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Pet Modelling and Animal Acting – How it works

31 March 2021

How to become a Pet Model or Animal Actor

Part 1) A Quickstart Guide to Animal Modelling

Please find the skill requirements for modelling and acting below.

Note that the ESSENTIAL skills vary across different types of animals.

*Cats and dogs must be over 12 months of age. For puppy and kitten applications please click here.

*Must be happy working around multiple strangers

*Must be confident working in a new and busy location

*Must be comfortable with flash photography

*Must be able to work at a distance from the handler (5-10 feet away)

[If on a phone you may want to view in landscape]

Dog Model Basic RequirmentsCat Model Basic RequirementsOther Animal Model Basic Requirements
SitSitComfortable around unknown people
StayStay / Positional workComfortable around loud noises
StandLie downComfortable around bright lights
Lie downHarness and lead trainedHappy to be handled
Come / RecallPeople friendly (if applicable)
Work off-lead
Work outdoorsCome / RecallComfortable around other animals
Jump up/on/over/onto an objectWatch a flirt pole / Stare at a point
Drink/eat in a new environmentWork off-lead and on-lead
Comfortable around other dogs or animalsDrink / eat in a new environment
Speak/bark on commandWork outdoors
Comfortable around other cats or animals

Much like parents and their children, every single pet owner has thought to themselves – or been told by a passer-by in the park – that their pet would look wonderful as a model in magazines or on the television. And this is true! However, it’s not that easy.

Pet modelling is about a lot more than just having the best-looking pet. In fact, that’s one of the least important factors. 

The most important thing is the skills. If your dog or cat or pet cannot stay still in front of the camera when asked to, or if they cannot behave around strangers, then unfortunately they will not be suitable for pet modelling and acting.

When working with animal models and actors, the health, safety, and comfort of the animal is always our first priority. We work with our clients to create safe environments, for the animal’s and handler’s welfare alike.

The skills required for each type of animal can vary, and the essential and additional skill lists detailed previously are just the skills that we have found most commonly requested by the clients we have worked with over the past few years.

Additional skills to these are always a bonus and will increase your chances of being hired for a role.

Please find our membership forms HERE

Part 2) A Detailed Guide to Animal Modelling

This section will hopefully explain what we are looking for as an agency, what our clients are looking for when hiring, and what you should expect when your pet is hired as a paid animal model or animal actor (and yes, jobs for our animal model and actors are always paid!)

For more unusual animal models, such as rabbits, chickens, horses, etc. note that the skill requirements will be significantly different to those of our dog/cat models.

First up, it’s important that your pet is happy around new people. This is non-negotiable as they will be required to work in locations often surrounded by 10+ people, from the camera operator(s) to the set designers, creative directors, and any other staff member involved. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of people allowed on set will be kept to a minimum, though we ask that our animal models and actors are still comfortable working around 10+ people.

While not an essential skill, it is also important that you let us know if your pet is happy around other animals. Are they okay around large or small dogs? How about cats? Small animals like rabbits?

All animal models need to be comfortable following commands around strangers and in new and busy locations. While most animals will be happy following commands in the house, many become uncomfortable and unresponsive when in a new, busy place.

Additionally, all animal models will be required to perform at a distance from their owner.

Please ensure that your animal can work from at least 5-10ft away from you. If you can imagine you are on a studio set, you will need to be out of shot of the camera while your pet is being filmed or photographed.

It is also essential that all animal models are okay with flash photography. They do not have to be looking directly at the flash but they will be expected to know how to do so if required.

Before confirming any booking we always consult the animal’s owner, informing them of the brief, any skills required, the location of the shoot, and the pay. We would never force any of our handlers to take a job that they felt uncomfortable doing. 

Due to this, however, it is essential that you reply as soon as possible when contacted about a brief. Many of our clients operate on a time-sensitive basis, and waiting more than a day for an answer will likely remove you from consideration.

Part 3) How to Apply

The first thing to do is to make sure you have all of your information to hand. 

You will need basic information like your name, your pet’s name and breed, contact number, email address, and general location (we only require your town/city name, to ensure your safety and anonymity).

When applying to be an animal model and actor we require recent images of your pet. Additional images should be provided to Urban Paws UK if your pet’s appearance changes dramatically for an extended period of time. This could include an animal who has needed to be shaved for medical reasons or a change of styling etc. 

You will also be asked to provide a video of your pet performing any known command. Our team needs to have demonstrable proof that your pet can do the skills listed before we can recommend them to our clients. 

This video does not need to be expertly made, but please ensure that it is in good quality (please do not zoom in, as this can result in poor quality video), that there are no distractions in the background (like a TV or a radio for example), and preferably that the video is filmed in landscape mode.

Once you have all of this information to hand, you can find an application form HERE.

Please submit this form via email to the email address listed at the bottom of the form.

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