This week, I have been participating in our regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival this week. It has been crazy busy! But, doing their playwriting program, I witnessed a play reading in which the script called for a cat. A respondent kindly questioned after the show, “How will you train a cat? Animals are very hard to put onstage.”
It’s true! It got me thinking of all the famous dog actors out there who must be pretty smart for being able to learn blocking (a.k.a. how/where to move on stage and what to do.) So in case you have ever thought about getting your pooch into acting, read on!
Turns out, just as actors take classes to improve their skills, so do dogs! Anne Gordon is an advanced animal trainer, having worked on Homeward Bound, Air Bud, and many other animals movies. Her basic training classes teach dogs hand and verbal cues, and start to build physical distance between the dog and trainer. The dogs then learn basic cues such as “Mark”, “Head down” or “Go to”. Advanced training includes practice runs of what was learned with real actors on film and on a stage.
Anne Gordon is one of the only dog acting trainers that actually shares her “secrets” because she wants to help all dogs with their future acting “careers.”
So if you’re in the New York area and want your dog to be the next Sandy or Toto, look into Anne Gordon or go to her website. You might just have a doggy star or starlet on your hands!