Animals can bring joy to a person’s life. It can be a dog, elephant or lion that people tend to love. But the difficulty of taking care of them can be tricky. Celebrity Dog Trainer and host of the CBS show Lucky Dog Brandon McMillan has trained animals for movies, TV shows and commercials. He believes in people understanding what it takes to train a dog the right way. McMillan describes his life on being a trainer, getting tips from other trainers when he was young and trying to achieve a long term goal.
You were born into a family full of animal trainers and entertainers. What was that lifestyle like?
To me it was normal. Friends of mine, they looked at my life as an amazing fascinating lifestyle. But to me it felt like it was another day in the office. It wasn’t until later in life I looked back and realized it was a pretty incredible way to grow up. Slowly but surely realized that most people in the world will never grow up in a life like that. They will never have experiences like that, traveling the world living in different continents. By the time I was in my mid 20s, I have been to over 30 countries. You know that’s just not very normal for most young people to grew up like that. Most people had dog as pets, we had tigers, lions and elephants on our property.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Trenton, New Jersey. We bounced around a lot from carnivals to traveling shows. When I was 15 I took off from home and I lived in Hawaii for a few years. When I was 19 I moved to Los Angeles. I already had more experience than a lot of trainers twice my age. I started training animals for movies, commercials and television. Once again I found myself traveling the world doing that.
What caught your interest in training animals?
You know I was like a lot of kids, I rebelled against what my family did. I didn’t want to be another trainer in the family business and I was rebellious like that. But then I realized in my early 20s I was like wow I didn’t realize in my entire life I had been trained to train wild animals. All animals whether it’s a dog or a lion or an elephant. It’s all the same to me I don’t look at the animals any different, you just have to adapt to a different style and that’s kind of what I like about it. That is what pulled me towards it because it really is an amazing feeling knowing that you have a connection with an animal that’s three times your size and can literally tear you in half. But the connection you have with them you’re literally having this mental and psychology connection and the animal is doing what you say out of your skill level. Most people would get killed doing what I do, but I know how to do it through instinct and through conditioning from my whole life doing it. Animal training is a lot like martial arts. You have to do it so much where it becomes muscle memory so whenever I’m teaching the animal to do anything, it teaches the animal a muscle memory style move.