Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Truman Report

A good news update.

Some of my regular readers may recognise this handsome boy as Truman, the shelter dog that was trained to compete in the Maine Boatyard Dog Trials. It is a fun contest put on by Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors annual trade show in Rockland Maine with a limited entry accepted. The contest is based on 3 simple rules: either the dog or handler has to finish completely soaked; cheating is not only tolerated it is encouraged; and there are no other rules! Fun!!!

The contest itself is comprised of an obstacle course, a tippy dingy challenge (dog and handler has to jump in and out of the dingy - this is the part one of them usually gets wet) and a freestyle portion. For our freestyle we did a secret agent routine because when they entered, we had no idea what we would have for a dog to work with at the time of the contest. It depended upon what we had for dogs at the shelter to chose from when the course started. Here is the repost of that story.


It was a blast to work with Truman and all the kids. We also had a back up dog in training (an understudy double agent if you will) who looked like he was Trumans brother in case of injury or adoption that could put a crimp in our progress. This meant they were training two dogs at the same time. My job was to teach the kids what they needed to know to be able to train the dogs. In the mornings we watched the video "The Language of Dogs" by Sarah Kalnajs together so I could also help them learn as much about reading dogs as possible as a two week course allows. Then the afternoons we spent working on skills with each dog. The kids made up the routine and chose the tricks based on the skills we taught.

While two weeks isn't going to give anyone a fully trained dog, we were able to put a few tricks under his belt that worked great during the competition. (Held on a floating dock in the harbor in front of a HUGE crowd of onlookers on the docks and in surrounding boats.) The best part was it showed that adult shelter dogs CAN learn new skills. Adding to that was the fact Truman was a hound, a breed some think can't be trained at all. Well we not only proved them wrong we proved he was a real winner and he (and his trainers) walked away with the coveted Pup Cup Trophy. I am very proud of all of them and the work they did.

Of course he still needed a new home to go to afterwards. One family took him on a trial but he was returned for being to rough with their other resident small dog. Then the new issue of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors came out with a feature of the World Champion Boatyard Dog in need of his new home. This became the rest of his story. See Truman with his new dad in the following story with video clip:


(Thanks Amie for the update.)

Our freestyle secret agent routine included: jumping over and though obstacles, responding to commands in 3 other languages, chasing down the bad guys (& pushing them off the dock!) kissing the rescued femme fetale and going back undercover as an average family dog. (it was very cool and set to the pink panther and mission impossible theme songs) Not to shabby for a bunch of kids and someones idea of a cast off. I am SO happy to see Truman got such a great forever home out of the deal. That is the win we were really all looking for after all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. I was so disappointed that Truman wasn't immediately adopted after winning. Looks like his longer shelter stay resulted in a great home.