Discover the Filming Location of the Hit Show Lucky Dog


Lucky Dog is a popular reality television show filmed at the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, California. The CBS show follows animal trainer Brandon McMillan as he rescues dogs from animal shelters and rehabilitates them through training until they are ready for adoption. Lucky Dog premiered in 2013 and has aired over 150 episodes across 8 seasons.

The show aims to promote pet adoption and showcase McMillan’s training techniques for unruly, untrained dogs. Each episode features McMillan working with a different dog to improve its behavior and make it more adoptable. At the end of the episode, viewers get to see the dog happily placed in a new forever home.

Filming Location

Lucky Dog films primarily at a ranch in Santa Fe, Texas called the Lucky Dog Ranch. The 200-acre ranch provides the idyllic backdrop for every episode and is equipped with training fields, play yards, an agility course, stables, and the iconic red barn where adoptions take place.

The Lucky Dog Ranch was custom built for the show in 2014 by renowned animal trainer Brandon McMillan and CBS Studios. According to the Rancho Santa Fe Review, the ranch aims to provide dogs with a stimulating and enriching environment during their time on the show.

While the ranch is located in Texas, some filming occurs at partner animal shelters throughout the country. For example, a December 2021 episode was filmed on location at the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, California, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The Ranch

Lucky Dog is filmed at McMillan’s 15-acre ranch in Los Angeles County, California. The ranch is called the Lucky Dog Ranch and is located in the Santa Clarita area north of Los Angeles (Canine Minded). The ranch features a 5,000 square foot facility with deluxe boarding suites, 3 dog parks, designated walking trails, and a bone-shaped swimming pool for the dogs (Lucky Dog Daycare Ranch). According to the Lucky Dog website, the ranch aims to provide a “cage-free environment where dogs can roam, play, and stay active.” The sprawling ranch property allows plenty of space for training the rescue dogs and filming the show.


The main host of Lucky Dog is Brandon McMillan, an animal trainer and Emmy Award winner. McMillan has trained animals for movies and television shows for over 30 years. He focuses on positive reinforcement techniques and has a passion for helping rescue dogs find forever homes. McMillan has hosted Lucky Dog since its premiere in 2013 (source).

brandon mcmillan smiling with a dog he helped rescue and train

In recent seasons, McMillan has been joined by co-host Amy Posnack. Posnack works for the Helen Woodward Animal Center, the rescue organization featured on Lucky Dog. She helps select dogs for the show and is involved in their training and adoption process. Together, McMillan and Posnack make a great team dedicated to helping rescued dogs (source).

Rescue Mission

Lucky Dog focuses on rescuing at-risk dogs from shelters and bringing them to the ranch for rehabilitation and training. According to the Lucky Dog Animal Rescue website, the organization partners with animal shelters and control facilities to save dogs that are facing euthanasia. The rescue prioritizes dogs that are in critical need due to medical or behavioral issues, or that have been at the shelter for a long time.

The Lucky Dog team regularly visits shelters across the country to identify dogs to rescue. They look for dogs that need specialized care and training in order to become good pets. Once selected, the dogs are taken to the Lucky Dog Ranch for an initial medical evaluation and treatment if needed. They begin the rehabilitation process with the goal of making the dogs happy, healthy, and ready for adoption.

By rescuing at-risk and hard-to-place dogs from shelters, Lucky Dog is able to give them a second chance at life in a loving forever home. The show documents the journey of these rescued dogs as they undergo comprehensive training and behavioral modification needed for successful adoption.


brandon mcmillan working on training a shelter dog

Brandon McMillan uses a unique training method to rehabilitate the rescued dogs featured on Lucky Dog. His approach focuses on establishing trust and respect between owner and dog by using specific commands, body language, and energy. McMillan’s 7 Common Commands form the foundation of his training system.

The 7 commands are: sit, stay, down, come, off, heel, and no. As McMillan explains, “A solid understanding of these basic cues will get you and your dog on the same page.” (1) He begins training each dog using treats, affection, and firm guidance to reinforce positive behaviors. The dogs learn through repetition and consistency.

