The Dog Whisperer. Inside the Life of Lucky Dog Host Eric Stonestreet

Introducing Eric from Lucky Dog

Eric is one of the hosts of Lucky Dog on CBS, a show that focuses on matching unadoptable and untrained shelter dogs with the right families. On the show, Eric works to rehabilitate and train dogs who need extra help at the Lucky Dog Ranch. He then finds the right forever home for each dog based on their personality and needs.

Eric began his career volunteering at a local boarding kennel in St. Louis, Missouri when he was just 15 years old. He instantly fell in love with working with dogs and devoted himself to learning all he could about canine behavior and training (Source). After moving to California, Eric met his wife Rashi and they founded the Lucky Dog Ranch. When the opportunity arose to turn the ranch into the Lucky Dog show, Eric jumped at the chance to help more shelter dogs find forever homes.

Eric’s Career Background

Eric started his career working with animals at a young age. As a child, he volunteered at local animal shelters and rescue organizations where he discovered his passion for helping dogs. After high school, Eric went on to study Animal Behavior at Meremec College in St. Louis according to During college, he began working professionally as a dog trainer at Petco while continuing to volunteer at rescues. Eric’s education in animal behavior provided him with a strong foundation in dog psychology and training techniques.

eric studied animal behavior in college and started his own dog training business in st. louis.

Shortly after graduating from Meremec College, Eric started his own dog training business called Happy Puppy Dog Training in St. Louis as mentioned on the Happy Puppy website. Through Happy Puppy, Eric gained valuable hands-on experience training pets and working with their owners. After running a successful training business in St. Louis for several years, Eric decided to relocate to Los Angeles in 2008 to pursue new opportunities. His passion for helping dogs and education in animal behavior set the stage for his future career working on the Lucky Dog television show.

Becoming a Dog Trainer

Eric first became interested in dog training as a teenager when he volunteered at a local boarding kennel in St. Louis, Missouri. He fell in love with working with dogs and learning how to understand canine behavior and communication. Eric went on to study animal science at Missouri State University, where he gained knowledge in animal behavior, physiology, nutrition, and husbandry (Source 1).

After graduating, Eric became a certified professional dog trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). He also earned certifications from the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) as a certified dog trainer and canine behavior consultant. These intensive certification programs gave Eric extensive education in dog training techniques, veterinary behavior medicine, and modifying problematic dog behaviors (Source 2).

In addition to his initial certifications, Eric continues to expand his knowledge by regularly attending conferences and seminars. He is constantly learning the latest scientific research on animal behavior and training methods to incorporate into his approach.

Training Approach and Philosophy

Eric utilizes positive reinforcement techniques to train dogs, believing this creates a stronger bond between owner and pet [1]. He focuses on rewarding good behaviors instead of punishing bad ones. Some of the positive methods he uses include giving treats, praise, and affection at the right times to reinforce desired actions [2].

According to Eric, using force, fear, or intimidation in training can actually worsen behavior problems. He feels that positive reinforcement builds a dog’s confidence, tapping into their natural willingness to work with humans [1]. Eric aims to motivate dogs through establishing trust. He sees training as an opportunity to deepen the human-canine bond [2].

When it comes to psychology, Eric views dogs as highly intelligent, emotional animals capable of solving problems. He strives to see the world through a dog’s perspective when rehabilitating and training. Eric believes in tapping into a dog’s innate abilities and instincts during the teaching process [1].

Overall, Eric relies on scientifically-backed positive reinforcement techniques. He rejects punishment-based training, instead focusing on canine emotions and thinking to elicit voluntary cooperation from dogs. His methods demonstrate a thoughtful understanding of dog behavior and cognition [2].

eric uses positive reinforcement techniques and avoids punishment, aiming to build trust with dogs.



Working at Lucky Dog Ranch

Eric spends much of his time working at the Lucky Dog Ranch, which serves as the primary filming location for the CBS show Lucky Dog. The ranch is a sprawling facility located in Santa Clarita, California that houses dogs in need of rehabilitation and training [1].

On a typical day at the ranch, Eric works with the dogs selected for that week’s episode. He evaluates each dog’s behavioral issues and temperament, then creates customized training plans. Eric employs a variety of techniques including positive reinforcement, desensitization, operant conditioning, and environmental management [2]. His main goal is to rehabilitate the dogs and make them suitable for adoption.

A major part of Eric’s job involves educating the owners who adopt the dogs. He teaches them how to properly interact with and train their new companions. Eric strives to ensure each owner is fully prepared to provide the dog with a loving forever home.

Rehabilitating Dogs on the Show

Eric works with dogs who need behavioral rehabilitation and training while filming Lucky Dog. Many of the dogs featured on the show have come from shelters and have troubled pasts, requiring patience and skill to rebuild their confidence. According to an article on Blue Buffalo’s website, Eric’s process involves first identifying the dog’s issues through consultations with the shelter staff and meet-and-greets. He then develops a customized training plan to reshape the dog’s behavior before matching them with an adopter (Blue Buffalo).

