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August 2018 Cooldown Fun

It’s hot out!

How are you keeping your dog cool this August?

Take a photo and upload to get points and placement on our leaderboard. Upload your photo to your social media account as well with #pawtivitypup to let others know where you went!


Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Beach, Beach Camping, Outdoor Play, Social, Water – Sports, Kayaking, SUP, Swimming, Beach Running, Dock Diving, Canoeing, Boating, Fishing, Treats, Food, Training, Indoor Play, River Tubing

The Best Dog Tech Gadgets For Dogs (2018) – Pawtivity Picks

We love learning about the latest doggy stuff out there because we all want the best for our furry friends! Each week we cover the fun, novel, essential, and new products for dogs in our Pawtivity Picks Series.

This week we decided to cover some of latest and must-have technology gadgets made for our furry friends! We tend to love the products that give us our dogs smart, active play and products that make sure we keeping our dogs healthy while simplifying our lives.

Products Covered: Smart Collar, Food & Exercise Tracking, Treat Dispensers, Dog Monitors, Potty Trainer, Smart Toys

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission (at no cost to you) for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services marked with an *. The main purpose of this article is to provide you with hiking and safety tips. We will only provide links to truly great products we think our visitors would appreciate learning more about.




We really love the concept of this dog collar. It’s the perfect collar for the Pawtivity Pup. You can go hiking, running, and biking with your dog off-leash and get the assurance that your dog will be within a set boundary around you at all times. GPS, health, and activity monitor make this collar even better. By the way, the collar is completely waterproof!

Dog collars with geo-fence capabilities have been around a long time, but what makes this collar unique is the ability to use your mobile app to draw your own customized containment area anywhere, not just in your own backyard. This makes the product truly mobile and versatile.

When you are out for a run or hiking in the winter, it helps to know if your dog is too hot or cold. The collar comes with a temperature and environmental alert that tells you if you your dog’s ambient temperature is high or low.


What is still left to be proven is just how good GPS tracking is on this device and if the gentle vibration and ultrasonic sensor is enough to deter a dog from crossing a certain boundary. We are also unsure how an added 1 pound of weight for the collar may work for a small or medium sized dog.

The product was released May 30, 2018, but still on pre-order. Wagz makes many other connected home devices for dogs, including an automatic feeder. The collar works with other Wagz and Black & Decker pet products. The product can be ordered for $349 and comes with plan options for extra storage and video streaming.

WHY WE LOVE: Have your dog on an invisible leash and hands free while you hike, run, and bike. This all-in-one device is perfect to track your best workout buddy’s health and whereabouts better than you can.

Take me to the Wagz Smart Dog Collar now.



According to a study by the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, 53.9% of dogs are overweight. A lot of dog owners don’t actually know that their pets are overweight. Our vet can tell us how much food your dog needs based largely on weight, however, they can’t factor in exercise accurately to tell you much you may need to modify your dog’s diet. So, it’s pretty easy to overfeed your dog.

Actijoy creates an integrated pet tracking system that helps you give the right amount of food to your dog so they don’t become overweight. The pet tracking system includes a waterproof health and activity monitor, a food and water bowl, and finally a mobile application.


Actijoy products are currently on pre-order and available Spring 2018. We are curious to see how well the activity tracker measures different types of activity from a dog.

WHY WE LOVE: This is one of the first products we have seen that really tries to give us feedback into how much we need to feed our dogs. It also motivates us to get out and get active with our dogs! Of course we love that!

Take me to the Actijoy Pet Tracking System now.



We love smart play for our dogs and CleverPet* really fits the bill. Dogs need to work for their reward and use their heads! Clever Pet is a smart toy and treat dispenser. Your dog has to solve puzzles by pawing three buttons that light up. When they get the puzzle correct, the device opens revealing a tasty treat.

We love that puzzles get progressively harder so your dog keeps getting challenged and is not fed too many treats! You can see how your dog does throughout the day from your phone and how many treats they got.

