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Clicking in the USA!—Behind the Scenes at Good Morning America

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Early to rise

The car picks us up at 5:30 a.m. and brings us to the studio in Times Square, where we enter via a side door. We feel very VIP-ish. A great gleaming silver freight-size elevator takes us to the studio and to our ready room. KP makes sure that Mia—our demo dog from the New York Humane Society (who arrives separately)—does not see us or stay with us. Karen does not want to get Mia all excited ("Look, the lady with the hot dogs!"). We know it's going to be a long morning for us and for Mia.

We have three "promo" pieces (live quick cuts to Karen and Mia), a rehearsal session, makeup, GMA radio show, and sound check all to do. Our segment producer, Brandon, couldn't be nicer as he shuttles us from one studio to the next—and we try to stay out of Mia's sight. Sometimes we have to do our best James Bond imitations and take back stairways or wait around hallway corners to avoid Mia!

Performing under pressure—and among the stars

It's busy at the studio today. Throngs have gathered! For us? No. Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical) and her band are playing. She's in the room next door getting her hair and makeup done. She'll be featured in the same 30-minute segment. Cool. I snap a picture for my kids.

Showtime! We leave our green room and head downstairs. Could be a bit busy and noisy down there, Brandon tells us. Ashley's band is doing a promo piece, too. Oh gosh. Will Mia shut down from the music? Will she be distracted? There are so many more people in the studio than at the practice. The set director asks the Tisdale rock/pop band to play "How Much is that Doggy in the Window?" Nice touch. The studio audience joins in!

Game on. We're live in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Quick intro. Video clip. Karen demonstrates hand targeting and explains why it's useful. Mia learned the basics yesterday at the Humane Society in a quick 10-minute session. Will she retain it? Can she demo it? She must be tired, as she's been here since 5:30 a.m. as well, and has met so many new people (every stagehand loves Mia!). Bingo, Mia remembers the targeting behavior. Segment about over. KP asks Chris Cuomo to offer the hand target as well. Yes!

OK, it's over. Seems to have gone well. Happiness. Relief. Breakfast.

Watch Karen on Good Morning America. Order Reaching the Animal Mind.

About the author
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Aaron Clayton is President of Karen Pryor Clicker Training and TAGteach International, and a member of the ClickerExpo Faculty.

Rosana Hart's picture

Enjoed the intersection of dog and human worlds

I do love how dogs come through in these human-orchestrated moments! (Or if they don't, as also happens, they are at least genuine in their actions.)

Rosana Hart