Training Bears

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.

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
Commercials  Movies  TV Programs
Pepsi (Super Bowl ad) Grizzly Falls Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Bud Lite (Super Bowl ad) Brokeback Mountain Charmed
Toyota 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 Anchorman National Geographic’s Grizzly
Gatorade Pathfinder Saving Grace
Ericsson Cell Phones Gentle Ben 1 and 2
Hostess Twinkies A Bear Named Winnie
Exide Batteries Mowgli’s Story
Titan Tires Disney’s Jungle Book
Federal Expess Against the Wild
Kinkos When Calls the Heart
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Mr. Nobody
Seven-up Northern Lights
Triden Mint Borat
Roury’s Cheeses
Kemp’s Ice Cream




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