Clever Pet is available to purchase on their website for $249 for a refurbished unit. New units are currently out of stock and cost about $300. We hope the company comes out with an upgrade version soon!


WHY WE LOVE: Dogs need a healthy balance of mental stimulation and physical exercise. Clever Pet gives them smart play so they don’t decide to take their frustration out on your sofa.

Take me to the Clever Pet* now or order the Refurbished Version.



Having a hard time training your puppy to go potty on his pee pad? PetSafe* has come up with a solution that will train and reward your dog every time he pees on his pad.

You can reinforce other training with your dog by using the treat dispenser with a remote. If your dog needs to know to go to his place or to his bed, you can place the treat dispenser near his designated place or sleeping area.

In order for this system to work, your dog does need to be food motivated. Some dogs are motivated more by play, so may not response as well to treats.


WHY WE LOVE: Ever walk home from work only to find pee and poop rubbed in on your furniture and carpets? Ugh. If you have to use a pee pad, at least your puppy can learn to go in the right spot!

Take me to Train ‘N Praise Potty Training System* now.



PetCube* is an interactive pet camera that lets you interact with your dog when you are not home. You can quickly check up on your pet, hear and talk to your dog, give them a treat, and take photos of them from your phone.

Even when you aren’t checking in on your pet, you can get alerts if something is wrong based on sound and motion alerts. Now, you shouldn’t use the Pet Cube for meals, but the container does fit up to 2 lbs of treats so plenty to last a long time.

The PetCube comes with 1080 HD video and night vision along with a 138° wide angle view. You can also zoom up close to see your dog. Multiple cameras can be purchased and placed in different rooms.


The jacket does come at a hefty price tag of $495 (not a typo) if you’ve got some spare change! We just want to know if it comes with a hood or matching boots. Perhaps something to look for in the future.

WHY WE LOVE: Ok it’s Big Brother with good intent. Now we can love our dogs when we are not there. We already hate leaving them at home! Who doesn’t love flinging a treat (from your phone!) to your dog?

Take me to the Pet Cube* now.

Leave a comment if there are any other products you think are worth letting everyone know about! Please let us know why you like it, how you use the product, and how long you have been using it for.


Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!

Join the Pawtivity Community. Meet Other Adventurers That Do What You Love To Do.
Sign up TODAY!

Activities: Shopping, Games & Tricks, Training, Great Outdoors, Indoor Play, Outdoor Play, Hiking, Biking, Running

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: The owner of Pawtivity is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.  

Stairway Chase

Stairway chase is a game that can be played on a rainy day for any dog that loves to play fetch! Just throw a ball up the stairs for your dog to retrieve and bring back to you.

Start at the bottom of the stairs and ask your dog to sit. Then, give him a command such as “go” or “ok” and have him race up the stairs to bring the ball back to you. Rev your dog up even more by holding his harness or collar before letting him get the ball. Going up the stairs requires more effort than going down, so you can play this with your dog for about 10 minutes to get him really well exercised!

Doing this often will get your dog in really good shape and develop better agility and coordination. Does your dog have high prey drive or herding instincts? Mix in some fun by tossing up an erratic ball, kong, large soccer ball or even a big yoga ball.

Take a photo of your dog playing this game with you! How long did you play before your dog was good and done?


Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Games, Fetch, Indoor Play, Agility

Play "Go Find It"

Play “Go Find It”

This is a great indoor brain game to play with your dog. Ask your dog to sit and stay in one room while you hide treats in another room. Walk back to your dog and ask him to “find it.” It may help to have a trail of treats to lead your dog to the room where the other treats are hidden. You can give clues as to “no” or “yes” if your dog is close to a hidden treat.

If your dog is just starting out, put the treat in plain view where he can see and smell. To challenge things up, hide a treat so your dog has to rely only on smell. You can also hide it somewhere where your dog has to explore, go under, or jump on top of something to get to.

How long did it take for your dog to find all his treats? Submit a photo or video of your dog playing! Did you make any changes to the game? What changes?

