It’s difficult to resist the appeal of a cute dog on television or in the movies. They tug at our heartstrings and often live up to the title of ‘man’s best friend’. From the earliest days of film to the modern commercial advertisement, you can find a faithful companion in a wide range of media, showing off their practically perfect training and exceptional levels of obedience. But this level of intelligence is rarely an act of movie magic. Most dogs in film and TV are well trained and even-tempered, putting in hours of hard work with experienced trainers and dedicated owners to get to a level where they can confidently perform on cue. That level of dedication is often rewarded by a well-behaved dog and an even better actor.
No dog is born a perfect actor. While choosing a dog with the perfect temperament for learning and obedience is a crucial part of raising a good animal actor, the amount of work involved is much more important. A potential candidate must be well versed in advanced obedience, have an exceptional familiarity with multiple commands that are frequently used in canine acting, and overall be a good canine citizen in their day to day lives. Training to this degree has the potential to last several months, or even years, and is best started early. It’s a lifetime endeavor to condition a dog to take direction and the process should not be taken lightly.
The first thing that any owner requires before setting a dog up for Hollywood stardom is research. Research is important when deciding the path you’d like to take in the training of your dog, as there is no one proven method for training animals for the movies or TV, and knowing your options can give you and your dog a better head start.
In addition, your dog needs to have a good temperament. Aggression, fear, or an aloof personality can be very large obstacles that may prevent a dog from succeeding in entertainment. Not only will your dog be surrounded by strange people, things, noises, and possibly other animals, but they may also experience any number of situations that dogs typically do not encounter in reality. Your dog needs to be prepared for any and all possible settings, and so do you.