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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Polly wants a cracker... » » Training Dogs for a Magic Show (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Conjurer213
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Ashland, OR
21 Posts

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Just got a pair of young Pembroke Corgis, and am thinking of training them for some walk around and stage shows.

Would love to hear from others on their efforts at dog training and magic.

Would also like to know of any books or other resources that might be helpful in the venture.

Thanks
chrisweeks
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Toronto, Canada
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I use creative magic's Cube squared for my opening. If your dog doesn't mind sitting in a cube for a few minutes then it is a great effect
Lavey
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Luxembourg
147 Posts

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A friend of mine created a dove to dog cage. The spectators loved it
Christian Lavey
Magician from Luxembourg https://lavey.lu
Magicien de Luxembourg https://lavey.lu
Zauberer aus Luxemburg https://lavey.lu
gulamerian
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We have been using dogs in our act for years. Samoyeds, Miniature American Eskimos, Pomeranians and a Border Collie. If you have any questions you may PM me. It does take a lot of patience. Once the dogs learn what you want they will know the act better than you.
BowerPower
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I used my Lasue for years. He's passed now, but it was a HUGE hit and the kids especially went nuts.

I used a big mirror box.

I remember seeing Dan Birch do his act and turned his doves into his poodle.

It was well done but that dog was probably crammed in there.
Ken Northridge
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Atlantic City, NJ
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A major reason why so many magicians work with rabbits is because they will sit quietly in their compartment until is it time for them to appear.

Is the quiet part a problem with dogs?
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
www.KenNorthridge.com
gulamerian
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No. In the process of trainning them they are also taught to be still and quiet.
I have been using dogs for years and never had a problem.
BowerPower
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Its just like most animals, you have to teach them and be patient. You can't just force an animal to do something well, they have to understand that if they go in, they will come out and likely be rewarded for it too.
gulamerian
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Training dogs requires a lot of love, a lot of patients and a lot of hot dogs.
BowerPower
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Lots of treats too!!

When I worked with my dog, he alway new he was getting a marrow treat right after. Keep in mind that most dogs LOVE the attention they get too after they appear. Always nice to see there tail wagging away, they deserve the credit for being a good doggy
paulapaul
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Nevada
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It's true that some animals really like the applause, attention, vibe, or whatever it is when an audience responds. There were a couple of items in my show that I never trained the animal to do, they just did it on their own. One of my birds would display, wings wide open, crest up, for applause. Another one would display as well, and about 2 weeks into her first job, she started ducking downward from her display when I bowed, then back up to display after her "bow", as I stood straight.

Some of our really effective routines were ones that we made up just to use an animal's natural likes and habits. For instance, when we found that one bird would grab and throw gobs of cards out of the deck, I added a routine, promising that the bird would find the selected card. On stage, every time I said that he would find their card, and extended the cards to the bird, he would grab and toss a chunk of the deck. I was obviously "embarrassed". This continued to happen, until only 1 card was left! Yes, The Chosen Card!

The down side is if the animal outgrows the fun from their "game".

Still, I think it can't hurt to see what things they do naturally, and incorporate it into your routine. I am pretty sure that a dog could be trained to continue using an affectation he has outgrown, if you have associated a command with it.

One thing that melts people every time is when a dog will "play dead". Shoot him with your finger and a funny little shooting sound. That gets even a bigger reaction.

I know that it has nothing to do with the magic. But, imagination will take care of that.

Something vitally important for any animal, let alone a performing dog, is proper socialization. We exposed our baby exotic birds to crowds, to pyrotechnics and to kennels very early. Corgis can mistrust others, so you want to start socialization while they are young. If you intend to bag or box one, it's helpful while they are so young to wrap them in a towel, or put them in a little box, and put them by your feet when you sit to watch tv or to read. After a little while, unwrap, and reward.

Use the internet to learn about how to maintain the dominant position, especially watching out for "Small Dog Syndrome".

Yep, sure enough, I did a search, and a page I found said almost the same thing:

From http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/pembrokecorgi.htm
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is highly intelligent, loyal, able and willing to please their owners. Corgis are extremely active and are good with children so long as the dog sees humans as above him in the pack order. Protective and sturdy, they make fine guards, and excellent show and obedience dogs. Wary of strangers, it should be properly socialized and trained when it is still young. They need their humans to have a determined, consistent loving approach, showing firm but calm leadership with proper human to canine communication to avoid over-protective behaviors as an adult. They sometimes try to herd people by nipping at their heels, although they can and should be trained not to do this. The Pembroke tends to bark a lot and makes a good watch dog. If you find your dog is barking at you in order to communicate you need to hush the dog and look into your leadership skills. A dog that is barking at you in that manner is showing signs of dominance issues. The human handlers need to communicate to the dog that aggressiveness with other dogs is an unwanted behavior. Usually good with non-canine animals. Do not allow the Corgi to developed Small Dog Syndrome.
(end)
There is a ton of info from links on that page that will help you have well-adjusted dogs, and show you a lot about the kind of people-doggie communication skills you will find valuable in teaching them to be good little assistants.

Good luck!

Paula
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