Take a photo of your dog playing “Go Find It!”


Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Games, Training, Tracking, Nose Work, Indoor Play

Top 15 Things To Do With Your Dog This Fall-Winter

Top 15 Things To Do With Your Dog This Fall and Winter

At, our members love to go on adventures with our dogs. Here is our list of the top 15, best things to do with your dog this fall and winter, indoors and outdoors.
Want to see a pawtivity (activity) or event listed? Just email us!




We love the change of the seasons. It’s nature’s way of keeping things interesting! The colors of fall make for a gorgeous time to love nature again and take some really impressive photos of your dog! Take a break from the normal grind of daily routines and recharge by breathing in the crisp, fresh air of the new season. There are so many fall outdoor activities that you can do with your dog!


Doggy Run – October is Adopt A Dog Month and the perfect time to sign up for your first 5k to support your local rescue groups and shelters. There our so many dogs out there that need a loving home. Make a day out of the event! Dress up with your dog in costume. If you can’t run, just walk! You will still be supporting a good cause. Have fun!

Hiking – Enjoy the new change of the season by taking your dog out sniffing and exploring a new hiking trail. The best trails will be the ones that offer the best views of fall foliage. Plan a road trip to a destination hike. Please let your dog stick his head out the window to bite that wind!

Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze It’s the season for a great pumpkin search! There are several dog friendly pumpkin patches. Pick out the best pumpkin to carve at home and enjoy some caramel apples, cider, and pumpkin pie. Have a dog that’s good with his nose? Take him with you to a corn maze! Have fun getting lost together and exploring your way out of the maze! End the day by watching the classic, “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” a 1966 television original movie based on Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip and featuring Snoopy and the gang.

Wilderness Camping – The summer heat is finally over! It’s time to spend the entire day outdoors with family and friends. Book a campsite early. There’s so much to do, but whatever you do, involve your dog in all the action! End the day by making him a campfire s’more with dog biscuits and marshmallow. Substitute peanut butter in place of chocolate to make your treat even tastier! Snuggle in for the night and wake up to watch the sunrise together.



These activities were meant to be done in your backyard on the perfect snow day! Dogs love to be in the snow.


Play “Go Find It” – Have your dog sniff a toy with a treat inside. Next, ask your dog to sit while you go outside and hide the toy or bury the toy loosely outside. Bring your dog outside and tell him to find his toy! “Go Find it!”

Snowball Catch – Does your dog love the snow and playing fetch? Why not play fetch with a snowball? Or, roll a great big snowball and have your dog chase it down the hill.

Obstacle Course / Maze – This works best if there is more than a foot of snow on the ground. Take a shovel and make a maze in the snow. Add some obstacles along the way. You could build a wall for your dog to jump over, a short tunnel to crawl through, and a ramp at the end your dog must climb up to get his final treat!



When the weather turns for the worse, it’s time to stay indoors. Get some great one-on-one bonding time with your dog and reinforce those skills toward making your next adventure even better. If you have an active dog, you’ll need to find activities that expend both physical and mental energy to keep your dog from going from good dog to destructive demon. Take the time to hone in on some dog obedience and training!


Puzzle Toy – Every dog owner needs at least one puzzle toy, especially since not all of us can be there to entertain our dogs 24-7. One of the best puzzles toys you can get is some crazy, wobbly treat dispensing toy trap. Dogs go nuts for this type of toy because it gives them a challenge and reward at the end. Other puzzle toys, like those created by Nina Ottosson, require that dogs figure out the right moves for a treat. Both types of puzzle toys are a great option to have for indoor play.

Play “Go Find It” – Have your dog sniff a treat. Next, ask your dog to sit while you go into the next room to hide his treat. If your dog is just starting out make it easy – put the treat on the floor by the wall. Call your dog to you and ask him to “Go Find It!” Challenge things up more by adding more treats to find or hiding the treat in harder to find places, such as on a table your dog can get to. An alternative to this game is to hide the treat in one of 3 boxes. Have your dog sniff out the right box and give him an extra treat!

