Both YA and I love to spend time at the Pet Pavilion and Dog Meet/Greet booths at the Fair. The other place we always hit is the Stunt Dog Show that features dog dock diving as well as some trick dog demonstrations. It’s amazing to me what they have taught these dogs to do.
I’ve had dogs my entire life but for most of that time, I didn’t think much about tricks. All my dogs went to basic obedience but the basics for me have always been sit, down, come and off. Growing up my folks never even did basic obedience. YA’s dog, Guinevere (who has issues) has been to a LOT of obedience, mostly just to have her around other dogs and people. Because of this we’ve managed to teach her some tricks (roll over, double dance, shake, high five, bark) along with the basics.
Growing up my folks never even did basic obedience with any of our dogs so “tricks” is outside of my experience, although one of my dogs as a kid was really smart. Princess (named by me when I was 5) was a shepherd collie mix who came to us as a small puppy. My mom and sisters and I started to call her Princess the Wonder Dog after she was gone because my father’s stories about her just got wilder and more inventive. He used to tell folks that she was so intelligent that when he told her to go get his slippers, she would run upstairs and come down with them. Of course the only problem with that story was that my dad never wore slippers in his life!
Princess did actually know one trick. If you had her sit and stay, you could put a treat on her nose; she would sit patiently until you said “OK” and then she would deftly toss the treat up a bit and then catch it. We didn’t ask her to do this much, but she could do it – no exaggeration from my dad needed. So when the elementary school that my middle sister and I were attending had a family fair with a pet contest, Sally (said sister) really wanted to enter Princess and have her do her one trick.
Sally, who was in the 3rd grade, practiced with Princess for several days before the fair. She packed up bologna, a really high value treat; she was convinced that Princess would win hands down. When the time came for Princess to strut her stuff, there were a lot of people, a lot of other dogs and she was nervous. Sally dutifully had her sit, stay and then put the bologna on her nose. Sally stepped back and it didn’t take long for Princess to jump back, drop the bologna on the ground and then promptly scoop it up and chow it down. Sally was absolutely mortified. I can still hear her say in her trembling angry voice “bad dog, bad dog”. Princess hung her head in shame. Sally never volunteered her to do that trick every again.
Have you ever had a pet with a good trick?