As a professional clicker trainer, I am constantly looking for new challenges for my dogs. Two of my dogs, Piper and Tuig, both 'rescue beagles', enjoy targeting--using their paws (or noses) to touch or push a pre-determined target.
Using their enthusiasm for learning new behaviors, particularly targeting, I shaped them to paint--to move a paw in a stroking motion on a piece of artist's canvas. They wear a special 'painting paw' which is used to apply the paint.
They sometimes need to 'consult' about their choice of colors for their abstracts but we are always pleased with the finished product.
Since you are hopefully enjoying reading about my Painting Beagles, you probably would also like to know a little more about them. Piper and Tuig are both 'rescue beagles'--rescued by animal shelters and first fostered and later adopted by my husband and me.
Piper is now 13 years old and we have had him since he was 6 weeks of age. As a pup he was due to be euthanized until rescued and placed in foster care at the tender age of 5 weeks. Piper is a bright little dog that has been clicker trained since 6 weeks of age.
Piper is my demo dog for clicker training. He knows over 120 different behaviors and enjoys showing off for an audience. He is a wonderful example of a clicker trained dog--happy and eager to learn. Piper has gone with me to schools to help facilitate my talks with students from the primary grades to senior high school, and also to Memorial University of Newfoundland so that we could demonstrate for psychology students some real-life uses of operant conditioning .
Piper is an ambassador for beagles and what wonderful, intelligent, loving dogs they are. It is my hope to raise awareness of the plight of many beagles which live outside in extreme weather conditions or are otherwise raised in less than ideal environments.
Tuig is a special little dog. He was rescued by Beagle Paws at approximately 7 months of age. At that time his eyes were so badly infected that it wasn't until the infection was cleared up that it was discovered Tuig had a genetic condition known as micropthamalia (small eyes). Along with this condition, he has problems with his eyelids and he also has cataracts. Tuig is blind. With this disability Tuig wasn't considered very adoptable, with one local veterinarian recommending he be euthanized. A member of Beagle Paws rescue group believed in Tuig and refused to accept the vet's recommendation. Tuig came to us as a foster dog. We fell in love with his happy, good-natured personality-adopting him in September of 2004. Once here, I began clicker training Tuig--working on basic good manners and socializing him to the world around him.
Tuig's painting came about from an idea I had of teaching Piper to paint and selling his painting to help pay for some eye surgery Tuig needed. After Piper had completed a few paintings, I decided to teach Tuig to paint too. He really enjoys his new 'hobby'. As a result, we now have this page of our site devoted to showcasing the works of our Painting Beagles.