In honor of this week's Spotlight on Animal Trainers episode, we asked friends of the podcast about their favorite moments of working with pets onstage. Gabriella Pizzolo (Broadway's Fun Home) tells us about working with the dogs in the new musical Because of Winn Dixie.
"Working with Bowdie on Because of Winn Dixie was a brand new experience for me! I've never had a dog in my family because of our busy lifestyle, and that meant that I had to learn everything. We had an intense training period before rehearsal started just so Bowdie and I could bond, and I could learn all the commands used in the show."
"As I learned from Bill Berloni, it is very important to be consistent when working with dogs. Consistency is a way we can communicate. After every work session, Bowdie and I would play chase games with a ball. Not only is he faster than me, he outsmarted me almost every time. I feel like Bowdie and I created a bond through play and training that we were able to bring onstage with us."
"Dogs senses are much stronger than humans. We all know how distracting it can be when there are unexpected noises, cell phone lights, or smells of food coming from the audience. It has got to be even more distracting for Bowdie. I had to learn the warning signs for when Bowdie was becoming distracted. He was a pro, though. I never had to worry about Bowdie. He's an extraordinary friend and fellow actor, and I am a better person for working with him."