Tina with FOJA Vice President of Programs, Becky Hamilton and Cesar Milan
Before he even steps on the stage, we learn a little about his history through video clips of where he came from and interviews with his parents. Cesar Millan was born in rural Mexico and grew up in a house with no running water or electricity. He spent most of his time on his grandfather’s farm where he observed the many dogs that lived there. When he was a teenager, the family purchased their first TV set. After watching “Lassie” and “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin “, he dreamed about one day moving to California to become the world’s best dog trainer.
In December 1990 at the age of 21, Millan, who spoke no English, crossed the border into California and began living on the streets of San Diego. After a month, he landed a job grooming dogs, soon gaining a reputation for his calming effect on even the most difficult dogs. With a few dollars in his pocket, he moved north to Los Angeles and took a job washing cars.
During this time, Millan was surprised by how disconnected Americans seemed to be from nature and the world around them and the troubled dogs that we owned. It was at this time that he began to redirect his dream to becoming a “rehabilitator of dogs” and a “trainer of humans”. With the money he had saved, he started a freelance dog rehabilitation service, primarily offering his expertise with extreme cases. His client list quickly expanded as he was recommended around town. He came to the attention of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith in 1994 who referred him out to other celebrities. Millan was then inspired to upgrade his business and broaden his exposure in the community, which then led to the first Dog Psychology Center, a two-acre facility in South Los Angeles, designed to rehabilitate troubled, aggressive, and condemned dogs. The center, which housed a pack of thirty to forty “un-adoptable” and abandoned dogs, was moved to Santa Clarita Valley to allow for expansion and modernization. The new facility now includes a sheep herding area, swimming pool, obstacle course, and hiking trails on over 43 acres.
An empire was formed in 2002, when MPH Entertainment and Emery/Sumner Production contacted Millan after seeing a profile of him in the Los Angeles Times. Soon a TV series is born.
Cesar Millan steps onto the stage to applause and is soon followed by his famous Pit Bull, Junior. It is said that people should not work with kids or animals. Cesar may be a master, but he was still upstaged by Junior. Junior comes out, finds a spot on the stage, rolls over on his back and starts wiggling his butt. I, like many, wanted to go give him a belly rub. I know he would have been very happy if we all did that. He continued to insinuate himself onto center stage several times.
The show and laughter begins when Cesar starts impersonating all the ways we send mixed messages to our dogs. Whether greeting strange dogs with over-excitement, bringing on separation anxiety when we leave the house, or causing our dogs to be hyper and over-excited, we laughed but I think we saw a lot of ourselves in the way he acted.
He soon brings out a few dogs that have issues and the humans that may be causing them. Earlier in the day he spent time with them to assess their problems or issues. First out is Jaime with her dog Magnum. Magnum has a problem walking on a leash. Like a lot of dogs he is constantly pulling. Jaime has tried everything, including a double leash that is supposed to be designed specifically for this problem. Nothing works until Cesar gets ahold of the dog. Jaime is shown how to hold the collar higher up on the neck to get Magnum’s attention and to prevent the dog from choking. She is also shown how to walk with shoulders back confidently and not pay attention to the dog. Soon she masters the walk with Magnum.
Next out is Becky with Tina. Tina was confiscated in a cruelty case. She was living on the end of a chain. There were other dogs there, as well, all living in muddy conditions with no food, water or shelter. They could see each other, but could not reach each other to play. Because of this Tina does not know how to act around other dogs or people. Becky is shown how to introduce Tina to other dogs and how to make her more comfortable with them. Junior is used in this demonstration. Junior noticed the nervousness in Tina and reacted to that nervousness but was quickly corrected by Cesar. Soon they were both greeting each other and interacting like dogs should.
Overall, the evening was a huge success, and I think those of us that were there learned a lot from “The Dog Whisperer”. Please visit Animal Care and Protective Services for more information on Tina. She is a great dog that needs a loving second chance at life. And after all, how many people can say they have a dog that had a training session with Cesar Millan?! If you adopt Tina, YOU can!
Tina is still available for adoption. Contact ACPS for more information.