Some things really do run in the family.
In the case of 21-year-old Andre Millan, son of "Dog Whisperer" Cesar Millan, shared traits include a love of animals and TV star power.
The pilot episode of Andre's Pet Talk—Nat Geo Wild's weekly series of pet news and advice—will air right after the third-season premiere of Cesar's show, Cesar 911, at 10 p.m. on February 19. (Also see "How Your Pet Can Influence Your Love Life.")
National Geographic caught up with the junior Milan, who will be the show’s field reporter, about his exciting new job and a little about what it’s like to have Cesar as a dad. (Hint: He’s the alpha male.)
Is having Cesar as a dad like living in a pack of dogs?
I live on my own now, but when I lived with him, yes, it was kind of like that—he was the leader of the pack, the alpha dog. He’s the one who gives direction and wisdom and helps those in need. I learned my discipline from him. It wasn’t a dictatorship at all, though; my dad is very open to ideas and a very inviting, kind person. (How much do you know about dogs? Take our quiz.)
Are you as big a fan of dogs as your dad?
I love all animals, whether slimy or ugly or noisy, whatever. I don’t discriminate. My dad does focus on dogs, and around some other animals he might be hesitant. If it’s not livestock or other familiar mammals he gets suspicious; I can tell by a certain face he makes. And he doesn’t like snakes at all! If I’m going to be around them he gets worried, asks if it’s safe.
Tell me about your show, which airs right after your dad’s this week.
It’s a talk show for animals. We focus on awareness, prevention of problems, and having fun—all related to animals. I talk with veterinarians, police-dog trainers, all kinds of people, and I go out on the street to tell stories and talk to young people and find out the latest trends.
Can you give me an example of a trend you’ve covered?
I was just in Atlanta working on a “mini farm.” Mini pigs, mini goats, and others—these are really trendy right now, especially in California. So we wanted to check it out, find out how hard they are to keep. It turns out to be harder work than having a dog. We hope that by sharing that info with people who are thinking of getting into mini animals, we might keep unwanted animals out of shelters. (Read more about exotic pets in National Geographic magazine.)
Your favorite episode?
[The episode featuring] dogs used for law enforcement was the most amazing. These dogs are bred to sniff out blood, bombs, [and] diseases like diabetes, seizures, cancer. It’s insane! Think about it: We humans need machines, but dogs are machines. It was mind-blowing what they could do.
Have you been influenced much by your dad about how to do your show?
Absolutely. When I was a kid he used to take me on set to watch him do what he does, and of course I saw all the behind the scenes and got a sense of the lifestyle. I picked this work because of my father. I love animals and nature, and as a youngster I lived vicariously through him … I wanted to have that flair like he has. He gives me advice if I ask for it, about how to be better on the show—like, he’ll say walk with your shoulders down, avoid eye contact, stuff like that.
What do you want people to get from Pet Talk?
There are so many important messages that I hope people hear, like to spay and neuter their animals, to spend quality time with their pets, to prevent problems rather than dealing with them later, to teach the next generation how to care for their pets. I also want to help keep people from making mistakes and ending up with animals they don’t want. Our animal shelters are overpopulated enough!
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.