Dogs for Hollywood
SkillsOne learns about a fun and unusual career, with Lindy Coote, who works with wrangling and handling animals that star in television commercials, television shows and even movies. She shares what's involved in her work, the training of animals and the kind of projects she's worked on before. She chats about a film course for animals, so people can learn what's involved in working with animals.
Lindy Coote started off with animals 10 years ago. She regularly entered her dogs in obedience and agility trials with the Canine Council of NSW. Thousands of people compete every year in these types of trials that happen all over the state and the rest of the country. Lindy herself was successful and won a few of the competition at the Royal Easter Show.
Through her brother in law, an art director she developed this passion into a career. Her first day on the job was pretty challenging. She was asked to work with 3 giant macaws and with limited experience with parrots of any kind she was certainly thrown in at the deep end.
She survived and by afternoon was helping out as the model on a shoot for a commercial. She had to mix up 3 / 4 different batches of assorted fish flavoured face masks which she applied to her face to encourage the star of the show, a small kitten, to look as if it was licking an edible face mask off her face.
She’s never looked back and has since agreed to whatever Animal House has thrown at her. She is very clear about the methods she uses to train her animals. There is no roughing up of these creatures. This is a popular misconception among the public about her industry. All her work is done with positive reward and absolutely no violence.
Training actually takes incredible patience. Lindy once took three weeks of solid training, hour by hour, to teach a small field mouse to cross a kitchen floor, pick up a potato chip and nibble a corner.
It took a further three weeks to train a kitten for a Whiskers commercial to turn off a television using his paw on the remote. She is always surprised by the versatility of animals and their adaptability.
She currently has 3 working dogs, 4 goats, 6 rats and a parrot called Marcello!