Watch the episode online and send it to dog-loving family & friends
An estimated 11 million Americans tune in to watch The Dog Whisperer on the National Geographic Channel every week—making host Cesar Millan arguably the world’s most famous canine behaviorist. And this week, he teamed up with undercover investigators from Last Chance for Animals (LCA) to give viewers a hidden-camera glimpse inside the dark and disturbing world of puppy mills:
Of course, Millan is certainly not without his critics, who variously charge that his training methods are overly-simplistic, unscientific, inhumane, domineering, and basically better for his ratings than for damaged dogs. As an animal rights advocate, I’ll admit to being rankled that he kept referring in the episode to individual dogs as “it” (instead of “he” or “she”)—which suggests that he thinks of them (on some level at least) as impersonal objects rather than autonomous subjects. And ultimately, with all that’s edited out of each episode, for all we know The Dog Whisperer could be about as “real” as, say, Survivor, The Bachelorette, or any other so-called reality show on television.
Despite whatever controversy Millan unleashes, I do think that he genuinely cares about dogs, and I’m glad that he used his show to educate people about puppy mills. I’d love to see him do similar exposé episodes about dog fighting rings*, the dog meat trade, and other issues affecting canines.
Write a quick email to Cesar Millan and one to NatGeo thanking each of them for helping expose puppy mills on The Dog Whisperer.
* Millan did guest star in an episode of the hit Fox Network drama Bones in which he helped real-life vegan actress Emily Deschanel shut down a dog fighting ring. Also, another NatGeo reality show, DogTown, produced a two-hour season premiere episode entitled “Saving the Michael Vick Dogs” that explored the violence behind dog fighting. However, as far as I can tell, The Dog Whisperer has not yet substantially addressed the dog fighting issue.