Brandon McMillan has dedicated his life to working with animals — so much, in fact, that he hardly has time to date. Now, he’s bringing his work to the small screen with a new show for CBS called Lucky Dog, which premieres on Saturday, September 28th as part of “The CBS Dream Team” line-up. Each episode will follow the trainer as he adopts a dog from a shelter — one that’s hours away from euthanasia — and then brings him back to The Lucky Dog Ranch to be trained before finding the perfect family.
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This television opportunity is a logical next step in McMillan’s career. He grew up around animals as the son of two circus trainers, moving to Los Angeles at age 18 to pursue a new path. “When I left the circus, I knew I wanted another animal training job, so Hollywood was the ideal option,” he explains. “I started working with animals for the movies, but as we all know, movies come and go, so work would get slow a lot. I then began training dogs for shelters, a cause that’s always held a spot in my heart.”
The trainer speaks passionately about the treatment of shelter dogs in the United States. “I read the facts, and they blow my mind. Every year in America over 1.5 million dogs are euthanized because they can’t find homes. I wanted to find out why this was happening.”
Despite his concern, McMillan doesn’t condemn kill shelters, insisting that he approaches the issue from a different perspective. “My job as a trainer is to spread the word on how to train dogs and help keep them out of the shelters,” he shares. It seems that many pet owners simply drop their dogs when their would-be canine companion doesn’t behave properly. “They say, ‘You know what? Why don’t I just drop him off at the shelter? It’s just down the street.’ It’s an easy option. So I attack it from a different angle. I say, ‘Why don’t you take three days to learn how to train your dog? And he’ll keep quiet; he’ll stay; and he’ll walk on a leash properly.’”
When he’s not working the shelter dogs, McMillan helps pet owners train their dogs. He often works with couples who are struggling with differing views on puppy parenting. “The woman usually wants a dog to be more cutesy and more of a lap dog, while the guy wants the dog to be more tough,” he explains. It then becomes McMillan’s job to help the couple find a middle ground.
Before getting a dog, couples tend to disagree on the dog’s preferable size or breed. To this problem, McMillan advises, “Let the dog choose you. I constantly tell people to go in with a wide frame of mind, saying, “Whatever dog I feel connected to, that’s the one that I want in my family.” He also suggests that couples wait until they are “pretty established” in their relationship before adopting a pet to prevent a custody battle later on. “Dogs are becoming the new kids in America,” he wryly observes.
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The handsome trainer is raising his own pets by himself. He’s currently single because, by his own admission, “I’m so consumed by the show that I go to bed at around 9 p.m. because I have to get up at 4 a.m. We start every morning around 6 a.m. because I want to make sure we work the dogs before the heat kicks in every afternoon.”
Still, he knows what he wants in a woman. In addition to a love for animals, McMillan says his perfect mate would have to have a great sense of humor. “I’m a joker and a goofball. If she seems too serious, get out!” he says. “If I can’t laugh constantly with someone, it won’t work out.” An ideal date for him would somehow incorporate the great outdoors — something that’s easy to take advantage of thanks to the California landscape and shoreline.
For more information about McMillan, check out his personal site. Tune in for Lucky Dog on CBS on Saturday mornings!