LIke Norman on Facebook @NormantheScooterDog
Have you ever heard of a dog that can ride a scooter? What about a bicycle?
Norman the Scooter Dog can actually do both! He holds two separate Guinness World Records for riding the fastest 30 meters on a scooter and again on a bicycle. On top of that, he wows everyone he meets by doing a lot of amazing dog tricks. He can ride a skateboard, jump rope, surf, take a bow, and open doors.
Norman is also the ultimate sweetie with a personality that warms your heart. Karen describes her dog as, “a clown who knows he’s funny…. he looks at your with this look that makes you laugh.”
We wanted to learn what makes a great trick dog and interviewed Karen Cobb, Norman’s owner, to learn how she trained Norman.
Facts About Norman
Personality: A Clown, Loves to Play, One of the Family
Favorite Treats: Natural Balance Dog Food Rolls, Mozarella Cheese
Favorite Special Interests: Agility, Obedience, Sheep Herding, Swimming
Favorite Cause: Stop Puppy Mills
Commitment to Training & Socialization
Karen believes that safe socialization greatly outweighs any of the risks from poor socialization. Even when Norman was a puppy she did a lot to socialize him well.
Norman is a Briard, Briards are known to require much more socialization than other dogs. As a puppy, Karen was commited to giving Norman good socialization and training. Norman has always been very curious. He loves to play and always wants to do what the family is doing.
First, she took him consistently to weeks of training in agility and obedience. When Norman was 15 months old, he actually received his Companion Dog Title in obedience with all first placements.
She was also made a commitment to expose Norman to different kinds of people and dogs, to stand on different surfaces , and to be exposed to different sights and sounds. Karen uses positive reinforcement by way of bribes or treats to make training sessions a game. Each time she introduces Norman to something new, she gives him treats. Doing this helps build confidence in your dog and paves the way for more advanced tricks.
Training sessions should be kept short with high motivating food. Sessions should also be built into your daily routine – every time you leave the house, before meal time, or at bath time. Puppies need constant training and play time. Read more about her 12 Essential Training Tips for socializing your puppy.
Last, she says that dogs need to learn how to play well and to make everything with your dog into a game. They also need to know how to release on command and retrieve.
Additional Tips for Teaching A Dog Tricks
Besides giving your dog foundational training and socialization, there are a few other tips that Karen mentioned that helps her teach Norman new tricks.
A lot to training has to do with knowing your dog and your dog’s breed. Karen strongly advises people to research their dog’s breed and to make sure that the dog will be a right fit for you and your family.
Here are some of things that Karen did to make Norman into a great trick dog:
- Don’t always tell your dog no for everything. Teach him specific commands such as leave it, off, quiet, take it, and put on (place on table).
- Knowing what a target is (nose or paw on anything).
- Focus is one of the most important skill to teach your dog because helps him pay attention to you.
- Getting the right high motivating treats: Knowing different levels of high motivating treats or incentives for your dog. For example, for a new trick you may use the highest motivating treat for your dog. For Norman, this might be mozarella pieces because they are easy to break off
- Clicker training is great for more advanced tricks because your dog can better understand what you want him to do by the immediate sound of a click.
- Training sessions for adult dogs should be about 1 hour per day, or in 3, 20 minute intervals.
- Training classes are a great way to get feedback about your dog. You can never stop learning more about your dog.
Learning to Bike
Biking is very hard to teach a dog. It took Karen quite some time to teach Norman to ride a bike. Dogs can’t just ride a normal kids bike. Norman’s bike is actually customized to fit him.
Karen suggests that people first train their dogs to skateboard first. It’s easier to teach than scootering or biking. Dogs must first learn to stand on a moving object. To do this, the dog must be comfortable with a skateboard. Training starts at a stationary position. Karen often uses treats and a clicker to help her train Norman. Reward when your dog has one foot on a stationary skateboard and then move on to 4 feet standing on the skateboard. Then, try using a leash to gently pull the skateboard forward while your dog is on the skateboard. You will have to also train your dog to get off the skateboard.
Since Pawtivity is all about getting dog owners to do more with their dogs, we asked Karen if she had any advice for dog owners. Instead on trying to figure out what your dog may like to do, she mentions that dog owners should find something that they like to do and then incorporate your dog in that. Dogs do love spending time with us, so it makes sense to involve your dog into something that you like to do!
Karen has many more training tips that you can try with your dog. Basic training is a great way to ease your dog into more advanced training and tricks!
Norman is Amazing!!
I asked Karen how Norman shows his love. She said that he actually gives you a hug by leaning on you and wrapping his paws around your leg. How adorable and very affectionate!
With all the training and activities that Norman gets on a consistent basis, he must love his family!Norman, you are a lucky dog to have such a wonderful family! Keep on learning new tricks and exploring fun things to do.
About Karen Cobb
Karen Cobb, owner and trainer of Norman the Scooter Dog, graduated from University of Miami with a Bachelor of Science. She has trained dogs for over 20 years, specializing in problem solving, behavior counseling, housebreaking and aggression problems. She now primarily trains Norman for his live performances and dog sports. Her goal is to get Norman a leading role in a movie. Learn more about Norman and Karen. Connect with them on Facebook!
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