Cesar Millan, the 'Dog Whisperer,' helps out Montco K-9 with issues
Sting, a Belgian Malinois trained by police to detect explosives, has a problem. If someone reaches for his neck or pulls on his leash, he will turn and bite.
Sting, a Belgian Malinois trained by police to detect explosives, has a problem.
If someone reaches for his neck or pulls on his leash, he will turn and bite.
Enter Cesar Millan, the "Dog Whisperer."
On Friday, Millan visited the Huntingdon Valley home of Carol Skaziak, founder of Throw Away Dogs, a nonprofit that rescues potential police K-9s.
With the cameras rolling, Millan firmly took Sting's leash. The dog, clearly overstimulated by all the strangers in the room, tried several times to bound away but Millan held tight.
Sting tried to get close to Millan, but the celebrity trainer maintained a distance.
"He is very pushy, and that's not polite," Millan said as Skaziak watched. "I want to take the position of respect, being respected."
At one point Sting looked at Millan's face, but Millan averted his eyes and remained calm and assertive, just as he has taught for years on his TV shows.
"He'll learn to treat the house how we treat churches and libraries," Millan said.
Sting eventually relented and laid down. Millan began to stroke the back of the dog's neck. Sting accepted the gentle petting, accepting the touch as reward and not a threat.
"I was amazed at how Cesar handled Sting," Skaziak said afterward.
The amiable Millan was in Philadelphia this week to shoot footage for his new series, Dog Nation, which will begin airing in February on Nat Geo Wild.
He and his 22-year-old son, Andre, are on a tour of eight cities, spotlighting organizations such as Throw Away Dogs.
"When I heard about Throw Away Dogs, it really caught my attention because the [group's name] is strong, but at the same time it's true. We are throwing dogs away every day," Millan said.
Last year, Skaziak found a stray German shepherd with protruding ribs and a thinning black-and-tan coat. She named her Rousey, after former mixed-martial-arts champ Ronda Rousey, and began a weeks-long rehabilitation.
Rousey now serves as a K-9 dog with the Rocky Mount Police Department in Virginia. She and her handler, Officer Chris Shelton, also came to Skaziak's house to get a little screen time on Millan's show.
So far, Throw Away Dogs has placed 13 K-9 candidates with police departments, most recently a German shepherd named Titan with the Roanoke, Va., Police Department.
And the group is currently working with seven dogs, including Sting.
"He worked as a police dog" in Maine, but his handler left the force and the department asked Skaziak if she would take him. She agreed and has had Sting since April.
About six weeks ago, Millan's show contacted Skaziak's group.
"They actually Googled 'Philadelphia' and Throw Away Dogs came up," she said. "They found out we were on NBC Nightly News, so it all kind of snowballed from there," she said.
On Tuesday, Skaziak met Millan for the first time at Pat's Steaks in South Philadelphia.
"I had cheesesteaks with Cesar and his son," she said.
Millan had an initial meeting with Sting to assess the dog, then performed his hands-on interaction Friday.
"He has a profession, but he's also a dog. I want to connect with the dog in him," Millan said as he patiently waited for Sting to settle down.
The session was long, with step-by-step explanations from Millan.
As Sting showed improvement, Skaziak vowed to continue what the pack leader taught her.