Update: As you may have seen from various new sources, results from the investigation of a panicky dog being pushed into churning water on the film set of “A Dog’s Purpose” are out.

An independent animal-cruelty expert found that preventative safety measures were in place to protect the dog, Hercules, American Humane said…

“The decisions by the individual or individuals who captured and deliberately edited the footage, and then waited longer than 15 months to release the manipulated video only days before the movie’s premiere, raise serious questions about their motives and ethics,” American Humane said Friday.

The video was deliberately edited for the purpose of misleading the public and stoking outrage. In fact, the two scenes shown in the edited video were filmed at different times,” the group said in reporting the findings.

Taking a step back from the motives and ethics of the the people who released the video, am I less horrified now that I learn that preventative safety measures were in place?

For me, all these news does not take away from the immediate visceral horror of seeing the dog being pushed into the water, despite his obvious signals to the handler of his unwillingness and eventual panic. And this is at the beginning part of the video, I hadn’t even watched part 2 which is filmed at a different time where the dog’s head is submerged in the water.

Over at Buzzfeed, the report also says, “Hercules, the German shepherd, was “selected for his love of the water, and had been professionally trained and conditioned for the water scenes over the course of six weeks using positive training techniques,” according to the report.”

Excuse me, which part of being pushed to go into the water when clearly terrfied is positive? Positive training is force-free. I cannot stand behind the ethics and motivations of those who claim to be positive but the eventual result is, it seems the dog was still forced into the water in at least one instance…

I much more appreciate the response from the film’s producer Gavin Polone in this Jan 23 article.

As with the TMZ video that you saw, two things were evident:

1) the dog handler tries to force the dog, for 35 to 40 seconds, into the water when, clearly, he didn’t want to go in; and

2) in a separate take filmed sometime later, the dog did go into the water, on his own, and, at the end, his head is submerged for about 4 seconds.

These two things are absolutely INEXCUSABLE and should NEVER have happened.

The dog trainer should have stopped trying to get the dog to go in the water as soon as the dog seemed uncomfortable, and the trainers should have had support under the dog as soon as he came to the side of the pool and/or had less turbulence in the water so he never would have gone under.

– Polone also gives more description of how the dog is usually water-loving, and the circumstances behind his reluctance here.


I agree with Polone, movie makers need to make sure they hire the right handlers, trainers and safety experts who will make sure that the dog’s physical and mental health are safe-gaurded.

Let’s hope future movies about dogs will have greater consideration of these, then nobody will have any negative footage to share at a delayed date.


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