If you have a dog who is smart, cute, friendly and well-trained, he might be the ideal candidate for a job in television commercials. Getting your dog on television can be fun and possibly even rewarding, but doing it will take a lot of effort and persistence on your part. If you think your dog has the right stuff, there are some things you can do to help launch a career.
Make sure your dog has the right personality for the job. Animal actors must be able to handle busy, stressful environments and not be distracted by the presence of other people, unusual equipment or noises. A dog who focuses on you no matter what and isn’t stressed or frightened in new environments is likely to do well as an animal actor.
Train your dog in basic obedience. One of the best ways to do this is to enroll him in an obedience class. You'll work with an instructor who'll give you training tips, and you'll expose your dog to other people and animals outside of the home environment. Practice with your dog daily so he'll mind you no matter what is going on around him.
Add advanced training and special tricks to help your dog stand out from other dogs. These are specialties you'll want to be sure he can do without a leash. Acting is a highly competitive business for animals, just as it is for people, and your dog is more likely to get work in commercials if he can do things other dogs can’t. Teach your pooch to roll over, crawl, go to his mark and speak on command, for instance.
Take some good photos of your pet to show agencies and casting directors. These are comparable to the head shots an actor uses to promote himself. Select the best photo to use for initial contact, but have some ready that show any special tricks or expressions your dog may have. Video clips can also help your dog get a job, but don’t send them unless they're requested.
Get your dog any kind of movie or TV work you can. Often, agencies that provide extras for film work will need pets as well as people, and you may find that your dog can get some real-world experience this way. Create a resume for your dog that lists everything he has worked on. This helps casting directors know that your dog is able to handle working on a set.
Contact animal actor agencies, extras agencies and casting directors to inquire about opportunities for your dog to be in a commercial. Be prepared with his photo and resume, but don’t take your dog with you to a meeting unless you are asked to do so.
Dogs aren’t hired like actors, but are rented for a job, more like props. Even if your dog gets a job, he may not make much money from it, though pay is always negotiable. Keep your expectations realistic, and you won’t be disappointed.
You may be asked to bring your pet to a commercial set with little advance notice. Less than 24 hours' notice is common for small parts or if your dog fills in for another dog. If you can get there quickly, it will improve your chances of seeing your dog in a commercial.
- one tired dog image by John Sfondilias from Fotolia.com