Describing breakfast with Cesar Millan defies traditional storytelling forms. The man best known for his role on National Geographic Channel's Dog Whisperer was in town last week to promote the next season of his show, but during a 90-minute meal at the Jefferson Hotel, Millan expended no more than seven minutes discussing TV. He spent the rest of the time sipping grapefruit juice and talking about breed popularity, men who don’t act like men, Oprah, discipline, dogs that live on military bases, dogs with irrational fears, excitable fans, and people who kiss their dogs. And he talked fast.
No sophisticated structure or narrative can be spun from this charming, peppy barrage, so this reporter reverts back to basics. Here are the ABCs of breakfast with Cesar Millan.
“Aggression”: The one-word answer Millan gives when asked to describe Oprah’s dog, Sophie, who bit other dogs for eleven years.
Beverly Hills dogs: “Most of them are not balanced. Most of them are on Prozac.”
Cats: “I don’t understand cats.”
Dressing like cats: “People dress like cats, but they want to behave like a dog. A lot of people like the prints, for scarves and purses. But they want to be like a dog. Sociable.”
Ex-favorite breeds: “Like pit bulls. Everything America falls in love [with], it eventually becomes afraid of.”
Fans: “They bring the iPhone and say, can you talk to my dog? It’s funny. I’m not a psychic. They want me to talk to their dog on the phone.”
Germany: Home of the world’s best-behaved dogs. “Structure to the max. It’s mandatory that you spay, neuter your dog. They don’t spend money euthanizing dogs. … you have to take classes before you can buy a dog. It’s like the DMV.”
Hayek, Selma: A favorite client. “She’s got a pack of dogs. Like 12 at once.”
Imitations: “I do a good cat. A bird, too. Especially a cockatoo.”
Japan: “Japan is actually the master of [using dogs as] accessories.”
Kissing: “I don’t kiss dogs. Because they lick butts. I would say millions, not hundreds but millions, of people kiss dogs on the mouth.”
Ladies: “Eighty percent of my clients are women. Charlize Theron, she just got a pit bull.”
Masculinity: When working with couples and their dog, Millan addresses the manliness of the man. “I help the guy bring his masculine side out of him. It was two girls living in the house.”
Number two: The rank of Millan’s magazine, Cesar’s Way, in the world of dog magazines. Number one: Dog Fancy.
Oprah: The most surprising celebrity phone call he’s ever gotten.
Presidential dogs: “For a long time, the White House has not had powerful breeds. I’d like to see a pack of dogs out of the White House.”
Quarterback Tom Brady: A client.
Regional differences: “People say, my dog is afraid of a broom. My dog is afraid of thunderstorms. I never saw this in Mexico. … A farm dog is a very polite. A city dog is not.”
Smoking: “If dogs could smoke, there would be a lot of dogs smoking in America. They have nothing to do.”
Titles: “They really think ‘the whisperer’ [means] I’m going to whisper. I never whisper. It’s just a title.”
Ungulates: The family of two-hooved animals, which includes pigs. “If you condition them well, they can stay on your sofa. The pig is pack-oriented. You can find truffles with a pig. He can make you a lot of money.”
Very political dog shows: “Unfortunately, it’s very political.”
Wisdom: Great quality of his now deceased pit bull Daddy. “Daddy had a lot of wisdom. He has his own foundation. $150,000 was collected in Daddy’s name.”
Lists of these sorts never have real entries for X, so forget it.
Young mind: All a dog, even the worst of dogs, needs to be trained. “As long as the mind is young, it’s not too late.”
See entry for X.