Cesar Millan Reveals How Jada Pinkett-Smith Helped Shape His Career & How He Taught Oprah To Become Her Pack Leader

Cesar Millan is best known for his work as a world-renowned dog behaviorist, training people while rehabilitating their pets. Throughout the span of his more than 25-year career, he has become a New York Times #1 best-selling author, the host of several TV series, the founder of Dog Psychology Center, and most recently, the founding partner of Halo Collar.

He has helped numerous celebrities from Jennifer Lopez to Paris Hilton become their own pack leader to achieve balance and harmony. We caught up recently with the Dog Whisperer to find out how Jada Pinkett-Smith helped shape his career, discuss becoming a founding partner with Halo Collar and learn what it was like working with Oprah.

Photo Credit: Halo Collar

Can you take us back to when you first met Jada Pinkett-Smith, share some of the training exercises you gave her and her Rottweiler, and tell us how she helped with the successful path you are now on?

I first met Jada shortly after coming to Los Angeles and we immediately connected. I know I can count on Jada. She’s not only one of the most generous people I’ve ever met, she’s also one of the smartest. I first taught her the principles that it is not about the dog, but that it is often about us – the pet parent. It is up to us to create an environment and circumstance in which the dog can thrive and be itself. When she got her Rottweiler, I reminded her to keep the dogs in their natural state. Often the biggest mistake we sometimes make as pet parents is forgetting that dogs need exercise, discipline, and affection. Jada found my methods so successful that she helped to introduce me to influential people in the industry when I was just starting out.

Growing up in Mexico, you have said you never saw a dog on a leash until you came to the US. Now, dogs are not only sporting designer collars, but living a pampered life often better than a lot of humans. What are your thoughts on that?

I tell clients that the oldest collar in the book is the leash. I encourage collars and other designer items for dogs, but I always remind clients of the right way for the pet-parent relationship to be. We often enable our dogs and think of them as our “kids” so they often end up getting the upper hand, which is unproductive for both the dog and the pet parent. Pet parents still need to be the calm and confident “leader of the pack.” I encourage tools such as the Halo Collar, which will give your dogs rules, boundaries, and limitations.

Photo Credit: Halo Collar

Speaking of collars, tell us about the Halo Collar, what makes it so effective in keeping pets safe and how the opportunity came about to be a founding partner?

Halo Collar is the world’s most advanced pet safety and training technology by providing the ultimate boundary training for dogs to allow them to live life safely off leash, while giving pet parents peace of mind knowing that their dogs are safe. The Halo Collar makes bringing your dog wherever you may go easy to ensure that your dog is always safe and protected. You can create up to 20 wireless fences in the app and it does not require Wi-Fi or a cellular connection, making it easy to bring your dog with you wherever you go whether it be the park, work, home or on a walk. The app also includes my 21-day program including premium lessons and live sessions with expert trainers. I was approached from the beginning regarding Halo and this was an important cause that I wanted to help with as many dogs get lost or escape their traditional electric fences each year. I helped to not only create the training programs, but a design that I truly believe is the best for both dog and pet-parent.

Why do you think it is most important for you to train humans instead of their dogs?

Most people want to train their dog, but they don’t have the knowledge. It comes down to exercise, direction and affection. One must understand how dogs learn, which is through their nose, their eyes and their ears. It’s understanding how dogs learn, and it’s understanding what motivates the dog in order to properly train a dog. I train humans, and not dogs, because if the human doesn’t change, the dog doesn’t change. Humans are responsible for the outcome of their dogs. With the Halo Collar, there is a 21-day training program that I created and the first part is solely for the pet parent to understand their dog better.

Photo Credit: Halo Collar

What is it about dogs that make them so special and loved by humans in your opinion?

Dogs are social animals and by nature, they need to be in a pack and follow a strong leader. Each dog has their own unique personality and they are a human’s true companion due to their strong sense of loyalty. While I encourage people to let their dogs be dogs, we can still show our dogs and provide them with trust, respect, and love.

You have worked with everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Paris Hilton. What was it like working with Oprah to train her dogs?

I am very lucky to have the clientele and work with the people that I have over the years. Oprah was great to work with. It is interesting because she is someone that commands a room and gets respect from everyone she meets. She had one dog who overpowered her and the other dogs in the home, so that was something we worked on. We helped her once again become the leader of her dog pack.