Cesar Millan's Leader of the Pack

Common Sense Media says

Gentle competition brings pets and families together.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can definitely learn a lot about dog behavior, including some techniques for handling difficult dogs. But kids should be reminded to be careful around unknown dogs and leave the more complex techniques to adults and/or professionals.

Positive messages

This entire show is built around the premise of a creature that needs help and understanding to find a happy home, certainly a problem to which most humans can relate.

Positive role models

Millan stresses gentle handling and treatment customized to dogs and owners; he is kind and caring to both humans and pets. Adoptive families are grateful and thrilled to get a new friend to love.

Violence & scariness

Footage of dogs fighting, barking, showing their teeth and other aggressive moves may be a bit scary for young or sensitive viewers.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Millan has other series, as well as a line of doggy products which viewers may be more apt to buy if they watch this series.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Cesar Millan's Leader of the Pack is a game-show riff on The Dog Whisperer, with families competing to take home an adoptive dog with behavior problems. Younger or sensitive viewers may find some dogs scary, as they bare their teeth and bark loudly; however, these behaviors are never treated harshly. Instead, Millan explains why dogs behave the ways they do, and teach families how to handle these behaviors gently but firmly, which may calm any heebie-jeebies. The competitive aspect of Leader of the Pack may worry younger viewers -- one family leaves with the dog, while two are left pet-less (though the show doesn't dwell on their sadness and focuses more on the dog's new happy family). However, if that's not a worry, viewers will learn a lot about dogs, what they're thinking, and how to handle them. Kids should be strongly cautioned not to attempt Millan's methods with unknown aggressive dogs, as they may look easy on television but go wrong in real life.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

Animal behaviorist Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer) brings his skills to a competitive format, as three families compete to take home a dog with behavior problems. On each episode of CESAR MILLAN's LEADER OF THE PACK, viewers meet a new dog that's living in a shelter and has had problems being adopted, usually due to aggressive or difficult behavior. Millan evaluates the dog and works with him a bit, and then meets the three families vying to take him home. Each of the three families are shown interacting with the dog, with Millan's advice and hands-on help, while voiceovers explain how well the families are handling their would-be pet. At the end of each hour-long episode, one family goes home with a new member and the skills they need to ensure their new pet fits happily into their home.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Just as in The Dog Whisperer, watching Millan interact with difficult pets and swiftly calm aggression and solve behavior problems is tantamount to magic. Millan truly understands canine thinking and behavior, and it's both mysterious and sweet to see a scary dog who's been barking and growling quickly turn into a sweet, tail-wagging potential pet. Viewers will learn a lot about dogs and why they act the way they do on each show, and can pick up plenty of tips on how to treat their own pets or dogs in general.

However, young viewers should be strongly cautioned that unknown dogs can be dangerous, and they shouldn't try Millan's techniques on them, no matter how easy it looks on television. In addition, some viewers will be saddened to watch two families go home empty-handed, even though it's heart-warming to see a lonely dog find a loving home. On balance, this show treats dogs with respect, and venerates a caring and loving home for pets above all else, which is uplifting to see, even for people who don't already love dogs.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why some animals behave aggressively. What in an animal's upbringing can make them bark, chew, or bite? Why would an otherwise loving animal sometimes behave in ways that are dangerous to humans?

  • How should a person approach a strange animal? How do dogs reveal their aggressiveness or friendliness? What is the safest way to deal with an aggressive dog?

  • Does Cesar Millan love dogs? What about Leader of the Pack brings you to this conclusion?

This review of Cesar Millan's Leader of the Pack was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 3, 10, and 15 year old Written byagentmom June 28, 2014
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Poor dog training made mainstream

I trained dogs for 10 years using all sorts of methods (even those shown in these shows), and this is not a good example for kids (or anyone) to be watching on how to train dogs! Cesar uses a lot of very hands-on techniques, jerking animals into submission (something small children should not try) with very little rewards, as well as a lot of flashy smoke and mirrors and borderline abuse techniques to get fast results for TV at the expense of the animal. By the end of every episode, the dogs are so afraid to do anything they "appear" to be trained! One episode shows him forcing a great dane onto slick floors to "get him over it", a method I'm sure most parents won't want their kids repeating on their dogs. If you're looking for something to help your kids have the rewarding experience of training a dog, look into Dr. Ian Dunbar's books on dog training. His website now offers videos and a listing of accredited dog training classes. Leave Ceser Millan in the realm of trash Reality TV where he belongs and far away from your dogs!
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Parent Written byr55wilson January 6, 2013
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Don't bother

If you want to watch game shows this one is for you. { and the winner is? }
What other families should know
Educational value

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