Cesar Millan

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Millán and the second or maternal family name is Favela.
Cesar Millan
Cesar millan.jpg
Born César Millán Favela
(1969-08-27) August 27, 1969 (age 45)
Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico
Residence Santa Clarita, California, U.S.
Citizenship United States
Occupation Dog trainer
Years active 2004 (2004)–present
Known for Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan
Spouse(s) Ilusión Millan (1994 (1994)–2010 (2010); filed for divorce)[1]
Partner(s) Jahira Dar (2013 (2013)–present)
Official website

Cesar Millan, (born César Millán Favela; August 27, 1969) is a Mexican American self-taught dog trainer.[2] He is widely known for his television series Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, broadcast in more than eighty countries worldwide from 2004 to 2012.[3] Prior to The Dog Whisperer series, Millan focused on rehabilitating especially aggressive dogs[4] and founded the Dog Psychology Center[5] in South Los Angeles (2002–2008). In 2009,[6] the Dog Psychology center moved to Santa Clarita, California.[7] Millan also opened an East Coast clinic at the Country Inn Pet Resort in Davie, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale.[8]

Millan's first three books, including Cesar's Way, all became New York Times best sellers, have cumulatively sold two million copies in the United States, and are available in 14 other countries.[6] In 2009, in conjunction with IMG, Millan introduced a monthly magazine also titled Cesar's Way — with The Wall Street Journal reporting at that time that half of American consumers recognized Millan.[9] With Ilusión Millan, his former wife, he founded the Cesar and Ilusión Millan Foundation – since renamed the Millan Foundation. He is working with Yale University to create a children's curriculum based on his work.[6]

He has said, "My goal in rehabilitating dogs and training people is to create balanced relationships between humans and canines."[8]

Early life[edit]

César Millán Favela was born on August 27, 1969, to Felipe Millán Guillen and María Teresa Favela in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico. Millan grew up working with animals on his grandfather's Sinaloa farm.[10] Because of his natural way with dogs, he was called el Perrero, "the dog boy".[10] The family later moved to Mazatlán.[11] Millan crossed the border into the US without a visa when he was 21 years old and spoke no English.[10][12][13][14]


Milan's first job in the US was at a dog grooming store. He later created the Pacific Point Canine Academy. Jada Pinkett Smith became one of Millan's first clients and supporters when he was working as a limousine driver,[3] providing him with an English tutor for a year.[11][12] Subsequently, Millan created the Dog Psychology Center, a 2-acre (8,100 m2) facility in South Los Angeles, specializing in working with large breed dogs.[15]

In 2002, after a profile in the Los Angeles Times, Millan worked with MPH Entertainment, Inc. developing a television pilot for Dog Whisperer, a reality television series that follows Millan as he works in the field of dog rehabilitation. The series premiered on September 13, 2004, on the National Geographic Channel, subsequently moving to the Nat Geo WILD channel. The show would become National Geographic's No. 1 show during its first season,[16] and was broadcast in more than eighty countries worldwide during its run.[3]

The program demonstrates Cesar Millan's application of his philosophy that healthy, balanced dogs require strong 'pack leadership' from their owners, specifically in the form of exercise, discipline and affection (in that order),[12] with Millan demonstrating how owners can achieve and maintain a leadership role with their dogs. The program highlights Millan at work rehabilitating dogs, and is not intended as a dog training guide.[16] Each episode contains repeated warnings that viewers should not try some of the behavior modification techniques at home.[12]

The show broadcast its final episode in the fall of 2012.

In 2009, Cesar Millan launched Cesar’s Way magazine in the USA and Canada, for which he is the Editorial Director. The magazine combines advice from Cesar along with articles about the relationship between dogs and humans.[17]

Cesar Millan's Leader of the Pack is an American documentary television series on the Nat Geo Wild channel. The series premiered on January 5, 2013.

2014 saw the premiere of Millan's new series, Cesar 911, on the Nat Geo WILD channel.

Dog training technique[edit]

Millan's work focuses on handling a dog with what he calls "calm-assertive energy".[6] He approaches dog behavior by teaching dog owners to establish their role as calm-assertive pack leaders.[12] According to Millan, dogs have three primary needs:[12] exercise, discipline and affection — in that order.[18] In other words, it is the owner's responsibility to fulfill the dog's energy level through challenging exercise; then to provide clearly communicated rules, boundaries and limitations; and finally, to provide affection.[19] According to Millan, a common pitfall for dog owners is to give a great deal of affection with very little discipline and even less exercise.[19] He encourages owners to understand the effect their own attitudes, internal emotions and physical postures have on a dog's behavior, counseling owners to hold strong posture (i.e. shoulders high and chest forward) and to project energy that is calm-assertive.[10][20]

