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Kissing Booth Dog Video – The Making Of

Thanks to everyone who shared our Kissing Booth Dog Video last week. As promised, here is a behind-the-scenes look and answers to the most-asked questions.

kissing booth dog champion of my heart best dog blogWhere’d you get that kissing booth for your dog?

A few weeks ago, while out cruising garage sales on a Friday morning, Tom and I spotted the booth. And, both of us instantly thought it would be perfect for Lilly, who truly is the KISSING-est dog we’ve ever had in our lives.

She kisses us (and Ginko) a lot.

Tom whipped over and parked, then ran across the road to check out the kissing booth. As he dashed out of his truck door, I said, in my best I’m-trying-not-to-whine voice, “If it’s like $1, lets get it for Lilly.”

And that’s exactly what it was … $1 @#$@# dollar.

It’s actually a Halloween costume. It comes with plastic tubes that hook together to form the frame. You put it over your head, sling some straps over your shoulders, and stick your arms out the side holes. The guy Tom bought it from said he made $20 one year at a party.

All the way home, we could NOT stop giggling. That’s when we hatched the plan for the video.

best dog blog champion of my heart kissing booth dog videoHow’d you rig it up for Lilly?

Well, I taped together some boxes and other packing material to create a platform that would boost her up and give support to the bottom part of the kissing booth.

How did she learn to get inside?

That part, surprisingly, came easy to her. I thought the enclosed space might freak her out, and I worried the little platform I made was wobbly. She indeed did tip over a few times, after launching herself inside a bit too enthusiastically, but she took to it quickly … using our HOP UP cue that we use for anytime we want her up onto something, like a chair or log or whatever.

With a clicker and high-value food (buffalo hot dogs), she was reliably hopping in and sitting down in just 5 minutes. This video clip shows Lilly climbing into her kissing booth.

What about the kissing?

Again, Lilly is a natural kisser, and we do have it on cue, by saying, KISSES, but she struggled a bit with kissing in a controlled way WHILE sitting in the booth.

She is a full-body, wiggling, kisser, so just sitting there and having us stick our faces in her face was hard for her.

We worked on that with clicker and learned a few strange things:

  • Offering her a cheek to kiss made her more fussy than approaching her lips first, which is completely weird … if you know anything about dog body language, where head-on greetings can be considered rude.
  • Using super-high-value food treats (along with the clicker) made things “worse,” where Lilly’s kisses became MUCH more forceful and insistent … she would practically poke us in the face with her snout because she was so enthusiastic about it.
  • Asking for too many kisses in a row made her crabby, so we had to keep sessions short, short, short.

Oh, and the reason she so often looks to the right of your screen (her left) is that’s where Tom is standing with the camera during the kissing parts AND that’s how she can be in her kissing booth AND see what’s going on in the neighborhood at the same time.

What was your kissing booth dog video plan?

I had grand plans, but my camera and cinematography skills are lacking. I WANTED to zoom out from the “Kisses Just 25 Cents” to reveal her smiling face. (like a big surprise … funny, I hoped). Then, I wanted to have her kiss me, kiss Tom, but snub Ginko. We even toyed with inviting friends and neighbors over to stand in line, but then really … who had time to make silly videos with my dog? Um, no one.

So, I wrangled Tom into being my camera operator for the kissing parts, and away we went.

I suppose we should have practiced with him right there and the camera because you can clearly see her trying to keep focus on me and him at the same time. The camera does tend to make her a little sheepish. It always has.

Lilly showed some nervous behaviors, yes?

Yes. As Karen aptly pointed out in comments to the kissing booth dog video post, Lilly offered these “canine calming signals” or other expressions of nerves:

  • Turning her head
  • Lip-licking
  • The slightest lip curl
  • Ear position shifts

I could have kept trying more and more video “takes” to capture kisses without any nervous faces, but that could have gone on forever. Lilly would happily sit in the kissing booth for a long time, but asking for THAT MANY kisses would have resulted in a tantrum, I suspect, by our high-strung actress.

So, I went with the best of about 6 different “takes.” Kissing takes that is. It took me about 10 tries (or more) to get that opening zoom out anywhere close to my intent.

The first take was probably the best because she NOT only kissed me, but she NIBBLED on my head. Alas, operator error on the camera means that clip is lost to the ages.

How are Lilly’s on-camera nerves any different from that “guilty dog video” you ranted about a while back?

Good question. For one thing, I was NOT trying to make Lilly “feel bad,” even in jest. This is something she trained to do and something that I know in regular life she loves to do. We kiss like this all the time.

And, we took several 15-20 minute breaks to let her decompress from the “pressure” of performing … with me, Tom, and a camera pretty much in her space.

Plus, if you look closely at her face when she looks at the camera, she sometimes flickers what we call “her laughing face,” where she holds her mouth just so. You can see a similar face in this video we got once of her actually laughing that special dog laugh.

And, finally, did you catch that Lilly tail wag at the end?

Lilly may never be the on-paper “champion” I’d originally hoped, but she LOVES to learn new things and enjoys doing silly little projects with me.

***

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Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.