JoAnna Lou
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An Award Show Fit for A Dog
Winners announced for the 2009 Canis Film Festival.
In the winning film, Chaos was trained by Devi Stewart to blow bubbles in his water bowl.

These days, there seems to be a film festival and award show for just about everything. So it’s about time we dog lovers got a piece of the pie.

Last weekend the winners of the 2009 Canis Film Festival were announced at ClickerExpo in Providence, R.I. Although there were no swag bags or paparazzi, the films starred talented and furry actors showcasing dog training at its best.

The Grand Prize went to Chaos, a Border Collie whose owner taught him to blow bubbles in his water bowl. Not only is this trick just plain cute, it’s refreshing to see training that has no set agenda. Often times I get caught up in training only “useful” behaviors, such as heeling or waiting at the door. But this video inspired me to remember the fun of dog training, particularly with shaping. 

The runner-up was a film on using positive methods to get a dog to use a treadmill and the second Runner-up, my personal favorite, was a touching story on the life changing effects of clicker training from the point of view of an adopted shelter dog.

Conceived by Karen Pryor Clicker Training, the Canis Film Festival showcases the art of animal training. The entries, all less than seven minutes, are judged for clarity of instruction, innovation, entertainment value, positive methods, usefulness and production quality. 

Feeling inspired to feature your dog in a winning film? Details will be posted shortly on the festival’s web site for 2010 submissions. Fire up your camcorders!

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.
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Submitted by Terri Mallett | April 6 2009 |

The runner-up winner of the film festival is one of our long-time volunteers at the animal shelter I work at. We have a program that uses clicker training and lots of shaping and targeting to provide mental enrichment to the dogs (and cats!) lives during their stay with us. One of the trainers in the area mentioned that she see a difference in the dogs that come from our shelter - in that they are generally more attentive and easier to train! So yes, we definitely keep fun at the forefront, but it has lasting effects too!

Submitted by Carolyn with Ma... | April 9 2009 |

I loved all three of these. Very entertaining and great to see what clicker training can do. Thanks for posting.

Submitted by Mary H. | April 9 2009 |

I absolutely love the bubble blowing video. I've seen it several times before, and I always enjoy watching it.

The other two were great also--I loved how she showed shaping all the steps in the treadmill one and the shelter dog video was a wonderfully heartwarming story. I would have liked the treadmill video to take a brief moment to mention safety, but I hope most people realize to be careful with dogs on treadmills.

I was a little disappointed about the lack of species diversity, though! I remember cats, horses, birds and pigs from the previous years. I wonder if they didn't get as many submissions that weren't dogs?


Mary H.
http://stalecheerios.com/blog -- a serial for positive animal training

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