While working with a dog, Millan often uses vocal marks (tsch or tsst[11]), gestures, and body language to communicate with dogs rather than speech or the dog's name, which can excite the dog or which can result in a less powerful delivery because dogs sense a person's energy more easily than their speech. Cesar encourages owners to create their own unique sound that works for them.[20]


According to an article in the Indian scientific journal Current Science, some professional dog trainers find Millan's methods out of date, flawed[21] and "unscientific and inhumane."[22] Millan's detractors say that what Millan calls "calm submission" is actually a state of helplessness that is the result of aversive dog-training techniques.[22] A study in Applied Animal Behaviour Science said Millan has been influential in popularizing punitive techniques, but that bad behavior from dogs was caused by fear and anxiety, not a lack of the owner's alpha status.[23] A journalist from The New Yorker said that critics were responding to a "highly edited" version of his approach on television, which exaggerates the frequency and intensity that he uses when he disciplines the dogs.[22][24]

In October 2012, Millan appeared on The Alan Titchmarsh Show. Titchmarsh called his methods "cruel" and "unnecessary", citing a video in which, Titchmarsh said, Millan punched a dog in the throat. Millan called it a touch, not a punch. Titchmarsh read out an RSPCA statement saying that "Adverse training techniques which have been seen to be used by Cesar Millan can cause pain and fear for dogs and may worsen their behavioural problems."[25][26] In response, Millan said "I respectfully disagree with the comments – I am not cruel to animals. Many times, when a dog comes to me, I am the last resort. It’s between me and euthanisation. I rehabilitate them."[27]

Personal life[edit]

Millan became a permanent resident of the U.S. in 2000, became a U.S. citizen in 2009, and lives in Santa Clarita, California. He married Ilusión Wilson in 1994, with whom he had two sons, André (b. 1995) and Calvin (b. 2001).[citation needed]

In June 2010, Ilusión Millan filed for divorce, seeking primary physical custody of their children with visitation for Cesar, as well as spousal support.[1][28] In May 2010, after his dog Daddy died in February and his wife filed for divorce in March, Millan attempted suicide.[29] Since August 2010[30] he has been in a relationship with Jahira Dar[31] [32] from the Dominican Republic.[33][34]

Daddy and Junior[edit]

Main article: Daddy (dog)

One of Millan's many dogs, Daddy, was an American Pit Bull Terrier integral to Millan's work and his television series, The Dog Whisperer.[35] Millan later selected another pit bull puppy, Junior, as Daddy's protégé — to apprentice, learn his temperament and prepare to assume Daddy's role after his death.[36] Daddy's death came at age 16 in February 2010.[36] After the death of Daddy, Junior has now assumed Daddy's role and helps Cesar with rehabilitating dogs by using what Millan refers to as calm, assertive energy.[37]

In popular culture[edit]

Millan guest-starred as himself in Ghost Whisperer in Season 2, Episode 18, "Children of Ghost". In the episode, Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) seeks out Millan for advice on how to help "Homer", Ghost Whisperer's Ghost Dog (from Season 1), cross over into the light. A satirized version of Millan was portrayed in "Tsst", the May 3, 2006 episode of the Comedy Central animated series South Park. In the episode, Lianne Cartman enlists Cesar's help in applying his principles to her misbehaving son, Eric Cartman. The principles work and Eric becomes completely reformed, but Lianne fails to continue applying Cesar's techniques and Eric reverts to his old behavior. Millan played himself in "The Finger in the Nest", the September 17, 2008, episode of Bones, helping the lead characters to determine if a location was used for dogfighting. Millan played himself in Beethoven's Big Break which premiered in cinemas on December 30, 2008, and the The Back-Up Plan, which was released April 23, 2010 in theaters.[citation needed]

Millan made a guest appearance as a judge on Episode 3 of the 10th season of The Apprentice and the April 27, 2011, episode of Jeopardy![38]



  • People Training for Dogs
  • Becoming a Pack Leader
  • Your New Dog: First Day and Beyond
  • Sit and Stay the Cesar Way
  • Common Canine Misbehaviors
  • Raising the Perfect Puppy
  • Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan – The Complete First Season (2006)
  • Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan – The Complete Second Season (2007)
  • Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan – The Complete Third Season (2008)
  • Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan – Celebrity Edition (2008)
  • Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan – The Complete Fourth Season, Volume 1 (2010)
  • Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan – The Complete Fourth Season, Volume 2 (2010)
  • Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan – The Complete Fifth Season (2011)
  • Cesar Millan's Leader of the Pack (2013)
  • Essentials of Dog Behavior: Socialization (2014)


