Max has been asked to be in a commercial. Of course, this sounds more glamorous than it actually is, since I work in TV and it just amounted to a coworker saying, “Hey! Can your dog do this?” But yeah… Max is gonna be famous.
That is, if he can do the trick.
What my coworker needs is a dog who will grab a particular doll, and run away carrying or dragging it. When my friend asked, I responded that I was pretty sure Max could handle it, since he loves to grab toys (and sometimes socks) and run around with them in his mouth. When I tell him to “go get opossum!” he’ll find his favorite toy and then run around tossing it in the air and shaking it.
He kills opossum about 17 times a day.
Yesterday I came home excited to begin training. I grabbed some treats in one hand and asked Max to go get opossum. He just looked at me.
“Max, go get opossum! Where is he?” Max tilted his head like he does when I’m chatting on about something, and sniffed at my hand holding the treats.
He made no moves toward opossum.
So maybe the treats were too distracting, since the reward is usually just playing with opossum, so I put the treats away and he did play with it as requested. Then I watched some training videos and decided to try a little clicker training with the command “take it”. I didn’t have the actual doll yet so I wanted to just reinforce the command for now.
Here’s his first lesson.
Right now I’m treating him for just mouthing the item, and next he’ll have to hold it for a second. After that, I hope to get him to bring it to me. That way on shoot day, he can pick up the doll, and I can call him from a spot behind the camera and he can bring it to me.
I got the actual doll this afternoon and showed him at lunch. He did show interest and mouthed it on the “take it” command so I’m hopeful.
He has until Tuesday. I know what we’ll be doing this weekend.