Category Archives: animal trainer

Carl Spitz and the Hollywood Dog Training School

By Langley Cornwell

The Hollywood Dog Training School, currently owned and operated by Richard Karl, was once a hotel and training ground for the Hollywood elite. The fancy four pawed “actors and actresses” were brought in to learn to hit their acting cues. The Hollywood superstars also brought their canines to set up house in their own little personal hotel of sorts. The rich and famous regularly lavished their canines with a visit to the hottest spot in the doggie world at that time. Carl Spitz, the owner and trainer at this Hollywood hotspot, knew how to make dogs feel like a million dollars.

Carl Spitz, Sr. was the original owner and brains behind the initial Hollywood Dog Training School. Originally from Germany, Spitz got his start working with dogs for movie roles. He learned about dog training from the man that many consider the greatest dog trainer of all time…Colonel Konrad Most. Clearly he learned his lessons well, because he went on to be among the greatest in his own right.

Most everyone knows the dog Toto from the movie The Wizard of Oz. Toto was actually Carl’s family dog and was trained under his watchful eye. Toto’s real name was Terry, and the dog became one of Spitz’s most famous clients. Starring alongside Judy Garland, that cute little canine actor was so much fun to watch. Although he was one of Spitz’s most popular clients, he was far from the only one.

Back when Spitz first started the school in 1927, the Hollywood elite would bring him their dogs to be pampered and trained. The accommodations were right out of a Hollywood fantasy, with extravagant playgrounds and beautiful views. The dogs would also have private baths and dryers, and custom menu items made by special cooks. How many dogs do you know that are bathed in porcelain bathtubs? Spitz made sure they had the best of everything for his visitors.

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Frank Inn, Hollywood Animal Trainer Extraordinaire

By Langley Cornwell

This guy is such an inspiration to me! I’d love to have a chat with him, but since he died in 2002 at the age of 86, I’ll have to settle for reading and writing about him. To catch you up, here are a few facts about Frank Inn:

He was a pioneering animal trainer who turned shelter pets into movie stars.

The animals that Frank Inn trained won 40 PATSY Awards, which is the animal kingdom’s equivalent of the Oscar. Three of the animals he trained won the award multiple times.

This legendary animal trainer was the first inductee into the International Association of Canine Professionals’ Hall of Fame.

One of the most recognized 4-legged movie stars that Inn created was Higgins, of Petticoat Junction and Benji fame. Other animals he trained included:

• Francis the Talking Mule

• Orangey the Cat (Rhubarb in Rhubarb, and Cat in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

• Bernadette the Dog (Cleopatra on Jackie Cooper’s TV series The People’s Choice

• Arnold Ziffel, the pig on Green Acres 

• All of Elly Mae Clampett’s animals on The Beverly Hillbillies

• The chimpanzees that starred in the children’s TV show Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp

Frank Inn was known to visit animal shelters and take home healthy pets to keep them from being euthanized. There was a time when Inn and his assistants had over 1,000 animals in their care. The feeding bills alone came to more than $400 per day.

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