Show Dogs

A cop and his police dog are ordered to go undercover at a Dog Show to find perpetrators.          

  • Starring: Will Arnett, Natasha Lyonne
  • Director(s): Raja Gosnell
  • Producer(s): Deepak Nayar, Philip Von Alvensleben, David Womack
  • Screenwriter(s): Max Botkin, Marc Hyman
  • Distributor: Global Road Entertainment
  • Animal Coordinator: Birds and Animals
  • Release Date: Friday, May 18, 2018

Featured Animal Action

Throughout the film, there are dogs seen performing such mild action as sitting/standing/lying, being held or petted, and walking/running on or off leash. For all of these scenes, trainers used hand signals and verbal commands to cue the mild action, which the trained dog was accustomed to performing. The barking/growling was also a trained behavior.

In the scene where a boat approaches on the docks, a dog walks off boat and jumps on man knocking him down, trainers placed a Velcro contraption on actor, and placed a ball on the Velcro. On action, the dog jumped on the man grabbing the ball. The actor acted as if he fell down. When the dog pulled off the man’s fake beard, the trainer cued the dog to pull off the beard. The dog was accustomed to this action since they rehearsed it several times.

In the scene where the dog corners the man in the alley, the dog was held by the trainer. On action, the actor ran from A to B, and the trainer released the dog. Another trainer was on the other side of the set cuing the dog to run after the actor. The actor stopped at his mark while the trainer used a bait stick to get the dog to look towards the lock on the doorway.

When the actor arrests the man and the dog bites the guy’s butt, the trainer placed a tug toy inside the actor's trousers. Just before action the trainer showed the dog the area on the man’s pants that contained the tug toy. On action the trainer cued the dog, and he bit the man’s butt.

In the scene where several dogs sit in the Chief’s office and the Chief scratches his dog’s stomach, trainers brought the dogs to set and placed them on their mark. On action, trainers cued the dogs to move their heads left to right, as if they were listening to dialogue. When the dog jumps on the Chief’s desk and barks, trainers used a bait stick to get the dog to jump on the desk.

In the scene where the dog barks at suspects behind the glass of the interrogation room with his paws on the glass, the trainer placed the dog on his mark, the chair in the interrogation room. Just before action the trainer placed a padded arm on and cued his dog to stand with his back feet on chair and front feet on table, barking. He was rewarded with treats after the scene.

In the scene where the dog rides in the passenger’s seat of the car with the actor driving, prior to shooting the scene the trainer placed the dog in the passenger seat of the vehicle and then sat behind him in the rear passenger-side seat. During filming traffic was closed to the public. The vehicle traveled at a speed of approximately 25mph. In the same scene where the actor pulls the car into an empty lot and the actor and dog argue with each other, the trainer placed the dog in the front seat and placed a makeshift waist tie around the dog’s waist. He had a hold of the waist tie the entire time they rode in the car. The car drove about 25-30 mph down the road for a distance of about half a block and then pulled off into the dirt parking lot driving the same speed for a distance of about 30 yards and then came to a stop. When the car stopped the trainer in the backseat released the waist tie and the other trainer in front of the car called the dog using a squeaky tennis ball. The dog jumped out of the window of the parked car and walked over to the trainer.

In the scene where the lead actor walks into a trailer and meets the lead actress who is grooming a dog standing on a table, the trainer placed the dog on the grooming table and had his safety lead attached to the table’s frame. On action the actress pantomimed grooming the dog. .

In the scene where the dog limps over to the actor, the trainer placed the dog on his mark. Just before action the trainer placed a shoelace neck strap around the dog’s neck and placed his paw through the strap. This made the dog’s non-weight bearing on left foot so he hopped. In the same sequence where the actor walks the hero dog through a dog shelter where we see many dogs in cages, the shelter was actually a constructed set and all the dogs were brought to the cages by various trainers. They all had food and water through the scene.

