Recently Ruckus was cast for a European Commercial for UPC Cablecom – I gather this is a very big deal in Europe. The animal work involved for this commercial highlights why I vastly prefer to use dogs with strong grounding in both obedience and movie actions. The scripted action for this shot was the dog sitting next to a man jumping up and down. The actual action was that and… a whole lot more (not all which appears in the final commercial). Because Ruckus has a huge background of obedience and movie actions it was easy to accommodate a bunch of on the day requests and keep the director happy. When we are in the casting process for a commercial I can’t tell you how often we are told things along the line of “the dog will just need to sit” and then the day on set comes and suddenly the sit turns into heeling with an actor or having to run in from off screen and hit a mark or some other previously unspecified action. Having good basic movie skills on a dog means that we can be certain to knock the shot out of the park no matter what it ends up being (well almost:). Proofing movie dogs for distractions is also important. Imagine having your dog doing a sit stay and then having a complete stranger come along and start yelling and jumping up and down RIGHT NEXT to your dog. This take a bit to work up to but you can start by practice having your dog perform actions away from your house and yard and use friends, neighbors and dog-friendly strangers to walk near and talk next to your dog while he or she is working. The more experience your dog has in new situations and challenging distractions the better he or she will perform on set. The agency that developed the UPC Cablecom commercial very nicely has allowed us to share their “making of” video. I think this is a great opportunity for people to see just how many people and components going into making a 30 second commercial! The actual commercial appears right at the end. This clip will also show you just how much moving equipment, noise and general commotion movie dogs have to deal with on set.