Monday, November 25, 2013

Is your dog ready for Hollywood?

Since she was a wee little puppy, Bliss has had a real Hollywood Agent booking her on photo shoots, in television shows and movies, and in national commercials. Over the years, thanks to Michelle Zahn, owner of the professional pet agency, Le Paws, Bliss has enjoyed a busy career (especially lately, I guess Australian Shepherds are in vogue!) My favorite by far is the commercial she did earlier this year for a dating website called FarmersOnly.comCheck it out and you'll see why I am so proud of my baby!

People ask me all the time how to get their dog into acting and modeling. Of course, everyone thinks their dog is the cutest, smartest and best (as they should) but is your pet "studio ready?" Simply because a dog is extraordinary, does not make the pet an extraordinary actor. Some dogs who tend to be shy would not make good candidates because being in the lime light might cause too much stress. However, any well-trained dog can be a good actor, provided they learn to perform in strange locations, in front of many people, and under hot camera lights. A skilled trainer is your first stop to doggie stardom!

Good acting in the dog world comes from steady repetition and hard work. I knew Bliss was a prime canine actor candidate because she absolutely loves to be the center of attention! It was my responsibility to develop her natural talents. A dog needs to be solid on all off-leash basic obedience-- with distractions. Here is a basic list of what Bliss needed to learn before she was ready for her close up:
  • On your mark
  • Head down
  • Sit
  • Down
  • Stay
  • Speak (Bliss gets a lot of work for this one)
A good place to get started is by taking a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) class. A dog with their CGC Certificate has a good foundation for show business. Keep in mind, your dog needs to perform everything from a distance. Plus, your dog must be able to work with strangers because the actors will be in the shot, not you, the trainer.

Bliss does not get residuals for commercials. Hollywood considers dogs as property so the pay is not as good as it would be for a human actor. For commercials, I get paid as her handler anywhere from $250.00 a day to $1000.00 a day.

I wish I could do it full time because for me, getting paid to hang out with my dog is the most awesome way to make a living. Bliss loves to work in front of the camera and I love to watch her. By the way, Bliss just did a Ross commercial so keep an eye out for her! She's the dog catching the Frisbee.


  1. I've always been interested in getting Niles into modeling, but since we live in South Florida I don't really think it's very likely to happen. Seems like most of the agencies are out in California. :(

  2. This is awesome! Good job Bliss doing your down-stay during the Farmer's Commercial! We live in AZ, and I would love to get all my dogs involved in animal acting (but especially Terra, because she definitely has the diva personality and look ;)). Terra has also had experience in the studio and with some crazy costumes from me (I like dressing my dogs up for photos lol and they got to come to the studio on campus with me when I was going to school):
    We've also worked on quite a few tricks, and though we're working toward her CGC, she has her Novice Trick Dog. Here are a couple of videos of Terra in action:

    And a little short video story we filmed where she was the lead role:

    And all of these videos were quite awhile ago-she has learned so much since then and improved so much. She is doing great in her distance work and with her visual cues (no verbals). =) Would love to get involved in print work for sure, and maybe commercials later on. And if you have food, she is more than willing to work with you! lol

    Do you have tips about where we'd start or how to go about getting involved in animal modeling/acting? We are all ears!

    We checked out Le Paws, and are sad that it's only for animals in CA, or we would apply.... Do you also handle Bliss on set? We've heard of some people who have someone else handle for them, but I know I'd love the opportunity to handle my own dogs and build our bond even more :)

    ~Tiffany, Bella, Terra, & Kronos