Cesar Millan Discusses New Series ‘Cesar 911,’ Saving Dogs and More

Cesar Millan has devoted his life’s work to understanding and protecting dogs. In his latest series for the National Geographic Wild Channel, Cesar 911, Millan will come to the aid of communities where dogs are running wild. Each episode will feature two segments spotlighting a community with a dog that barks, bites or is simply disruptive. Millan’s focus is on retraining the humans, not the animals, to correct the bad behavior and save the dogs from being sent to shelters or put down.

Cesar 911 begins tonight, Monday, March 7th at 9pm on NatGeo Wild with “Family Feud,” an episode that finds Millan helping a family who is scared of their black lab mix, and a Shiba Inu mix that doesn’t play well with other dogs. TV Equals recently joined a conference call with Millan to talk about the new series, his passion for saving dogs and more.

Millan on the Most Rewarding Part of Cesar 911

In his past series, Dog Whisperer, the stakes for the dogs were usually not life or death. However, in Cesar 911, Millan is dealing with situations where members of a community (“whistleblowers”) step in because a dog has gotten to the point where it is a danger not only to its family, but to others. For this reason, Millan expressed his joy at being able to help dogs that would otherwise likely be put down.

“To restore the balance in the community and the trust that actually is a very rewarding feeling, because Cesar 911 is about a whistleblower calling me to help them in the community,” Millan said. “In Dog Whisperer the owner of the dog called me, but this time it was the community concerned about making sure somebody helps.”

He further elaborated that this time the focus is more on retraining humans than animals.

Common Misconceptions About Dog Training

The most interesting piece of information Millan shared during the call was that the real issue is almost always retraining the human, not the dog. Millan revealed dogs respond to behavior, so if the dog’s human is anxious, frightened, or overindulgent toward their animal, it sends the wrong signal to the dog. Taking back the idea that dominance is a positive word for dog owners is an important goal that Millan will teach many of the families he helps.

However, if the word brings to mind negative connotations, Millan said he tells his clients, “I don’t just say be dominant, I say calm and assertive, because calm creates trust. Confidence creates respect.”

On the Plight of Dogs

Cesar 911 is in the unique position to raise awareness about the startling number of dogs put down each year. The show will demonstrate that dogs are rarely aggressive, but what they are is insecure. This misunderstanding of the animal’s instincts leads to many of its problems. “I don’t work with dogs that are mild,” Millan explained. “I work with dogs that are more likely going to be euthanized if nobody does anything about it. But by that time most people are afraid of them, and so what I know is they’re misunderstood, and so I think we have to keep working, make sure the human understands that it’s not the dog, it’s the human behind the dog. For example, in Cesar 911 you’re going to see these neighbors throw parties all the time and the neighbor came into the house and the dog bit one of the neighbors. Well, the owner of the dog blamed the neighbor, but guess who called me to save the dog’s life? The victim.”

As Millan pointed out, dogs don’t have their own voice, they can’t be their own advocates. Luckily, with the education Millan offers, humans can become more aware of the dire situation and become advocates not only for their own pets, but for the pets of their neighbors. Cesar 911 will demonstrate the power of communities banding together to help animals, and the benefits of retraining humans to be better leaders of their own packs.

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