Training Bears

mark_riding_barney.jpg Ruth LaBarge has owned and trained bears for the entertainment industry for over thirty years.  She has the largest selection of working Kodiak bears and black bears in North America.  They are seen in many feature films, TV programs, and commercials.  Her animal actors also appear in TV nature programs like Wild America, Nature, and National Geographic's "Grizzly."  

The video demonstrates the trained behaviors of 5 of her bears.  Some of the bears were trained for years to perform specific behaviors for upcoming movie scripts.  One such behavior is opening the mouth to look ferocious.  That behavior has been used for many movies, book covers, and magazine covers.

(see video below)

Click here to download this video 

Ruth provided helpful advice for constructing the North American Bear Center's bear enclosure. 

The tame bears that are photographed for the open-mouth book and magazine covers look less ferocious with their trainers.  These gentle bears were trained since birth to open their mouths for food.  Bears do not snarl like cats and dogs.  The book and magazine covers show a trained behavior that sells because it fits the stereotype the public has been led to expect from bears.  

A partial list of recent credits for Ruth LaBarge's bears includes
Movies  TV Programs
Pepsi (Super Bowl ad)
Grizzly Falls
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Bud Lite (Super Bowl ad)
Brokeback Mountain
The Edge
General Hospital
Rice Krispies Treats
Return to Grizzly Mountain
You asked for it
Farmers Insurance
True Heart The Sopranos
Napa Chevy Tahoe
Dr. Dolittle 2
Walker, Texas Ranger
American Express
The Last Trapper
Wild America
Titleist Golf Balls
National Geographic's Grizzly
Ericsson Cell Phones Gentle Bed 1 and 2
Hostess Twinkies
A Bear Named Winnie  
Exide Batteries
Mowgli's Story
Titan Tires
Disney's Jungle Book
Federal Expess
Kellogg's Corn Flakes
Triden Mint
Roury's Cheeses
Kemp's Ice Cream