These complex scenes were broken down into cuts and trained dogs and tailor-made props were used to complete many of the effects. When Max climbs a tree, the dog was actually crawling across a horizontal log and the image was later manipulated. When he finds himself facing down a man with a shovel, and later a boy with baseball bat, both props were made of rubber.
In a later scene, Max races down the street and leaps onto the roof of a moving car. To achieve the look of the vehicle in motion, a car was being moved on a flatbed truck. The dog jumped from the a platform onto the padded roof of the car.
Clint Rowe and his team, of White Fang and Turner & Hooch fame, trained the Tibetan Mastiffs for Man's Best Friend.