Cesar Millan

Puppy training with Cesar Millan

In his television show The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan makes controlling a dog look tremendously easy. If you follow his dog training philosophy which is based on exercise, discipline and affection, and manage to train yourself into becoming a calm and confident leader for your dog, then you’ll find that controlling your own dog may indeed be a much less difficult task than many fear.

The important thing to keep in mind from the very start is to make sure that you play your role as the leader of the pack consistently, offer your puppy sufficient exercise, establish boundaries and rules, and give your puppy plenty of affection.


For Cesar Millan, the most important factor to bear in mind when training a dog is to make sure that the dog owner establishes and maintains the role of the pack leader. The role that you as a dog owner is thus fulfilling is that which the alpha dog in a natural pack of dogs fulfills. By making sure that your dog sees you as the leader, you’re helping your dog to instinctively understand his place in the house and to look to you for guidance on how he should behave.

From day one onwards, it’s important to establish rules and boundaries. Start with narrow boundaries about where he can physically go in the house and what kind of rules he must follow.

Since the pack leader determines which dog eats first, use food as an opportunity to set boundaries. Most dog trainers will agree that one of the rules to establish is to make sure your puppy sits still while his food is poured into his bowl. This may seem like a trivial detail, but it has a large symbolic meaning to your dog.


Cesar Millan further advises to always make sure that your dog is sufficiently exercised. Just like with children, if they’re left with too much energy and boredom, naughty behavior is bound to occur.

Millan urges viewers of his TV show to walk their dog every day, aiming for an hour a day. If you can’t fit in an hour per day, any brisk walk is good for your dog’s mind and body (maybe yours too!), and is on top of that a great opportunity to work on different  leadership issues.

Walking your puppy the wrong way can undo any leadership work that you do in the house. Make sure that your puppy is walking beside or just behind you. In nature, the leader of the pack always walks in front, so if you let your puppy walk in front, or worse, have to pull your puppy back, you are giving the message that he is in charge instead of you!

Take your time to focus on correcting your puppy patiently and firmly when he tries to go take the lead. If he pulls, simply stop walking, put him in the correct place and try again. At first, you may only get a few steps before you have to stop again, but stick with it and he will figure it out.

Household issues

Finally, Cesar Millan advises to make sure you’ve covered all the common household issues before starting with formal training.

Start crate training and housebreaking your puppy in the first weeks that he comes to live with you.