Millan's work focuses on handling a dog with what he calls "calm-assertive energy". He believes that dog owners should establish their role as calm-assertive pack leaders. According to Millan, dogs have three primary needs: exercise, discipline and affection, in that order. In other words, it is the owner's responsibility to fulfill the dog's energy level needs through challenging exercise; then to provide clearly communicated rules, boundaries and limitations; and finally, to provide affection. According to Millan, a common pitfall for American dog owners is to give a great deal of affection with very little exercise and even less discipline. He encourages owners to understand the effect their own attitudes, internal emotions and physical postures have on a dog's behavior, counseling owners to hold strong posture (i.e., shoulders high and chest forward) and to project energy that is calm-assertive.
Dogs have become closely associated with humans through domestication and have also become sensitive to human communicative signals. Generally, they have a lot of exposure to human speech, especially during play, and are believed to have a good ability to recognize human speech. Two studies investigated the ability of a single dog that was believed to be exceptional in its understanding of language. Both studies revealed the potential for at least some dogs to develop an understanding of a large number of simple commands on the basis of just the sounds emitted by their owners. However the studies suggested that visual cues from the owner may be important for the understanding of more complex spoken commands.
Animal behaviorists assert that using dominance to modify a behavior can suppress the behavior without addressing the underlying cause of the problem. It can exacerbate the problem and increase the dog's fear, anxiety, and aggression. Dogs that are subjected to repeated threats may react with aggression not because they are trying to be dominant, but because they feel threatened and afraid.
In 2009, Millan launched Cesar's Way magazine in the United States and Canada, for which he was the Editorial Director. The magazine combined advice from Millan along with articles about the relationship between dogs and humans. Cesar Millan's Leader of the Pack was an American documentary television series on the Nat Geo Wild channel which ran from January 5, 2013 to March 26, 2013. The next year, 2014, saw the premiere of Millan's new series, Cesar 911, on the Nat Geo WILD channel; in non-American markets, it's known as Cesar to the Rescue. In 2015, he teamed up with children's television veterans Sid and Marty Krofft to create Mutt & Stuff, a preschool television show for the Nickelodeon channel. Millan's son Calvin stars on the series. In 2017, Millan and his older son Andre appeared in a new series Cesar Millan's Dog Nation, which ran for one season starting on Friday evening, March 3.
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Unless you plan to keep your dog outdoors--and few of us do because it's not recommended--you'll need to teach your dog where to eliminate. Therefore, house training (also called housebreaking or potty training) is one of the first things you need to work on with your dog. Crate training can be a very helpful part of the training process. This includes house training as well as many other areas of training: