This second week of tricks has been fun! The only one that I had previously taught Pilot was "Paws-Up". I'd also done a little bit of work on "Peek-A-Boo" with him. Otherwise, the other tricks were completely new, and he has really enjoyed learning them, especially the "Leg Weave". I think it is going to be one of his new favorites. It's a workout for me! My short little legs have to really stretch to accommodate him (and he's not even a big dog). Two of my favorite dog breeds are German Shepherds and Irish Wolfhounds.... hahahahaha! Wow. I'm kinda glad he's not either of those sizes.
"Take a Bow" has been incredibly easy to teach. What you see in the video is how you teach it: just lure them down to their elbows and click/reward them as soon as their elbows touch the ground. He still hasn't started doing it on queue alone yet, but he is almost there. It is going to be so stinking cute once he gets it! (Yes, I geek out about my dog...)
By the way, if you have ANY questions regarding the trick dog stuff, feel free to ask! I am putting together a Q&A blog post about it and I would love to see your questions in it!
Anyway, without further ado, here is this week's tricks! Enjoy the video:
Wow, first of the month already? And on a Monday. Ouch.
Well, it is a perfect day to scream, and allow me to be among the first to scream... WHITE RABBIT!
I must be the first person, you know. And, undoubtedly, I am the first person to White Rabbit you. Even if you are reading this late, even if somebody else screamed "White Rabbit!" at you today, I can promise you that I AM the first. Consider the time stamp on this post. What time did it post and/or deliver to your email? 1AM... Yeah. I AM the first person to White Rabbit you this fine 1st day of June.
I rule this game.
Okay, I'll shut up now.
Trick dog? Is that a thing?
Yes it is! And it's gradually becoming a very popular thing among dog owners.
Do you remember Lassie? Benji? Rin-Tin-Tin? They were all "trick dogs". Their owners and trainers taught them a bunch of tricks, which they would preform anywhere, even on camera. Not only did their tricks make them look heroic on screen (and make them rich & popular), but it made them great companions and useful working dogs, and their skills have made millions of people happy for many years.
Now days, it has become really easy to find content that teaches you to train your dog the exact same tricks - all by yourself!
This is what I am doing with Pilot. It's my hope to turn him into a titled trick dog. He's already well on his way!
Teaching dogs to do tricks is fun and rewarding, thus why it's become quite a popular thing for dog owners to do. It turns a dog from "a pet" into "a stinking awesome person I love more than my in-laws".
Okay, not really, but you get the point. Trick training makes your dog a valuable companion, and not just an annoying back yard door bell. Your dog becomes a joy for everyone - friends, family, and strangers - to be around.
Despite what you might think, it's not that hard to train a dog to do tricks, especially if he is willing to learn and you're willing to spend some time with him. It's actually a breeze, what with all the great content available on the internet to help you along.
There are some great books available that teach you how to train your dog. My favorites are by Kyra Sundance from Do More With Your Dog.com. Her books have detailed, bright, colorful pictures. They explain how to do all of the tricks so well, that even the children understand how to do it.
She has a few DVD's now that go along with the books, so you can sit and watch how to do it!
These three books by Kyra are the best, and they are my favorites. They've helped me a lot in my training of Pilot and other dogs (Amazon affiliate Links - read my disclosure policy):
Which dog is a Trick Dog?
Any dog can learn tricks. Rin-Tin-Tin was a German Shepherd. Lassie was a Collie. Benji was a mutt from the pound. So was Old Yeller. Pongo and Purdy were cartoons....
The trick for you is to choose a dog that has a willingness to learn and an eagerness to please.
Most herding breeds, like German Shepherds and Australian Shepherds, crave the mental exercise that trick training provides. Some terrier breeds, like the Rat Terrier and the Parson "Jack" Russell Terrier, thrive on trick training. As far as hunting breeds, I've never met a Labrador or a Golden Retriever who were not eager to please and willing to learn.
Bully breeds, guardian breeds, and little companion dogs are typically more stubborn and it takes a lot more work to convince them to do a trick, but they will do it if you have patience and persistence.
DON'T tell me that you have no patience. Nobody HAS patience. You learn patience.
If you aren't a patient person, get over it and start learning how to be.
Trick training isn't just for the dogs, you know...
The AKC website has great information about all the different groups and breeds of dogs. If you have a favorite breed, you can look it up on the AKC website and learn more, or you can get on YouTube and see if you can find a Dogs 101 video about it. Both give you a great idea of what it takes to properly care for that specific breed, and how easy they are to train.
