Turn Your Mutt Into a Movie Star (with Some Helpful Hints)

08/08/2011 at 02:00 PM EDT

Does your dog have stars in her eyes? Does she perk up whenever she's on camera? Maybe she's destined for fame, like the Taco Bell chihuahua, Gidget, who starred in more than 40 commercials in her long career.

The star canine's trainer, Sue Chipperton, co-author of the new book A Famous Dog's Life (co-written by People.com editor Rennie Dyball), stopped by the Today show Friday and gave Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb her tips for making your pooch a screen sensation.

One key ingredient for any camera-ready canine? Treats! "For studio trainers, it shortens the learning curve," Chipperton says. "A lot of times we'll get a call on a Monday to shoot something for a Friday, so using food definitely cuts down on the training time. But for home, [use] a tennis ball or a toy, whatever motivates your dog."

Getting a dog to run or dance at a moment's notice isn't movie magic. Good acting takes a lot of training, Chipperton says. Click on the video above to see how she gets her four-legged charges Moonie and Echo to perform on cue!

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