Saturday, January 12, 2013

NEW BLOG!

NEW BLOG!

Please go to my new blog at:   www.thecityfarm.com/category/pet

I will have giveaways of collars and leashes from my new pet collection and giveaways of my book A Famous Dogs Life.

I am looking for referrals WORLD WIDE of places you have stayed and visited with your pets - please write to me and tell me your recommendations for hotels, restaurants, stores, airlines etc.


Thanks everyone!

Getting ready to shoot a new Travelers Insurance commercial!   

 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Hi Everybody!

I know I have been slacking in the posts lately - thats because I have been focusing on a new blog!

I was recently asked by The City Farm (www.thecityfarm.com) to not only create a wonderful line of dog collars and leashes, but to also write a blog detailing my crazy life as a trainer for the studios, as well as lots of fun training information and pet friendly places to visit and stay.

So please go to: http://thecityfarm.com/category/pet/ to read the new blog and take a look at this wonderful new lifestyle brand that will bring you beautiful products from all over the world!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Charabanc

I know I'm a little behind the times. I only just now watched Downton Abbey.  Both the first and second season and I'm hooked.

I love watching period pieces from this era. I can imagine my grandfather living during these times and get a sense of what his life was like.

One of the cool things I see on this show is a type of bus called a Charabanc. It's been featured a few times - not sure if it's a real Charabanc or a reproduction made specifically for the show, but either way I wanted to share a family photo of my great grandparents taking a ride in a Charabanc!!!





Friday, June 22, 2012

Camera Awesome!


 For the first time in my life I headed out of the country without ANY cameras.  I like to take my "real" cameras with me when I travel, my Nikons, with various lenses.  At the very least, my Panasonic point and shoot.  I thought I would regret it.  But recently I went away and only took with me my iPhone 4.  I never really used it as a phone as it gets ridiculously expensive (instead I bought a cheap pay as you go phone - which is much better!) but I did use the camera.  The new iPhone has an 8mp camera and can shoot 1080p HD video.  Which is pretty amazing - but what I am really addicted to is the apps you can get in photography.  I have most of them, as I always have to check out the new ones.  A lot of them do the same thing, but usually I will find that one app which has frames that I like, while another has a favorite filter or special effect like "miniaturize".  Admittedly the above photos were NOT taken on my iPhone, but the filters/finish/frames are all from iPhone apps.  The above three images were all adjusted using Camera Awesome, which is one of my favorite apps.  Its from the same people that bring you SmugMug an online album for professionals (or...non professionals).  Check it out.  Send me your favorite Camera Awesome image and I will post the best!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012



On a recent trip to England I took a flight with Virgin Atlantic from Las Vegas to Manchester and then once I landed I jumped on a Virgin train to Shropshire.  I have to say I noticed a distinct lack in quality and service on this flight/route compared to the more popular route of Los Angeles to London.  

Below are a few more photos, one is a typical English railway station and a few shots taken out of the window of the plane - in the first, you can just see another flight going in the opposite direction and the second was taken somewhere over Utah.

I think I have landed and traveled to most of the airports in England and then proceeded (over a period of time) to get all the different options available to me as far as ground transportation once I arrived.

I have obviously taken trains.  From Heathrow, from Gatwick, from Manchester and I'm pretty sure Birmingham.  All to get to my final destination which would be my parents home in Shropshire.  I have tried taking a coach - which wasn't all that bad.  It was from Hereford to Heathrow, it took about 4 1/2 hours, but was comfortable and not crowded.  My parents have paid ridiculous amounts of money to have me picked up and driven back to their place.  And then finally on my most recent trip I hired a car.  I was just messing around on the computer checking out prices, I had no idea I could get a car cheaper than a coach ticket!  So it turns out I hired a car from Auto Europe (they work with all the car companies to get the best price) I picked it up in Hereford and had plans to return it to Gatwick - all for a very reasonable price!  Highly recommend it!  Of course if you are traveling from overseas, you have to be prepared to drive on the 'wrong' side of the road and the decently priced cars are all standard (stick) transmission, its more expensive to get automatic. Just a warning.




Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Happiness is Cadburys Creme Eggs, Cadburys Mini Eggs and the wonderful Cadburys Wispa Easter Egg my Mom sent me fro England.  Oh, and Sprig of course.  Wearing ridiculously large rabbit ears.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chopper Look-a-likes...

I have decided to display all of your Chopper Look-a-likes in one place, in an online album for all to see and enjoy! So follow the link below and you will see all of your wonderful dogs that look so much like Chopper from the Travelers Insurance commercials.