If you aren't sure what breed of dog might best suite you, AKC has a quiz that you can take which will suggest a few dog breeds that would best fit your home, family, and lifestyle.
If you have a mutt dog and can guess what breeds it has in it, you can try out the AKC breed comparison tool and make a guess as to what independence level your dog will be/is. It's fun to play around with, if nothing else...
Otherwise, if you have a dog that loves to hang out with you, is playful, and wants to please you, then you have the makings of a trick dog. No matter how dumb or smart you might think your dog is, it all depends on how much time and effort YOU are willing to put into it, and how willing your dog is to do it with you.
Pilot as a Trick Dog
Pilot is a little more independent than what is ideal for a trick dog. He has his own ideas about how things should go. But, he is creative and energetic, and he really, really needs the mental exercise. So, before I started teaching him any tricks, I had to spend a lot of time convincing him that he wanted to learn.
Learning manners was the first stepping stone I took to teaching Pilot tricks. Before getting his breakfast or supper, he had to sit politely. Before he could go outside, he had to sit and wait for me to open the door. Before I would open the gate to go for a run, he had to sit. Once he had "sit" mastered, I moved it to "lay down".
Good manners got positive results and made him happy. If he forgot his manners, then nothing would happen and he wouldn't get what he wanted. He started paying attention and listening for queues, because he knew that good things would happen when he did the right thing.
I figured out pretty quickly that I had to give Pilot more exercise, especially before training sessions. I cannot begin to explain how much that helped him to focus. His energy level is set at FORCE-OF-NATURE, and if he doesn't get it out of system, then he won't focus on learning new things. He just becomes this really irritating ball of energy with sharp toe nails.
Seriously, if you have a dog that is out of control, he/she probably just needs more exercise.
The last few months, Pilot has come to the point where he loves to do tricks, anytime, anywhere. This makes me really happy. He is learning new tricks faster, and he enjoys doing his old tricks over and over again.
His favorite trick is "Roll Over". He does it all the time, whether I ask him to or not.
Some days are better than others, and some days are just horrible, but that's why it's called LIFE.
Here is a video I recently made of Pilot getting some exercise, playing with his little sheep friend, and finally doing some tricks with me.
White Rabbit Link Up
Don't forget to link up your newest, most recent blog post below! I love to read them!
(I do read all of them, so keep in mind that it should stay family friendly and it must be new. No more than 72 hours old.)
Being a blissfully single woman whose got nothing better to do than blog and write books, I spend a great deal of time fussing over my fur baby: Pilot, my dog.
This year for "May The 4th Be With You" day, I wanted to make a Star Wars dog costume so my dog could geek out with me (who knows; I might use the costume for Halloween later as well).
I planned to make several really cool costumes all by myself, then have a photo shoot with my sister's Golden Retrievers and Pilot, and use the pictures to make a Geeky post for May the 4th #StarWarsDay.
Well, needless to say, that did not work out as planned. The only costume that came together in time was Pilot's X-Wing pilot flight suit costume.
The simplest two costumes were going to be Chewbacca and Han Solo:
- Chewbacca costume: a wide brown leather belt, strips of gray tape, and a little brown bag. Put the strips of gray tape on the belt at intervals, attach the little brown bag, and VIOLA! your furbaby costume is done.
- Han Solo: black vest, white shirt (unless your dog has white fur, then the shirt is not needed), a toy gun belt, and a toy gun. TA-DA! Slip it all on your dog and your pooch is now the dashing Han Solo!
It couldn't get any easier, right? Well, in our house, you learn that what should be easy is extremely complicated, and what should be difficult takes a few seconds to do, and what should be impossible takes only a few minutes... Yeah, any plans made in our house are bound to turn into one, gigantic, Firefly/Serenity mess (geeky fandom pun, in case you missed it).
Anyway, all that to say that I only got one costume done:
The X-Wing pilot flight suit was really easy to make, as long as I had a little imagination.
For the computer chest piece:
Small square Card Board piece (whatever size suits your dog)
3 pieces of light colored felt
2 pieces of dark colored felt
2 white, large Lego bricks
1 gray, large Lego brick
1 back of a cell phone case (or anything that's black and square/rectangle shaped)
1 stick of hot glue (using hot glue means that you can use most of the items again later)
12" of Elastic (depending on dog size)
I took the piece of cardboard and covered it in gray tape. Then I hot glued the Lego bricks side-by-side, followed by gluing the back of an old cell phone next to them. I took the quarter and glued it just underneath the camera opening of the cellphone back, then I took the dime and placed it down and a little to the left of the quarter and glued it there as well.
