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"Marley & Me": A Mischievous Treat

Comedy writer and director David Frankel, whose major credits include "The Devil Wears Prada," "Sex in the City," and "Entourage" will release his latest film, "Marley & Me" on Christmas day.
Firstline Media
This story was written by CBSNews.com's Melissa Castellanos
For comedy writer and director David Frankel the making of his latest film, "Marley & Me," based on John Grogan's bestseller, gave him a newfound appreciation for animals on set.

Frankel, whose major credits include "The Devil Wears Prada," "Sex and the City" and "Entourage" got to change things up a bit with a partly canine cast.

"The dogs never ask - 'what's my motivation?'" Frankel told CBSNews.com. "They are actually easier than people."

With fashion and prestige taking on a role of its own in his previous films, this time around the set was full of doggy drool and canine mayhem.

A self-proclaimed dog lover and owner of five, you could say that being around 20 different dogs was very enjoyable for Frankel. He was not alone however; Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson were soaking up the fun as well.

"Jen and Owen are a lot of fun and for all of us it was an enchanted experience making this movie. There is something really wonderful about going to work. One -- always trying to make each other laugh, and two -- being surrounded by wonderful dogs," he said.

Aniston and Wilson are also dog owners, Owen has an Australian Sheppard-type of dog named Garcia and Jen has a terrier-type of dog named Norman, who reminded Frankel of "a little wizard."

"We're all dog lovers and it really made us feel comfortable working with the dogs in Marley & Me," he said.

There was never a dull moment on set.

"The first day on set Jen looked over and saw the star of the movie, Clyde, who plays Marley, chewing her purse and turned to the trainer for help and they were just praising Clyde 'good dog' and paying him with a treat," Frankel said. "We just wanted Clyde always to misbehave, to be as rambunctious, rascally, surprising, energetic and funny as possible. Just like all of our dogs -- they are just a lot of trouble. All the joy is worth all of the trouble."

Adorable dogs aside, there is an underlying message throughout the film.

"Owen and Jen play a married couple -- the Grogans, who adopt a dog in lieu of having children, trying to put off that major decision in life, and realize that they have made a different kind of major decision. And over the course of the next 13, 14 years, we see how their lives are changed and improved by having a dog as a part of their family," Frankel said.

On the technical side, these milestones had to be captured on set to show the different stages of Marley's growth from puppy to a mature dog. The dogs and their trainers were definitely up for the challenge.

"The dogs were beautifully trained. We had an incredible core of trainers. Some of them had very specific skills," Frankel said. "There's the dog that pees, a dog that poops and a dog that circles as if it's about to poop. There were dogs that chewed stuff up. The one main dog, Clyde, and there were a lot of puppies that did stuff. They almost always nailed it at the first take. The puppies took longer sometimes, for that Owen and Jen had to have great reserves of patience.

"The dogs were much easier than say, the kids and the babies," Frankel added. "Those are tough because they don't respond to treats."

As for future projects, Frankel isn't quite sure what will come next.

"Life is so unpredictable I kind of think like a dog, I am living in the moment," he said.

"Marley & Me" hits theaters nationwide on Christmas Day.