Piper is a rescued beagle, taken into my home at the age of 6 weeks. I had been told that, being 'just a beagle' he was scheduled to be euthanized.
I began to train Piper shortly after adopting him and he as been the mascot for my business, doing demonstrations and being a good ambassador for clicker training--the humane method of training which I use and teach to pet owners. Piper is now 13 years old.
Piper's career was highlighted when he was 4 months old. He won the "Warm Ears" marketing campaign competition for North Atlantic Petroleum's heating oil advertisement. For the "warm ears" campaign he was to stay in a down position on a heating grate to warm his ears. You'll see a picture in the slide show on this page. Seeing Piper's picture, featured on billboards, fuel oil trucks and the oil company's marketing materials made me very proud of my little rescued dog. More than 12 years later, Piper's picture still appears in North Atlantic's Yellow Pages advertisement.
Piper has accompanied me as I have often been a guest speaker for the Psychology Dept.'s Animal Behavior class taught by Dr. Carolyn Walsh at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He would demonstrate behaviors taught using operant conditioning. His repertoire is now comprised of more than 120 trained behaviors. We call them tricks, but a behavior is a behavior.
As a younger dog, Piper was a registered therapy dog with Therapy Dogs Inc., making frequent visits to seniors' residences and hospitals, providing entertainment and comfort for residents and patients.
When Karl Wells was the popular weather person featured on the CBC's St. John's suppertime current events show Here and Now, he visited our home to watch Piper and another of my dogs, Tuig, demonstrate their skill as my Painting Beagles. The sale of their art work has helped to support animal shelters and examples hang in the offices of academics and veterinary medical professionals in several provinces.
Piper was a guest on CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show, making the trek with me to be "interviewed" by then-host Jeff Gillholey and Cecil Haire. I was interviewed regarding a video of Piper that I produced showing how to train a specific behavior. Piper's "Basketball Playing Beagle" video was a grand prize winner at the Clicker Expo held in Chicago, March, 2011.
Piper was shown on the website of Karen Pryor Academy (clickertraining.com). Karen Pryor is an internationally recognized animal trainer. Mention of Piper's paintings may be found in the book Dog Biz--a compendium of facts and anecdotes from the dog world.
Piper is such an intelligent dog that he has challenged me to be a better trainer. He has brought so much laughter to our home with his hilarious antics and his ability to problem solve, that I couldn't resist giving him a page to call his own on my website.