PUP IDOL MEETS CANINE
| "I'd like to thank my owner..."
Lassie, Toto and the Littlest Hobo
all had to start somewhere and if you think your dog has star quality
then Berkshire based stage school for dogs may just be the place to
Forget pushy parents
sending their little ones to tap, ballet and acting classes, in today's
pet crazy world, it's the four legged little ones that are training to be
Katie Rourke runs The Canine Film Academy at Smoothfield
Farm in Maidens Green, but insists few owners expect their pooch to be
the next big thing - for most, it's just a bit of fun.
The Academy offers three levels of classes starting with
Explorers. This class goes back to basics with commands such as sit, stay
and heel - perfect for even most shy and retiring pup.
A moment on the lips
a pose - Dave recreates this familiar image
A handful of treats for good behaviour soon adds up, so
instead the academy uses clickers to reward good behaviour - a method
originally used to train dolphins.
Once your dog has mastered the basics, there are a number
of disciplines that they can go on to specialise in including; flyball,
agility, heelwork and obedience.
For those pet pooches with natural talent and a penchant
for the limelight the school offers training for film and television work.
Owners are taught the skills to train their pet to perform
the same behaviours seen on your screen.
Incredibly there are over 200 tricks that your dog can
be taught including riding a skateboard, switching on the lights, packing
a bag and coughing on command.
So even if Rex doesn't make it to the big screen, he can
always lend a hand
or paw rather, with unpacking the shopping!
dog eyes - wannabe dogs are photographed for the academy's website
But what turns a pet pooch into a Hollywood star? We turn
to Katie for some advice.
"What I'm looking for is the right temperament,"
"A dog's got to be really confident about being on
set. It can't be scared of people coming at it fast with cameras and having
booms stuck under its nose."
The Canine Film Academy also runs photo shoot sessions
- after all - what star is complete without their own portfolio?
The pictures appear on the academy's website which can
be viewed by researchers looking for their next canine film stars.
try this at home - Dave is a trained professional!
But before you get snapping, the world of showbiz is a
fickle one and like Hollywood, what's in vogue today is out the next.
"If you've got something like a Labrador or Springer
Spaniel, we have them coming out of our ears," explains Katie.
"But if you've got a really unusual cross breed that's
bright and well trained then that's a really nice dog to have on set.
And if you really want to know what's in vogue this season
in the canine world, Katie reveals all:
"Jack Russells, please, more Jack Russells!"
So if you think your dog has got
what it takes, find out more:
The Canine Film Academy
57C Cheapside Rd
Tel. 07767 34 14 24
Or visit The
Canine Film Academy website