K9 Corner

BY HELEN PALMER

When I was teaching dog obedience classes, I often reminded the handlers that they should be having fun with their dogs. 

 Finally, after all these years the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Do More With Your Dog organization (DMWYD) have come up with not only a four-page list of tricks you can teach your dog but also titles you can add to your dog’s name if you are competitively inclined.

   I researched the Internet for more information. The AKC’s site (www.akc.org/trick-dog) said “Trick dog training has become one of the most exciting new areas in dog training.”

The site continues: The AKC Trick Dog titles are official AKC titles listed on the dog’s title record. Owners desiring to obtain one or more of these titles must first obtain an identification number, whether it is a registration for a purebred with proper bloodlines, or a purebred alternative listing (PAL) or a canine partners listing which covers mixed breed dogs. Dogs listed under PAL or canine partners must be spayed or neutered.

The primary characteristic of trick dog training is having fun. Sound familiar? Trick titles can be awarded by AKC approved Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Evaluators and the AKC will also recognize trick titles earned through the Do More With Your Dog organization. The DMWYD asks: “What does a Trick Dog (title) mean?” The answer they give is “A trick dog title honors the dog, recognizing him as an intelligent and willing partner…”

They continue “A Trick Dog title honors your commitment to your dog showing that he is important enough in your life to receive your time, your energy and your undivided attention.”

The AKC gives four Trick Dog titles. 

• Novice – where the dog performs 10 skills from the Novice list. If the dog has a CGC certificate (The Mutts with Manners graduates do) or has a title on record at AKC it can do five novice tricks along with some CGC exercises to earn the Novice title.

• Intermediate Trick Dog: The dog must have the Novice title plus perform 10 Intermediate tricks.

• Advanced Trick Dog: The dog must have the Intermediate title plus perform five tricks from the Advanced list. 

• Trick Dog Performer: The handler performs a short routine with the dog showing at least 10 tricks previously learned.

I searched for the list of tricks in the AKC web site but was not able to locate any. However I was able to find four pages of tricks of increasing difficulty in the DMWYD web site. (www.domorewithyourdog.com/trickdog) Here are a few samples:

• Novice: Walk a balance beam or up a ramp. Come when called. Jump through a hoop. Find a hidden treat. Give kisses. Play a memory game. Sit on a pedestal. Sing/howl.  Spin in circles. Play volleyball. Weenie bobbing.

I will have to continue with the Intermediate, Advanced and Expert tricks next week. I am hoping the samples will inspire many dog owners to get out and have fun with their dog.