Teaching dogs to honk in support of front-line workers
NORTH BAY -- We've all heard about people around the world cheering on front-line workers by banging pots and making a whole lot of noise as they acknowledge people battling the coronavirus pandemic.
In North bay, its hopeful dogs will soon be in on the support.
Two dog trainers are using social media to teach owners how they can get their four-legged friends involved.
"I actually started with a bike horn, and got my dog Percy to honk a bike horn, and came up with a campaign called ‘Honk 4 Hope,’ said Touch Animal Rehabilitation trainer Eric Russell.
Russell was inspired by all the loud cheering and pot-banging he hears every night. That’s when he decided to teach his 7-year-old Great Dane to honk a bicycle horn.
The 'Honk 4 Hope' campaign is a community-wide challenge that Russell started to encourage other owners to train their dogs to honk for front-line workers and send in videos.
And, Russell is teaching other owners through the use of social media, Facebook Live.
"If have a communication line established with your dog, it makes things go a lot quicker.”
Laurel Dutrisac owns Touch Animal Rehabilitation and is starting to work with her own dog, Flynn, to get him involved.
She says the first step for every owner is to get the dog to touch the rubber part of the horn.
"Flynn is kind of low-key in his training because just by his nature, but he'll be a good dog to kind of demonstrate the steps," said Dutrisac.
She says it takes about a week or two to train the average dog to honk a bicycle horn.
"If you have a horn, you can steal one off your child's bike, but don't go rushing out and trying to find one," said Dutrisac.
"We've tried to source some out online,and we're getting some in for people to pick up."
In a few weeks, Touch Animal Rehabilitation is hoping to see videos from owners across the city of their dogs honking for front-line workers.
"It's just a quick little way we can give a 'Thank you' to everyone," said Russell.
As these experts say, you really can teach an old dog - new tricks.