a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Remington's Tricks Repertoire

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Remington's Tricks Repertoire

SUMMARY: A ten-minute video of Remington's tricks.

Remington was my tricks dog. Before I'd ever heard of agility, before I started practicing for competition obedience (in which we never actually competed), it was tricks for us. He was so eager to learn--and so eager to get treats--and I could barely keep up with him. When I learned how to do clicker training, it sped up his learning process even more.

This is not a complete set of behaviors that he'd do on command, but it covers most of them. In my experience, simply executing the tricks is only half of the entertainment value; the rest is how to use the tricks unexpectedly with entertaining verbal patter.

This video was my attempt to quickly capture a dying dog's legacy. At the time, I regretted not having filmed them while he was healthy (but how was I to know? He was only nine), because the whole time I noticed how slow and low-key his responses were, where he usually danced, pranced, and bounced through his routines. A couple of weeks later, he was gone, so I'm glad to have anything at all.

This is the first time I've dared to view the videos. His death has always felt too recent and too raw; I've feared that I'd plunge into a bawling jag and ruin my whole day. It has just recently occurred to me that it has been five years. Five. Years.

So I pulled out the tapes last night and watched the whole hour. I didn't cry once, although a pocket of tears kept tapping me in the gut (what an image, huh?). I did kick myself for not moving those agility jumps out of the way of the cameraman. Where was my sense of artistry? (Probably completely exhausted, as was the rest of me, waiting for Remington's cancer to become irretrievably bad.) Mostly, while watching, I smiled and laughed. So then I sat down with iMovie and put together these highlights. This isn't a Performance as such; it's just an Inventory. But for what it's worth, here it is. (And here's a text list of Rem's tricks.)

(The original video, with subtitles--doesn't work so well any more)

(Video w/out subtitles, now on YouTube:)

(Thanks to my housemate-at-the-time, who offered encouragement in the background, and her teenage son, who did a lovely job of videotaping.)


  1. You may not have cried but I sure felt like I was going to. What a sweet looking boy.

  2. Oooh, thanks. He was my favorite, for sure.


  3. Awww, that's sweet. I was only able to watch some of it as my two started barking big time at the dog in the computer. I'll have to watch the rest away from them.

    I still haven't been able to make the followup page to Cali's Hedgehog Destuffing Guide. I have the photos but not the will yet.

  4. I definitely got teary and then staqrted laughing at the same time. He was such a beautiful dog and boy did he know a lot of tricks!

  5. Ellen (the other one):

    I replayed the original tapes or bits of it over a few hours as I created the final version. My dogs were huddled around my legs the whole time. Not sure how much was the barking dogs or how much was my voice saying "good dog!" over and over and it never applying to them.

    Unfinished photo projects: I have lots of projects like that, like Perils of Mr. Alien (think Mr. Bill), which I started, and sent people all over the world to get more photos of, and they're all...just...sitting there.... Wow, and I see that THAT's been almost 10 years now. Time to get out those photos... Sure. Any day now.

    Cedarfield: I cut out a lot of the REALLY funny parts--like where I spent 5 minutes trying to get him to do a "limp" on command after he volunteered it on his own when I said "list". Dogs.


  6. What a treat that was. Thank you so much for putting it together and sharing. The biscuit balancing bit was particularly impressive, and the way his head would inch farther and farther forward, too funny!

    On another note, what was with Jake and Tika watching so politely and not interrupting? Wow.

  7. Well--Jake was a very good boy. Tika was on a leash. :-)