Sunday, February 27, 2011

How'd They Do That?: Snow Dogs

Disney's 2002 comedy, Snow Dogs, had Cuba Gooding Jr. matching wits against a team of Siberian Huskies determined to get the better of him—and the trainers from Birds & Animals Unlimited going up against the harder task of training the canine characters for their roles. Here's a few of the tricks used in production:

The beer slurping dog seen by Gooding when he first arrives in Alaska was actually lapping up chicken broth.

When one of the sled team digs up a flask buried in snow, he was actually digging for treats planted for him.

In a dream scene showing the Huskies relaxing in beach chairs, each dog had custom cut foam for support to lean back on the chair without slipping, as well as a custom made bathing suit.

For the dramatic cliff scene at the end of the race, the sled dogs were hooked up with double harnesses and additional ropes and pulleys handled by their trainers. The cliff, which was manmade and shot from several angles with special effects to make it look treacherous, was traversed by the dogs with the aid of these ropes either lifting or pulling back at the right moment to get the desired effect.

Canine star D.J., who played Demon in Snow Dogs went on to star as Max in Eight Below (2006).