Attend A Class – Now might be the best time to hone in on those obedience skills. The holidays can cause a lot of stress for our dogs. Being cooped up indoors doesn’t help. Many classes are offered indoors, such as agility, swimming, and obedience training. There are even classes and trainers that will help your dog be a better adventure dog. They will teach your dog to be better off-leash, to search and rescue, to “potty”, to walk faster, to stay quiet, or to bark and attack all on command.

Fun Dog Training – If you don’t do it now, you should make it a habit to reinforce basic training into your dog’s daily routines, such as before you feed or walk your dog. We recommend puppy situps (sit, down, sit, come/touch). You can also introduce gestures for basic commands so you don’t have to say a word for your dog to “sit” or “stay.” Or, practice impulse control exercises and see if how still your dog can be as you place objects on his head. Hold a treat above your dog’s head. Every time your dog reaches for it pull the treat back up quickly and lower slowly only when your dog sits again. Lower the treat until you can place the treat on your dog’s nose. Now, give him an “ok” command and let him eat his well-earned treat! What funny things can your dog hold on his nose? Brush off more of those puppy class techniques and get creative! You can make a game out of anything.



Don’t stay indoors! Get out and keep active by trying these three outdoor winter activities for dogs that will get your heart pumping and your dog thoroughly happy. As with any winter sport, you need to build up your dog’s stamina and endurance, so start slow. Go on trails you are familiar with or go with someone who is.

Proper gear is required for these activities. While you may already know how to ski, your dog doesn’t have a clue what skis are or how they work. Let your dog inspect your gear and reward him if he takes an interest, but not if he thinks it’s his new toy! Hold up the equipment and move it around. Again, reward only if our dog takes an interest. Finally, put on your gear and try it out for your dog outside.

Snowshoeing – Do you already love hiking or running? Then you’ll probably love snowshoeing, and the best part is that you continue to hike or run without worrying about the snow. Snowshoes are easy to get used to and don’t require you to change much in what you do already. Your dog can just go along happily with you as he’s always done. The low learning curve and ease of snowshoeing has made it one of the fastest growing winter activities.

Cross Country Skiing – This winter sport is best done if your dog is reliable off-leash. Great pre-training for this activity include snowshoeing, hiking, or running off leash. It’s important that your dog stays with your, has reliable recall, and does not cross your path.

Skijoring – Skijoring is a sport that’s reserved for stronger dogs over 30 pounds who can pull you forward on a special hands free leash tied around your waist while you are on cross country skis. Poles are used to help guide and move you along with your dog. To pre-train for skijoring, try canicross or bikejoring in the fall. Remember your dog will be pulling you forward, so have good command of your dog at all times and train him properly to follow a straight line, or at least to stick to the pathway! That means no squirrel chasing. You’ll also have to teach him to stop and go.

Kicksledding / Sleigh Ride – This is another sport that is reserved for stronger dogs who can pull, but one that can also involve your kids! What in the world is a kicksled anyway? Think urban dog sled racing on snow. Dogs pull along a sled that a person can stand on. While the dog pulls, the person kicks back at the ground to give the sled momentum to move forward. Hang on for a ride! Don’t have a kicksled? Have your dog pull you on a sleigh or sled instead. Mush!



Winter snow is fun to play in, but conditions could damage your dog’s paws. First off, make sure your dog is comfortable playing, walking, or running in snow. Some snow is just too deep for some dogs, especially if you are dealing with freshly fallen, loose snow that will tire a dog out too fast.

Always check your dog’s paws periodically when they our outside and go indoors if your dog’s paws start to crack or bleed. Remove any ice balls or snow trapped in the paw. You should use some paw protection such as petroleum jelly, Musher’s Secret paw wax, or booties. When you come indoors, wash and inspect your dog’s paws again.

