"Our dog has just landed a starring role in a Broadway play. Like any other actor, he has learned to go to a mark (a predetermined spot on-stage) and stay on it while 'speaking his lines' or doing his acting bit. I will be giving Jyah non-verbal cues from 'off-stage'."
"Now our actor is playing the role of a detective in a movie. In this 'scene' he has to hold a flashlight and point it in different directions as if searching for something in the dark."
"In silent films, directors would stand on the sidelines giving verbal cues to the actors. We don't want our canine actor looking at the 'director' so we will give him something to focus on -- then we'll cue him from behind."
"Our first demonstration will show our dog's ability to take non-verbal cues from a distance." (Normally the dog and handler would be about ten feet apart but for picture purposes we are much closer.)
"In our second demonstration, the dog must stay focused on a moving target (Watch It) while doing another behavior."
"The third demonstration will show that our dog can respond to word cues alone."
"We all know how much actors love applause and Jyah would love to hear your applause at the end of each demonstration."
Here I've sent Jyah to sit on a mat (his 'mark'). I'm giving him a non-verbal cue to open and close his mouth as if he's talking. My cue is opening and closing my own mouth in an exaggerated fashion.
Above -- Jy turning in a circle while holding a dumbbell and staying on or near the mat. My cue is to lean in the direction he is to turn.
Above -- Jy is sitting on the mat and covering his nose with one paw. My cue is to touch my own nose with one finger.
Left -- Jy sitting on the mat in "teddy bear" pose. My cue is both hands curled chest high.
Above right -- Jy lifting his paw in a "wave." My cue is waving one hand.
Above -- Jy standing on hind legs on the mat. My cue is to raise my hand high above my head.
Above -- Jy in play bow -- again on the mat. My cue is to bend at waist and stretch my right hand out to the side.
Jyah holds a flashlight between his front teeth while focusing on the ball at the end of the stick. He is to watch the ball while holding the flashlight no matter which direction I move it.
To show that dogs understand verbal cues, I stand behind Jyah and have him focus on the toy duck. Then I will give him verbal cues.
"Stand -- Put your head down."
"Lift your foot."
"Jyah,sit. Touch your nose."
"Jyah, lie down. Put your head down."
"Watch it. Circle."
"Put your foot on it."
"Dogs love to learn and, like people, they enjoy showing off when they are good at something. We've shown here that a dog can learn both verbal and non-verbal cues. We've shown that they can be taught to focus on a spot or object while responding to cues. In short, we have shown that a dog can give an Oscar worthy performance!"
(In an actual performance, the dog and handler would be about ten feet apart.)
SKITS FOR PUBLIC PERFORMANCE