Max’s TV Debut

Max has been asked to be in a commercial.  Of course, this sounds more glamorous than it actually is, since I work in TV and it just amounted to a coworker saying, “Hey!  Can your dog do this?”  But yeah… Max is gonna be famous.

That is, if he can do the trick.

What my coworker needs is a dog who will grab a particular doll, and run away carrying or dragging it.  When my friend asked, I responded that I was pretty sure Max could handle it, since he loves to grab toys (and sometimes socks) and run around with them in his mouth. When I tell him to “go get opossum!” he’ll find his favorite toy and then run around tossing it in the air and shaking it.

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He kills opossum about 17 times a day.

Yesterday I came home excited to begin training.  I grabbed some treats in one hand and asked Max to go get opossum.  He just looked at me.

“Max, go get opossum!  Where is he?”  Max tilted his head like he does when I’m chatting on about something, and sniffed at my hand holding the treats.

He made no moves toward opossum.

Uhhh…

So maybe the treats were too distracting, since the reward is usually just playing with opossum, so I put the treats away and he did play with it as requested.   Then I watched some training videos and decided to try a little clicker training with the command “take it”.   I didn’t have the actual doll yet so I wanted to just reinforce the command for now.

Here’s his first lesson.

Right now I’m treating him for just mouthing the item, and next he’ll have to hold it for a second. After that, I hope to get him to bring it to me. That way on shoot day, he can pick up the doll, and I can call him from a spot behind the camera and he can bring it to me.

I got the actual doll this afternoon and showed him at lunch. He did show interest and mouthed it on the “take it” command so I’m hopeful.

He has until Tuesday. I know what we’ll be doing this weekend.

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Four in the Bed and the Little One Said…

“….I think I’m gonna like it here.”

Okay, okay, I mingled lyrics there… but that’s just what fit my story.

My sister Mel and her family went to Florida last weekend, so she dropped her two dogs off with me for some cool Aunt Robyn time.

My sister is not a big dog person. It’s not like she mistreats them or anything even close to that, it’s just that ….  I’m a person who looooves dogs.   I remember everything about how we got our first dog, Bear… how we put him in a cardboard box in the back of our station wagon, and how his mom jumped in too and I felt sad, but not sad enough to change my mind because I had wanted a dog for so long.  I remember carrying him up on my shoulder, like a baby, and knocking on all the doors in my neighborhood to introduce them to my puppy, thinking that they would surely be just as thrilled as I was.     I remember waking him “by accident” because my mom would urge me to let him sleep, but I wanted him to wake up so I could hold him and play with him.

I think you get the picture.

My sister Mel, however, wrote a now famous story about Bear for an elementary school project.   It was a large storyboard, and one of squares contained a drawing of Bear and the caption “I like to give my dumb dog treats.”

That still makes me laugh.

Back to this weekend… Max was very excited that Maggie and Miley were coming to play.  Once they arrived I sat them down for some very important instructions.

“Listen guys,” I said.  “In this house, dogs sleep with people.  But no one, I repeat, no one, gets up early.  Understood?”

They all seemed good with that, so we had some treats, and watched some late night television.

Soon Maggie was out cold with her tongue out, and snoring.

For a little dog, she can make some noise.

Even though they were on vacation, I made sure the girls didn’t neglect their studies.

All three dogs have dog beds, so they had a good time testing each others’ out.  But Miley had a definite favorite.

Max and Miley enjoyed chasing each other around, and Maggie enjoyed barking her disapproval of that.  Max and Miley also played tug of war with a rope toy and I tried to snap a picture but I wasn’t fast enough.

It didn’t take long before….

…. and it was time to relocate upstairs.

Yes, there was still room for me.

It was a fun dog weekend and I hope Miley and Maggie enjoyed their stay. 

I didn’t carry them door to door to introduce them to the neighbors but we can always put that on the agenda for next time.