Your dog needs proper winter attire that will keep him dry and warm. Get him a doggy coat so the two of you can play longer outdoors. The right coat depends on your dog’s sensitivity to the cold and activity level. Some coats will allow for more movement, while others do well to keep dogs warm on a walk. We recommend finding a waterproof winter coat with fleece lining that at least protects your dog’s chest and abdomen. A D-ring on the back is also helpful if you are using a harness on your dog. In addition to a coat, bring along a portable water bowl, food, a quick drying towel, and perhaps a waterproof mat so your dog can rest on the snow comfortably.

Most important of all is to hydrate with fresh water. To prevent water from freezing, use a wide-mouth steel water bottle or thermos and fill it up with warm water, but leave a little room at the top in case some of your water does start to freeze and expand.

Last but not least, don’t leave the human and dog first aid kit at home!

Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!


Join the Pawtivity Community. Meet Other Adventurers That Do What You Love To Do.
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Jump Rope

Dogs love to jump. Plus, it’s a great form of indoor and outdoor exercise for your dog! Patience will be key to this exercise – you will have to teach your dog to jump, get comfortable with a swinging rope, and then jumping in time to the moving rope.

Allow your dog to sniff the rope and become comfortable with it on the ground, in a raised position, and with a slight swinging motion. Next, line a jumprope on the ground (don’t hold it) and have your dog sit on the right side of the jumprope. While holding a treat in your right hand and standing at the end of the rope (dog still on your right) make a right to left sweeping motion and lure your dog over to the left side of the jumprope. Dogs pay attention to body language so make sure you are guiding them appropriately. Do this a few times and start adding in a “jump” command. When you dog jumps over to the left side give him a release command like “yes” or “ok” and reward him. Repeat the same exercise with your dog jumping from left to right.

Now raise it up! Tie a jumprope on one end of the chair while you hold the other. Allow some slack in the jumprope and hold the rope a few inches from the ground. Repeat the previous exercise and ask your dog to jump over the jumprope. Gradually raise the jumprope forcing your dog to actually jump over.

Challenge your dog further by adding some back and forth swinging motion to the jumprope! Of course start very slow at ground level with small swings and gradually raise the rope higher.

Submit a photo or video of your dog jumping rope! Ready for some more challenges? Check out the next recommended pawtivities! Think you have a double dutch dog??



Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Games, Jump

Human and dog tugging a rope tug toy outside.

Play Tug

This is a fun game that anyone can play. Dogs naturally know how to tug. Make sure you pick a tug toy that is long enough so that there is room for your dog to grab on one end and you to safely hold on the other end.

Remember that you should always be the one to initiate a game of tug. To initiate a game of tug, ask your dog to sit and then wave the toy in front of your dog while you ask him to “take” the toy. Then tug away! Practice having your dog “drop” and “take” the toy.

Teach your dog what acceptable play means. If your dog does not play well or bites you in any way, say “ow” to signal that you your dog is hurting you. End the game and initiate play only when your dog calms down and sits. It’s actually good to keep playtime short so your dog keeps wanting more! If your dog is aggressive or jumps up tell him “No” and end the game for awhile.

Submit a photo or video of your dog playing tug with you. Did it take him long to learn to play? What is his favorite tug toy?


Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Game, Trick, Indoor Play, Tug

Top 10 Ways To Cure Dog Boredom

Dog Bored? Top 10 Ways To Cure Dog Boredom

My dog looks up to me a lot. So, it always makes me feel guilty whenever she sprawls out on the floor with a thud, gives a big sigh, and then stares me down with those sad, bored puppy eyes. All she wants to do is play! Maybe I’m overthinking it, but she would get up in a heartbeat if she saw me with a toy in hand!

So, how do you cure dog boredom?

Dogs need a lot of physical exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction. Otherwise, they will look for something to take their frustration and boredom out on, such as chewing up your living room couch, digging out all your new outdoor plants, or barking at anything with legs.

Our dogs have become lazy, or rather we have allowed them to become lazy. Dogs used to work a lot! Many were bred to retrieve prey or herd livestock alongside their humans. All dogs have a natural instinct for scavenging for food.

