'Lucky Dog' trainer Brandon McMillan gives shelter dogs a new rep

brandon-mcmillan-lucky-dog-cbs.jpgBrandon McMillan has trained wild animals for the movie industry for years, and now he is helping to save shelter dogs -- and give them a whole new reputation -- on CBS' "Lucky Dog."

Zap2it has your first look at the premiere episode in the video clip below. We asked McMillan, how training rescue dogs compares to training wild animals, like lions.

"Dogs are actually a lot more difficult to train because I have to tap into the psychological aspects of their brains," says McMillan. "It's not just a matter of 'sit' and 'stay.'  With shelter dogs, it's trying to figure out what this animal went through. What is his history? I don't know. The shelters don't even know."

McMillan says its important to figure out a dog's history before starting a training program. Though he says there is one message he tries to send dog owners that applies to every animal, which is "capitalize on the dog's strengths." It's important to find out what a dog is naturally good at, and work with that dog's "natural talent," says McMillan.

For dogs who have ended up at a shelter, this trainer doesn't believe a single one of them deserves to be given up on. "I don't believe in an untrainable dog," McMillan says.

On the season premiere of "Lucky Dog," McMillan takes a dog out of the shelter who was covered in fleas and his fur was so matted, "he basically had dreadlocks." The trainer says this particular pup had the biggest transformation he's seen yet. "He almost couldn't walk right [in the shelter] because the dreadlocks were so napped up in his hair that he couldn't move his legs all the way. And so he was really uncomfortable walking around in his own skin." McMillan says that by the time he was finished working with the little guy, he could have placed in a dog show.

McMilan says every day 9,000 or more dogs are put to death in American shelters. By the time the first season of "Lucky Dog" is wrapped, McMillan will have saved 22 dogs from their certain fates.

Tune in to catch the first episode of "Lucky Dog" Saturday (Sept. 28) as part of CBS' brand new Saturday morning programming block, "The CBS Dream Team, It's Epic!" Until then, watch a preview of the premiere episode below:

Photo/Video credit: CBS