‘Dog Whisperer’ visits Aspen | AspenTimes.com

‘Dog Whisperer’ visits Aspen

Katie Redding
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado

ASPEN ” If understanding Fido isn’t enough reason to go see The Dog Whisperer when he appears at a Friends of the Aspen Animal Shelter benefit on July 10, consider the impact it could have on your marriage.

Mexico-born Cesar Millan, also known as “The Dog Whisperer,” argues that improving your relationship with your dog might improve your relationships with humans, too.

Loosely quoting Ghandi ” “the way you treat your animals, you treat your people” ” Millan, speaking from his home in Los Angeles, suggested that people who are willing to learn to fulfill dogs needs will be better able to fulfill other humans.

During his four seasons on the National Geographic Channel, on his website, and in countless public appearances, Millan has argued that it isn’t pets who are the problem, it’s the owners. Famously insisting that he rehabilitates dogs and trains people, Millan travels to the home of the aggressive or difficult dog to see the owners and dogs interact in their natural environment.

“From the moment I open the door, I’m evaluating everything,” he explained. “Everything counts in the animal world, because they pay attention to everything.”

The biggest mistake humans make with their dogs, he has consistently argued, is to give them only “affection, affection, affection” instead of “exercise, then discipline, and finally affection.” (And he’s willing to contend that parents with difficult children may have made the same mistake.)

Always one to see dog-training as a metaphor for life, Millan also speaks out against “quick fixes” for dogs, or for life in general.

“Never think ‘quick fix,'” he says. “Think ‘be consistent with something that works’ While you’re not thinking about it, it becomes reality.”

Often called a “Dr. Phil for dogs,” Millan’s fame has grown into a pop culture phenomenon in this current age of the pet. With appearances that include parodies on “South Park” and “Saturday Night Live”; references on popular shows including “Jeopardy!” and Bravo’s hit series “Work Out”; appearances on “Oprah,” “Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Martha Stewart,” “Carson Daly,” “Today Show,” “The View” and “Live with Regis and Kelly”; as well as a cameo role on the hit series “Ghost Whisperer,” Millan has clearly captured the dog-loving public’s imagination.

Born and raised in Mexico, Millan has no formal veterinary training, but attributes his success to a natural connection to canines. Around the age of 13, he says, he noticed that there always seemed to be a pack of dogs surrounding him. His neighbors began to call him “El Perrero,” or “The Dogman.”

He traveled to America to pursue dog training as a career, and soon developed a theory of training that insists human owners learn to see the world through a dog’s eyes. His pilot on the National Geographic Channel was a hit, and his career has taken off from there.

Sadly, enlightening Aspen this summer will require that Millan leave his own dogs at home ” all 20 of them.

But The Dog Whisperer should have no trouble connecting with some furry friends in Aspen.

“Wherever I go in the world, I can always talk to a dog,” Millan pointed out. “I can talk to a dog in China. I can’t talk to a Chinese person.”

On July 10, Millan will first appear at a luncheon at the Cheryl and Sam Wyly Aspen Animal Shelter on July 10. Tickets for this event, which cost $250 each, can be obtained by calling 970-927-1771 or by e-mailing cesarevent@dogsaspen.com.

He will then appear at the Aspen District Theater for a show at 6 p.m., during which he will give a lecture, interact with several dogs and owners, and conduct a question-and-answer session. Tickets range from $50 to $150 and can be purchased by calling 970-920-5770 or visiting http://www.aspenshowtickets.com.

Later that evening, Millan will have dinner with 20 patrons at a local home at 8 p.m. Interested supporters can call 970-927-1771.

The events, sponsored by the nonprofit Friends of the Aspen Animal Shelter in conjunction with Aspen Wags to Riches and Norbie Zuckerman and his dog Charlie, will raise funds for a spay-neuter campaign in the Roaring Fork Valley and on the Western Slope.