HOW TO MAKE YOUR DOG MARKETABLE IN FILMWORK

DashDash was just hired for her second movie role.  Why was she picked instead of the breed that was originally requested?  Three reasons.

 

  1. She’s trained.
  2. I responded to the producer within minutes of her leaving a voicemail.
  3. She’s trained.

 

  1. She’s trained.

DashDash playing basketball

DashDash knows more than 60 commands.  She’s ready to compete in utility obedience.  She’s earned her RAE.  She competes in Excellent agility.  And when AKC rolls out their new Scent Work program, she’s ready to go.

The first movie she worked on was in January.  She needed to lie down on a dog bed with her head resting on her paws – one of the behaviors taught in trick class.  She needed to lift her head and look at me – down/stay for competition obedience.  She needed to stand – obedience.  She needed to walk from the dog bed through the door – trick class.  She needed to chase the stuntman through the house and after he slammed a door – she had to open it.

Opening a door was not already in her repertoire.  But, turning off the lights and stepping on the pedal of a waste can were.

If a producer and director needed to hire a dog for their movie and their decision came down to 2 dogs, which one do you think they would hire?  The dog that is so handsome that everyone who sees him during his walk needs to pet him, but he is only trained to sit, down, come, and walk on a loose leash?  Or the dog that knows 60 commands where 2 of those commands are similar to what is needed for the movie?

For this second movie, the dog that was hired needed to be able to nudge an actor.  This type of behavior could be easily trained through shaping.  DashDash has been trained to target many items with her nose.  So within 3 minutes I captured the desired behavior on video and emailed it to the producer.

If your dog only knows sit, down, come, and walk on a loose leash, how confident is the producer that you can teach your dog to nudge an actor?

Even though some of her tricks will never be used in a commercial or movie, when a producer reads that DashDash can play basketball or ring toss, he knows I have the skills to train any behavior they require and DashDash has the temperament to learn and perform.

  1. I responded to the producer within minutes of her leaving a voicemail.

As soon as I was able to return the producer’s call, I did.  I was not the only one they called.  But, I was the first one they spoke to.  And I cleared my schedule to meet with them personally on the day they wanted to meet me and my dog.

Many times I’ll call, email, or try to get a hold of a dog owner in some fashion, and they don’t return my communication for a couple days.  I ask for appropriate pictures and don’t get them for nearly a week.  When the dog owner finally contacts me, they tell me they’d be thrilled to have their dog work on a commercial.  Too late.  I already hired a dog the day before.

  1. My dog is trained.

The first movie DashDash worked on had 115 people working on the crew.

DashDash trains with several different dogs weekly. Additionally we compete in various disciplines and venues. She knows how to focus on the task at hand and ignore everything else.

If your dog is trained in your living room or back yard, how do I know your dog will perform in a chaotic atmosphere?  Take your dog to a class to get it used to working around other dogs and people. Earn an advanced obedience or rally title that requires off-leash exercises. Being able to perform without being distracted by people and dogs is required.

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