We simply need to do more with our dogs and give them (and yourself) an active lifestyle! I’m always looking for a fresh way to keep my dog busy and avoid destructive behavior in dogs. Here are some quick tips to keep your dog entertained, happy, active, and challenged.



~As they say, a tired dog is a happy dog.

  1. Walk Somewhere New: Like humans, dogs love a little variety and challenge in their walks or hike. Take them somewhere that has new scents, sounds, and experiences.
  1. Go Out On Errands: Dogs love the car ride too. If you can’t walk, take your dog along with you when you run errands! Crack open the window and let them sniff something new in the air! Never leave your dog in the car if it is too hot outside! Not only will another dog owner give you the stare down, but worse, your dog may have get heatstroke or sustain brain damage.
  1. Sign up for a Pawtivity or Event: Find new ideas to keep your dog active and happy on Pawtivity! Sign up to do something with your dog! Try a new activity you’ve never done before. We love fetch, disc dog / frisbee, and tug. Agility is also a great form of mental and physical exercise that boosts your dog’s confidence and makes them more obedient all-around – it truly is an overlooked form of play for dogs! 15 minutes of disc, agility, or other form of active play at a time truly does wonders – keep your dog wanting to do more and looking to you to play more.
  1. Go To The Dog Park: The dog park is a great way for your dog to socialize with other dogs. Better yet, it’s often free!
  1. Make Your Dog Work For Food: Since dogs used to scavenge for food, why not scatter your dog’s food in the yard and make them find their food? Or lay out small piles of food around the house for them to find. Every time you feed your dog or take your dog on a walk, make them do puppy situps (sit, down, sit, come/touch, look). Practice puppy situps at a farther distance each time. This is great training for better recall and obedience, useful for when your your dog is off leash.
  1. Get a Chew Toy: Dogs love to chew, so get a good assortment of soft and hard chew toys to try out! Carmella can bite through black Kongs, so we love edible dental bones and antler bones. Antler bones last a long time and do double-duty to fight boredom and clean teeth. Note of caution: Find the best chew toy for your dog – start with a soft one. Antler bones should be taken away if you see chipping or breakage. Chew toys that are too hard can fracture your dog’s teeth. We never had a problem with antler bones, but this has to do with they way Carmella works at the bone, she doesn’t just bite down. Tennis balls are not the best chew toys as they can wear down your dog’s teeth enamel and fall apart in pieces large enough to get stuck in your dog’s throat. In all, supervise your dog with their chew toy before deciding which one is best for them.
  1. Invest in Treat Dispensing and Smart Toys: Dogs naturally have a keen sense of smell.  Why not challenge them to use their natural instincts by giving them a puzzle for them to solve?  Treat dispensing and smart toys often involve the use of treats and require supervision. They also come in varying levels of difficulty.
  1. Create Distractions When You are Away: Keep a safe treat dispensing toy around, put on the tv or radio, and keep a chew toy or two around for your dog to play with when you are out.  You can also try giving them frozen treats that will melt over time or put toys in a huge ice mold to leave outside.
  1. Rotate Your Dog’s Toys: This shakes things up a bit and gives more mileage to your dog toys. Dog are like kids – they love the new toy and all want the new toy.
  1. Attend a Basic Dog Training Class:  How will your dog know what you want them to do? Dog owners need the proper training to communicate effectively with their canine companions. Basic commands such as sit, stay, leave it, give, or come serve as building blocks to help you play more with your dog.


What are other ways that you can keep a dog busy? We hate to see a dog that is bored. Include a comment below or email us and we will add your suggestion as a pawtivity!

Carol & Carmella
President & Pup, Pawtivity


Is Your Dog An Amazing Pup? 

Is your dog amazing? Contact us to be considered as one of Pawtivity’s featured amazing pups! We may feature you on or on our instagram accounts @pawtivity and @myamazingpup. Send us a photo of your dog and tell us why they are so amazing!


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Norman The Scooter Dog

Norman The Scooter Dog

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
Breed: Briard
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!


