“Humans don’t follow principals about life: honesty, integrity… we follow contracts.”
Those words were spoken to me by Cesar Millan, aka The Dog Whisperer. He was explaining to me the difference between animals and humans in how we view and live in the world, “in the animal world you can’t survive by being selfish.” Those that know Cesar’s pack understand his belief in the value of family and community in dog training.
A year after We Love DC chatted with Milllan, he was back in town to talk about his new book, “Cesar’s Rules,” and debut the first episode of the new season of Dog Whisperer. The series premiere aired this past Friday but a DC audience had a sneak peak at a special screening on the campus of National Geographic on 16th Street. I was invited by NatGeo to sit down and chat with him before the screening.
While discussing his new book Millan took his philosophies about, “the pack” and his approach with dogs and humans to another level. Even though some people may file his approaches under “dog training,” it is really the human that he trains. It is the way a human presents himself to his pet that makes the biggest impact on affecting their behavior.
“My clients are Harvard grads but they can’t walk a chihuahua,” Millan explains as he points out that even homeless people have been able to tame their feral pets because they aren’t hesitant around them.
Milan is known for his affinity for Pitbulls, a breed that happens to be restricted in nearby Prince Georges County and in other communities around the US. While local governments have put such restrictions in place for public safety, Millan sees it as a another form of animal racism.
“What we do to animals, we do to humans,” Millan points out and he compares the treatment of Pitbulls to the current treatment of Mexicans and immigrants in this country. As a Mexican immigrant, Cesar thinks that whether it’s breed selection laws or building a wall along the Mexican border, actions used to limit the spread of minorities comes from fear and ignorance. He thinks that immigration is still an important part of America and points out that his show wouldn’t exist if he didn’t cross the border himself.
“We’re not here to take people’s spaces- we’re here to take empty spaces.”
Despite dealing with pets and their owners on a daily basis, he really is invested in promoting understanding and harmony between seemingly opposed parties, and the similarities between pets and humans goes beyond what we typically think.
The Dog Whisperer airs Fridays at 8 PM on the National Geographic Channel.