How to Train a Dog to Talk

Will the real-life dogs in TV and movies soon be replaced by technology?

Computer graphics have opened a whole new world to animal trainers, says animal-training veteran Boone Narr, who operates Boone’s Animals for Hollywood. When Narr began in the entertainment industry 30 years ago, animals had no voice; instead, movies had narrating voice-overs. Now, animals can tell their own stories, either by performing specially trained behaviors or with the aid of computer graphics.

“We can make animals talk and do things that we normally couldn’t do, tell stories that couldn’t be told except with a voice-over,” Narr he says. “In the old movies, you had someone saying something like ‘Charlie the lonesome cougar came over the hill.’ Now you can have an animal walk and talk and do all kinds of things.”

Graphics have yet to replace live animals on the big screen, and Boone doesn’t see that happening any time soon. “You can’t get away from real animals, like you can’t get away from real actors,” he says. “Dogs give a family warmth when you see them on screen. When a family has a dog, you think different about them than a family that doesn’t have a dog or a cat in the movie. It’s part of the storytelling.”

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Dogs · Health and Care