Cesar Millan, Dog Whisperer
Credit: Photograph by James Minchin III
As the sun fades over Millan's ranch, Paul and Kelly Mack, who'd appeared with their dog Diego in season seven, arrive for a follow-up session. Millan had worked with the Macks on Diego's aggression issues, but recently the two-year-old, 110-pound Dogo Argentino attacked a bulldog, and Kelly had become afraid to walk him. Millan greets the couple with hugs in the parking area, and immediately things go wrong. Diego jumps out of the back of the Macks' SUV, charges the gate, and starts growling at Junior on the other side. While the Macks frantically pull Diego away and Millan's other dogs join in an aggravated cacophony, Millan strolls up to the fence, takes Diego's leash, and guides him gently back to the car. Once Diego is calm, Millan starts again. "We must begin in this state of mind," he says. "It's up to you, not him, to make the decision about when he comes out of the car. And it's best to do it when you're calm, and he's calm."

Millan then leads Diego through the gate to meet Junior, giving small, almost unnoticeable corrections when Diego strains at the leash. At first, the dogs circle each other tensely, and the Macks appear anxious. "Don't be nervous," Millan says. "You will feed the negative energy. I'm setting him up with energy that will help him succeed."

Within a few minutes, Diego and Junior are lying by each other's sides, panting in the sunshine. "Ninety-nine percent of what we've done is be calm," Millan says. "One percent is corrections. See, what happens is they were just looking for some order. Diego, when he jumped out of the car, he tried to take control. I reminded him: You're not in control. Junior's not in control. I'm in control. That's it. It's just a state of mind."

The Macks are silent; they look more amazed than enlightened. Millan continues: "This guy's a big strong dog, but he means no harm. His worst problem is tension and uncertainty. He needs leadership."

Next, Millan leads Kelly in a series of exercises to show her how to introduce Diego to other dogs. At the entrance to the dog run, Diego spots one of Millan's bulldogs, Mr. President. This makes Kelly nervous, because Diego has gone after bulldogs in the past. "Don't reach your arms out, like you are a fence trying to hold him back," Millan corrects her. "Make small gestures – become a fence of calmness. It's not physical. It's the energy you project while doing it."

"When you do it, you make it look simple," Kelly says, with a look of terror on her face.

"It is simple," Millan responds, with a laugh. "But that doesn't mean it's easy."