LOS ANGELES – In Cesar Millan’s world, two groups most influence America: politicians and their dogs and Hollywood celebrities and their dogs.
“The rest of the population wants to do what they do,” he said.
So where does that leave Millan? Just about everywhere.
His National Geographic show “Dog Whisperer” is seen in more than 80 countries. He has three best-sellers and another book due out next month. He’s a frequent guest star on talk shows. You’d think that would be enough. Not for the leader of the pack.
Millan has added a magazine, Cesar’s Way, to his dog-driven empire. The first issue came out two weeks ago, with one more planned this year and six more next year. Millan dominates the cover, the stories – even many of the ads, but the 120-page debut issue is also chock-full of information.
There’s food that can kill your dog, including chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, sugarless candy, gum, raw salmon, mushrooms and turkey skin. And types of people medicine you can give your dog, and tips for traveling, eating and playing.
Future issues will include why homeless people can walk dogs off leashes and why blind people have such well-behaved dogs.
The magazine is focused on how you and your dog can grow, leaning on Millan’s philosophy that incorporates instinct with emotion, the spirit and the intellect.
“I think it’s quicker to achieve connection with a dog than a human because humans think too much,” he said. “Balance is happiness, harmony, peace, love. There are endless opportunities to create whatever you want with whatever you have. Some people have lost that.”
Photos of celebrities and their pets are featured in a section called “L.A. Paw,” billed as a “K-9 court, where Cesar’s dogs unleash their catty side.” Four of Millan’s many dogs are judges who comment in photo captions.
“That’s one media-savvy teacup!” observes Daddy, Millan’s 15-year-old pit bull, on a photo of Paris Hilton with Chihuahua in hand.
In a section called Tips & Whispers, the magazine offers the yappiest apps for your iPhone and debunks some dog myths like this one: A wagging tail is a sign of a happy dog. Fact: Not necessarily. “A wagging tail can be a sign of affection. But it can also be a sign of competitive dominance.”
There are two-page color spreads of doggie portraits, and a “True Tails” section featuring a corporate attorney turned animal talent scout and a police officer who married his dog trainer.
Jada Pinkett Smith gushes in another article about how Millan helped her – pre-Will – to boost her self-confidence through the training of her dogs more than a dozen years ago.
“We spent a lot of time together in the mountains,” she said of her friend, in the magazine. “He helped me balance.”
Millan, who offers a lengthy explanation of the pack theory, usually has 30 to 50 dogs around his Los Angeles home. At the moment, his pack is down to 15, among them the ever-present Daddy. He won’t call Daddy his favorite “because it’s all about the pack with me.”
But this man and this dog have been together for 15 years, since before stardom.
“He’s pretty much helped me raise my two boys,” Millan said. “He’s kept me wise in my marriage.” If there’s a problem, Millan will ask: “What I am doing wrong, Daddy?”
Pit bulls clearly hold a special place in Millan’s heart. The magazine has a spread on some celebs who own one – Adam Brody, Jessica Alba, Jamie Foxx and Jessica Biel.
The last page of the debut issue is a tribute to Daddy. Millan describes making him breakfast, kneading chopped beef with fresh herbs and boiled green beans chopped into thirds.
“Daddy is an old, old man now. He can’t do stairs anymore, and he’ll pretty much only eat his food if I prepare it,” Millan wrote. “I have never had a dog like Daddy. … I’ve been astounded by his intuition, consoled by his affection and awed by his silent empathy.”