  1. ^ a b Lee, Ken (June 4, 2010). "Dog Whisperer Star Cesar Millan and Wife Split". People.
  2. ^ Asthana, Anushka (March 19, 2006). "This week we want to know all about Cesar Millan". The Guardian (London). 
  3. ^ a b c Oldenburg, Ann (August 1, 2006). "Pack is back: A week of 'Whisperer". USA Today. Retrieved April 28, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Cesar Millan". The Charlie Rose Show. 
  5. ^ – The Dog Psychology Center: Evolution of a Dream
  6. ^ a b c d Wallace, Amy (October 11, 2009). "Whispering to Rottweilers, and to C.E.O.'s". The New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2010. 
  7. ^ Millan, Cesar. "The Location". Cesar's Way. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Millan, Cesar (2013). "Home / Training". Country Inn Pet Resort. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  9. ^ Vranica, Suzanne (September 10, 2009). "'Dog Whisperer' Hopes to Lead Pack at Newsstand". The Wall Street Journal. Almost half of USA's consumers already know who he is, and consumers' awareness of Mr. Millan has grown 12% since May 2008, according to Davie-Brown, an Omnicom Group company that tracks the appeal of celebrities. [dead link]
  10. ^ a b c d Gladwell, Malcolm (May 22, 2006). "What the Dog Saw". The New Yorker. 
  11. ^ a b c "Cesar Millan". Modern Dog Magazine, Mary-Jo Dionne,. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f Patterson, John (May 16, 2009). "All heel for Cesar". The Age (Australia). 
  13. ^ Chasnoff, Brian (July 7, 2009). "Cesar Millan Q&A". San Antonio.com, The Creature Beat. 
  14. ^ "Immigrant of the Day: Cesar Millan (Mexico)". Immigration Prof Blog. 
  15. ^ "DVD: The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan". The Chortler.com, May 5, 2006. 
  16. ^ a b "The snarls don't faze trainer". USAtoday, Sharon L. Peters, May 31, 2007. May 31, 2007. Retrieved April 28, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Cesar's Way Magazine". Facebook. Retrieved July 2, 2012. 
  18. ^ Johnson, Morieka V. (April 4, 2006). "Dog's best friend". AZ Central. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  19. ^ a b "The Dog Whisperer's Magic Touch". ABC, NHancy Weiner, July 31, 2006. 
  20. ^ a b Gilbert, Matthew (July 26, 2006). "The `Dog Whisperer' has a gift with canines – and humans". The Boston Globe, October 5, 2007. 
  21. ^ Flawed dominance theory
  22. ^ a b c Fraser, Stephen (January 19, 2007), "Ruff Treatment", Current Science 92 (10): 8 
  23. ^ Herron, Meghan E.; Shofer, Frances S.; Reisner, Ilana R. (2009). "Survey of the use and outcome of confrontational and non-confrontational training methods in client-owned dogs showing undesired behaviors". Applied Animal Behaviour Science 117 (1-2): 47–54. doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2008.12.011. ISSN 0168-1591. 
  24. ^ The Dog Whisperer 
  25. ^ Nelson, Sara (2012-10-25). "Alan Titchmarsh Brands Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan 'Barbaric'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2 September 2013. (link includes video)
  26. ^ Dean, Will (26 October 2012). "The Dog Whisperer gets mauled by Alan "The Housewife Charmer" Titchmarsh". The Independent. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  27. ^ Millan, Cesar (Dec 18, 2012). CESAR MILLAN: "I'M NOT CRUEL TO ANIMALS". Interview with Laura Kelly. The Big Issue. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  28. ^ Carpenter, Wendy (April 20, 2012). "'Dog Whisperer' host finalizes divorce, must pay ex-wife $23,000 a month". Yahoo! News. 
  29. ^ "'Dog Whisperer' Cesar Millan attempted suicide". New York Post. November 15, 2012.
  30. ^ https://twitter.com/cesarmillan/status/366649067486449664 Tweet by casarmillan @twitter.com from August 13th 2013
  31. ^ http://cesarmillan.tumblr.com/post/57989334354/celebrating-3-years-together-happyanniversary
  32. ^ https://instagram.com/p/c4qe4GOXVL
  33. ^ Sydney Morning Herald, 7 April 2013
  34. ^ www.cesarsway.com, 7 January 2014
  35. ^ Lee, Jasen (April 27, 2008). "Top dawgs: Smart shopping for a trainer can lead to well-behaved pets". Deseret News. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  36. ^ a b "In Memoriam: Daddy the Pit Bull". Retrieved February 21, 2010. 
  37. ^ "Cesar Millan's dog Daddy dead at 16". United Press International. February 22, 2010. 
  38. ^ "Jeopardy, Show #6138 – Wednesday, April 27, 2011". Jeopardy.com. Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  • Biography Today, Vol. 15 (3): pp. 73–83
  • Millan, Cesar and Peltier, Melissa Jo (2006), Cesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems, Harmony Books, New York, ISBN 0-307-33733-2.
  • Millan, Cesar and Peltier, Melissa Jo (2007), Be the Pack Leader, Harmony Books, New York, ISBN

External links[edit]