Training Animal Actors
Whether they appear in movies, a television series, or commercials, every animal actor
has been trained. Any well-trained animal can be a good actor. Good acting comes from
steady repetition and hard work. Animal actors must learn to perform in strange
locations, in front of many people, and under hot camera lights. A skilled trainer helps
animal actors overcome these difficulties.
Simply because an animal is extraordinary, does not make the animal an extraordinary
actor. It is the trainer who makes the animal a star. The trainer recognizes an animal’s
talents, and then works to develop them.
Dogs are the easiest to train because they have the strongest desire to please. Training
bears, horses or pigs is more difficult because, unlike dogs, they do not posses the
same desire to please humans. A relationship with these animals is more difficult and
Training an animal, whether for a simple or difficult task, requires consistency and time.
For instance, when teaching a new trick to a dog, a trainer/owner typically works with the
dog ten to fifteen minutes a day, EVERYDAY, on that trick.
The Clicker As A Training Tool:
The clicker is a tool that can be used as a conditional reinforcer. It makes a sound
similar to a tin cricket. The clicker is an invaluable training tool because it enables you to
shape behaviors that would otherwise be impossible to put on cue.
Animals become fascinated with the clicker. It’s incredibly exciting to watch them try to
figure out what they did to cause the click and get the reward. Remember — the
secondary or conditioned reinforcer (the clicker) represents the promise of the primary
reinforcer (the food).
Le PAWS Trainers