Some of Eric’s most challenging cases have involved dogs with severe anxiety or fear reactivity. For example, in one episode he worked with a German shepherd named Zeus who would panic and attempt to flee when approached or hear loud noises. Through desensitization training and confidence-building, Eric was able to help Zeus overcome his fears and find a loving home (Lucky Dog Facebook). Cases like this demonstrate Eric’s empathy, patience and persistence in rehabilitating even the most damaged pups.

Educating Owners

One of the most important parts of Eric’s job on Lucky Dog is educating the owners of the dogs he works with. As he says, “You can’t train a dog if you don’t train the owner.” [1] Eric spends time assessing not just the dog’s behavior, but also the owners’ approach, so he can correct any mistakes they may be making.

Some common mistakes Eric sees involve owners being too soft or not establishing clear boundaries and rules. He coaches owners on being calm yet firm pack leaders for their dogs by using positive reinforcement techniques. This means praising and rewarding good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior. Eric also teaches owners specific commands, routines, and tips tailored to their dog’s unique needs.

His approach focuses on understanding the root causes behind a dog’s problem behaviors rather than just the symptoms. By educating owners, Eric enables them to become better lifelong handlers for their dogs long after he is gone. His clear and simple training advice empowers everyday people to better communicate with and train their furry family members.

eric educates new owners on positive training methods tailored to their dog's needs.


Life Outside Lucky Dog

When he’s not rehabilitating dogs at Lucky Dog Ranch, Eric enjoys spending time with his wife Rashi and their young son. Family is very important to Eric, and he loves being a father. Some of his favorite activities include hiking, camping, and fishing with his family on their days off.

Eric is also passionate about giving back to the community. He and Rashi founded the Rare Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to helping underprivileged pet owners get access to training, veterinary care, and other services to keep their pets healthy and in their homes. The foundation holds free training and vaccine clinics and helps owners through challenging times.

In addition, Eric and Rashi own and operate Happy Puppy store and dog training facility in California. They work hard to promote positive reinforcement training and make it accessible and affordable for all pet owners. When he’s not filming Lucky Dog, you can often find Eric teaching group classes or private lessons at Happy Puppy.

Though much of Eric’s life revolves around dogs, he has many other pursuits as well. He enjoys being active and spending time outdoors – running, hiking, yoga, and surfing when his schedule allows. Eric also loves music and plays the guitar. He has performed at charity events to raise money for dog rescues (Source:

Advice for Aspiring Dog Trainers

Drawing on his many years of experience, Eric has some great tips and advice for people looking to get into dog training:

Tips for getting started:

Find an apprenticeship or mentorship opportunity with an experienced positive reinforcement trainer to learn hands-on. Eric recommends completing coursework and certifications from organizations like the Animal Behavior College. Consider starting by volunteering at local shelters and rescues to get experience working with dogs.

Network and make connections within the industry – attend conferences and seminars to meet others. Join professional associations like the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.

Start training your own dog using positive reinforcement techniques. This will allow you to practice and demonstrate your skills to potential employers.

Advice on training approach:

Focus on positive reinforcement techniques that build trust and confidence. Avoid punishment-based methods. Be patient and let the dog set the pace. Customize the training approach for each dog’s unique needs.

Invest time into understanding canine psychology and behavior. Success comes from truly connecting with each dog.

Collaborate with owners as partners in their dog’s training. Educate them on continuing training at home. Make the process enjoyable for dogs and owners!

Tips for finding jobs:

Look for opportunities at boarding facilities, shelters, rescues, daycares, and vet clinics. Many trainers are self-employed, so you may need to build your own client base.

Consider specializing in areas like service dog training, behavioral issues, competition training etc. Build your reputation in a niche.

Market yourself through social media, websites, local advertising etc. Reach out to veterinarians, pet stores and groomers for referrals.

Join professional associations to access job boards and build your network. Be willing to start out volunteering or working for low pay to gain experience.

Eric’s Legacy and Impact

Over his long career as a dog trainer, Eric has made a huge impact on the industry and views on dog training. He is known for his philosophy of positive reinforcement and force-free training methods. According to an interview in Meet the Hosts of CBS Lucky Dog (, Eric believes that “dogs do better without pain, fear and force.”

eric has promoted force-free, positive reinforcement training methods throughout his career.

Through his work on Lucky Dog, Eric has demonstrated how even the most challenging dogs can be rehabilitated with patience, compassion and the right training approach. As described in an Instagram post (, he and his wife Rashi have helped rehabilitate over 300 rescue dogs through the show. Their success has helped change perceptions on what is possible with positive reinforcement training.

Eric’s techniques and advice have educated countless dog owners on building strong bonds with their pets. His easy-to-follow methods empower average pet parents to become better dog trainers themselves. As noted in What Happened To Eric And Rashi On Lucky Dog (, many fans credit Eric with transforming their ability to understand and connect with their dogs.

Through his television work, training programs, and advocacy for force-free methods, Eric has left a meaningful legacy. He has helped change views on dog training and demonstrated the life-changing impact of positive reinforcement. Eric’s approach will continue influencing the industry and improving human-animal bonds long into the future.

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