A few years back I trained a slew of ducks for a movie – appropriately titled DUCK – www.duckthemovie.com
I like training ducks. They are fun and different from your average day of dog training. We have about twelve of them and they all have different personalities and funny little quirks and behaviors. The reason we have so many is because we work and train the ducks for their daily food. As you can imagine, that is not much food, consider the size of a ducks stomach! So when a duck becomes full, we move onto the next one!
The other reason for twelve ducks is because they all bring something different to that table (is that a bad food joke? NO!). One duck may be great with the actor and loves to be held in someones arms, while another runs really fast. Trying to make a slow duck run fast is pointless, just take the fastest of the bunch and use that one.
At the beginning of each job I “audition” the ducks for their new jobs – actions – that they may be required to do. Sometimes we have a limited amount of time in which to train. So for example, using the more “aggressive” duck, the one that always bites you and grabs at things, to train for scenes that require the duck to pull on something, is much easier than trying to coax a more quiet, less aggressive duck into doing it. And therefore using the quieter duck for scenes with the actor is better than using the “grabby” duck, who may decide he suddenly wants to bite the actors nose!
And let me tell you – getting bitten or more realistically “pinched” by a duck, hurts! And leaves a bruise!