On Monday, we will launch our most exciting competition yet – “DOGTV: A Star in the Making”. Following the auditions that took place a couple of months ago, in which hundreds of dogs arrived with their owners hoping to be the next DOGTV star, you will be the ones who will vote for your favorite dogs by “liking” the audition videos we will post on our Facebook and YouTube channel. The three dogs who receive the most “likes” on Facebook and YouTube will be featured in the new DOGTV segments.
But what exactly are we looking for? What qualities do the dogs need to have? And, most important, what is it like to work with dogs on the DOGTV set? I’ve asked Jenn Cull, DOGTV’s dog coordinator, house trainer and the president of Doggy D Tails, to share some insights and information about working with dogs on DOGTV, how to know if your dog has what it takes, and if he or she can handle a TV set. Jenn explains many in D tails:
Jenn Cull: “When first asked to be a part of the onset dog training for DOGTV, I was thrilled. Having over 12 years of training experience, some of which was in the movie and TV industry, I was ready for the challenge. After talking with Ron Levi, the co-founder of DOGTV, I got a better understanding of what DOGTV is all about. If you know anything at all about DOGTV it is easily understood that it is strictly content for dogs.
As far as the filming aspect, DOGTV wants to capture the essence of being a dog; a dog in his or her natural habitat, so to speak. Lucky for us at DOGTV there are plenty of natural habitats in the domesticated dogs life. While filming for DOGTV, we really try to capture each dog’s personality. We allow the dog to be the director on the set and follow his lead. First, we see what kind of personality the dog has and go with that, whether we are filming a ball dog, a lazy resting dog, or something more specific such as a dog going for a car ride or a trip to the vet office. Some of the filming is done with the dog in the company of his owner and in the comfort of his own home. This makes the training easy.
Being on camera usually takes more effort for the human than the dog. Other scenarios may be less familiar for the dog star, such as filming in the studio. In this scenario it takes more initial training or desensitization to the unfamiliar area and the filming equipment. However, we still want to capture the personality of the dog and follow his or her lead. I use positive reinforcement methods to obtain the shots we want to achieve. For example, I may use a Scooby snack or squeaky toy to entice the dog star to pose just a minute longer for the camera. Overall, the onset filming for DOGTV is a very relaxed and fun environment so we can capture the dog doing what he enjoys most without interruption. Who wouldn’t love to live a day in a dogs life?
If you are a DOGTV fan, stay tuned for more. If you are new to DOGTV, tune in and be a good human!”
Jenn Cull, Dog Trainer of Doggy D Tails, San Diego