Monday, 27 June 2011

Lotterywest Super sleuth TVC

The film and TV industry is pretty small in Perth, but I do get to do a bit here and there. It was so much fun working with this little Chihuahua, Buddy. My colleague Tracey Lord and I work with three Chi's between us and this was what we got!

We started by teaching Buddy to target by clicker training him, canned chicken was Buddy's favourite treat. We began on the floor with clicking and treating for looking at a box, then for front paws in the box, all paws in the box and eventually jumping into the box. A box was chosen as it was much more stable than a handbag.

Once he was good with the box, we transitioned to a hand bag. We also had to add in jumping onto a table from a lap into the bag. All in two weeks, while working our normal job full time in addition to training a dog neither of us had previously met!

Jumping into a handbag or a box is a fairly easy trick to teach, but don't forget this amazing little dog left his home hom for two weeks to stay in someone else's house. After two weeks of training, he was asked to jump into that bag again and again for about an hour and a half on set with strange people fussing around, bright lights, filming equipment and cameras. Film and TV work is very challenging for animals and it is so important to ensure you use an animal with the right temperment for the role.

The production company, Factor 30, did a great job of making this advertisement!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Introducing Desma and her menagerie - part b

Just over three years ago, a pregnant cattle dog came into a local shelter and stole the heart of a good friend of mine. The dog gave birth to six puppies and were lucky enough to be raised in the home of a fantastic dog trainer. My friend managed to convince me to adopt one of the puppies, a little red male stumpy tail cattle dog.

He is such a fun dog to work with and he is doing quite well in agility. He recently won the Western Australian State agility trial for his height class in novice agility and excellent jumping. In saying that, he keeps me well grounded as he can be quite the ratbag when he chooses!

Our latest furry addition is Mr Cat Fantastic, otherwise known as Gunny. This cat came to me through my contacts in the vet clinic. Bengals are  not your average breed of cat. If you want a noisy, cheeky, nosey ratbag of a cat, then Bengals are for you! They thrive on interaction and need plenty of mental stimulation. He fetches toys, he steals food he's on the counter more than he's off it, but he is so much fun.

So, that's us. Two pairs of human legs and five sets of four legs. Ahh, but that is only 24 legs I hear you say! Where is the other four legs? The answer to that is my two lovely hens. My crew and I get up to a variety of different antics, stop in every now and then and share in the fun!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Introducing Desma and her menagerie - part a

Like many people, I have always been drawn to animals. Whether it was bugging my parents to let me have pet mice, or bugging my husband to let me bring home another needy soul. In the end, it is sometimes easier to skip the middle man and just bring them home. Poor long suffering husband, I do adore his patience with me. The compromise we have made is that Jason names the animals...

Currently, I have three dogs, two cats and two chickens. I love all of their quirks and do my best to give them all individual attention. As an accredited dog trainer, I cannot emphasis enough the importance of one on one time when you have multiple animals. It really does help in so many ways.

So, in chronological order - let's meet my first three furkids! We shall meet the others in good time.

Nine years ago, we started looking for our first puppy. I had been bugging Jason for some time to get a dog and finally he relented, along with permission from our landlord. I knew I wanted a rescue dog and I had been scouring the local shelters for a staffordshire pup. There we found Blake, (apparently) a Bull Terrier x Labrador. This was one high octane white and black devil!

He bounced out of his pen, biting and grabbing at the lead, flying this way and that. We were allowed to take him for a rather zig zaggy walk around the grounds and there was no doubt in my mind we had found our first dog. I can only imagine the frustration and grief he had caused his surrendering owner. The holes we filled in, the washing that was torn off and the dog toys we went through - I don't regret one bit. I love his enthusiasm, his intelligence and his devotion. And yes, he is still a high octane devil!

I started him in tracking training at the end of the 2010 season, he has already passed his first test (TD1) and we are going for our TD2 on Wednesday, wish us luck!

Shortly after adopting Blake, I started working as a Veterinary Nurse. I loved the people and the animals, but it could be hard, dirty work at times. Then one day, a client brings in a cardboard box she had found at a local park. In this box was one of my next furkids. The lady opened up the box and four pairs of eyes look back at me, two tabbies and two black and white kittens. I always hoped that the remaining three were as lucky as my little black and white girl.

So, I pick up some kitten supplies and took the little female black and white kitten home. When Jason comes home, "When is it going back?". To which I reply "She has no where to go back to!" So, Hammerford is added to our little family. Blake was besotted by her on sight, his most favourite thing to do is to get a face groom from his little feline buddy. She is a great little cat, sweet and tolerant.

After a couple of years I was feeling clucky again and set about convincing Jason we needed another dog. We did a little bit of fostering for the RSPCA, which worked out quite well but I never found I developed a strong bond to the foster dogs. I liked them and helped them where I could, but they weren't my dogs.

Then, into my life walks in a little tricolour Border Collie. We had a locum vet work with us for a week who had found this collie on the streets six weeks prior to her contract with us. This compassionate Vet speyed her and homed this dog with one of her neighbours. The dog wasn't coping well, sprinting in circles in the backyard, along with a myriad of other issues. So, I took her home for a trial over the weekend, needless to say Swan became a part of our family. She was very sweet, but oh did she have problems!