The Dog Whisperer TV Poster Image

The Dog Whisperer



Doggie therapy that's fun for the whole family.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The importance of responsible dog ownership practices is emphasized here.

Positive role models

Cesar Millan’s methods are respectful of both dogs and humans.

Violence & scariness

Some aggressive doggie behavior -- biting, loud barking, etc. Nothing too scary.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

Millan drives a bright red Jeep to visit clients. Sometimes he introduces branded technology into his training.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this show sometimes features aggressive dogs who bite or attempt to attack other dogs. Also, although some of the show's methods for dealing with troubled dogs may look easy, they shouldn't be attempted by untrained people, especially kids. Warnings appear on the screen to discourage regular folks from trying some of the expert's approaches, but parents may want to reinforce that message to younger viewers.

What's the story?

Cesar Millan runs the Dog Psychology Center in Los Angeles, where he rehabilitates troubled and dangerous canines. Millan travels to dog owners' homes to find solutions to their various doggie dilemmas. After listening to the owners describe their dog's issues, Millan is able to pinpoint the problem and almost instantly make some impressive changes in the dog's behavior. His philosophy is based on the idea that a dog's behavior problem is really a problem with its owner's behavior.

Is it any good?


The Dog Whisperer is a pleasure to watch for the whole family, and dog owners especially will find helpful information in the series. Millan is charming and highly skilled with both dogs and people, which explains the media's fascination with him. Since his methods are really very simple, and dogs' problems not terribly varied, the show's content can eventually start to feel a little repetitive. But Millan tries to mix it up, and some episodes step outside the framework, as when Millan visits a women's prison and teaches the inmates how to train dogs using his methods.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about pets. Would any of the methods described work for their dogs? What about for other pets? What kinds of changes would your family need to make to change your dog's iffy behaviors? Why do families think Millan is so successful with animals? How can his methods for dealing with dogs translate into dealing with people?

TV details

Premiere date:September 13, 2004
Cast:Cesar Millan
Networks:NatGeoWild, National Geographic Channel
Genre:Reality TV
Topics:Science and nature
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byzinfandog April 9, 2008

The Snake Oil Salesman of Dog Training

"I've never seen Cesar hurt a dog" is a common response by his fans, however he has hit, kicked, and strung dogs by their collars. He has used shock collars he has forced dogs to endure significant fear and stress. To the average television viewer, they are too hypnotized by the accent and dramatic music, not to mention the man explaining that what he is doing is not hurting the dog (while he hits the dog again). Rene Descartes assured his audiences that animals did not feel pain while he dissected live and conscious dogs and cats. Wake up people. This is not training. It's not even dog "psychology". It's old-school jerk the dog methods that resulted in the euthanasia of too many dogs.
Parent Written byLightflow June 14, 2013

His heart is in the right place, but his methods are too violent and dangerous.

I rated this as 10 and up because the methods used in this program have been connected to increased aggression in dogs, and a higher likelihood of being bitten. Since children are quick to copy what they see on TV this program should not be shown to children too young to understand that what happens on the program is something they SHOULD NOT try to do. I guesstimate this age to be about 10, but each parent should make that decision. Cesar Millan also is bitten several times on the show as well as very aggressive dogs being shown, and methods to confront those aggressive dogs that are not a good way if you want your child to avoid being bitten. Studies and reviews from experts have left them cautioning people to heed the television warning not to try this at home, and that the methods used can increase the chances of an aggressive response from your dog. Some of the violent behaviors on this program include hitting, kicking, and choking dogs, as well as using electric shock collars, prong collars, choke collars, or worse the improvised choke collar where he threads the leash through the handle (this will not release like a normal choke collar will, choking the dog worse than if a normal choke collar was used.) Pushing the dog down, using things like a tennis racket to keep a dog back (ending in the dog bleeding), picking a dog up by the scruff or neck, or just using a choke collar where there is not an immediate release, are all abusive behaviors that you don't want your child to think is right to use on animals. The good is that Cesar Millan shows that pit bulls can be trained and trusted among other dogs, as well as talking about the importance of exercise and training dogs. The bad is that he has no authority or training and uses non-scientific terms he makes up to give himself an air of authority. He also sells everything from books to supplies and food.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Parent Written bydoggymom September 30, 2012

Need more men like CM

Very nice program for dog owners. Cesar Millan seems so passionate about the special gift he has with dogs. To be able to communicate with dogs on a spiritual and emotional level is very amazing.....and to me, very "attractive" in a man. Why aren't there more men like him????!!!!!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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