I adore working animals for film and theatre when the right animal is selceted for the job, which is probably the most important part of this work. Like many humans, some animals are not performers and are instead stars in their own home. Magic can be made however when the right animal is selected and the time, empathy and effort is made by the trainers to build the animal’s confidence and trust. While many people may think ‘making’ an animal work is cruel, 20 years of working alongside everything from mice to vultures has showed me that forcing or intimidating an animal and a general philosophy of “do of else!” is cruel in any context and never gets the best out of any of us. The more choice to be involved in my training, the more control they have over their environment, they better the result, always.
An animal that has had a training program based on reinforcement, being in control and having a choice willactively seek out opportunities to impact on their environment and make good stuff happen.
Done right, many animals love to play training and will amaze you with their creativity and thought process. Done wrong, it can be nothing short of animal cruelty.