LOS ANGELES — Brandon McMillan has trained as many as 10,000 dogs for television, movies, commercials, videos and people. Then he started saving dogs from animal shelters, training them and finding homes for them.
When Litton Entertainment needed a dog trainer who would rescue, train and place 22 dogs in 22 weeks for a show called “Lucky Dog” for CBS, they didn’t have to look far.
He will start each week spending several hours at a shelter, evaluating dogs. That may be the hardest part, especially given that at least 9,000 dogs and cats are euthanized each day because homes can’t be found for them.
“I can only take one out. ... Often the one I choose just comes down to one I make a connection with,” he said.
McMillan, 36 and single, said the dogs will be proficient in seven common commands: sit, stay, down, come, off, heel and no.
McMillan will choose the family by evaluating emails he receives, and checking out the house and yard where the new dog will live.
At the end of the show, the dog and family meet. McMillan spends a couple of hours training the family.
Most of the dogs chosen for the show will be under 5 because that’s what the families have asked for.
Abuse will not be part of their past. McMillan can tell which dogs have been abused in the first 30 seconds he spends with them. “And I can tell you how they were abused in the first few minutes,” he said.
“Lucky Dog” is targeted to teens 13 to 16 years old, but McMillan is guessing a lot of moms will be watching.
“Lucky Dog” airs at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by another Litton show called “Dr. Chris Pet Vet,” which follows Australian veterinarian Chris Brown as he treats a variety of animals.
Along with four other Litton shows, they replace Saturday morning cartoons, abandoned by CBS because of increased competition. The new shows also fulfill the network’s requirement for educational television.