Zac Efron: I Love Working with Dogs
04/04/2012 AT 09:00 AM EDT
In his new film The Lucky One, the 24-year-old plays a Marine who falls in love with a woman after taking a job at her family-run kennel.
"I grew up with dogs, so I love working with them," Efron told PEOPLE at a press conference in Los Angeles. The pooches in the film were so smart, "they could probably drive you home," he joked.
Aside from making new four-legged friends, Efron and Taylor Schilling – who plays his love interest in the movie and "had so much fun with the dogs" – also hit it off with the trainers on set.
"We became best friends with [the trainers]," said Efron. "They were such a presence on set. These were the most highly trained dogs you've ever seen in the world."
The best part of working with the animals, according to Blythe Danner, who plays a grandmother in the film, was the "playfulness and humanity" they brought to set.
"One big dog kept leaning against me because he had a bad hip," she shared. "It was so sweet. They often say, 'Don't be upstaged by children or animals.' In this case … [the dogs] just enhanced the whole thing."