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6 Reasons Why I Want to Meet Cesar Millan via @DogVacay

Cesar Millan, Cesar Milan, DogVacay

I’m in no way a Cesar Millan devotee.  I am a fan (although I misspelled his name in prior posts), because I love what he’s done to raise awareness of the importance of dog training, the human-animal bond, and the work he’s done for bully breeds.  Watching Cesar Millan interact with his dogs is next to amazing.  Our dogs walk like their fish caught on the end of a lure, they’re all over the place.  Cesar Millan’s dogs walk like a well-choreographed play – all together with the same goal.

I recently learned that DogVacay is sponsoring a contest to send a winner to Los Angeles to meet Cesar Millan and I wanted to share why I would love to win this contest (no voting by you is required so read on…).

I want to compare notes

Cesar Millan was born in August 1969.  He’s 2 years old than me.  First, I can’t believe that I’m that old and Second, I would love to hang with someone from my generation to talk about dogs.  We have such a different background that it would be interesting to compare notes on what life experienced groomed our love of dogs.

Cesar Millan has written books, has hosted television programs, and has a magazine.  I’ve written eBooks, I will be hosting an online radio program (please tune in), and I’m the Editor in Chief of an online magazine.  People ask me all the time how I do it all and I want to direct this question to him – how does he do so much?  Where does his drive and inspiration come from?

Given all that he has to offer, why attempt suicide?

Cesar Millan attempted suicide.  I’ve never tried to kill myself, but I do understand the despair that can lead you to such a choice.  My Achilles Heal is having my character described as negative and over the past year, I’ve been called selfish, a joke, conceited, a bully, passive aggressive (I can be, at times), negative, miserable, poison, and on and on.  Most of these names came from people I considered friends and family and it was difficult to move past.  It may sound morbid, but I want to understand why, with all his achievements and all that he can do to better the lives of dogs – why would he attempt suicide?

I want to talk about his training methods and his critics

“In 2006, Jean Donaldson, the San Francisco SPCA director of The Academy for Dog Trainers, criticized Millan for physically confronting aggressive dogs and using choke chains for fearful dogs. This criticism was published by the American Humane Association, which asked National Geographic to stop airing Dog Whisperer.” ~ Wikipedia

I would love to know more about how this made him feel and if he’s changed any of his training methods as a result of this criticism and subsequent concerns about how he trains aggressive dogs.  As I type this, I’m thinking of a dog trainer who was “kind enough” to tell me how disappointed she was in me when I first posted about Cesar Millan’s work to raise awareness of the beauty of the bully breeds.  Many people feel that he’s a bad guy – I’d prefer to meet him, talk to him, get his story, and then judge for myself.

I would like to share with him the story of watching a man at the dog park ‘teaching his dog a lesson’ and ‘showing his dog who’s the boss’ by performing an alpha roll over while we watched in horror as the dog cried.  I know the look on my face was of disgust, but just in case, I verbalized how I felt and the man never came near me again.  I blame shows like Dog Whisperer for these type of barbaric training methods novices are performing on their dogs.  I would love to talk to him about it.  I get that it’s not his fault directly, but these shows don’t always do enough to educate people about proper training methods nor do they provide enough warning about the dangers of some training methods.

“In November 2009, Millan 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”. 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. They also invited him that month to participate in a symposium on humane dog training “to discuss issues of concern”” ~ Wikipedia

I want advice on creating a bigger pack

I want to thank Cesar for “exercise, discipline and affection” – this is the only thing I chose to take with me after reading two of his books and watching many episodes of his television programs.  It’s brilliant and has worked well with our dogs.  I would like to know more about meeting new dogs, because we’re planning to foster soldiers’ dogs in 2014 and my boyfriend and I want to make this as smooth a transition as possible for those dogs.

What’s coming for Cesar Millan?

And finally, I would like to know what Cesar has planned for the future.  It would be amazing to see him heading up changes in legislation around the country to combat dog fighting rings, breed specific legislation, and puppy mills.  We need someone of his influence and popularity.  We may not agree with some of the things he’s done, but I think we can agree that he may be able to toss this ball further than many of us simply because he’s in the public eye.

You can enter the contest over on DogVacay’s site until August 31, 2013.