A key aspect of McMillan’s technique is energy projection and using calm, assertive energy to establish leadership. This provides the dog with a sense of security while enabling the owner to correct unwanted behaviors. McMillan states, “You have to get the dog to look to you for all his needs.” (2) This allows the owner to meet the dog’s needs while promoting respect. Through this training, McMillan transforms troubled dogs into well-behaved companions.

(1) Lucky Dog Lessons – Brandon McMillan’s Canine Minded

(2) Lucky Dog x Peggy Adams Training Series: Loose Leash Walking – YouTube

Adoption Process

Lucky Dog has a thorough adoption process designed to find the perfect match between each dog and adopter When potential adopters fill out an application, Lucky Dog takes into account their lifestyle, family composition, other pets, housing situation, and experience with dogs. They try to match each dog with a family that fits their activity level, temperament, and needs.

There are several steps in Lucky Dog’s adoption process. First, potential adopters must complete an extensive application so Lucky Dog can get to know them and what they are looking for in a dog. Next, adopters are matched with dogs that seem like a good fit. They then meet the matched dogs and spend time getting to know their personality. If it seems like a good match, they may proceed to a home visit where Lucky Dog ensures the home is safe and suited for that particular dog. Finally, once approved, adopters pay an adoption fee and get to welcome their new furry family member home. Throughout the process, the Lucky Dog team provides support and guidance to ensure a smooth transition.

By taking the time to carefully match each rescue dog with the right forever home, Lucky Dog is able to maximize successful adoptions. Their thoughtful process has helped hundreds of dogs find loving families.


Lucky Dog has had a significant positive impact on dog adoption, especially in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where the show primarily films. According to the Lucky Dog Animal Rescue website, they have rescued over 4,000 dogs since their founding in 2009 (Source). Their partnerships with local shelters have helped many dogs find forever homes who otherwise may have been euthanized.

a family happily adopting their new dog from lucky dog

Lucky Dog focuses on harder-to-adopt dogs who need extra training and socialization. Their trainers put in the time to work with each dog’s unique needs, making them more adoptable. This increases adoption rates for dogs who may get overlooked. Their national television exposure also raises awareness about dog adoption and responsible pet ownership.

The PetSmart Charities organization recognized Lucky Dog as a standout rescue group, stating “When Lucky Dog finds adoptable animals in high-kill shelters, this highly organized group begins matching fosters with fully vetted pets.” The show helps showcase the rescue’s thorough adoption process (Source).

Overall, Lucky Dog serves as an inspiration for dog lovers and helps deserving pups find loving homes.

Behind the Scenes

Lucky Dog provides a unique behind-the-scenes look into the filming and production of the show. Host Brandon McMillan gives an inside perspective on what it’s like to work with rescue dogs and train them for adoption. In one Facebook post, McMillan shares insights into training an older English cocker spaniel to become a therapy dog in North Dakota:

“How to train older dog English cocker spaniel who is 9 who grew up in kennel bred for hunting pheasant. Here in North Dakota” (Source)

Getting this behind-the-scenes glimpse into the show provides useful tips for dog owners and trainers while also highlighting the meaningful rescue and adoption work carried out by Lucky Dog.

Future of the Show

Lucky Dog has been a successful show for CBS and continues to attract solid viewership numbers. According to Brandon McMillan in a recent interview, CBS has renewed Lucky Dog for an 11th season that will begin airing in October 2022.

In the same interview, McMillan expressed his excitement to continue working with dogs for another season, saying “I never get tired of helping these animals. The transformations we see are amazing.”

brandon mcmillan with dogs excited for another season

Given the show’s popularity, CBS will likely continue to renew Lucky Dog for additional seasons as long as ratings remain strong. McMillan has hinted that he’s open to hosting the show indefinitely. It’s clear he has a passion for dog training and helping pups in need find forever homes.

While no formal announcement has been made, Lucky Dog fans can likely expect to enjoy several more seasons of heartwarming stories and happy pet adoptions. Brandon McMillan and the Lucky Dog Ranch are poised to keep making a difference in the lives of dogs and families for years to come.

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