Cesar Millan wants everyone to consider this fact before becoming a pet parent, interview

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While he might be the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan understands that a great dog psychologist helps not only his four-legged patient but also the pet parent. The title of his current show, Better Human, Better Dog, captures that concept in clear, simple words. During a recent Q&A with Millan, he offered some poignant advice that anyone who is thinking about having a dog join the family should consider.

The choice to bring another living being into a household comes with much care. Even though many people might dream of having that constant companion, it is more than just a spur-of-the-moment choice. Just like picking a partner for life, asking a dog to join the family needs thoughtfulness.

Throughout his history, Cesar Millan has implemented concepts and techniques that have helped both pet parents and dogs to find fulfillment in their situation. The ideas are easy to implement yet can have a big impact.

Below is a transcript of my conversation with Cesar Millan.

Cristine Struble: It has been over 20 years since you were profiled by the Los Angeles Times and the concept of "fulfillment" was addressed. Does that idea still influence how you approach working with dogs and their people? 

Cesar Millan: Yes! I still use this method everyday in my teachings. All dogs need exercise, discipline, and affection - in that order. Dogs need a lot of exercise first thing in the morning. For discipline, dogs need rules, boundaries, and limitations, which is why I suggest Halo Collar which provides that for dogs. Once you give a dog those two things, you can show the dog affection as a reward. 

CS: Some people look to a dog as their way to help solve aspects in their lives where they might feel lonely, have a void, or otherwise have an emptiness. Is it better for people to work on themselves first before they bring a dog into their family? 

CM: When looking to adopt a new dog, the most important thing to consider is always the energy of the dog and how the dog will fit in with your lifestyle and your family. You want to make sure you are fully ready to adopt or bring a dog into your home so you can be the calm, cool, confident pack leader that they need from their pet parent. 

CS: In your television show, Better Human, Better Dog, you explain that behavior modifications are for both the dogs and the humans. Why is it vital for both groups to be part of the conversation? 

CM:  Halo Collar, which I am co-founder of, starts with a 21-day training program for the pet parent, which I created because the dog is a reflection of the pet parent. It's the human behind the dog that makes the dog the way that they are.  

CS: If people have bad habits, can those choices influence how their dogs act? How do you politely invite the conversation that dogs sometimes are more intuitive than what people realize? 

CM: Dogs feed off of the energy that their pet parent exhibits. That is why it's important for the pet parent to set the tone for their dog. For example, if the pet parent is extremely anxious, then the dog will read into that behavior and act overly excited or lash out. 

CS: How do you explain to people that inviting a dog into their lives is more complicated than just having an adorable, furry friend? How do you help someone who has never had a dog in their life understand how to choose a dog that fits their lifestyle? 

CM: Before taking a dog into your home, you should understand the energy of the dog, the culture of that breed and how it fits into your lifestyle. Dogs fit into one of three categories: front of the pack, middle of the pack and back of the pack. You need to find the breed and dog that works best for you and your family. 

CS: You currently work with Halo Collar. Why was it important to you to work with this brand and how is the company changing the perspective on providing a product which is beneficial for both dogs and their families? 

CM: Dogs need rules, boundaries and limitations. Halo Collar allows you to easily create those boundaries anywhere you go and communicate them to your dog in a way they will understand. The collar stores up to 20 wireless fences that you create, and continuously calculates when your dog is near the boundary to prompt them to turn around. The Halo Collar makes bringing your dog wherever you may go easy, even without Wi-Fi or a cellular connection. Halo Collar enforces the rules, boundaries and limitations even when you are not there to give pet parents peace of mind that their dog is safe and protected. 

Cesar Millan’s show, Better Human, Better Dog can be streamed on Disney+ and National Geographic as well as other platforms. More information on his speaking engagements, publications, and other partnerships can be found on his personal website.

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