Breaking into the movie industry requires skill and a lot of luck, especially if your preferred method of communication is a bark or tail wag.
Plant City resident Cassie Kennedy, owner of Ohana Dog Training Center, has found success (well, her pooches have), thanks to her ability as a trainer. Beck, her 1-year-old Belgian Malinois, recently starred as a superhero in R.A.D.A.R.: Adventures of the Bionic Dog, a Dean Cain movie filmed in Dunedin.
“Beck learned every behavior they asked of her, from digging a hole to picking up a treasure chest,” said Kennedy. “The only trick she couldn’t learn was how to fly, for that they used CGI.”
Her dogs receive extensive training to follow commands as well as how to interact with others on the set.
Kennedy’s other dogs include border collies Ren, Stoke and Tiki, golden retriever Atlas and German shepherd Murphy, who have been featured in kids’ music videos, at sporting events, on the Home Shopping Network and Puppy Pals.
When not booked on acting jobs, Kennedy’s pups perform tricks and demonstrations at fairs, local events and area schools, including Lopez Elementary in Seffner.
“It’s fun to see kids’ faces light up when they see the tricks my dogs can do,” she said.
Kennedy, an Animal Behavior College-certified dog trainer and Do More With Your Dog-certified trick dog instructor, recognized her passion when, at 8 years old, she was given a golden retriever puppy she named Fathom. “I trained him to do tricks and really enjoyed it,” she said.
In addition to training her prized pooches, whom she considers family, she also specializes in private and group obedience training with dogs and puppies of all breeds, private and group trick training and dog boarding.
“Adults and kids love it when they see their puppy doing a trick for the first time,” she said.
Ohana Dog Training Center is located at 6522 Stafford Rd. in Plant City on 50 acres and is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m., with classes held on the weekends. It features an agility course, disc dog training field and a swimming pool for canine hydrotherapy.
“We are proud to train our own dogs at our facility as well as yours,” said Kennedy.
For more information, visit https://ohanadogtrainingcenter.com or call 813-344-2264.