Monday, July 17, 2006

Movie Star Bear

After Bear completed basic obedience training with me, my husband took him on into advanced training which was based on food rewards. Since hounds are even more food-driven than regular dogs, that worked very well. Now he can speak, count, roll over, be a "dead dog" (except for his tail), put his head up or down on command, crawl and dance. He'll even do some of them to hand signals. He loves to do tricks, and gets positively ecstatic when you get out the treats. Seriously. I think he would much prefer to do the trick and get the treat than to simply get the treat.

For awhile he had an agent (in fact, he had an agent when I didn't!) and he's even been in a couple of movies. One was about training your dog to do tricks, from which the picture here is taken. He is wearing his cowboy costume and counting (barking). The other was a short film done by a student at the UA. It was a five minute scary film called The Pool Man. Bear's job was to bark hysterically offscreen, which he did magnificently. I never saw the movie but I think something bad happened to that pool man... Fortunately we don't have a pool.

Every Friday night before we settle down for our movie at home, my husband puts Bear in one of the bedrooms, then hides about five treats throughout the house. We let Bear out and he runs around in sheer delight, sniffing out all the treats. If we forget, he will not let us watch the movie in peace until we hide his treats for him. It's so fun to watch him find them, though, we rarely forget.

Another thing that's really a hoot to do is to find him sound asleep somewhere, go get one of the especially aromatic treats (T-Bones, for example), and then just sit there near him holding it. For maybe 30 seconds he'll lay there, unresponding. Then his nose will give a violent twitch and suddenly he's wide awake and up, searching for the treat. Too funny.

Have a great week

Previous Bear entry: Young Bear