Gary Barg: What is the importance of
pet adoption and of no kill shelters?
Cesar Millan: I think the most
important thing is to understand that we
have created a disposable and
over-populated society of somebody who
we call Manís Best Friend. And we are
euthanizing four to five million a year.
We are all part of it because taxpayer
money is paying to euthanize these dogs.
So, whether you like it or not, you are
part of the euthanasia. Adopting a dog
will help you save lives; but to me, it
is more of adopting a philosophy of
Gary Barg: As a family caregiver, so
many times we are called upon to care
for a senior loved one who can longer
live alone and has a dog they adore.
What should we do if they can no longer
keep their best friend?
Cesar Millan: My mom has a pack of
dogs and I take care of all of them.
They are all her; it is her existence,
it is who she is. So they are all one to
me and I am not going to give up on
them. I just do not see the separation.
This is your responsibility. You have to
understand the cycle of lifeóthat is the
whole point of family. I am Mexican; I
am Hispanic. We bring our family home.
We bring our elders home and we do the
same thing for dogs. So, I think it is
the culture. Sometimes, you can learn
from a different culture how to deal
with a certain stage of life. Sometimes,
you just have to get out of the bubble.
When you see that as a problem, stop and
ask other people who are not dealing
with that situation the way you do so
you can see a different perspective.
That is why we need each other in this
Gary Barg: Your book, Cesar Millanís
Short Guide to a Happy Dog: 98 Essential
Tips and Techniques, is now out in
paperback. My dog, Morris, wants me to
ask you some of the tips that you can
share with us.
Cesar Millan: Number one, I will keep
moving forward with the idea of training
the human. I do not see a dog as a
student; I see a dog as a teacher. I
think they are very honest. I think they
have a high level of integrity, and they
understand loyalty much better than we
do. I think as a human species, we are
not in agreement; therefore, we have
chaos and disconnection. So we actually
have to keep teaching the human that he
needs to reflect. The one who needs to
change bad habits is the human, right?
We are really good at having bad habits;
we do not really have good habits.
Gary Barg: Absolutely right.
Cesar Millan: So, because we do not
have good habits, all we can teach are
bad habits. So that is why I do not
believe that the pit bull should be
banned; I do not believe that we should
blame rottweilers. They are all dogs. If
you go to a preschool and ask a kid, a
three-year-old or four-year-old kid,
what kind of breed the dog is, he is
going to say, ďThat is a dog.Ē
Gary Barg: And that is all that
Cesar Millan: That is right, but once
people get older, they receive certain
information; they are influenced by
things that happen to other peopleóa
myth that people created. And so, we
make accusationsónot based on reality,
but based on stories. Your dog would not
judge a pit bull by him being a pit
bull; he will judge it based on the
energy that dog has projected. Is he
nervous, is he anxious, is he excited,
is he tense, is he fearful? That is
really how they relate to each other.
They do not stereotype.
Gary Barg: Well, I always say that
dogs are exceedingly honest and all you
have to do is listen to them. I think I
have learned more from my dog than I
will ever be able to teach him.
Cesar Millan: Humans can make you
smart, but that does not mean they make
you have common sense. My clients may
have graduated from college, but they
cannot walk a Chihuahua. The degree does
not give you the ability to control
instincts. So a dog can really teach you
about how you live your lifeóis it
balanced or not? Itís as simple as that.
Gary Barg: What is the one most
important piece of information you want
to share with a family caregiver living
with a dog?
Cesar Millan: Very simple. The walk
allows you to have 90 percent of the
connection. This is why homeless people
are so good with dogs. They walk more
than anybody else. And when they walk,
what you are going to observe is that
the dog is either next to them or behind
them. Position means a lot. Whoever is
in front is going to be called the pack
leader, or the dominant one. But when
you see handicapped people, blind
people, the dog is next to them. We have
to be able to walk a dog the way a blind
person can walk a dog. Handicapped
people make dogs normal; normal people
make dogs handicapped. So, why can the
handicapped actually walk a dog better
than a person who can see? Because the
handicapped person gives the dog a job,
a purpose. And they do it together.
Gary Barg: That is the best piece of
wisdom I think I have heard in a long
Cesar Millan: It is a metaphor. We do
not like to learn from handicapped
people; we do not like to learn from
homeless people. We actually feel sorry
for them. The dog does not feel sorry
for them. The dog does not believe that
being handicapped means that you have a
body impediment. The dog believes that
handicapped is when you do not have the
right knowledge. That is handicapped.
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