Additionally, for the establishing shots of the red carpet for the Show Dog ceremony, trainers brought dogs to set, made sure all the dogs were provided with adequate food and water. Trainers used bait sticks to get the dogs to look at each other. All went well, all the dogs including the show dog background dogs did great in the scene.

In the scene where the dogs talk to each other at the pre-party at Caesar’s Palace, trainers were on set, cuing the dogs to look at each other. The dogs in the background were also with trainers who were dressed in wardrobe. The trainers used bait sticks to get the dogs to appear like they were looking at each other.

In that same scene where the dog bites the man’s foot, the trainer stood off-camera. On action, she released dog who ran and bit actor’s pant leg. Once the dog bit the pant leg, the actor picked his foot up and the trainer cued dog to come to her.

When the dogs are in the hotel room and the hero dog goes to the bathroom and closes the door with his head, the dog was positioned on his mark. On action Max pushed open the bathroom door and went to his second mark inside the bathroom.

In the scenes where we see models walking dogs down the runway, the dogs were brought to the set prior to filming to familiarize them with the set-up. Each dog was walked from the runway entrance, down the catwalk and a full circle of the arena.

When we see the dog with the green mask the dog was walked by the trainer and placed on the grooming table. The trainer applied the face mask and fitted a towel turban to the top of Max's head. The mask was made of non-toxic material. The dogs were removed as soon as finished and he had the mask removed using dry towel then warm water, as before.

In the scene where the hero dog bites the lead actor’s leg and he falls down, as before, the trainers placed a tug toy on the actor’s leg. Just before action the trainer got the dog to hold the tug toy. The trainers then gave verbal cues to the dog to hold the toy and release the hold on the trousers.

In the scene where the dog is run in circles and wins the first place in the Show Dogs, trainers brought their dogs to set, put them on their mark, and stood off-camera to cue them to stay still and look at each other.

In the scene where the hero dog jumps into the pool at the party followed by other dogs, the trainers used bait sticks and verbal commands to control eye line and head movements. On action the trainer threw a tennis ball into the pool and the hero dog immediately jumped into the pool, retrieved the ball and swam for a couple of seconds.

A lifeguard and another trainer were in the pool during filming both wearing a green suit. On cue the trainer assisted the dog to the ramp in the corner of the pool.

All pool dogs were stood near the pool, held by trainers or owners. The head trainer gave full explanation to the action prior to filming. He gave cues for the dogs to be released individually and on their own cues each dog handler threw a tennis ball into the pool and removed the slip lead immediately and handler gave verbal cue to their dog to fetch the ball. All dogs were towel dried immediately after exiting the pool, then taken to the dog holding area in the room next to the set and dried off completely with dog hair dryers.

In the scene where the waitress carries the dog to the sink after finding him in the frosting bowl, the trainer placed his dog in the bowl of frosting and waitress held him in the bowl. The trainers applied frosting to all three dogs beforehand. On action she was picked up around her waist and placed in the sink next to the Schnauzer.

In the scene where the dogs are on the rooftop overlooking the city and they kiss, production used stuffie/fake dogs for scene with the kiss. The rooftop was a set, not a real rooftop, so the dogs were never near a real edge.

In the scene with the agility course where the hero dog runs through the tubes and jumps over the high jump, prior to shooting the scene, the trainer practiced with the dog on the agility course. The dogs on the course were wholly familiar with the course and the jumps were measured to what the dogs could handle.

In the scene where the hero dog snaps at actor’s hand, the trainer positioned the dog on his mark on the stool at the end of the bed of the hotel room set. On action the actor approached the dog and touched his hind quarters. Max turned round and faced Frank. The desired action was barking at Frank. The trainer gave him the verbal cue to bark.

In the car chase scene where the hero dog tells the actor to drive faster, the scenes were filmed on set, on greenscreen in the background. The same kind of filming occurs during the plane in the hangar scene.