A dog giving a girl a hi-five for a treat.

Courtesy of Apple

We Work with Puppies

How experts trained the puppies on a new TV show 

Scholastic, Inc.

Have you heard of a TV script? It tells actors what to say and do on your favorite TV show.

But what if a dog is in the story? A puppy can’t read a script. So how does it know what to do?

Animal trainers like Kristy Gerosky and Angela Koons can help. Their job is to teach puppies tricks and make the show shine.

“It’s not always easy,” Koons says. “As animal trainers, we have to be problem solvers.” 

Puppy Place Is Here! 

The two trainers recently worked on Puppy Place. That’s a new show based on the Puppy Place books. It’s about Lizzie and her brother, Charles. They care for cute puppies and find them homes.

With a new dog on each episode, the trainers Gerosky and Koons were busy! They had just two weeks to teach each dog at least five tricks. They were sit, stay, come, retrieve, and go to a spot. 

 Courtesy of Apple 

Dog trainer Kristy Gerosky works with the stars to train the dogs of Puppy Place, based on the Scholastic book series by Ellen Miles, on Apple TV+.

Trick for a Treat? 

During training, Gerosky and Koons use a treat to get a dog to behave a certain way. For example, to get a dog to sit, they hold a treat just above the dog’s nose.

As the dog looks up, its body naturally sits. At the same time, the trainers use cues. Those are special words or hand movements. Once the dog sits, it gets a treat as a reward.

Gerosky explains that the dog learns that a cue means it should behave in a special way. If it does, it will get a treat.

Next, the trainers add more time between the trick and the reward. That time gets longer and longer. Soon, the dog does the trick without a reward!

 Courtesy of Apple 

Dog trainer Angela Koons

It's Showtime

Courtesy of Apple

While making the show, trainers stand where audiences can't see them but the dogs can. They give the dogs cues so they know what to do.

Gerosky says any dog can be trained. The trainer just needs to make it fun.

"If the dogs love what they're doing, they're going to do amazing things," she explains.

1. Angela Koons says that teaching puppies tricks is “not always easy.” What details in the text support that idea?

2. According to the article, what is a cue?

3. What steps do the trainers follow to teach a dog to sit?

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