If you have ever owned a dog, you will know the pride and sense of achievement you feel when your dog has mastered a new trick or behaviour that you’ve worked hard to teach them. Your heart swells to watch them sit, roll and even eat on command and you love them even more than you thought you could.
But have you ever wondered if your dog has what it takes to be on TV? What makes TV dogs so special and why are they paid to obey commands that your dog seemingly does on the daily.
Often, most agencies are looking for a specific dog breed, size, or colour (just like human modelling, it's all about the look). Beyond that, it's all about what your dog can do. Put simply, the more tricks your dog has up its sleeve, the more employable it will be.
Here’s a basic list of behaviours that your dog should already know before you consider signing them up to an agency:
Sit and stay for at least 30 seconds
Lay down for at least 30 seconds
Respond when being called
Friendliness with other dogs
Comfortable with children
Barks on commands
Will carry an object in its mouth on command
Will respond to commands whilst off lead
Will stay calm around everyday noises like the vacuum or cars
Is comfortable around water (pool or beach)
If your dog is ticking all of these boxes, your pooch has the basic requirements that an agency may be looking for. To give yourself an advantage against other pooch-competitors, try teaching them something unique like riding a scooter or skateboard or even jumping into the water on command. The more skills your dog has, the more employable it will be.
The second most important step is taking good quality professional photos. Clear, well-lit photos showing your dog from different angles are a must and will help advertisers decide if your dog's breed, colour, and skill level fit the requirements of the brief.
Above all, you should have fun with it. Enjoy the additional bonding time you will spend with your pooch as you teach them new tricks, and print some of the beautiful photos to put up inside your home. Don't be too disheartened if your pooch isn't chosen for a job, usually, this isn't a reflection of your dogs' ability but rather, the advertiser is looking for something very niche.