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Discussion Starter #1
So I got my pup in May. He is about to turn 9 months. He catches on to tricks pretty quick. We have been working on hand signals as well. He will sit, down, speak, high five, shake, paw, bow, and roll over with just hand signals.

A group of friends and I are going to make a horror movie. It is kind of like Paranormal Activity as far as the haunting part goes, just a very different plot. Well in the movie, we want a dog to bark at the main "demonized" character. I have seen dogs do the whole growl on command thing and show their teeth so I want to teach these two tricks to my dog. They can be together or seperate (cause I could voice over the growl if needed). We can growl at him and he will growl back, and we've been trying to integrate the command "scary" to eventually initiate the growl (we tried "growl" but he kept bowing. Guess they sound too similar...) We can introduce hand signals and wean him off the verbal command fine like we've done everything else.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to illiciting these responses? I am having issues getting him to catch on. He is usually extremely quick. It took about 2 hours to teach him bow and the hand signal and about 3 more days of 10 minute sessions twice a day to get him solid on it. Any suggestions are helpful! I'd like to feature my baby in our production, but if he can't catch on it time we won't be able to get him in!
 

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Movie producers will often use an elastic band around the dog's muzzle holding the lip up in a 'snarling' position, to give the impression that the dog is growling. For added effect, you can combine it with a simple 'speak' command.

... this route might be less work, especially if time is a factor.
 

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Hmm thats an interesting back up plan! Well we have about a month. This is over Christmas and New Year's and I also will devote time to writing out the full script, so I will for sure be busy, but I'd like to try and get him to at least growl.
 

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I don't have a specific suggestion, just a strategic observation. You may be trying to teach the dog to evoke an emotion that goes along with the growl. The emotion could be anything - play, anger, whatever... you probably already know what the emotion is ... and it is not a problem. But the point is when you teach shake, sit, bow, etc., you are teaching a behavior. When you teach growl, the dog may think that you are eliciting the emotion rather than the behavior....

I taught my dog to bark on cue, then taught him to count. However, I couldn't understand why he seemed to tire of this behavior and why he barked with a very high pitch. Then, I figured out that he had learned to "be upset and bark" on cue, rather than just bark.... Finally after 10 years he has learned to bark without also emoting :)

If you can separate the two, it may be easier to put growl on cue.....
 

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Well when we have been getting him to do it, we use play and when he does it we cue "scary" and treat him. We try not to use the same toy so he doesn't associate one with the command. I don't really know how to do it any other way. He speaks on cue already. Actually, he knows speak, which he just barks for, and say please, which (on his own) he turned into almost a bark-moan. Its really cute! :)
 
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