If you had an opportunity to meet Cesar Millan – what would you want to talk about?  And don’t hold back – let’s be honest (and polite).  I really want to know.


  1. I’m in the school of loving Cesar Millan. When I was learning about dogs I read several of his books and watched his shows. I think he recognizes dogs as dogs in a society that looks at dogs as children. It makes it really difficult for him to do his work.

    I could talk with him for days! But in honesty I’d probably talk to him about the app I’m developing, get his feedback and see if he’d be involved! ;0)

    I’d also ask him about developing a more grounded energy. I worked with a trainer for awhile who’d met him and trained with his proteges protege. She said his calm and grounded energy was unmatched and that it was something she’s still striving for after more than a decade of working as a trainer.

    Good luck – I’d LOVE for you to win because I know you’d have tons to share with us when you came back!

    • If you’re in his camp, you should definitely enter the contest. I would so love to have his undivided attention and not just 10 seconds of a photo opp. I best he’s fascinating. I know my boyfriend would enjoy talking to him.

  2. I have mixed feelings about Cesar. Like you, I appreciate the work he has done for so called aggressive breeds, but I do have some concerns about some of his methods. Although, having watched his show for years, I do think he is mellowing about some of his more harsh techniques. I think as with anything, you may not agree with everything, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn SOMETHING! Good luck with the contest!

    • Exactly! That’s why I think it would be so fascinating to speak with him and I wonder how much of his suicide attempt was driven by being in the public eye. Having the entire world watching and weighing in on every thing you do (or people think you do) has got to be tough. I’ve noticed that about his training too and thought it was just me.

      The contest is open for everyone to enter so if you have a few questions…

  3. What a great post – I learned quite a bit! I don’t know too much about Cesar but it would be neat to meet him.

    Thank you so much for your kind comment on our blog. We appreciate it!

    ~ Katie and Coccolino the mini pig

    • I had a blast doing my homework on Cesar Millan. I didn’t know half this stuff, but being a blogger, you start to see how people can take something you say, misinterpret it and then go on the attack so I started to wonder how much of the negative stuff about him is a huge misunderstanding and how much has the critiques fueled how he’s changed his training methods and then it kind of snowballed into a blog post.


  4. Well, Cesar Milan isn’t exactly one of the people I have the desire to talk to; meant as no offense. I do think that he has some valid ideas, such as exercise, discipline, affection, as you mentioned. I also appreciate the idea of communicating through calm assertive energy. Stuff like that. So it’s not all bad. Some concepts are good.

    But there certainly other people I’d prefer to meet instead. Stanley Coren, Patricia McConnell, Ian Dunbar … the list is longish but doesn’t include Cesar Milan, sorry.

    • Don’t ever feel like you have to apologize for sharing your thought – it’s just as valid as mine and I appreciate you sharing it here. I would love to meet the people you listed too, but the contest is for a trip to meet Cesar and I think I can learn something from most people out there. I was going to say all people, but there are a couple people that you couldn’t get me to leave my house for – LOL

    • Jana – Did you know that Ian & Kelly Dunbar invited Cesar to their house (there is video of it on Youtube I believe)? Cesar even included Ian Dunbar & Dr. Dodman is one of his more recent books. Also Jana, go to the annual Association of Professional Dog Trainers conference & you are sure to meet at least Ian 😉
      I have watched enough of Cesar’s shows to know that he is by no means a dog trainer. I have also met him & he is genuinely nice guy. He has helped the pit bulls but he also also popularized them. More people now think that they can handle powerful breeds by being an ‘alpha’. I have a speech that I give people any time they try to use the words ‘dominant’ or ‘alpha’ to describe dog behavior but I won’t get into that here.
      I would LOVE to sit down with Cesar and talk shop all day. Maybe we could teach each other something. I would most definitely thank him for teaching people that dogs need exercise.
      Great post, Kimberly :)

  5. Well written article concerning Ceasar. I find him fascinating, and I love his commitment to all dogs. Although I find some of his techniques not something that I would embrace, I never doubt his concern for animals and has done far more than the rest of us in raising the world’s attention on dog care. So I will be happy to hear how your visit goes :)
    As for those who find it is their job to write or say disparaging to or about you…they need to learn the Thumper Rule.”If you can’t say somethin nice, don’t say nothin at all” . It’s been in effect in our home for years. Best to you.

