A very long time ago I did some commercial and TV work with my dogs. Mostly I was the behind the scenes trainer, but sometimes I did demo’s with my dogs. It was fun, the pomp around it was kind of zingy and good energy, but truth be told I wasn’t driven towards that industry. I am always, I mean always grateful for work and that people think of me, but it wasn’t hard to walk away.
One of my new clients recently told me that she wanted to train with me because I turned down a gig on David Letterman. I had to laugh, does anyone turn down a gig with David Letterman? To set the record straight, I love this late night show, I think David Letterman is a crack up and have watched him for years. I was offered a spot on the Stupid Pet Tricks segment of the show, a freestyle performance. I told them I would do it if it wasn’t called Stupid Pet Tricks, otherwise I wasn’t interested in flying all the way out there. My children were young, I was competing, and I had a new business, I was busy anyway. They were super nice, as are all of the producers, and it just kind of drifted into a memory. I think they replaced me with the duck that ate cottage cheese out of it’s owners mouth It would be awesome to do someday, just wasn’t right at the time. Then along came Martha Stewart …
This summer I had a weird three weeks with offers for commercial work again, behind the scenes trainer work which I prefer. Truck commercials, alcohol commercials, and short films. I started to wonder who’s list was I on? One company was local and had some super good work, the other two were out of state, and the logistics at the time didn’t work for my family, bummer they would have been fun! Nice offers, nice people, kind of cool behaviors. As is the industry, hurry up and wait! Again, I am always grateful for work, I hope it keeps coming!
My dogs had about 1/2 of the behaviors on the various lists, so I set to task working some of the other 1/2.
Story doesn’t bark, he kind of moo’s, so getting him to bark was a bit tricky. I used a harmonica to get him going because he does like to sing to that, I was just waiting for the higher pitch kind of bark. I will continue to shape this over time.
$eeker is super quiet and only barks at our kids playing ball outside without him. I had to capture that. He was confused and happy at the same time when I threw meatballs at him for barking at the window!
Standing in the rain is similar to our sprinkler work, but their head needed to be a bit ‘up facing’.
Fetching keys was the hardest. They didn’t want metal in their mouths, so I attached a hard leather mini handle for them to grip. Then I allowed them to compete for the keys and that helped a bunch. Their final run will be fetching keys inside of a truck, and then running away with them through the rain (or not).
In this video clip we are working on session #2. I had introduced the new behaviors the day before, and we are just touching on them lightly again. It was fun to see their enthusiasm for the work. In commercial work you have about 10-14 days notice to train all of the behaviors they are looking for. Fast learning dogs that trust training are dreamy to work with!
fetch car keys in the ‘rain’
pick up car keys and run
stand on wobbly surface and stare at person
stand on wobbly surface and sniff face
stand in rain and look up
stand in rain with person and not move
bark in persons face up close
We have twelve more behaviors to start. Whether the work comes through or not, this is great for all of us.
Nancy … always curious, always inspired!