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Cesar Millan: Mastering Leadership (DVD Review)

5 Oct, 2008 By: Holly J. Wagner

Cesar Milan

Street 10/7/08
Special Interest
$49.99 three-DVD set
Not rated.

Anyone who’s ever loved a dog — especially an ornery one — can appreciate Mastering Leadership.

Dogs fill our lives with love, companionship, joy and often outright silliness, but they don’t all arrive in our lives with even temperaments. Millan, TV’s “Dog Whisperer,” offers his insights on how to become master of your canine pack.

The set is less about training the animals than about training the humans, but most often that’s what is needed. Millan’s point is that humans must accept that dogs behave on instinct, and see how people fit into the canine world. Once people understand that, they have a better chance of getting Scruffy to stop attacking the meter reader or Precious to leave their Manolo Blahniks alone.

The set is divided to facilitate that: disc one is “People Training for Dogs;” disc two is “Becoming a Pack Leader;” and disc three is “Your New Dog: First Day and Beyond.”

Millan lectures to a small audience situated on comfy-looking sofas and occasionally asks questions that sound scripted. But he isn’t a stiff podium lecturer. He shimmies and shakes in imitation of various dog and human behaviors, and some gestures get on-screen tags the live audience didn’t get.

The program also cuts in clips of Millan with the pack at his compound demonstrating behavior, and clips of other dog owners demonstrating mostly bad behavior.

The tips are practical and simple to understand. The hardest part for most people will be training themselves to stop relating to their dogs as babies — but that’s the point.

Our canine friends also can teach us a surprising amount about human relationships. Some of Millan’s pooch-training advice may also be useful for coping with difficult bosses, roommates and other dog-eat-dog human situations.

The title is fun and useful for anyone who has or wants a dog. This would be great in a dog-lover’s home library, but should also be a terrific rental for folks with unruly pets or people who want to overcome a fear of dogs.

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