week of Whisperer". USA Today. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Wallace, Amy (October 10, 2009). "Whispering to Rottweilers, and to C.E.O.'s". The New York Times. USA. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  4. ^ "The CW Sets 5-Hour Saturday Morning Block". Deadline Hollywood. June 6, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Asthana, Anushka (March 19, 2006). "This week we want to know all about Cesar Millan". The Guardian. London. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  6. ^ "Dog Whisperer: show overview". Retrieved September 11, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Eftimiades, Maria (January 2007). "Canine Controversy". People. 67 (3): 105–6. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Flaim, Denise (May 23, 2006). "Bad doggie medicine? Veterinarians bark at the way 'Dog Whisperer' dispenses 'tough love'". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Ill. p. 1. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
  9. ^ "Dog Whisperer: Cesar Down Under". Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  10. ^ Idelson, Karen (October 11, 2008). "Masters make case at 'Dog' auditions". Variety. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  11. ^ Wyatt, Edward (May 23, 2006). "A "Whisperer" Howl of Triumph, From the Curb Up". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  12. ^ "Show Submissions". Cesar's Way. Archived from the original on April 3, 2010. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  13. ^ "Cesar: on the road this week". Cesar's Way. Archived from the original on August 28, 2011. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
  14. ^ a b c d "Cesar Millan Biography". Encyclopedia of World Biography. Retrieved September 12, 2011.
  15. ^ Gladwell, Malcolm (May 22, 2006). "What the Dog Saw: Cesar Millan and the movements of mastery". New Yorker. Archived from the original on January 20, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  16. ^ "Biography of Cesar Millan". All-American Speakers. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  17. ^ "October 20, 2008 Immigrant of the Day: Cesar Millan (Mexico)". The Law Professors Blog. Millan gained a reputation as someone who could work easily with even the most difficult and aggressive of dogs. Millan's next job was washing limousines, work that had been offered to him by one of the San Diego clients. Millan changed his career goal from that of being a Hollywood dog trainer to rehabilitating troubled dogs and he started his own business, the Pacific Point Canine Academy
  18. ^ Wyatt, Edward (May 23, 2006). "From the 'Dog Whisperer,' a Howl of Triumph". The New York Times. Mr. Millan, 36, started by working in the early 1990's in a San Diego dog-grooming studio, where he gained a reputation for working well with the hard-to-handle cases. Through word of mouth, his ability to calm even the fiercest creatures spread north to Los Angeles.
  19. ^ "Cesar Millan Announces The Dog Whisperer Tour for UK". Archived from the original on November 21, 2009. Prior to The Dog Whisperer series, Cesar Millan had focused on rehabilitating especially aggressive dogs and had operated the Dog Psychology Center in South Los Angeles (2002–2008)
  20. ^ "All heel for Cesar"., John Patterson, May 16, 2009. He worked all the crappy jobs that besmirch the American Dream, until he got work as a dog groomer. His almost Zen-like demeanor with the most difficult of dogs soon caught the attention of, among others, actor Jada Pinkett ("before the Smith", Millan adds) and opened up a circle of her friends and co-celebs.
  21. ^ Milio, Jim; Melissa Jo Peltier; Mark Hufnail (March 15, 2006). "Dog Whisperer Real Reality TV". HighDef Magazine.
  22. ^ Wyatt, Edward (May 23, 2006). "From the Dog Whisperer, a Howl of Triumph". The New York Times. USA.
  23. ^ Sternberg, Andy (October 19, 2006). "The Original Dog Whisperer". USC Annenberg Radio News. Archived from the original on November 20, 2008.
  24. ^ Whipple, Tom (March 1, 2010). "Enter the Dog Whisperer, with Stern Words for Our Dogs". The Times. London.
  25. ^ Ann Oldenburg (July 28, 2005). "Pack is back: A week of 'Whisperer'".
  26. ^ a b N.A. (May 1, 2006). "Famed Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan Sued For Five Million". WKTV News Online. Utica, New York. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011.
