Cesar Millan says the new president should be calm and assertive with a new dog

By Marla Lehner
Updated November 07, 2008 08:05 AM
Credit: Valerie Macon/Getty; Simon Dawson/Bloomberg News/Landov

When Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, and their two daughters move into the White House next year, they may have another member of the family to bring along: A puppy.

During his victory speech on Tuesday, Obama, 47, promised daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, that they’d be getting a dog for their move to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in January. So what should the First Family have in mind when looking for a pooch? Cesar Millan, the star of National Geographic Channel’s Dog Whisperer, has some advice for the Obamas.

First, don’t expect the canine to be impressed by the commander-in-chief just because of his resume. “The dog won’t know he’s Barack Obama and won the presidency,” says Millan. “Dogs don’t know if they live in Beverly Hills or the White House. They don’t know what you do for a living.”

The entire family should “play pack leader roles and greet [the dog] in a calm assertive way,” says Millan. And because they have such busy lives, Millan suggests a “medium energy level” dog for the family.

When it comes to recommending a breed, Millan echoes Obama’s campaign when he says not to judge a dog by its looks. “You could look for a rottweiler who is a medium level energy dog or a poodle who is a med level energy dog.”

Joking about his own background, Millan, who is from Mexico, adds, “In Mexicans we have low, medium or high level energy [people]. So it’s not a race or a breed. It’s an energy you are born with.”

As for what to teach Malia and Sasha about welcoming a new pet into the family, Millan says, “I teach my kids when you meet a dog, no touch, no talk no eye contact. Let the dog come to you. And keep a calm and stay assertive energy.”

That calm assertive energy is something Millan sees “coming out of Barack during his speeches” and advises him to maintain it – not just with dogs but with world leaders as well. “Animal leadership and human leadership goes together,” he says.

One last piece of advice: “Read my book Member of the Family,” says Millan of his latest work, which includes a step-by-step guide on how to introduce a new dog into a family.