An animal trainer shares what it was like to work with 22 dogs for the namesake in the movie "Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog."

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The title of John Grogan’s memoir is a warning — “Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog.”

But to Larry Madrid, animal trainer for the movies, including the film of Grogan’s book, the gauntlet had been tossed.

“World’s worst dog? I can train that.”

It took 22 Labs of various sizes and temperaments to film “Marley & Me,” which was shot in Miami and other parts of southern Florida last winter. Madrid, who handled hawks for “3:10 to Yuma,” crows for “Charlotte’s Web” and everything but roaches in “Enchanted,” had it pretty easy for this shoot.

“Personalitywise, yellow labs are pretty outgoing and full of it,” he says. But it takes multiple dogs to give a single animal a multifaceted, multi-tricks “performance” for a movie.

“I have ‘Mellow Marley’ traveling with me. Jonah’s his name. He’s a nice quiet Marley who’ll sit in the background and not cause trouble for the actors when they’re doing a scene that isn’t really about him. Training one to misbehave? Any behaviors that a normal person wouldn’t like in a normal dog, we don’t say no to. We just say ‘Yeah, that’s cool.’ You end up with a dog who knows the basics of movie work; but Clyde, the non-mellow Marley, if he’s given license to be goofy, he’s going to be goofy.”

The movie Marley’s antics might be enough to discourage most folks from relenting when the kids holler for a stop at the pet store or shelter on the way home from the film. That happened with Jack Russell terriers thanks to TV’s “Frasier” and “Wishbone,” Brussels Griffons after “As Good as it Gets” and Chihuahuas after “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.” But reviews of the film or Grogan’s book should nail that door shut.

“Marley, incorrigible though he was, had inserted himself into the author’s life in a way no normal dog could,” Nancy Bent wrote in Booklist. You let the dog in, there’s no shaking him or her loose.

“Before you run out and adopt one, you want to make sure you have enough space or time for a Lab,” Madrid says. “If you don’t have the space for a Lab, do you have the time to take them someplace where they can run and jump in the water?

“They’re so intelligent, so outgoing and so full of energy, they love to play with toys, they love the water. They seem to have nonstop motors. They don’t start becoming mature until they’re 4 or 5 years old. They’re still very much a puppy at 2. It’s an amazing animal to have, but a Lab would be a handful for anybody who wasn’t prepared for it.”

The hardest thing for Madrid and anybody in his profession is “teaching a dog not to look at the trainer when they’re on camera. When you’re watching the movie, you don’t want to think about ‘Oh, he’s looking (off camera) at the trainer.’ If you can watch the movie and not think about the fact that it’s a trained animal who is looking at the trainer, I’ve done my job.”

You can see if Madrid mastered the yellow Labs in “Marley & Me,” or check out his English mastiff in “Hotel for Dogs” or “Funny People.” All of the movies will make you laugh and one may even make you cry.

“Everybody has to deal with their own mortality. Dogs make us do that,” Madrid says. “They bring so much pleasure to your life, but you look back at the great dogs you’ve had, the great times, and realize, ‘Geez, they only live about 10 years.’ So make the most of those years. Dogs do.”