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Dogs in Super Bowl Ads: Fun or Foul Play?

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Dogs are the star of media these days. They capture our eyes and our hearts. So, it makes sense that companies would spend enormous amounts of money featuring them in commercials. I love the preview I saw of the Volkswagen upcoming Super Bowl advertisement. Called “The Bark Side” on YouTube, the dogs are barking to a Star Wars theme. Very creative and if you watch carefully, the dogs are wagging their tails, have relaxed body positions, and are enjoying every second of it. It’s very obvious to me that they were trained using reward based positive training methods.

The Bark Side: 2012 Volkswagen Game Day Commercial Teaser

At over 10 million views so far on YouTube, I wouldn’t be surprised if Volkswagen is the real winner of the 2012 Super Bowl.

Next: The Dark Side of Companies Exploiting Dogs in Advertising

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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.


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9:32PM PST on Feb 12, 2012

(cont)...........I recently lost my purebred Golden at the age of 14 to bone cancer. I had him from a small puppy. He was taught to sit, lay down, STAY (very important), roll over, sit UP (beg), play dead, crawl and a few other things. He got a treat and a GOOD BOY! afterwards he learned a trick. After about 3 times, he didn't need treats. When company came, he'd go thru the entire "routine" all one after the other, just to get attention and he'd bark and back up when people applauded him. When I was working with my adopted GSD off leash, he'd be on my other side, doing all those things all on his own. He loved to "show off". Many dogs do.

9:28PM PST on Feb 12, 2012

Theresa, remember that dogs will do many things to get a "reward", especially food. Many respond to just a "Good Boy", and others want a food treat. I agree that training animals to do "tricks" which are detrimental to their well being should not be done. I'm against making elephants, for example, walk on their front knees or stand on their heads. What is the purpose? I HAVE seen elephants in the wild stand on their hind legs, however, but it's not for more than a moment in order to reach a high tree branch and pull it down. Teaching dogs to do what you see on the "ads" is just taking advantage of their natural tendencies to "work" for a purpose. Many breeds or individuals actually need a job (something to do). They get bored, they get property and even to themselves. Ever see a dog obsess with chasing it's own tail, for example?

12:01PM PST on Feb 12, 2012

i have notice of late how many animal commercials are out there and as long as there is no abuse or neglect or overwork i guess is ok...but i still dont think that we need to use animals to get our point across or sell something etc,etc,to make them do thing that is unnatural to them... i dont see the point...i think that is more people with a consciences and more animal lovers out there...i hope is more and more!!!! and maybe thats why we see more comercials with animals in them ,we want to see them doing all those silly things that we make them do...we have very good graphic art now and can be very real looking...why not do it this way and leave the animals alone.

9:54AM PST on Feb 12, 2012 savage barbarian monster looser just evil abuse should be criminal how could people do this? poor slave

9:46AM PST on Feb 12, 2012

why don't you also go after guys who use dogs to "get girls"?
or if some kid is selling cookies or lemonaide and have their dog with them by their stand.

dogs, like sex and babies sell.

and I hope nobody here ever gets offerd to take their pooch somewhere for a promotional. wear a godamn costume if you think your dog wants to help you raise charity. or wash dogs for charity. really. don't ring a bell with your dog for any cause. even for an animal

3:58AM PST on Feb 12, 2012

That was very nice.

8:51PM PST on Feb 10, 2012

this is adorable. no dog was hurt, obviously, and they got the point across.

2:07AM PST on Feb 9, 2012

It's sad that we are such a commercialized society that the Fortune 500 will exploit our canine freinds to sell anything. We are deteriorating as a civilization where more and more, anything that is cute or attractive is for sale.

10:10AM PST on Feb 8, 2012

I don't see how the Volkswagon ad has anything to do with cars? But they put many different kinds of dogs in their commercial (therefore not promoting a single breed - in fact it looks as though some of them are mixes) and the dogs looked genuinely happy. There is definitely a line that no company should cross - and Sketchers clearly crossed that line. No company should be supporting the greyhound industry in any way whether animals are hurt during filming or not. I am sure that many people have made this clear to Sketchers. But did any of you see the "puppy bowl" videos? THAT is a great way to put animals on film - too cute! And they are just being filmed doing what puppies do.

7:09AM PST on Feb 8, 2012

thanks for sharing :)

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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