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Trick Dog

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"Tricks are for Keeshonden!"

Karen Sheahan and Jeep

"I compete in a lot of dog performance sports but the area that is closest to my heart is Trick Dog competition. It is so easy to get involved in trick training with any age dog and the dogs have so much fun and feel so accomplished and pleased with themselves once they conquer a trick. (my puppy boy Ticket has his TKI and has just turned six months). Plus what Kees does not love showing off for visitors and earning a treat in the process. Not only does learning tricks teach a dog to focus closely on you and help to form an incredible bond, tricks can provide a foundation that crosses into other sports. Jumping onto a table for agility, not a problem! Sit stays, why of course! Those training therapy dogs can use fun tricks in that venue as well. My first trick Kees, Reba, volunteered at a Children’s Hospital primarily doing animal assisted therapy where she would happily play games with “her” kids, helping them to put small objects into a wagon that she would pull down the hall, or taking her turn with a child at a game designed to help with fine motor skills.

My current trick rock-star Jeep (CD BN RE OA AXJ OF FCAT2 ACT1 SWN RATS OSD CGC TKE FITG) has competed and qualified the past four years in AKC’s virtual trick dog competition. AKC offers five trick dog titles, Novice (TKN) through Trick Dog Elite Performer (TKE). Anyone who has achieved TKE is eligible to enter this once a year virtual competition. The video submission requires a story containing a minimum of ten tricks and which must be shot in one continuous take, no longer than six minutes. I totally love coming up with a new story and creating props for Jeep, and Jeep loves the challenge of mastering new tricks and having an audience! (not to mention all those treats!) Her 2022 submission was selected for that year’s showcase of 20 performances. Jeep is currently five and has been joined with son Ticket in our trick training so I am looking forward to many more years of fun in this sport!"

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