Cesar Millan, star of “The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan,” holds a puppy named, Momo, as Azzy, a Shetland sheepdog, looks on during a break from filming an episode for the show Wednesday at Fort Hood. Both dogs belong to the Musser family.

By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Killeen Daily Herald

FORT HOOD — Cesar Millan is working his magic at Fort Hood this week as he and his crew tape an episode of “The Dog Whisperer” for Nat Geo Wild.

Three on-post families were selected for the show after a producer, Christina Lublin, led auditions last month at the Clear Creek Main Exchange. This is Millan’s first visit to Fort Hood, though he visited Marines in 2007 at Camp Pendleton, Calif., for a taping of his show.

Families of Azzy the Shetland sheepdog, Ginger the miniature bull terrier and Patches the border collie mix will get hands-on training with Millan this week as he attempts to reform not only the habits and behavior of the pooches, but also their owners.

People mean well, but sometimes they don’t have the right knowledge to help their dogs, Millan said Wednesday while preparing to work with Azzy’s family, the Mussers.

Capt. Mark Musser and his wife, Kim, got Azzy for their daughter, Layna, when she was 10 years old. Mark admitted that because of duty station changes, the family didn’t properly socialize the pup or know how to correct him. Seven years later, Azzy still goes crazy around anything that makes noise. Helicopters that buzz over his Fort Hood neighborhood and the Mussers’ lawn mower are his archenemies.

The family has joked since Millan and his show rose to prominence that if they were ever stationed in California, they should get help from the Dog Whisperer. Azzy caught Lublin’s attention at the auditions last month when Mark, Kim and their 8-year-old son, Micah, showed her a video of his shenanigans.

Being selected for the show and getting help from someone who was No. 1 at what he does was a blessing and a gift, said Mark, who is a

chaplain in the 2nd Chemical Battalion. It’s something the Mussers don’t take lightly, he added. Working with Millan was an amazing experience, Kim said.

Azzy’s constant barking was audible outside Millan’s trailer Wednesday morning as he talked about his philosophy and why he was at Fort Hood.

Millan has traveled the world helping people and their dogs; while people’s points of view may differ, the side effects on their pets are universal. Dogs show aggression, fear, insecurity and obsession, and those are symptoms, he said.

“The problem, it comes down to, are the humans who they live with,” Millan said.

In the animal world, he went on to say, it’s all about one’s energy, not personality, fame, money or intelligence. That means one must understand true communication or true relationships, not just the concept.

People often ask Millan for the right words to talk to their dogs. It’s not about words, he said. One could change languages every day, “but the feeling is the most important part that we have to become aware of.”

Millan’s goal during his visit to Fort Hood is to help the three families develop techniques to communicate with their dogs.

Azzy showed vast improvement after less than an hour of work with Millan. He waited at the open back door for permission before running into the house, co-existed with the lawn mower, controlled himself when Micah’s friend knocked on the front door and didn’t try to bark the Black Hawks out of the sky.

“It’s 360,” Layna said of Azzy’s transformation. “It’s incredible.

“You just can’t really describe it.”

Millan is set to spend today working with Ginger, a member of the 289th Quartermaster Company’s Sissom family. Ginger is “super excitable,” out of control and strong, Lublin said.

Patches is a member of the 1st Battalion, 44th Air Missile Defense Artillery Regiment’s Walker family. She is fearful of much, including soldiers in uniform. The Walkers were Millan’s first stop and Patches has since spent day and night with him. Millan is wearing an Army Combat Uniform during his visit as part of Patches’ therapy.

To read more about what Millan said about Patches’ situation and how it relates to helping dogs and soldiers, read next week’s Fort Hood Herald.

Meet the Dog Whisperer

Fans of Cesar Millan and “The Dog Whisperer” can meet him from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Friday at Fort Hood’s Clear Creek Main Exchange. The store is at 50006 Clear Creek Road, just inside the Clear Creek Gate.

The Fort Hood episode of Millan’s show, which is set to include footage from a visit with the post’s military working dogs, is expected to air next year on Nat Geo Wild.