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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lucky Dog is a reality series about one man's remarkable work rehabilitating and rehoming shelter animals. The heart-stirring stories start on a sad note, with visual evidence of unwanted or neglected pets, but, thanks to Brandon's devoted care, their physical and emotional transformations inspire. Animal lovers especially will enjoy the process by which these dogs get loving homes, and the show raises awareness about the plight of crowded animal shelters without delving into the harsh reality faced by dogs whose "time is up." In other words, the content is fine for kids, and everyone who watches will see great examples of responsible pet ownership.
What's the story?
Animal trainer Brandon McMillan is a superhero for homeless dogs, stepping in when local shelters are overcrowded and rescuing animals whose time there is up. He brings the dogs back to his Lucky Dog Ranch, where he tends to their physical and emotional needs before beginning intensive training to stop bad habits and facilitate good behavior. When the dogs are ready, he matches them with families hoping to adopt and trains each dog's new people in proper care and behavior reinforcement for a lifetime of happiness all around.
Is it any good?
LUCKY DOG is a feel-good reality series that affirms the joys of loving a homeless animal. Brandon's role in the process is essential, of course, but what's more striking than his incredible ability to train these challenging dogs is his devotion to their emotional needs. His is a philosophy of positive reinforcement that takes into account the dog's strengths, even if they're initially problematic. What to do with a dog who's a chronic jumper? Provide him with a constructive outlet for his habit, such as agility training with hoops, while teaching him to control the urge around people. It's an approach that respects the animal's complete nature and is a good reminder of the intrinsic value of even the most overlooked life.
Because Brandon's training process is relatively simple and the show spends a lot of time following the process from beginning to end, dog owners may pick up some helpful tips they can use with their own pets. But Lucky Dog's most enduring message is one of hope as Brandon helps create new bonds that are rewarding for both the formerly homeless animals as well as the lucky families that welcome them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Brandon's training methods. Did he use any that might be helpful to your own dogs? How is positive reinforcement used as a training method? What are the benefits of this kind of training?
What are some important factors of responsible pet ownership? What unique care do your family's pets require? In your home, whose job is caring for the pets?
Families can let this series inspire them to get involved in animal rescue work in their own communities. Learn about the needs of your local shelters. Can you fill any of them through the donation of supplies or your time? How does volunteer involvement support these organizations' work?
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