Is Your Dog An Amazing Pup? 

Is your dog amazing? Contact us to be considered as one of Pawtivity’s featured amazing pups! We may feature you on or on our instagram accounts @pawtivity and @myamazingpup. Send us a photo of your dog and tell us why they are so amazing!


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Norman the Scooter Dog

12 Essential Training Tips For Your Puppy

We met with Karen Cobb to interview her about her dog Norman, Pawtivity’s first amazing pup!


Norman is a Briard, famous for holding 2 Guinness World Records in riding a scooter and bicycle. Norman can also do a variety of tricks and is active in agility and obedience. This dog has some serious skills and is so polite! He can jump rope, dry off his beard on a towel after drinking, and take a bow. Bravo!

We were interested to learn how Norman became so good at doing tricks. A lot of it came down to being very well socialized with much of that training done while Norman was still a puppy. While Norman is very curious, building socialization and training skills in everyday tasks or games was also essential.

Given that French Sheepdogs are traditionally bred to control and guard sheep, they can be somewhat overprotective or suspicious if not socialized and trained well. Clearly, Karen has done a phenomenal job socializing and training Norman.

Training takes commitment and patience from you and your dog! While Norman learns tricks easily, it did take him some time to ride a bike well. Boy can he ride now!

Start with these puppy foundations and you may find yourself with tomorrow’s dog star. Think of all the wonderful things you can do with your dog given the proper socialization and training. It all starts today to create memories with your dog that last forever.

Karen shares with us 12 very useful tips on how she trained Norman as a puppy. Read on for some great training tips!

Want to learn more about Norman the Scooter Dog? He’s the first of our amazing pups.

Intro by: Carol Chi, Pawtivity

12 Essential Training Tips For Your Puppy

“Every moment awake is a learning experience for your puppy – Make it positive.”
Karen Cobb, Trainer of Norman The Scooter Dog

  1. Greet & Meet People – Your puppy should meet new people every day, and display proper manners. Stand outside the pet store, grocery store or anywhere with high foot traffic (visit different locations every day). Bring some extra tasty treats that can be broken into small pieces. Everyone wants to greet a puppy, so when they ask to pet your dog, ask them to have the puppy sit and then give him/her a treat first. Goal: 10 people per day. Gold Star: 20 people.
  1. Watch Command – Teach your puppy to watch you. Watch is one of the most important behaviors to teach your dog. It’s right up there with sit. Your dog will respond much better to other behavior cues, if he/she’s looking at you and paying attention. Goal: 10 reps, 2x a day.