Link to: Chopper Look-a-Like Album.

You can continue to send me any new photos and I will add them to the album. For those of you who only sent a video - I am only posting photos, so if you want to represent, you need to send me a photo!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dorito Dogs - Behind the Scenes

A behind the scenes look at my Doritos commercial shoot - taken with numerous cell phones on the set!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Moose


Here are some photos of Moose, a new adult male chocolate Labrador that Studio Animal Services just got. I love him with all my heart. He has some issues that need working out - I hope they can be resolved because he's an awesome dog.




Tuesday, February 28, 2012

When you're just too tired...to get out of the toy basket

Travelers Insurance - Good Job


The latest from Travelers Insurance. I worked on this spot last year.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dorito Dogs: Out of Doritos



Here is a second submission of mine that I entered into the Doritos Crash The Superbowl Contest.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dorito Dogs: Dorito Toss

For nearly a year I have been thinking about the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest. Its a contest where anyone can make a 30 second commercial (preferably about Doritos if you want SOME chance of winning) you submit it - Doritos picks their 5 favorites and then for nearly the month of January anyone and everyone can vote for their favorite out of those 5. The winner then gets their commercial aired during the Super Bowl, and its then, they have a chance of winning a million dollars.

I am a dog trainer. I have never had any desire to make a commercial, a short film, direct, produce or whatever. But for a year this is all I have thought about. I had the concept clearly in my head. I patiently waited all year for Doritos to announce the contest - which they did the first week in October. Then it was game on. Within a week I had myself a director and within two weeks we had a shoot date, a location and the majority of the crew hired to shoot my commercial on Oct 30th. I ended up with a crew of nearly 30 people that worked tirelessly to make my dream of a year come true.

The deadline was November 21st. We turned the footage over to a friend who edited the footage and was able to come up with three wonderful versions of my concept. About ten days before the deadline we did all the voice overs for the dogs - pulling in some favors from some actor friends who put the icing on this already delicious cupcake!!

I submitted all three spots a couple of days before the deadline. This year Doritos had approximately 6100 submissions, and sadly, I did not make the cut.

People have asked me if am going to do it again. The answer is NO. Lol. This was a one time thing. It was fun, rewarding, and I had an amazing group of people that all rallied together to do this for me. I couldn't ask for more!

Many, many thanks to everyone involved. The below commercial was version two, Dorito Dogs - Dorito Toss (the toss and landing, was a complete fluke by the way, no special effects, no trickery, just a lucky accident.)

I will post the third version and the behind the scenes video. What a day!!




Friday, December 30, 2011

Ford commercial



Here is a commercial Studio Animal Services shot and I worked on back in April. It was for Ford France and was quite complicated, seeing all the elements that were in place!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bob

video

This is Bob. Bob is a pigeon. He is two weeks old and I am hand raising him as his Mom decided she didn't want him to live. He actually nearly died about a week ago.

I was training some of our pigeons for a job and noticed that one of my trained flyers had two babies. So I pulled her out of general population and gave her her own space to take care of her babies. Well it got cold, really quickly here in southern California and I went to put them up for the night and the two babies were nearly dead - in fact I thought one was dead. So I took them home, wrapped in a warm towel, with the Mom in a cage and they came back to life.

Except the one I like to refer to as Tera-dactyl was bullying the little guy (Bob) out of his fair share of the yummy regurgitated treats Mom was trying to dish out. So Tera-dactyl grew to an enormous size rather quickly and "Bob" didn't. He was about half the size when I pulled him from the den of death. He now gets fed by me every 3 hours and is doing great. He will be a great working bird - probably the best pigeon to ever work in Hollywood.

Maybe.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Here's the latest from Travelers Insurance!



Studio Animal Services visited a snowy locale for the shooting of this commercial. Notice Hogan our new bloodhound at the end - making his debut as a studio trained dog!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sam - makes the cut!!


A little late for the Chopper look-a-like contest, but worthy of a mention none-the-less. This is Sam!

Sam is a rescued dog from Austin, Texas and is the closest I have seen to a Chopper "double".

Monday, November 7, 2011

Travelers Insurance - Puppy Love



Here is the latest from Travelers Insurance. We shot this is in San Francisco back in July. Enjoy!

Book Giveaway!

