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THE HUMAN ELEMENT
Mary Stadelbacher, president of Shore Service Dogs in Maryland, says that people seem especially taken with dogs that can paint because they seem closer to being human. “The whole concept that a dog could hold a paintbrush and go to an easel is what humanizes it for them,” Stadelbacher says. “We can relate to that more than paws going across paper.”
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DOG OF MANY GIFTS
Stadelbacher not only teaches her dogs to help people with disabilities, she also teaches them how to paint! It began back in college, when she trained her cats to do tricks.
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“Do they know what they’re doing? They do know that they’re doing something other than a task that’s strictly for a service dog,” Stadelbacher tells PEOPLEPets.com.
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TRAINING TAKES TIME
The producers of a dog competition TV show once contacted Stadelbacher about the rapid-training of two contestants. What they didn’t realize, she says, is that it can take a few months to teach a trained dog to paint reliably under any conditions.
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PEACE & QUIET
The first thing in training a dog to paint is to have a dog that’s calm. “They have to come to you and sit quietly while you put paint on the paintbrush,” Stadelbacher says. “You have to give the paintbrush to them a special way so that they can put it in their mouth.”
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PLENTY OF PATIENCE
Doggie Da Vincis need great focus and self-discipline to complete a work in one go. “They have to be willing to go through the process until I say that the painting is finished. They have to have a willingness, to want to do it,” Stadelbacher says. Sammy, who often gets into a painting groove, enjoys it so much he vocalizes while he works!
Read more about Sammy’s talents on PEOPLEPets.com!