How to Get Your Dog Into Commercials

By Cindy Quarters

If your dog loves to show off and you think he’s the greatest thing going, he might have what it takes to work in commercials. To be successful, he’ll need to have a great temperament, be steady and focused no matter what’s going on around him and have plenty of training. If he’s got all that plus you to help him get on the set, he just might make it in the highly competitive world of commercials.

Consider Your Dog’s Temperament

No matter how cute or smart your dog is, if he doesn’t have the temperament to work on a set, he’ll never do well in commercials. Above all, your dog should be friendly and accepting of strangers. In many cases you won’t be allowed on the set while your pet is working, so if he’s upset when you aren’t around, he won’t do well in commercials. A dog who is friendly, outgoing and loves to be around lots of people and action may have what it takes to work in commercials.

Quiet on the Set

While people may be quiet on the set during the actual shooting, in between takes there can be a lot of noise and confusion. People, props and cameras may be moved around and your dog may have to adjust his position as well. A shoot may go on for many hours and involve lots of retakes. Your dog has to do well every single time. If he gets bored, upset, loses interest or refuses to continue, he’ll likely lose the job.

It’s All About Training

Your dog will need to be well-trained if you want him to work in commercials. He’ll need to understand basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, down and come. It’s essential that your dog is able to work reliably off leash and to follow all commands the first time they are given. Dogs working on commercials must know how to find their mark and stay on it. A good repertoire of other tricks and behaviors such as being able to crawl, limp, put his head down, speak and to go with an actor when directed are all useful for him to know.

Finding an Agent

Look for an animal talent agency in your area that is willing to take on your pet and send them your dog’s information along with a photo. Some such agencies also run training classes for prospects; enrolling your dog in these classes can be a good way to get him noticed. A talent contest is another way to help your pet get discovered. Watch the paper for notices of upcoming work in your area and see if you can get your dog into the background as an extra. Agencies are more likely to be interested in him if they know he can handle the stress of working on a set.