Visit the wonderful blog Life With Dogs for a chance to win a signed copy of A Famous Dogs Life!
Link
http://www.lifewithdogs.tv/2011/11/giveaway-a-famous-dogs-life/

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sprig watches NatGeo



If you ever want to just keep your Jack Russell in the same spot for more than ten seconds - just put on an animal show. Sprig is especially fond of NatGeo's Animals Say The Wildest Things.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My bathroom is Switzerland

My French bulldog Tula is probably thinking: "If he grabs my back leg and pulls me across the living room floor ONE more time, I'm gonna go crazy ass on him"...referring to Sprig my Jack Russell.

That is why, in the mornings as I am getting ready for work, I will find Tula scuffling into the bathroom, sidling on by me and putting herself in the corner. In this position she knows that if Sprig should come looking for some leg action I will evict him from the bathroom, saving her from an attack. She is safe in that corner. No one gets by me. Not even cute Sprig - the doer of all that is evil.

Therefore my bathroom is now called Switzerland. Its a no-fly zone. Its neutral territory. No-one gets attacked in Switzerland and Tula knows this.

She's smart. And French. Hmmm.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chopper lookalike - winner announced!

Thank you all for sending in your Chopper Lookalike photos. I reviewed all the photos several times over and I have to say that without a doubt ROWDY is the winner. Unfortunately Rowdy passed away in June - but we have video of him below still going strong in his "doggy wheelchair". Thanks to Terry for submitting it - you will be receiving a signed copy of my book A Famous Dog Life.




Here are the rest of the wonderful entries...








































Do I have something in my hair?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Guerneville

If only all jobs could be like this. A six hour drive from Valencia (northern Los Angeles) you will find Guerneville. A small town in wine country on the Russian River. Myself and another trainer drove up and production had us stay in a great little place called the Dawn Ranch Resort - below you will see the cabins we stayed in. Adorable. We only worked one day, we had an Eurasian Eagle Owl for the shoot, it went well, and the following day we were to drive back. However, we decided to drive back later in the day and take a kayak trip down the Russian River. I had Sprig with me and as you can see below, he had a great time.

Russian River kayak trip


Mark and the Owl



Our shooting location


After a six hour drive we let the owl spread his wings


Dawn Ranch Resort


Sprig




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Heyes & Curry

Introducing Heyes and Curry.

I've posted many pictures on this blog of Smith and Jones - who were named after the TV show Alias smith and Jones http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alias_Smith_and_Jones.
Well, in the show Smith and Jones real names were Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry - so I named the new red Labradors Heyes and Curry. Very, very cute.









Friday, August 19, 2011

Today at work

My work bench. High heels and rawhide chews.

This was my work bench today. Trying to get a Saint Bernard to chew on a shoe. I know everyone thinks that all you have to do is present a shoe to a dog and they should chew it right? Wrong. Why would they? Only naughty dogs who have nothing better to do raid the closet and chew up your footwear. So when we are called upon to have a dog chew on a show we have to come up with some creative ways to entice them. With the two Saint Bernards we were working with, it seems a rawhide chew or bully stick does the trick.

First we started with food. Stuffing chicken in the toe of the shoe, rubbing baby food on the inside. That didn't work - too licky. We don't want shoe licking we want shoe chewing.

We ended up drilling holes into the shoe and zip tied a rawhide chew to the inside of the chew. That seemed to work quite well. One of the dogs Buck liked it immediately. The other dog Molly, got bored with it quickly if she couldn't get the chew out - she we had to place chips of chicken jerky behind the chew that she could get to and "win", this made her happy and kept her going back and looking for more!

Operation chew shoe was successful!

Chopper review

I have all the submissions for the Chopper look-a-like contest, I am carefully reviewing every submitted photo and video for hair color and head cocks for similarities and will be announcing a winner soon...

Things I saw today.



Saturday, August 6, 2011

The TODAY show appearance

On August 4th I was lucky enough to be flown to New York City by my publisher, to appear on the Today show to promote my book A Famous Dogs Life! I took Moondoggie with me from the Legally Blonde movies and Echo, a studio trained dog that I used to demonstrate the training of a quick trick you can do at home with your pets.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Calling all "Chopper" lookalikes!

Chopper who stars in the Travelers Insurance commercials

Okay, so for all of you who claim to have dogs that look just like Chopper - now's your chance to show your dog off! Lets see all these dogs! I will post the photos here on the blog.

So send me one really good photo of your Chopper lookalike and the winner will get a signed copy of my book A Famous Dogs Life.

Send photos to: afamousdogslife@gmail.com

Okay....GO!

Also check out the other posts about Chopper and the Travelers commercial.

http://check-thegate.blogspot.com/2011/03/dog-in-travelers-insurance-commerical.html


http://check-thegate.blogspot.com/2009/06/travelers-insurance-commercial.html