  27. ^ "The Final Season of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan". Archived from the original on July 19, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  28. ^ Jasen, Lee (April 27, 2008). "Top dawgs: Smart shopping for a trainer can lead to well-behaved pets". Deseret News. Salt Lake City. Archived from the original on July 20, 2008. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  29. ^ a b "Daddy". Cesar's Way. Archived from the original on September 29, 2009. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  30. ^ Johnston, Lauren (February 23, 2010). "'Dog Whisperer' Cesar Millan's pit bull sidekick Daddy dies at age 16". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on February 25, 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  31. ^ "In Memoriam: Daddy the Pit Bull". Cesar's Way. Archived from the original on February 23, 2010. Retrieved February 21, 2010.
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  33. ^ Sung, Helena (October 23, 2009). "'Dog Whisperer' Cesar Millan and His Pit Bull, Daddy". Paw Nation. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
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  35. ^ Sutton, Larry (July 25, 2011). "Jada Pinkett Smith Takes the Lead". Cesar's Way. Archived from the original on August 18, 2011. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  36. ^ Dog Whisperer, Season 1, Episode 15
  37. ^ Dog Whisperer, Season 3, Episode ?
  38. ^ Dog Whisperer Season 4, Episode 6
  39. ^ Dog Whisperer, Season 1, Episode 6
  40. ^ McDonough, Kevin (September 19, 2008). "Tune in Tonight: Reformed canines salute their 'Whisperer'". Reading Eagle Arts & Entertainment. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  41. ^ Milio, Jim; Peltier, Melissa Jo (March 2010). "Does Reality Still Bite?". Written By: The Magazine of the American Writers' Guild, West. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011.
  42. ^ "Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved April 6, 2010.
  43. ^ "C'mon, Pooch, Get With the Program". The New York Times, Anna Bahney, February 23, 2006. February 23, 2006. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  44. ^ Derr, Mark (August 31, 2006). "Pack of Lies". New York Times. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  45. ^ Flaws in dominance theory Archived April 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  46. ^ Blauvelt, R (2006). "Dog Whisperer Training Approach More Harmful Than Helpful" (PDF). 23 (3). SpokAnimal C.A.R.E.: 1–2. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 27, 2008. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  47. ^ Torgerson, DVM, MBA, Bill (September 6, 2006). "'Dog Whisperer' Training Approach More Harmful Than Helpful". AHA Press Release. Retrieved January 30, 2010.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  48. ^ "Cesar Millan talks about UK tour". BBC, November 27, 2009. November 27, 2009.
  49. ^ American Humane Association (February 12, 2010). "American Humane Association Convenes Humane Dog Training Symposium". Archived from the original on March 26, 2010. Retrieved March 24, 2010.
  50. ^ Yin, Sophia (December 2007), "Clinical Report: Dealing with outdated behavior recommendations" (PDF), Veterinary Forum, 24 (12)[permanent dead link]
  51. ^ Dale, Steve (July 14, 2010). "Dog Whisperer Has His Good, and Bad Points". Tribune Media Service. Archived from the original on January 11, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2010.
  52. ^ "The Dominance Controversy".
  53. ^ Dempsey, John (March 19, 2007). "National Geographic greenlights specials". Variety. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  54. ^ Wood, Deborah (September 19, 2008). "100 episodes later, "Dog Whisperer" still leading the pack". Seattle Times. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  55. ^ PR Newswire (October 4, 2010), "New One-Hour Drama, and One-Hour Reality Series Featuring ATF Being Simultaneously Readied for Cable Nets", Sys-Con Media, retrieved September 3, 2011
  56. ^ Young Artists Archived March 8, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  57. ^ Associated Press (July 7, 2006), "Complete list of Emmy nominations", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  58. ^ Bruno, Mike (July 18, 2007). "Emmy Nominees: The Class of 2007". Entertainment Weekly.
  59. ^ Witzeman, Jeff (January 25, 2010), "Cesar Millan: Changing The World One Dog Owner At A Time", The Huffington Post
  60. ^ RT Staff (January 6, 2010). "Awards Tour: 2010 People's Choice Awards Winners!". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 30, 2006.
  61. ^ Full List of People's Choice Awards 2010 Winners - The Hollywood Gossip

External linksEdit