Cesar Millan talks about his journey to becoming the ‘dog whisperer’

Global Business

Cesar Millan is arguably one of the most famous dog trainers in the world, but he looks at things a little differently.

“For me, I became a dog walker,” Millan said. “And that’s when I said, I’m not going to train dogs, I’m going to train people.”

CGTN’s May Lee visited Cesar Millan at his dog ranch in Santa Clarita, California to hear more about where he’s been and where he’s going.

That’s been Cesar’s motto from the start, but the road to success was rough. In 1990, at the age of 21, he crossed the border from Mexico illegally with nothing but a dream… to work with animals. With no money and no reputation, Cesar had to get creative.

He walked packs of dogs, up to 40 at a time, in some of the roughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Walking turned to training using his own dog psychology method.

Cesar had no formal training, but connecting with animals was in his blood. He grew up on a farm in Mexico. Cesar’s love of animals as a boy, especially dogs, earned him the nickname “El Perrero,” the dog herder.

“To me, it was a family tradition, like a religion…My grandfather would say ‘never work against mother nature.’ Always gain their trust. Always gain their respect.”

Cesar gained respect once word of his effective training got out. From El Perrero, Cesar became the Dog Whisperer, which then led to a successful television show, books and other related products.

But in 2010, Cesar’s world fell apart.  His best friend and right-hand dog, Daddy, died. His wife asked for a divorce. His two sons stopped talking to him and Cesar learned he owned very little of his Dog Whisperer business, leading to millions of dollars in losses.

The sudden avalanche of bad news led Cesar to attempt suicide. But he survived and found hope by resurrecting his passion for dogs… especially since they never lost hope in him.

Cesar is now thriving. He and his pack, which includes Daddy’s successor, Junior, run his dog psychology center in Southern California. Cesar still has television shows on the air and his “Cesar Live” tour travels around the globe to packed audiences. This summer, Cesar will take the tour to China for the first time.

“I think it can be an asset for Asia, China to understand.  It’s a perception, it’s really understanding the formula on how to have a balance and harmonious relationship with a dog.” The timing couldn’t be better for his tour given that this year China and much of Asia will celebrate the Year of the Dog.  But for Cesar and his pack… every year is the year of man’s best friend.

Cesar Millan gives his insights on his life’s work