Maci has been awarded three new trick titles this month from "Do More With Your Dog!" She completed nearly 30 tricks to achieve her Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced titles. Miles demonstrated 15 tricks, securing a novice title as well.
A few weeks ago, I attended the annual Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) conference in Covington, KY. My favorite presentation was Trick Training for Confidence Building and Competition with Sassafras Lowrey, CPDT-KA, and Certified Trick Dog Instructor (CDTI). Sassafras shared the story of how zir rescue street dog, took to trick training, building her confidence (which was greatly needed), and strengthening their brand new relationship. While sadly Charlotte, a Champion Trick Dog, has since crossed over the rainbow bridge, Sassafras has continued achieving the highest trick levels with zir current dogs and has written numerous books, including one specifically on trick training. Through that presentation, I was introduced to "Do More With Your Dogs!" (DMWYD), which, at that point, I was not familiar with. It was created by professional dog trainer Kyra Sundance and designed to encourage and guide dog owners in teaching their dogs various skills and tricks. The program offers certification levels that validate a dog's achievements in tricks, modeling and acting, agility, and more. It's focused on positive reinforcement training techniques. The program includes a massive free Tricktionary, a list that gives descriptions, pictures, videos, and tutorials for every trick at each level. From it, I selected the tricks my dogs could perform, recorded them, and shared the files with an evaluator (I selected Sassafras, of course!). There are many evaluators who you can easily find through the program; once they review your tricks, you submit your application and fee to DMWYD and then enjoy bragging rights for you and your dog on your cool accomplishments together!
Any person and any dog can participate in this program. It's fun and simple, and as the name says, it encourages you to "do more with your dog!" If you'd like more information, please let me know. I'd also encourage you to pick up Sassafras' fantastic book Tricks in the City and Kira's book (which happens to be one of my first dog training books), 101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog.