Five Questions for Cesar Millan

Famed “dog whisperer” in town for Pets’ Trust Miami

Cesar Milan

When Cesar Millan first learned about the Pets’ Trust and the programs for high volume spay-neuter surgeries, education, retention, well care to encourage veterinary care, he quickly realized Pets’ Trust could become the model for the country. He was one of the first nationally known animal advocates to endorse the campaign and mission. With three to four million animals being killed every year across the country, Cesar knew that funding, particularly with the blessing of the community, was critical. After the Pets’ Trust Initiative was voted on and approved by almost 500,000 people, 65% of Miami-Dade voters, many people wanted to continue to be engaged to make sure Miami leaders followed through with what the people wanted. This Thursday, Cesar is in Miami headlining an extraordinary fundraiser for the Pets’ Trust Miami, as well as the Millan Foundation. The event takes place in the Redlands, not far from where the first new shelter will be built, on land donated to Friends Forever Rescue–one of the most prestigious rescue groups in Miami.

Why do you like coming to Miami?

First, for the same reason I like visiting any city — meeting my fans in person and sharing the excitement of my live show with them. Also, though, Miami is a very diverse, multi-cultural city, like Los Angeles. The location and climate remind me a lot of Mazatlán back home, although Miami is a lot flatter.

Most importantly for this trip, though, is that I will be helping Pets’ Trust to raise awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering pets, which is the best way to reduce, and one day eliminate, the problem of pet overpopulation.

How does Miami’s heat and humidity affect dogs?

Cesar Milan

Hot, humid climates can be as difficult for dogs as they are for people. The main thing to watch out for is overheating, and you have to take extra care to make sure that your dogs get plenty of water and shade. Especially in hot, humid weather, always carry plenty of water with you on walks, for you and your dog.

Keep an eye out for symptoms of heatstroke: Rapid panting, wide eyes, staggering, and weakness. If your dog shows these symptoms, you can cool her down in a tub of cool (not cold) running water or by spraying her with a hose. However, be sure that the water is actually reaching her skin and not running off of her coat — make sure to wet her belly and inside of her legs, and get your dog to a vet as soon as possible, whether she seems to have recovered or not.

Why did you choose to become involved with this event?

I decided to help out Pets’ Trust in Miami because of the great work they’ve been doing to raise awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering pets to reduce the problem of overpopulation. There are six hundred million homeless dogs worldwide, and millions are destroyed needlessly every year in just the US alone.

This will be the second time I’ve come to Miami to help this great organization, but not the last time, I’m sure. Their mission lines up with the Cesar Millan Foundation mission, and for every dog that we can spay or neuter now, we’re preventing the deaths of thousands in the future.

How are dogs and humans similar?

Well, both are mammals! The most important thing I teach people, though, is that dogs and humans do not think alike. Humans are intellectual and emotional, while dogs are instinctual. We run into problems with our dogs when we treat them like little human children instead of animals first, then species, then breed.

When I came to America, this was the thing I first noticed about people and their dogs. There is a tendency here to act like dogs are just babies with fur, and to negotiate with them like they are little humans. Dogs were getting nothing but affection. Do that without giving exercise and discipline first, and you will create a confused, unhappy, unbalanced dog. That is the big difference: People don’t like being told what to do, but dogs need strong leadership and instruction in order to be fulfilled and happy.

How do dogs reflect the personality of their owners?

Personality is really the wrong word here. Dogs reflect the energy of their human pack, and the nature of that energy is at the root of that dog’s behavior, good or bad. Put a dog in an unbalanced pack of humans, and you will get a dog with unstable energy. This leads to all kinds of misbehaviors as the dog tries to establish its place in that pack. The worst misbehaviors happen when the humans do not lead. In that case, the dog may try to establish itself as Pack Leader and, trust me, the huge majority of dogs do not want to be the leader.

Every member of the human pack needs to be a leader to the dogs, and the entire human pack needs to learn how to be calm and assertive. Human energy creates the pack “personality”, and calm energy creates a calm and balanced pack.

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