Training dogs for movies, TV & commercials

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by JoelSilverman, Oct 10, 2008.

  1. JoelSilverman

    JoelSilverman New Member

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    Well this is the main reason I joined this site. I wanted to just answer questions you may have on how we train animals for film. I thought that if I did not know the answer to a question, I am very good friends with many of the other animal trainers in the business, and I can get the answers from them too.

    I thought that I might also be able to help you if you are thinking of wanting to train animals for movies, TV shows, and commercials too. Depending the city you live in, who knows? You might just be able to start a business for yourself. I would not mind helping you get started and let you know some of the most common breeds used, and some of the behaviors that directors ask for.

    Joel Silverman
    www.companionsforlife.net
     
  2. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    some of us already do.

    Its great you want to help. BUT you might get more responses if you got to know the place first.

    Are you a wrangler, or just a trainer? Personally I won't send my dogs out with a wrangler. (horses either but that has never came up.. you want my horse you get me too :) )

    Ok so how would you train a dog to open a book, flip pages and read? :p (sorry couldn't resist)

    Why do you think that food is not good to train exuberant dogs? Is that just a TV thing. Cause its the exact opposite to how most competative people train. (toys hype them up and over stimulate them)

    Do you do any dog sports along with your TV stuff?
     
  3. JoelSilverman

    JoelSilverman New Member

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    You do? That is very cool.... We must know the same people.. Are you in the L.A area??
     
  4. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    um no.. it says on my posts where I live.

    Lots of movies are NOT made in LA. And even more tv shows are not made in the US....

    I suppose we could know the same people, but I doubt it. If we did I don't think you would be posting the way you are about training.

    any answers to my questions?
     
  5. Boemy

    Boemy New Member

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    What behaviors do people most often want on TV, aside from usual things like sit/down? What breeds are most popular? (I'm guessing golden retrievers!)

    I see on your site that you train cats too . . . Interesting! I haven't trained mine to do any tricks, but I give them some problem solving exercises like getting treats out of bottles and such.
     
  6. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

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    nonsense. everything good about this world happens in California/USA. :p
     
  7. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    My friend Sassie does lots of t.v work, her dogs are regularly on Law and Order, she's based out of NYC. She also does very well in agility etc. Lol picking her brain is fun, especially about different tricks etc. Her articles in CR have been excellent on bridging and shaping etc.

    Joel, how do you teach hind leg lifting? I was starting to teach it to my stud dog but stopped for the moment bc I have two girls in heat. Not a behaviour that I want to reinforce at this moment lol.
    I'll just continue with the other behaviours that I am working on with him at this time, hopefully he'll be ready if I find the time to train............
     
  8. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    Training cats is a riot!!!! I trained one of the barn cats to do agility a few years ago, he could in a sequence (running), the dogwalk, tunnels, jumps, teeter and frame, never got around to the weaves :D He knew the contacts as well!!
    My house cats always did a bunch of tricks, its fun.
     
  9. noludoru

    noludoru Bored Now.

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    Like 20 people are going to jump on you now, you know. Do we need to put you back in your cage? :p
     
  10. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

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    Pfft! I'll sic my vicious USA dogs on them!
    :( I don't want to go back in my cage.
     
  11. Boemy

    Boemy New Member

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    Do you train them similar to how dogs are trained? I'd like to train my siamese mix to do more, he seems pretty bright.
     
  12. Kayla

    Kayla New Member

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    Joel- I am curious as to the different methods you use- I dont know of anything specific but curious how the selection of prospects, pre-training, on set- that sort of deal goes.
     
  13. JoelSilverman

    JoelSilverman New Member

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    Hi Boemy

    Actually, another common behavior that is called for is a "head down", and also a "head up"... a lot of time that takes place when the dog is laying in the floor. You are totally right .. Golden Retriever!!!

    And yes cats.. it's funny because so many people think that cats hard to train.. definitely different than a dog... and more challenging.. but it is amazing what they can learn
     
  14. JoelSilverman

    JoelSilverman New Member

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    Hi Kayla

    The pre-training can be a huge factor. A lot of times when we are bidding on a job like a commercial, sometimes there might be a behavior or sequence that needs to be trained. Sometimes you can get as much as a good month of two of training for a job that only is a one or two day shoot. Although those jobs come up very infrequently, and not nearly enough. In general we get about a day or two pf "prep" for a commercial.

    As far as the selection of prospects, I made a decision to do something a little different from other animal companies. Many animal suppliers have 25 to 60 dogs they have and own. It is a huge overhead and give them a lot of credit. For the past 3 years I have pulled a lot of my dogs from the private individual like yourself and payed the owner and used their dog. There are a few reasons, but the biggest one is that I can give the production company a larger pool of dogs to choose from. I have found that when I find the right dog from private parties, they work just as well if not better than a "movie dog".
     
  15. JoelSilverman

    JoelSilverman New Member

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    Hi Boemy

    I tell people that cats are different than a dog primarily because when you develop a great relationship with your dog, your dog really wants to please you and make you happy, and it makes training so much easier. That is really what my brand COMPANIONS FOR LIFE is all about, to develop that awesome relationship.

    Cats on the other hand are totally working for the treat, and they don't have the "wanting to please you" attitude that a dog has. (They may have that "wanting to please you" attitude, but it's on their terms) That is really the biggest difference. But it still is amazing what cats can do.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2008
  16. JoelSilverman

    JoelSilverman New Member

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    Hi Adojrts

    There are a few ways of teaching the dog to lift his leg like he is peeing. I have done it both ways.

    The first way is putting something elevated next to the dog and teach him to put one of his rear legs on it. You eventually start raising the object, and then fade it out. That is the quicker way. The only problem with that is that a lot of the time even after the behavior is trained as the dog lifts his leg, he reaches for the object. It kind of looks funny.

    The second way is more time consuming, but looks better, and that is to actually raise the hind leg with your hand. Eventually the dog begins to hold it up in the air on his own, and you just shape it that way. By the way, this is something that I would use a clicker in training too. Because the timing is so important.
     
  17. JoelSilverman

    JoelSilverman New Member

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    Boemy,

    Cool cat pics by the way!!
     
  18. Boemy

    Boemy New Member

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    Why, thank you! :D They're about six months old in my avatar picture. Remy (the tabby) looks about the same full grown, but Booster (part siamese) is more stripey now.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  19. JoelSilverman

    JoelSilverman New Member

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    Your Tabby/White cat... That look gets a ton of work for some reason. I cannot tell you how many clients have picked that color scheme of cat in the past few years. There are actually a few really good cat teams that have your cat's color in Los Angeles.
     
  20. JoelSilverman

    JoelSilverman New Member

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    Clarification

    I also wanted to everyone know that just because I train animals for a specific client does not mean I endorse or use their food. This year and last year I trained the animals in the IAMS and Purina commercials. However, I do not endorse nor do I feed either of these foods. They pay me to train the animals for the commercials, and nothing else.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2008

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