What is a Whisperer?

Cesar Millan’s Dog Whisperer premiered, largely unnoticed, back in 2004 on National Geographic TV. It ran for nine consecutive seasons.

It was followed by two more: Leader of the Pack, a 2013 documentary, and, since 2014 the series Cesar 911 (aka Cesar to the Rescue).

The “Cesar Milan Live!” tour demonstrates to live audiences his technique to “rehabilitate dogs and train people”. Owners of behaviorally difficult dogs consider The Dog Whisperer something of a miracle worker.

His cameo appearance on South Park, in an episode called “Tsst”, featured Millan’s now famous audio bite used to redirect a dog’s attention. In this “Tsst” episode, a frustrated Mom turns to Millan as a last resort for help with an out of control teenager. The episode drives home the point that it is often the inexperienced “leaders of the pack”, along with the dog, that need training.

Another whisperer of note is legendary horseman Buck Brannaman. Referred to as the “Zen master of the horse world” by journalist Nicholas Evans, Brannaman gained success in training horses by considering every response from the view point of the horse. He connects with horses like no one else, with an unprecedented understanding of the horse’s communication and nature. In his book “The Faraway Horses,” Brannaman wrote how he trains horses- and their owners- to work responsively with one another. He notes that creating a safe secure environment fosters confidence within that relationship which then makes everything else possible.

Brannaman was the inspiration for the 1998 movie, The Horse Whisperer, starring Robert Redford and Kristen Scott Thomas. It was this movie that introduced into our common vernacular the word “whisperer” to describe a person with a heightened sense of understanding for- and connection to- an animal or being;someone who uses that talent to better the community, and each other, in the process.

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