Throughout the film, the main character has a pet dog, who is seen performing such mild action as sitting/standing/lying, being held or petted, and walking/running on or off leash. For all of these scenes, trainers used hand signals and verbal commands to cue the mild action, which the trained dog was accustomed to performing. The barking/growling was also a trained behavior.
In the scene where the actress wakes up in bed next to her dog, prior to shooting the scene the dog was brought to set on leash. Once the actress was in place and the camera was set the trainer placed the dog on the bed next to the actress laying on the bed. On action, the trainer was off camera using a hand signal to cue the dog to maintain her position. The actress and dog were well acquainted before shooting.
In the scene where the dog runs to the front door, barking, the actor walks inside, picks up the dog, and walks through the house holding the dog over his shoulder. At one point the actor stops, talks the actress holding the dog up, and we hear the dog yelp as if he’s in pain. He hands the woman the dog and walks out. Prior to shooting the scene the trainers brought the dog to set. They used a fake dog during rehearsal. Prior to shooting the trainer placed the dog into the actors’ arms. On action, the actor carried the dog on his left shoulder into the living room from the hallway. The actors sit down, a little dialogue. Then the actor stands up with the dog held in both of his hands, lifts the dog with one hand. This is how the achieved the perception of the dog being distressed. Prior to shooting, the trainer placed a special harness on the dog. Then the other trainer put a nylon velcro wrist strap on the actor’s right arm under his shirt, then he placed the dog on the actor’s lap and attached the carabiner from the wrist strap to the clip on the dog’s harness. On action, the actor stands, with the dog connected to his right arm, his left hand on the dog’s collar and his right hand around the dogs neck, appearing to look like he is choking the dog in a threatening manner. In actuality the dog was in no distress, being held up by the harness, never feeling any pressure. The sounds of the dog yelping were added in post-production.
In the scene where the actress walks her dog into a garage-like room, she placed the dog on the ground, and the dog ran to sniff a chair, prior to shooting the scene the trainer baited the dog treats by placing the treat near the legs of the table. On action, the actress places the dog on the ground, the dog looked around, ran to the chair, and sniffed the bottom of the chair.
In the scene where the actresses are in a van and the passenger has the dog on her lap, the trainer carried the dog from the holding van to the set and stood in the shade off camera. Once the actors were inside the van, the trainer placed the dog on the actresses lap. He instructed the actress how to hold the dog. Once the actress was comfortable with the dog, the trainer jumped into the rear of the van, sitting behind the camera. On action, the dog sat in the actress lap during the dialog. Between takes the trainer gave the dog water.
In the scene where the woman walks into the person’s house, holding a dog, places the dog on the ground and the dog runs to a closed door barking, production provided the dog with water and food between takes. One trainer was behind the camera holding the dog, the other trainer hid behind the closed door. The trainer reinforced the dog with small pieces of hot dog to get the dog to bark. On action, the actress placed the dog on the ground, and the dog ran to the closed door and barked.