Dog Trainer Spotlight: Nichole & Joey The Border Collie


Meet Nichole and her two year old expert trick dog Joey!

Nichole got Joey as a birthday present from her parents after years of wanting a puppy. Like most young first time dog owners, she didn’t quite know what to do with a dog once she finally had one. It very quickly became apparent that she HAD to do something with Joey. She is a Border Collie and Border Collies are high energy, extremely smart herding dogs. They need lots of mental and physical stimulation.

Nichole explains how she and Joey began their training journey together.

Joey was about eight months old when we really got into tricks and sports. The first sport she ever started training for was flyball. Of course we were careful not to do too much high impact jumping or running until she was old enough. She now is a real competitor in the sport and we’ve also begun training for agility, disc, dock diving and canine freestyle. Now this may sound like a lot – it is!
With a dog doing this much, they have to be in tip-top shape. Joey does daily walking on a treadmill, and runs with me, plus she gets about half an hour of swimming a day. Joey does lots of stretching before exercising to keep her safe; some examples of tricks for stretching are “bow” and “say your prayers“. We also use inflatable FitPaws peanuts to help build her muscle strength, she does squats, spinning circles and stretching on it. Stayed tuned to find out how to teach squats!
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Not only is Joey an athlete, but she is a great trickster. She already has four trick titles; novice, intermediate, advanced, and expert trick dog. She currently knows about 150 tricks, and still learning! Some of her best tricks include, but are not limited to, skateboarding, footstalls and painting.
Joey is also learning something not too normal for most dogs… How to ride a horse. (You heard right, a dog riding a horse!) She is able to balance in the saddle, we just need to master staying in the saddle while the horse walks.

How to teach your dog to do squats!

Step one: The first thing is your dog will need to know is the “paws up” trick. You teach that by luring your dog’s front feet onto an object. Also, your dog needs to know the sit command.
Step two: Your dog put his or her paws up on an object, then give them the “sit” command. Most dogs may have some trouble with this because their hind leg muscles aren’t strong enough for them to lower down into a sit. (Please keep in mind, front paws need to stay on the object!) If your dog is having trouble you can have them put their front feet on your arm so you can help “lower” them into a squat. Eventually your dog will be strong enough to be able to have their front feet on a solid object and they will be able to do squats all on their own!
Check out Joey doing doggy squats HERE 
Please note:
• ALWAYS keep training positive! Use positive reinforcement techniques explained HERE.
• Keep sessions short, about 5-10 minutes per session.
• If you’re angry or in a bad mood, don’t train. Your dog will pick up on it and not work as well.
• Use high-value healthy treats or toys.
• Remember, have fun! Dogs are not robots, they just want to please you and have fun with you!
Facts about Joey:
• Joey used to be a really naughty puppy. She ate three pairs of shoes and a history binder when she was little.
• Joey used to be terrified of water. After a long year of working on it, Joey now loves water!
• Joey’s full/registered name is “Haven’s Need For Speed”
If you have any questions about Joey, Nichole or how she trains you can contact her through Joey’s Facebook page: “Joey The Border Collie”

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  • Oh my goodness what a surprise for a first dog 🙂 It couldn’t have worked out any better, though. You can tell they make a great team. Riding a horse and doing squats; things I’d never though of. I can’t believe how many things Joey can do, she’s amazing. It’s so awesome that she ended up with such a great owner whose so dedicated.