Archive for September, 2010
Most people assume that dogs are much easier to train than horses. I mean we can house break dogs, teach them to lead the blind, do search and rescue, and countless amounts of tricks and tasks.
But one thing I find that people fail to factor into the equation is the food drive that horses have. Now I know this varies from horse to horse, but we all know that horses graze ALL-DAY-LONG. If there is food, they will eat. They will eat until they get sick!
My little Minnow is a prime example of this. I know that no matter what trick I ask him to perform, if I have a treat in my pocket, he’s more than willing to give it a valiant effort. Performing in front of crowds with him, I never worry that he might not do what I ask, I know he’ll always make me look good!
Now my Dachshund, Ammo, on the other hand can be quite a challenge. As much as he enjoys his treats, he also has other driving instincts. He’s a hunting dog through and through. Noises, smells – they all serve as added distractions for him – so much so that sometimes they outweigh the drive for food.
I consider Ammo to be a pretty well trained dog. He’s housebroken, knows a number of commands and tricks, and generally speaking he listens fairly well – considering he’s only about to turn 2. Now I’m not saying Minnow is any smarter than Ammo – they equally master tricks at lightning speed – but the difference is, Ammo can not be trusted. (I love you Ammo, but it’s true). His attention can only be on me when he wants it to be. No amount of food, excitement, or the promise of praise will get him to obey the commands he knows….so long as he “just doesn’t feel like it”.
So when I’m getting ready to perform with the pony and dog, I tend to worry. Will Ammo run off in the middle of the performance to play with another dog, will he do all the tricks I ask of him….who knows? My typical performance nerves of steel are tested when I know Ammo is with us. I love the boy, but like I said, he cannot be trusted! I’m sure anyone who owns a Dachshund can understand how I feel. They are an amazing breed of dog, but they certainly have a mind of their own.
A few days ago, I did something that will test my “performance nerves of steel”. I entered Minnow and Ammo into a talent contest at the Equine Extravaganza in Doswell, Virginia. I perhaps have an unreal expectation of having the two of them perform an act TOGETHER. Can I keep Ammo with me while I work with Minnow, will he stay on his box like he’s supposed to….I’m not sure? All we can do is practice and prepare as much as possible, and I’ll have to swallow my nerves and try! One thing can be sure…..it’s sure to be entertaining. You’ll either see some amazing tricks by a talented Chincoteague Pony and his quirky Dachshund, or you will see me chasing a Dachshund around an arena while frantically trying get him to do tricks.
I think I’m going to need a back up plan for this one!
Check us out at the Equine Extravaganza on Saturday, October 30th from 11:30am – 1pm!
Chincoteague Minnow & Ammo the Dachshund went to the Ludwigs Corner Horse Show & Country Fair on Saturday to entertain the crowds. It was a beautiful day (except for the horrendous winds from Hurricane Earl), and Minnow created 6 new paintings.
I thought by mid-day, when Minnow usually takes his afternoon nap, he would have grown tired of being pet by strangers, performing tricks, and painting, but Minnow was up for the task. Every time I brought out something new for him to do he was more excited to perform than ever.
Even Ammo the Dachshund happily jumped through his hoop all day long, and played dead like a pro.
At the end of the day Minnow had 6 new paintings, one of which I gifted to my mom for helping me out all day long. All the paintings created by Minnow that day are now available in the online shop! They make a great end-of-summer treat for yourself, or an amazing show n’ tell piece for your kid’s back-to-school! Enjoy!
see more photos on Ammo’s post