  1. Dinnertime Manners – Teach your puppy where you want him/her to be during dinnertime. Don’t correct bad table behavior; teach a positive behavior instead. Tether your dog with a harness and leash him/her to a doorknob with his/her bed close by. Every time you sit down for a meal, your dog should go to his/her bed with a toy that hides food inside (like a Kong or Nylabone Romp ‘n’ Chomp). This will help form a lifelong habit of good table manners. Goal: every meal.
  1. Wait Before Leaving – Teach your dog to wait at all doorways. This is a safety issue. If they run out of the house in a frenzy, they can easily run into the street and get hit by a car. They should not exit the house without permission from you. They should let you exit first and wait for a release command, which permits them to cross the threshold. Goal: Every time you exit house.
  1. Leash Behavior – Teach your puppy the correct leash behavior when they see another dog. Do not allow a face to face greeting of two leashed dogs. This is not only confrontational, but also increases the flight or fight reaction, as both dogs are restrained. When approaching another dog, take a treat out of your pocket and show it to your puppy, so they are looking at you. As you pass the other dog, feed your puppy the treat. This will form the behavior of your dog watching you every time another dog passes, instead of the lunging and pulling behavior we see many other dogs display. Try and set this up daily. Goal: 5 dogs a day.
  1. Puppy Play – Your puppy should learn to play with other dogs properly, and with good social skills. Only allow play off leash in a contained area. When dogs are on leash they should be paying attention to you and not pulling toward something else. Allow your puppy daily play with different dogs. Try to set up daily play dates with your friends’ dogs or find a puppy socialization class. Interrupt any dominant play, like mounting, by making a loud noise and redirecting the play toward a ball or other toy. Goal: 3 different dogs a week.
  1. Brush & Bathe – Teach your puppy to not only accept grooming and bathing, but enjoy it. Get brushes out and give a few treats after every few stroke. Touch each toenail and squeeze a little to simulate a nail clipper. This can be stressful to dogs, so have a helper give your puppy a very high value treat, such as peanut butter or wet dog food, while you squeeze your puppy’s toe. Fill the bathtub with 1-2 inches of water and toss some kibble and or toys in the water and let your dog play and bob for kibble. Goal: One of each of the three areas (brushing, nails or bathtub) 1x a week.
  1. Meal Time – It is very easy to avoid resource guarding if you start young. Don’t think, “My puppy doesn’t growl over food, so he never will.” First, have your puppy sit and stay before giving them their food. On a daily basis, interrupt your dog’s meal, by walking to his/her bowl and either placing more food in it or having them sit while you pick up the bowl and add a tasty treat, before returning the bowl to them. This will not only get your dog used to being approached while eating, but also get him/her excited about the possible addition of something special. Goal: 1x per meal.
  1. Noise & Distraction – Introduce your dog to all different sounds, sights, feels, and smells to avoid fear or distraction of anything new later on. Sounds can be a vacuum or truck starting up. Feels can be using different dog brushes to walking on a slippery floor or across a sewer grate. Sights are everywhere from people with a beard and a hat, to someone dressed in a chicken suit. Smells can be walking behind a fast food restaurant to walking through a farm with many animals. Try and introduce your dog at an early age to everything you can possibly imagine them encountering later on. They are so willing to accept new things while puppies, but it gets harder as adults to overcome a fear of the unknown. Goal: 3 exposures a day.
  1. Establish House Rules – Think of the house rules you want your dog to follow when he/she is full size. Be sure to start teaching those rules at the first introduction to the house. If you don’t want your dog on the furniture, do not pick them up as puppies and put them on your lap while sitting on the couch. Instead, sit on the floor with them. Lay aluminum foil on any furniture they may jump on, so they learn it’s not pleasant to be up there (foil makes noise when they touch it and is not as comfortable to lay on). Do you want them sleeping in your bed? If not, do not allow them up there as pups. Teach them to sleep in a crate, next to your bed. Put a comfy bed inside for them. Eventually, graduate to replacing their crate with their dog bed.
  1. Controlled Play – Teach your puppy controlled play. Don’t allow chewing on your arms, but substitute a toy instead. Teach them that you start and end the play. Keep a few toys out, and put the rest out of reach. Rotate the toys you give your dog. Your dog will be more excited to play with any “new” toys you give him/her. If you play tug, make sure you teach your puppy to drop the toy on command and stop tugging before they get if they begin to get too aggressive. about the tugging. Goal: Play everyday as much as you can.
  1. Doorway Behavior – Teach proper doorway behavior from puppyhood. Where do you want your dog to go when a guest rings your front doorbell? It is best to teach a down stay in a room adjacent to the main hallway. Ideally, there would be a floor surface change they could see as a boundary of where to lay down (ex. Have your dog lay on the carpet of the living room, which borders the entrance hallway wooden floor.) In the beginning, ask a helper to get the door while you work closely with your dog. Your dog should stay until you go TO THEM and give a release command. Do not release and allow your dog to greet the visitor when he/she is excited. Instead, walk your dog to a treat jar in the kitchen and give them a treat. This takes the attention off the visitor and puts it on the treat jar. Practice by setting up the situation with a friend ringing the doorbell. Goal: 6 practice doorbell rings per day, and every time a real visitor comes!


About Karen & Norman

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.


Join the Pawtivity Community. Meet Other Adventurers That Do What You Love To Do.
Sign up TODAY!