'A Dog's Purpose' Producers German Shepherd Is Fine, Wasn't Forced to Film

1/18/2017 5:37 PM PST

'A Dog's Purpose' Producers Say German Shepherd Is Fine, Was Not Forced to Film

EXCLUSIVE

The German Shepherd seen struggling to stay out of a pool while filming "A Dog's Purpose" was not forced to complete the scene, and shooting only resumed when he was comfortable ... according to producers.

Amblin Entertainment tells TMZ ... the dog, named Hercules, had "several days of rehearsal of the water scenes to ensure [he] was comfortable with all of the stunts."

The production company adds, "On the day of the shoot, Hercules did not want to perform the stunt portrayed on the tape so the Amblin production team did not proceed with filming that shot."

We're told the director called for a break in shooting and when they resumed ... Hercules was fine with doing the scene, and was NOT thrown into the water.

TMZ broke the story ... behind the scenes footage showed a handler trying to force the dog into the pool. Hercules ended up going under once filming resumed, but divers and handlers quickly rescued him. Amblin says, "Hercules is happy and healthy."

The company adds, the movie "is a celebration of the special connection between humans and their dogs. And in the spirit of this relationship, the Amblin production team followed rigorous protocols to foster an ethical and safe environment for the animals."

They're continuing to review footage and Amblin says it's confident great care and concern was shown for Hercules and all dogs featured in the film.