    • Thanks! I did enter the contest and it would be a dream to win. I was just talking to my boyfriend about this today and he feels the same way. We would have a ton of questions and think that a day where we can talk to him would be amazing. I’m most fascinated by how he interacts with his own pack. What keeps us from adopting more dogs is that we don’t think we can – what is he doing differently?

  6. I kind of like Cesar Millan – I think I may have also misspelled his name before too… I thought there was one L until now! I’m not a “fanatic” either, but I think he’s done a lot for dogs. Training is a controversial subject with almost every method you use, so it’s no wonder he’s gotten some bad feedback with it being famous and all. I think his dogs are amazing and I enjoy watching his show. If I had the chance to meet him, I’d probably ask for personal tips with my own dog.

    • There was a Dog Whisperer marathon on yesterday and I got to watch his dog Junior grow up. It was fascinating, because many of the people were at a point of either surrendering their dog or having their dog put down and he came in and helped. I completely understand the controversy, but I agree that when you have cameras pointed at you, you’re going to offend someone. When I think of my daily life with our dogs, I wonder how many things can be misinterpreted as abuse, because people have no context or something important was left on the cutting room floor.

  7. The other thing to remember when seeing Cesar on TV is just that – it’s a tv show and so the editors & producers have to put together the most compelling viewiWhet if that is a few seconds of dramatic footage that is replayed over and over again in slow motion then that makes much better tv than watching someone being incredibly patient and working with a dog over time.

    I know that there are many who are critical of the man, and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but credit is due for taking so many “last chance dogs” and helping them and for helping to destigmatise the bully breeds

    • Excellent point, Elle

  8. Is Cesar Millan the dog whisperer I watch on Discovery Channel?

    • He sure is!

  9. Kiberly,
    If you need help integrating a foster dog, just call me 😉
    Cesar uses a technique called ‘flooding’ when he introduces new dogs to his pack. The dogs are so overwhelmed that they basically just shut down. It can be very emotionally damaging. You also don’t see the edits that didn’t make it to the TV shows. NO pack is that peaceful all the time. It’s unnatural. Dogs growl at each other. It’s how they communicate (along with body language). We all need to learn our own dogs and build a working relationship with them. Once we work well together and have trust in each other, we can introduce a new family member whether it be temporary or permanent.

    • Kendra – I plan on reaching out to you when we adopt a new dog. Not sure when that will be, but I know that we’ll have a 3rd dog some day. It’ll be ice to integrate them into our family smoothly.

  10. As you know I am not a fan of some of his methods, and I think the sensational nature of the show has not been a good thing for dogs as people watch and think trainers when they pin their dog on the ground or jab it in the ribs. CM tends to push dogs to their limit and I think he gets bitten more than any other well-known trainer, which is entirely unnecessary.

    That said: I do think he has an incredible way with dogs and believe /any/ training method would probably work for him if he chose to embrace it. I also appreciate his success story. My mother was an ESL teacher and that instilled in me a particular interest in Latin American struggles.

    I really hope you win the contest because I would love to read about your experience and his responses to your questions!

    • The contest was from last year, so I lost. But it would have been cool. I’m one of those people who doesn’t believe the things that people say about Cesar Millan. He’s done so much to raise awareness of working with challenging dogs, bully breeds, and dog training that I won’t buy into the stories that he’s cruel to dogs.

      Having been on the receiving end of very cruel rumors, I’ve learned that there are 2 sides to every story somewhere in the middle is the truth, which is one reason I thought meeting him would be astounding. I’ve connected with people who have met him and they walked away with a completely different opinion.

      It must be hard in the spotlight, because people are so quick to believe the worst in people instead of trying to seek the positive. So I stopped judging him and started learning more about him and that really opened my eyes.

      Enjoy your weekend :)

      • Whoops! I didn’t even notice this was an old post, just followed the FB link! I think CM himself has done a lot of good for dogs, especially bully breeds, but I think his methods in experienced hands can be dangerous. There is more and more science backing force-free/positive reinforcement methods and the alpha-roll was debunked long ago (and I seem to remember hearing that CM no longer promotes it, or has at least toned down the physical corrections in his newer shows). My mom and I used to binge-watch The Dog Whisperer – even if I never wanted to use his methods on my own dogs, I loved the show because Dogs!


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