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Cesar Millan Has His Work Cut Out for Him in Better Human, Better Dog Exclusive Clip

The erstwhile Dog Whisperer espouses "calm energy" in dog owners, but what happens when someone has reason to be fearful?
  • Cesar Millan with human and dog clients in Better Human, Better Dog (Photo: National Geographic)
    Cesar Millan with human and dog clients in Better Human, Better Dog (Photo: National Geographic)

    Dog Whisperer With Cesar Millan premiered 20 years ago on National Geographic, and pet ownership has never been the same. Setting an example for your dog with “calm, assertive energy” is paramount in Millan’s philosophy, and, as he detailed in his 2007 book Be the Pack Leader: Use Cesar's Way to Transform Your Dog… and Your Life, “Discipline isn't about showing a dog who's boss; it's about taking responsibility for a living creature you have brought into your world.”

    Millan has long preached the belief that a dog’s behavior is the result of its human’s behavior, which, sure, can sound daunting, but it also means that, with some research and training of their own, humans can instill good behaviors and curtail bad ones in their pets. That’s the thinking behind Millan’s Dog Whisperer follow-up, Better Human, Better Dog, now in its fourth season on Nat Geo.

    In Better Human, Better Dog, Millan once again works to rehabilitate dogs with behavioral issues, but he also makes more concerted efforts to get their “parents” to understand just how much they can influence their behavior. The humans (as Millan typically refers to dog owners) have a hard time wrapping their heads around the fact that dogs can pick up on a wide range of emotions. For example, anxiety in a person can drive anxiety in their pet. But what happens when a human has good reason to be fearful?

    That’s the case for Ami, one of the humans working with Millan in this week’s episode. She has trauma from a dog attack, and her dogs’ aggressive behavior only heightens her anxiety. But, as Millan points out in this exclusive clip, there’s a kind of feedback loop of apprehension.

    ”We humans are directly responsible for our dogs' behavior,” Millan says. “Our calm confidence creates their calm surrender. Our fearful energy can spark aggressive attacks.” Ami says she’ll never “be ever completely calm all the time because of our experience with the fights.” She rejects the idea that her dogs might attack someone because she is nervous: “And I'll be damned if I'm gonna be blamed for just looking at my dog and him attacking something. I can't turn my dog into a killing machine just by looking at him.”

    Millan knows he has to tread lightly because of Ami’s trauma; he’s prepared to “do whatever [he] can do to support her and teach our responsibilities as pet parents.” But he tells Ami and her husband that humans “are 100% responsible for how we trigger our dogs.” Again, it’s not so much a damning indictment as it is an acknowledgment of the effect humans have on our dogs. If we can keep it together, we can keep them together.

    Find out if Ami and her dogs find their way to a path of healing when the new episode of Better Human, Better Dog premieres tonight at 8:00 P.M. ET on Nat Geo.

    Danette Chavez is the Editor-in-Chief of Primetimer and its biggest fan of puns.

    TOPICS: Cesar Millan, National Geographic, Better Human, Better Dog, Dog Whisperer