Other than good looks, your dog is also going to have certain things that will give it the upper hand. Some of these include:
These four things are going to help dictate if and when your dog gets into showbiz. Though there are other factors to consider, these are the main ones and should be paid the most attention. Let’s take a closer look at each, one at a time.
Your dog’s temperament or personality is going to be critical if you want to get him into show business. If you have a dog that’s overly shy, hyperactive or stubborn, your chances of getting him into showbiz come down quite a bit. If however you have a dog that is obviously outgoing and knows how to socialize with other people, you immediately score plus points.
Proof of your dog’s personality traits will usually come when confronted with other animals. It is important to have a dog that can socialize and interact well with other animals and humans when trying to get your dog into showbiz.
Therefore, if you plan on trying to get your dog on screen, remember that it needs to have been socialized with other animals and people beforehand, as this will help it when it gets on set.
Coupled with proper training and dedication, having a dog with the right personality is going to be one of the biggest deciding factors when it comes to your dog being picked for any projects.
Conditioning your dog for all the sights, sounds and distractions of a professional set is also crucial. A production set will typically be awash with activity. People are moving around from one side of the set to another or walking in and out of the staging area, not to mention the occasional flash of light from cameras or strobe lights.
Sudden loud noises like bells and klaxons on movie sets can also be very disturbing for a dog, and, therefore, your dog needs to be conditioned to ignore such things and focus on the task at hand. Many trainers in Hollywood agree that the best dogs to have on screen are those that can work well with all the noise and distractions around them.
Conditioning your dog is just like training your dog, with a couple of differences. With conditioning, rather than teaching the dog to obey commands and do tricks, you are teaching your dog to ignore all distractions and equally importantly, how to behave and obey people other than yourself. If you can train your dog to follow commands given to it by a stranger whom you have shown can be trusted that will make a world of difference when you get on set.
Just like training, conditioning should be undertaken slowly and with patience. One of the best ways to get your dog used to the flashes of light you will undoubtedly encounter on set is to start by switching the light in the room on and off, giving the dog a treat when it stops being phased by the light. Once you get to this stage, replace the light with a flash and repeat the exercise and soon, the flashing lights will not phase the dog at all.
One way to condition your dog to accept commands from strangers is to recruit your friends and family. Get them to come over and go through a couple of tricks and training sessions with your dog. Every once in a while, get one of them to feed him and take him for a walk.
The more people you introduce to your dog, the more comfortable your dog will be when it has to face the multitude of strange people in a production setting. Dog behavior modification is an art form. Take a look at the Who’s Walking Who site for more advanced training.
Having the right representation for your dog is going to affect the kind of jobs that you and your dog get in the future. For this reason, it is important to get the right people backing you from the start.
There are very few talent agencies that work exclusively with animals, but there are quite a few that work with both humans and pets. Most reputable talent agencies are registered as employment agencies and as such, only take 10% of your pooch’s earnings. Legitimate agencies are usually tied to organizations like the Screen Actors Guild or American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
Many agencies will request an introductory letter, a photograph or photographs of your dog, and a resume for your dog listing (among other things) his size, weight, talents, breed, and whether it has a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate. The CGC is basically a certificate to show that your dog is not aggressive and is well trained.
The easiest way to document your dog’s talents would be to set up a website or to open a vine or Instagram page for your dog. This page would allow you to post short clips and pictures of your dog obeying different commands. If the agency likes what they see, they usually do not hesitate to call and set up an interview with one of their agents.