Bran­don Mcmil­lan

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Kids - AN­I­MAL WHIS­PERER

You’ve prob­a­bly seen him on the re­al­ity show Lucky Dog, on which he trains shel­ter pups and matches them with fam­i­lies who need them. He also works with other an­i­mals, in­clud­ing lions, tigers and sharks!

How did you learn to train an­i­mals?

My fam­ily were all wild an­i­mal train­ers. They learned from a very fa­mous an­i­mal trainer from 60 years ago, named Gun­ther Ge­belWil­liams. He was one of the best-known lion tamers in the world.

Have you worked with an­i­mals other than dogs?

The first an­i­mal I ever trained from start to fin­ish was a tiger. I was prob­a­bly 18. I raised her from a baby, and she be­came one of our best cats. You might recog­nise her from the movie The Hang­over. I also have a show on Shark Week ev­ery year. You can’t re­ally train a great white, but we film them. Some­times, we dive 40 m deep to film them.

Can a kid teach a dog a trick?

Of course! An easy one would be to speak on com­mand. All you do is go to the front door and knock on it be­hind your back so your dog can’t see. When your dog barks at the door, you make a hand sig­nal and say the word ‘speak’ over and over. Then you give the dog a treat. Re­peat that for a cou­ple of days and even­tu­ally, you won’t have to knock on the door any­more, just make the hand sig­nal and then say the ‘speak’ com­mand.

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