If you've seen the video(s) of Cooper & The Voice judges, here's how it happened & how it went!
Cooper's agent Urban Paws UK called me to say ITV wanted Cooper in Manchester for a "what's in the box" promo video project for The Voice.
I agreed to this job because I knew it was something he could do & would enjoy, & the location was convenient for us. I didn't find out that the judges would be involved until the day before, although I suspected they would be.
On the day, we were met by the runner, Cameron, & Paula from Cooper's agent Urban Paws. Paula came to the set to make sure that Cooper was being treated properly (& he was, of course). Cameron introduced us to some other team members & we got a short tour of the studio, including The Voice stage. Cooper is often scared of new places, but he happily trotted around the studio. A lot of the crew knew his name & called out to him as he walked past them. I'm sure he felt like a celebrity!
Before filming started, Cooper practiced going in the box to make sure he'd be comfortable. I had practiced putting him in a box at home as well, along with a voice command "in the box," so that the idea wouldn't be completely unfamiliar to him. There was a large cushion placed underneath the box in case he happened to jump out. During filming & practice, I was crouched down in front of the box where he could see me.
The videos were filmed in 10-15 minute blocks, with at least an hour of downtime in between each block, sometimes more. During the downtime, Cooper got plenty of walks outside, & we were able to sit in nearby cafes with him. He also had his bed with him & was able to fit in a couple of short naps. I brought a selection of special treats with me, including hot dog & goat's cheese!
Filming didn't go 100% smoothly. At one point someone knocked loudly on the roof of the box, which scared Cooper & made him jump out (good thing we had the cushion!). He was also scared when someone screamed. But luckily, he recovered from both of these instances very quickly, & neither of them scared him so much that he was unwilling to go back into the box.
Since the day of filming, I have found that Cooper seems to be more confident than before. In the past when I tried to walk him in new places - even just parks - he was reluctant & often scared. Yes, that's my fault. I struggle to go to new places, so Cooper misses out on those experiences too. But since filming, I've been able to walk him in a couple of new places nearby, & he enjoyed it! So I think this day of being in a new place was good for him.
Thank you to Urban Paws for the opportunity, and to the production team at ITV for taking such good care of us.