Why your pet may be the perfect pet talent

Why your pet may be the perfect pet talent 

When people first see my little dog Darcy, the word ‘beautiful’ or perfect pet talent star certainly doesn’t come to mind, with his skinny, long frame, pointy nose, missing teeth and wiry hair that sticks out in all directions. 

However, his scruffy appearance hasn’t stopped him from clocking up hundreds of hours if TV hour airtime, ambassador roles and photos shoots, with his adorable personality and cheeky character endearing him to advertisers and viewers alike. 

While of course, some advertisers are looking for pedigree looking pooches, coiffed and cute canines or strikingly attractive feline friends, there are many others that are looking for that ‘something special’ pet talent that isn’t based on just looks alone.

It might be a dog that can stare so forlornly down the screen that viewers are brought to tears by their desolate gaze, or grin on cue to make people laugh, or simply run around chasing its tail, creating chaos and generally entertaining audiences in the way only a fun loving furry friend can do. 

So, when I am asked what I look for when selecting pet talent for my TV shows, advertisements and other activities, there is not a one-size-fits-all answer. 

Sometimes I am looking for a certain breed of dog for an educational piece about that breed, or a puppy or elderly pet when discussing age-specific issues and advice.  Sometimes it is for a health case study, so we look for a certain breed or a dog that has, or has had, the ailment or injury we are discussing, meaning even limping, three-legged, blind, deaf and many other different types of pet talent have been required.

Then there are the pets that have a special skill or trick that can earn them a gig. I’m sure many of you, like me, have seen the current Budget Direct ads with the Jack Russell destroying the house with a lightsabre.  Every time I see it, I think of Darcy and his ability to pick up the biggest of sticks, carry them around proudly and taking out any body or anything that gets in his way and how he would have made the perfect pet talent for that ad.  

If you look at that TV commercial and think, like I do, that it could have been your dog starring in that ad, then that’s where registering with a pet talent agency comes into play.  When you do, it’s also really important to note any skills or tasks that you think your pet does or could perform (yes I guess even “carrying lightsabres in their mouth” is worth noting!), maybe even add some videos, so that the casting agents can see your pet for all it has to offer, rather than just looks alone. 

For Darcy, his CV looks a little like ‘could take on the role of a rat in a fur coat’, ‘a meercat’, ‘holds the World Record for staying in a beg’, ‘land a kiss smack bang on someone’s lips every time without fail’, ‘fetch a ball for a full 10 hour shoot non-stop’ and ‘leave hair on everyone’s clothes like no other dog can’.   See, the perfect pet talent right there! 

Of course, it does help if even the most polished pooch or imperfect pet can hold a sit, drop or stand, (you can check out my blog about that here), but sometimes, all they have to be able to do is sit on a chair or a lap and get pats or eat a treat.  

So, it really is a case of you’ve got to be in it, to win it, even if you don’t have the prettiest pet in town.

About the Author: Lara Shannon is a certified dog behaviourist and trainer, Executive Producer and Host of Channel 10’s Pooches at Play and Editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara runs her own dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area, is a sought after pet expert, speaker and Author of Eat, Play, Love (your dog) and soon to be released Dogs of the World (October 2021)