Cesar Millan: Your dog doesn't care if you live in a flat, a palace or your car
The star of Cesar’s Recruit: Asia Season 3 wants to put the focus on training humans, not the dogs. It helps, he says, that Asian communities live "as a pack".
After countless seasons and spin-offs of Dog Whisperer, one would expect television personality Cesar Millan to speak at length about canines and issues with their domestication.
Millan, however, is more concerned about dog's best friend.
“It’s not about training the dog – the transformation is about training humans," Millan told CNA Lifestyle. "How to be kind, how to have empathy and compassion, how to set proper rules and boundaries, how to gain trust and respect from dogs.”
The 49-year-old Emmy-nominated dog trainer was in Singapore to film the third season of Cesar’s Recruit: Asia. This season will feature eight participants from across Asia – Singapore, China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand – who will all compete for the top prize of becoming the next Cesar's Asian Recruit.
Representing Singapore is Christine Seah, a fully-certified dog groomer who also happens to be the youngest among the contestants. The 28-year-old was a chef for a decade with a cafe of her own before joining the pet industry.
Unlike past seasons, the focus for Cesar’s Recruit: Asia Season 3 shifts from canine to the trainer. This season will see challenges aimed at equipping contestants with the essential traits required of a dog behavioural expert, including physical fitness, confidence and love.
“We’re looking at finding people who are not professionals. In the earlier seasons, contestants were already working in animal rehabilitation or were dog trainers. This time, we are looking at people who have the energy but are not necessarily professionals yet,” said Millan.
“It’s definitely a lot more fun, because the challenges that we put them through, anybody can practice it,” he added.
Presented by Subaru, the winner of Cesar’s Recruit: Asia Season 3 will also bear the title of Subaru Ambassador, where they will get the chance of a lifetime to tour with Millan and his live shows across Asia.
“Subaru is a family-oriented brand closely associated with active lifestyles and the outdoors and Cesar’s Recruit: Asia hits all the right notes for me," said Glenn Tan, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Tan Chong International Limited. "Cesar is an individual I respect because, more than his talent, he is extremely hardworking, driven, and most of all, positive and inspiring. I connected immediately with his passion.”
'YOUR ECONOMY DOES NOT AFFECT THE DOG'S HAPPINESS'
Asian culture, said Millan, might be an advantage when welcoming a dog into our homes.
“The advantage that Asian communities have is that you don’t live by yourselves," said Millan. "You guys live as a pack, as a family… If you bring a dog home, that dog should not belong to one person, but should belong to the whole family.”
In a Singaporean context, he urged potential dog owners to consider the importance of exercise over other factors like the size of the home.
“The dog does not occupy a big space. If you leave your house and go sleep on a bench, the dog is going to lay down next to you," he explained. "The problem is not small houses. If you don’t exercise the dog, that’s going to be a big problem.”
“The house is not the problem but the activity. You can live in a small place, you go to work, you come back and you’re grateful. But if you stay in that same place without going out, you’re going to get frustrated,” said Millan. “My goal is really help people understand that your economy does not affect a dog’s happiness. The dog doesn’t care if you live in a flat, a palace, or if you live in a car.”
For Singapore’s warm and humid climate, Millan is surprised at the number of long-haired dogs he’s seen here. He urged dog owners to offer special care to these specific dog breeds.
“Breed matters and Singaporeans love German Shepherds, long-haired dogs… I’ve seen a lot of huskies in Singapore, dogs who belong in the snow,” said Millan.
“But dogs have a great ability to adapt. There are also boots and cooling vests for dogs. For walks, preferably early in the morning or late at night.”
Above all, Millan emphasised that daily exercise is paramount to a dog’s happiness. Potential dog owners should be prepared to make walks a part of their routine, said Millan, while keeping these routes fresh.
“Once you master one sidewalk, you go to the next sidewalk. Because for the dog, as soon as you change him from one place to another, it’s totally new. It’s like you going to Hong Kong! Each sidewalk is a new country for a dog. New smells, new sights, new sounds. The whole Singapore can be extremely adventurous for a year.”
The first episode of Cesar’s Recruit: Asia Season 3 is expected to debut on Subaru Asia’s YouTube channel in June, with other network channels to be announced later.