Philly Creative Guide

Creative Personality

Dawn Wolfe | Studio Animal Trainer and Talent Coordinator

Interview :: Dawn Wolfe
by Juanita Berge, 1 Jan 2010

This month's Creative Personality is Dawn Wolfe of "Pawsitively Famous" Animal Actors. Dawn is a Studio Animal Trainer and Talent Coordinator. Dawn has quickly become known as the `go to' person when it comes to problem pooches. Local professionals, as well as other professionals throughout the U.S. and Canada call upon her expertise. Now more involved in training animals for TV and movies, and acting as a talent coordinator, she also conducts workshops and auditions for aspiring animal actors throughout the U.S. Check them out online:

Dawn can be reached at 856-524-4006 or [email protected]

PCG: Who are some of your animals that we might recognize?

DW: Two of our stars you may recognize are Miss Hope and Niki from the Pennsylvania lottery commercial that they did a few years ago. In it the dog had to run out a doggie door and attack a suitcase sized newspaper. Also you may know a Band Aid TV commercial where a little girl in a sandbox is holding up her finger singing the band aid jingle while in the backgroud a cute, white, fluffy dog digs and throws sand on her? Niki really enjoys working with children.

Dawn Wolfe | Studio Animal Trainer and Talent Coordinator

PCG: Who is your most famous client?

DW: Niki has the most credits on her resume. She has literally has done everything... theater , spokesdog , runway model, feature films, TV commercials, shows and print.

PCG: What kinds of animals do you represent?

DW: All kinds but I focus mainly on recruiting, training and supplying dog actors.

Dawn Wolfe | Studio Animal Trainer and Talent Coordinator

PCG: What has been your most exotic animal actor?

DW: A donkey for a political TV spot.

PCG: What kinds of jobs are your calls for?

DW: A wide variety everything, from animals for live performances, movies, features, student films, television commercials, print ads, live theater, TV shows.

Dawn Wolfe | Studio Animal Trainer and Talent Coordinator

PCG: How do you find your clients?

DW: Several ways. I hold open auditions several times a year. This year I will be presenting "How to Get Your Pet into Showbiz" for Super Pet Expo at their shows in Edison and King of Prussia. I also attend lots of pet events throughout the year. I am bombarded via email on a daily basis. Pet owners from all over the US contact me to find out what they need to do to make their pet famous.

PCG: Do you hold casting calls?

DW: Yes I do hold casting calls for certain projects. I have an email list set up to assist me in the casting process. Basically how it works is those on my list are notified of upcoming opportunities in their area.

PCG: Do you train your clients yourself or do they come to you trained?

DW: Both actually.

Dawn Wolfe | Studio Animal Trainer and Talent Coordinator

PCG: What's involved in your training program?

DW: I take a holistic approach to helping clients whenever possible. Not only do they learn to understand dog behavior and pack law, but I also educate them on subjects they might not have considered– diet, dental care, essential oils, massage, herbal supplements and more. Fitness training is another subject I'm passionate about—skatejoring, swimming, using a treadmill, etc. My motto is: "A tired dog is a good dog." I also run a 3 week boot camp for pudgy pooches. Check out

PCG: How did you start out working with animals?

DW: As a child I had a whole menagerie of animals. I was always fascinated with teaching them new behaviors as I loved showing my friends how smart and talented they were. I used to take them down to the local park to perform for anyone and everyone. It was really a lot of fun. I had a border collie named Shelby who was a fantastic trick dog. I also included my doves, cockatiels and pigeons in my show.

Over the years I've had high content Wolfdogs, prairie dogs, lizards, parrots, horses and many wonderful dogs. At this time I share my home with one 16 year old Wolfdog, 3 Jack Russell's. 1 Chihuahua and my newest addition is a black and red German shepherd, Ace, who is now 2 yrs old.

Dawn Wolfe | Studio Animal Trainer and Talent Coordinator

PCG: If I had a new puppy or kitten what could I do now, as a layman, to start training my animal for a life in the spotlight?

DW: Well the first thing I would do is start clicker training right away. After they have had at least their second set of shots I would begin taking them everywhere and exposing them to as many sites and sounds as you can. I would be giving them lots of treats while out in public. I would ask a wide variety of people to pet, hold, and give treats to help the animal to become accustomed to and enjoy being around people. For puppies I would sign up for puppy preschool and start them at about 10 weeks of age. Training increases the dog's working potential. Just like with humans, the more education you have the better your chance of being successful in your chosen career. So take as many classes as you can. Especially tricks workshops and classes.

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