Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, has never been to the Service Dog Academy. Mary McNeight, owner and head trainer at the Service Dog Academy was about to start obedience in disguise, a.k.a. party tricks using positive reinforcement dog training methods when Guido, a 12-year old Jack Russell Terrier came through the door with his owner, Monica. His sweet, and sometimes saucy personality instantly captured our hearts during the training sessions at the West Seattle studio.
What we know of Guido starts when he was around two-years old when he was found wandering along the US/Canada border, and was brought to an animal shelter in Bellingham, Washington. Monica had been interested in adopting a Jack Russell, and when she got a tip from a friend about Guido, she high-tailed it north to meet him. It was love at first sight, even though he was in bad shape – his nose was raw from rubbing against his cage. “He was the sweetest dog I had met,” Monica said, and luckily that day was the first day he was available for adoption.
The instant bond between Monica and Guido was strengthened when shortly after the adoption, Guido was attacked by an off-leash Pit Bull. Hanging on for dear life, Guido spent several days at the emergency vet. “I think he learned I would always be there for him and would alway stake care of him,” Monica recalls.
Monica put effort into basic training from day one, and Guido was quick learner and seemed to enjoy training. Now, 12-years old, and still looking as handsome as ever, the trickster made us laugh and charmed everyone in party tricks at the Service Dog Academy. Some tricks were harder than others, but in 4-weeks he learned to jump over a leg, weave through legs, jump through a hoop, act ashamed, beg, open a refrigerator, spin, hide, say his prayers, hide his face in pillow, and give kisses. Our latest tricks class graduate proved to be a show-off who loves attention. Some of his favorite tricks, Monica says, is shake and crawl, but adds, “I think he loves doing all tricks.”