Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Daizy n George's first commercial

Well......Daizy n George had their prepro meeting today to see if they could pull off being in a commercial. I was very worried, I didn't know how they'd react to the environment or strangers taking a leash and walking off with them while I was in the room.

I think they thought they must have rolled out the red carpet for their arrival. I love that about beagles (atleast mine)....the party doesn't start until they've arrived :P

They were a bit over the top at first trying to mug everyone for attention, until they realized it wasn't a party. I had everyone ignore them right off the bat, so I could praise any attention on me and any signs of calm behaviour. Ignoring their behaviour helps them calm themselves down. They stop to look at the big picture, realize no one's paying attention or partying, and then try to figure out what the appropriate behaviour is = just chill out with everyone, it's not time for playing games. It worked like a charm. They calmed down and took in the set, people watched and snooped around the equipment and green screen room. They got to cuddle everyone when we left and their job was done.

They were not fearful of anything, and took everything in stride. What a relief. You never know how they are going to react in a new environment, so I packed lots of stuff in case they would have a hard time. Boosting confidence by having fun with games, treats, and then having a blanket to curl up into if they needed an escape helps with my guys when something scares them.

I didn't prompt them to do anything, just watched their reaction to the experience. I find they'll give you all the information in their body language so you can fine tune what you communicate to them to help them build their confidence or blend into a new environment.

Managing people is a different story. I found the simple instruction of showing someone our handsignal to sit and asking them to say it once, not to repeat "sit" a challenge. One guy kept pointing at Daizy, asking her to sit, sit, sit.....while she was performing every trick in her repetoire to see if any was the right one he was asking for, while he was getting louder and frustrated!

Even after I stopped him, and demonstrated again....he did it again when I turned my back. Some people....

So this weekend we're practicing automatic sits when walking stops and waiting a minute before continuing. That way I can manage the guy, rather than him confusing my sweet Daizy.

I find that some humans don't stop to look at what we say or how we express ourselves and the affect it has on the dog. Daizy was confused and didn't know what he was asking her to do. I don't say sit a million times, so what the heck is it supposed to mean? He was pointing (which means jump up and touch my hand...what I taught her) and saying sit a million times in a row. Which confused me as well. Why say sit a million times and use a handsignal that meant jump up to her? Couldn't he see she didn't understand and was trying to figure things out? Everyone says sit differently, my sit might not sound like yours. I've seen dogs get more excited, anxious or the opposite, just shuts them down, they plum give up or ignore you when you repeat yourself. Once is more then enough. Follow up with the appropriate handsignal if they need help, a smile and cuddle when they plunk their bums down. There's lots of things we humans don't smell, see or hear going on in the background that dogs do, so sometimes it just takes a few seconds longer for them to shake off the background distraction and focus back on your happy face and do what you asked.

Now that I have a better idea what their part of the performance is, I'll be working with them this week & weekend to ensure they're able to perform on Monday (the shoot day) and have fun to boot. ...wish us luck! keep fingers, toes and eyeballs crossed please!


River said...

Good luck. That sounds really exciting!

love & wags,

snoutbeagle said...

Wonderful ... and wonderful write-up!

I think so much like you! One of my greatest joys is putting myself in my beagles "shoes" and figuring out what makes them react the way they do, what is making them tick.

I would feel the same frustrations with a human working with my pup presenting all sorts of confusing signals. Helloooo? Can't you see she's telling you all you need to know? C'mon! Work with her!

Do these people who are handling the pups during the shoot not have much dog experience. It seems they need much more direction than the pups ... not a surprise, knowing us humans!

Keep up the awesome work and I know you'll keep it fun for all!!


P.S. I did get your IM and wrote you back ... hope it went through!