After that, I glued the felt squares in the remaining spaces, placing the two darkest ones above the Lego bricks.
After that, I literally stabbed holes in the top corners and tied the elastic through them so that the entire thing could hang from my dog's neck.
For the white vest:
This took more effort than I thought it would, because I couldn't find a piece of white fabric in our house to save my life.
Finally, I found an old toddler t-shirt. So, I just cut the sleeves off, cut the bottom off, cut the neck out (cutting makes me happy, can't ya tell?) and made a bib-like apparition. After that, I sewed the bottom corners together: right corner to right corner and left corner to left corner (sewing does NOT make me happy, so I don't put much effort into it).
TA-DA! There I have the vest thingamajig... it's a little bit big for Pilot, but nobody will notice...
The Orange Jumpsuit/Shirt:
Now, this is the most striking part of this suit, so I was a lot more picky about it; I pulled an old orange t-shirt out of my dresser and turned it into a shirt for my dog.
For this part, I will let you watch a video.
This particular video really, really, REALLY simplified making a dog shirt, and I did not watch it before I made Pilot's dog shirt.
My dog shirt was a lot more complicated... *cough, cough*...
BUT, I like how mine turned out better than the one in the video. However, I did not have the time to make a video explaining how to make a dog shirt (I'll save that for another time, I guess). So, for a simplified way of making your dog a shirt out of your old clothes, here is a really easy video to watch.
Once you have the orange shirt/jumpsuit for your dog, and the other two accessories all made, then your pet's X-Wing Pilot Flight Suit is all ready to go!
The Educational Link Up party is below. If you'd like to join, here are the "Rules of the Galactic Highway":
· Your post must be educational.
· Your post must fall into one of the following categories - Sci-Fi, Geekdom, or Science.
· Check out what your hosts are up to. - We have been having some great Science, Geeky fun this week and we would love you to check it out. The Hosts will be the first few spots on the link up.
· Follow the person above you or find your fandom and comment on at least one post. - Let's make the universe a little smaller by sharing the love!
Have fun! - If I know the Sci/Fi, Geek, Science world I know you will have tons of fun with this! Keep the fandom conflict out of it though. Trekkies and Wookies can coexist!
Meagan from More Than A Coupon Queen
Jess from Benoit Academy
Andrea from Waldorf Salad & Cottage Fries
Kassondra from Motherhood Community
Nessa from 2 Dorks In Love
As far as I'm concerned, my parents raised me right, and one of the things that they did right was raise my sister and I on STAR WARS. She and I took it from there and made sure the younger siblings got plenty of Star Wars education....
Although some people think it's corny and stupid, Star Wars made a huge impact on the movie making world with its incredible effects (which were, at the time, very incredible), its great story line (at the time, it was really great), and its fantastic characters which left a mark on the hearts and minds of fans everywhere.
- Did You Know: All six of the live-action movies debuted in the month of May?
As a result, Star Wars fans created a totally awesome "Star Wars Day" which takes place on May 4th when everyone can say "May the Force be with you".
One of the first records of "May the 4th" being used is in 1979, which was described by author Alan Arnold while he was chronicling the making of The Empire Strikes Back for Lucasfilm:
Friday, May 4
Once the internet became a big thing, "May the 4th be with you" evolved from a saying, into a hashtag, and finally into a full blown holiday! And the best thing about it is this: it is totally fan made.
To celebrate this very cool, fan made holiday, Pilot (my dog) has donned a pretty impressive outfit.
Since his name is "Pilot" it only seemed right for him to be in some sort of flying/pilot suit. Therefore, I made him his very own X-Wing fighter pilot suit!
I know it's hard to tell (note the sarcasm in my cyber voice), but I made the entire thing by myself. That's right! It was all "DIY"...
Tomorrow I will be posting a "How I Did It" blog post for a very special Geeky Group and Link Up that I've come to enjoy hanging out with. So, stay tuned!
BONUS: Did you know that the movie "IRON LADY" is really, really good? It's all about Margaret Thatcher, that wonderful woman mentioned in the above quote. She was the first female prime minister in Britain, and she was a fantastic role model for girls and women everywhere.
After you are done watching the ENTIRE Star Wars trilogy today, you should find the "Iron Lady" and watch it too!
Author of the fantasy series, Tales of the Wovlen, Kathryn spends a great deal of time in the world of her imagination, having tea with fire breathing dragons, writing books on flying space ships, and practicing her mad scientist laugh with gusto. However, on occasion,she returns to this world just to play with her dog and blog about her fun.
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