'Dog Whisperer' returns for final season on July 7

By Steve Larson

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, July 5 2012 4:54 p.m. MDT

This file photo taken Sept. 8, 2009, shows Cesar Millan celebrating his 40th birthday at the East Valley Animal Shelter in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles.

Richard Vogel, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

The National Geographic Wild channel will start airing the ninth and final season of the popular program "Dog Whisperer" this week. The final season will feature 12 new episodes, starting with back-to-back episodes on Saturday, July 7.

After starring in more than 150 episodes and rehabilitating hundreds of dogs, celebrity dog trainer Cesar Millan is making sure the final season is one to remember. It promises to be packed with Hollywood stars, new destinations, fast cars and lots of dogs.

The season starts with four episodes filmed in the United Kingdom. Once again, Millan must come to the rescue by correcting the dog and retraining the owner.

Later in the season, Millan works with actor Kelsey Grammer and celebrity fitness trainer Jillian Michaels as they both struggle to control their misbehaving canines. Additionally, Millan works with dogs owned by NASCAR drivers Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick.

Fans of this show should enjoy the final season. Millan's calm and reassuring manner time and time again works miracles on dogs and owners alike. The show does follow the typical reality show format by introducing a dog owner (through taped interviews) with a dog problem, then following Millan as he steps in to correct whatever the problem may be. At the end of each episode, the show does follow-up interviews with the dog owners to check on their progress.

While the show has been at times criticized for its use of training techniques, it has been nominated for an Emmy for best reality series three times and has won a People's Choice Award for favorite animal show.

Be warned, however. This season, Millan makes a visit to the Playboy Mansion West to work with Hugh Hefner and his unruly King Charles spaniel, Charlie.

According to Millan, he is grateful for the show's success.

"I am so thankful to all of the 'Dog Whisperer' fans that have embraced the show over the years and made it such a huge success," Millan said in a news release. "It was bittersweet filming the final episodes, but they are a lot of fun and turned out to be some of the best cases ever."

Millan also wants to make it clear he is not going away after the season ends. "And to my biggest fans, never fear, you haven't seen the last of me yet!"

It appears he won't be gone for long. He is currently working on a new National Geographic Wild competition series called "Leader of the Pack." It is scheduled to premiere in early 2013.

Steve Larson is one of the founders of Information Alliance, a Utah-based data collection company. He currently serves as vice president of sales. He spends his free time writing and practicing photography. He also enjoys spending time outdoors.

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