NZ’s dog trainer to the movie stars

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Summer is fast approaching so every man and their dog will be out and about. Our reporter Wepiha Te Kanawa and his dog Beau Pugsly met one of the most renowned animal trainers in the world for some tips.

They call him the animal whisperer. Mark Vette is one of the world's top animal behaviourists and has worked with animals in some of Hollywood's biggest movies.

“A lot of the New Zealand movies Lord of the Rings and also movies like Narnia, The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe. They had wolves on that, they brought wolves from America and trained them and horses and numerous other animals.”

The Piano, The Last Samurai, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, the list goes on.

“2pac is my daughter’s dog that was a rescue dog, so we rescued his and treated him, he was a bit of a mess when we first started him. Then he went on to do quite a bit of film work and then he got the role as 2pac.”

He's here in Auckland promoting a new film he was involved in Red Dog and to teach Beau Pugsly and I a few tricks.

“I noticed with your little fella here Beau, he's got a little bit of weariness to strangers. He's missed his socialisation with kids, its treat able so we can sort him out now.”

Mark says the formative period is the most important for any young dog.

“7-8 weeks is when you should get your dog, that next 2 month is the formative period of your dog's life, that's when you make and break your dog, it's when they really need to get out and about and socialise.”

According to PET First Aid and Training, a national report showed almost 13,000 people were bitten last year. Mark says owners are to blame.

“Train the basics on them at the early stages and do their meet and greets, so they meet and greet people and dogs in a friendly manner. It's not hard to do, it's not rocket science it just needs to be done.”

Mark's main Christmas tip for you and your dog is to have fun together.