Cesar Millan, TV’s popular “Dog Whisperer,” brought his pooch Junior to the Palace Theatre on Sunday. The diminutive Mexican immigrant could easily craft a second gig as a motivational business speaker, mind control expert or mad scientist. He claims he “trains people and rehabilitates dogs.” Well, yeah. If he had told the Palace crowd to roll over, they would have.
The beauty of Millan’s appearance, though, was that he didn’t try to expand his market. He kept it all about the dogs. After a brief bit of his own story, he glided into a sort of Cesar 101. Fans of the show have heard these sound bites before, but in a live setting it seemed as much a master class as an evening’s entertainment.
If you think we didn’t come home and immediately tell our dogs to sit, wait and lay down, you’re crazy. If you think we didn’t bring each of them a McDonald’s dollar-menu cheeseburger, you’re even crazier.
Junior, a sweet-looking blue pit bull, occasionally pulled focus from his pack leader, lolling on the rug while Millan offered up a bon mot about his “nose, eyes, ears” theory or spoke of his grandfather’s “honesty, integrity, loyalty” code. But the dog behaved in such a way to suggest the celebrity’s methods really work.
Surprisingly, he rarely touched the animal during the performance, until finally holding him like a newborn near the end of a second-act question-and-answer session.
When he curled the beast up in his arms, he said, “Of course I treat him like a baby, he’s got his own website!”
Millan was often funny, entirely engaging and always in control of himself, the situation and his animal.
He held no quarter during his Q&A, keeping one nervous speaker on the microphone long after her will had passed and her comfort level shattered. But Millan wanted to make sure she was “clear” on his suggestions. He later confirmed to local writer Barbara Chepaitis that she was indeed the pack leader of her dogs, despite her husband’s doubts. He went so far as to say she wouldn’t be a potential client, because she was doing things right while roaming the woods unleashed.
Millan also made it clear that the best way to find a dog is by supporting local shelters, and we here at Nippertown will stand behind him on that.
Review by Bokonon
Michael Janairo’s review at The Times Union