From Lassie to Marley to Hooch, there’s no shortage of famous on-screen dogs who have captured hearts - but what is it like for a dog to embark on an acting career?

For Barney, the life of stardom involves lots of training, being chauffeured to shoots, and most importantly, being tempted on set with tasty sausages.

The two-year-old cockapoo has learned to do all manner of tricks to show off in front of the cameras, from doing downward dog to yawning on command, and his acting prowess has landed him the star role in a number of TV adverts, including one for pet food brand Tails.com.

Star quality runs in the family - Barney’s owner, Donna Louise Bryan, is an actor and voice over artist.

But Donna discovered Barney’s talent purely by chance during one of her own acting jobs, when she was filming an advert for a pet product and was working with a dog that had to perform some complicated tricks.

However, the pup she had been paired with wasn’t up for it on the day, and couldn’t scratch on command.

Barney behind the scenes on set (

Image:

Instagram / @donnalouisevoiceactorpresenter & @barneythefilmcockapoo)

Knowing that Donna had a similar dog at home, the crew asked her if they thought Barney might be up for the task.

Donna messaged her partner Mark, who was at home with Barney, explaining that their pup had a chance to be the star of the show - but he would have to learn this new trick first.

To her surprise, Mark soon replied with a video of Barney scratching on command.

“He came on set, and kind of stole the show,” Donna recalls.

In fact, he stole the show to such an extent that the crew wanted more.

“At the end of the day, [the crew] came to me and said, 'that was really, really great today. We’d really love to have you back tomorrow.'”

I said, “Ooh, OK - I was only booked for two days. I’ll speak to my agent.” And they said, “No, no, no - it’s not you we want tomorrow. We’d like another day with Barney!”

There’s been no stopping Barney since his big break, and the talented pup certainly seems to enjoy the limelight.

“Sometimes, say they want to do something with me and they don’t want Barney on set, we have to stop him from sneaking onto set because he always wants the focus to be on him,” Donna says.

Barney gets ready for his close-up (

Image:

Instagram / @donnalouisevoiceactorpresenter & @barneythefilmcockapoo)

And Barney’s new-found fame has led to him being a bit of a diva behind the scenes.

“If we’re having dinner, we turn around and he’s just doing tricks, looking to see who’s noticed him.

“We always joke that one day he’s going to go past on a tricycle just to get our attention.”

Barney truly gets the star treatment at his job, even more so than his fellow human actors.

“You have to be dictated by the dog - you can’t tell it what to do. You have to make sure you’re providing the right environment for the dog, so they’ll be happy and willing to do it,” Donna notes about why she admires her canine colleagues.

“Sometimes I’m on set, and it’s cold, I’m doing the same thing over and over again, and I’m hungry. And all I want to say is, “I want to stop now, I’m hungry!” You can’t do that, obviously. But animals, they do. When they’ve had enough, they just tell you, and they walk off. I absolutely love that.”

Barney on set with his owner Donna (

Image:

Instagram / @donnalouisevoiceactorpresenter & @barneythefilmcockapoo)

As well as having “special sausages” to eat on set, Barney even has his own bank account for the money he earns from acting jobs, which Donna uses to treat him. “I’m his chauffeur, he gets driven around,” she says. “I’m his agent, I take all his calls. I do all his Instagram.” Donna has to make sure Barney is prepared for each shoot, by brushing up on his tricks and making sure he gets plenty of long walks and beauty sleep so he’ll be calm on the day.

It’s still early days for Barney - but he has his sights set on Hollywood. “He hasn’t done a film yet, so that would be quite good,” says Donna. “But he’s only been doing it for less than a year, so he’s at the start of his career, really.”

When he’s not at his day job, Barney plays the most important role of all - that of the perfect family pet. “He’s just a happy, lovely, loving little dog,” Donna smiles. “He’s just made my life complete.”

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