COLORADO SPRINGS — if you have a dog at home and you're looking for an exciting family project, why not learn how to train them to do all sorts of neat tricks?
Imagine your dog jumping through a hoop, or pivoting on command!
It's not just something the pros at Westminster can do, you can learn, too - and even have the certification to prove it.
One local trainer in Colorado Springs is making it happen by teaching others how to train their dogs, and have fun doing it.
Pamela Leland, owner of the Colorado Springs Dog Training Center, has been training animals since the 90's.
She's based in the Springs and now does a lot of her teaching online, where she shows folks how to teach their dogs the kind of tricks you see in dog shows.
There's the classic jumping, pivoting, even barrel rolling.
"The tricks aren't that hard," Leland said. "They're pretty easy."
Leland follows guidelines from the American Kennel Club, the folks who set the standards for dog breeds and for sporting activities.
"They are probably the most prestigious kennel club in the world," Leland pointed out.
The club is open to both pure-bred dogs and mixed dogs.
The way it works is Leland's students will either drop off their dogs so she can train them, or receive instructions from her on how to teach these tricks.
Any video clip her students send her goes towards their title and at the end of it, they can walk away with a trick dog certification from the American Kennel Club.
Leland says it can be a proud show-and-tell moment for families, including the kids who help.
"What a great thing to take back to school. You know, 'What did you do over the break? I got trick dog titles on my dog!'"
Beyond being a bonding exercise, this can also give your dog something to look forward to.
"They need mental stimulation," Leland explained. "They need to be challenged. Training is just so helpful to them."
Leland says dogs aren't the only ones who can learn tricks. Cats, horses and birds are among the animals she can teach, too.
She also has a YouTube channel where she walks folks through some simple tricks.
You can check that out here.
If you're interested in signing up for classes, you can do that by e-mailing her here: email@example.com