Australian cattle dogs pamper owners

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VIDEO: Watch Australian cattle dogs Snoop and Spunk perform the Double Dog Nose Trick.

Snoop and his mom, Spunk, are Australian cattle dogs who possess uncanny dexterity and intelligence.

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Australian cattle dogs Spunk, left, and Snoop show off one of their tricks by holding pieces of a hot dog on their nose.  Chris Thelen/Staff
Chris Thelen/Staff
Australian cattle dogs Spunk, left, and Snoop show off one of their tricks by holding pieces of a hot dog on their nose.

They have no formal training, yet learn new tasks effortlessly. Snoop even managed to place highly in a disc-throwing competition at this year's Atlanta Dogwood Festival, says Susie Felz, whose family owns the dogs.

Their signature maneuver: a simultaneous nose-balancing, biscuit-catching trick the Felzes refer to as the "Double Dog Nose Trick."

Also known as blue heelers, Australian cattle dogs exhibit talents innate to all herding dogs, such as border collies and German shepherds, which were originally bred to perform a variety of tasks with minimal training.

On a family farm, they might be charged with driving sheep, herding chickens, keeping the pigs out of the garden, warding off strangers or even tracking game.

Dexterity and boundless energy are essential for a breed that managed half-ton cattle in the hostile environs of Australia, and that might be why Snoop has such a knack for disc-catching.

A herding dog's real asset, though, is its seemingly preternatural sensitivity to every desire of its master.

"If we can find a way to communicate it, they'll learn it," said Ms. Felz, who trained Spunk to fetch the morning paper simply by escorting her dog to where the paper lay at the foot of the driveway.

After three days, Ms. Felz simply said "newspaper"; Spunk had it at her feet in moments, and has repeated the favor every morning since.

PERFORMING PETS

The pets: Spunk and Snoop, mother-and-son Australian cattle dogs


The humans: The Felz family, Martinez


What they do: Double Dog Nose Trick

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Tell us what your pet can do, and we might feature them in its own Internet video or newspaper story.


Log on to chronicle.augusta.com, or send a photo of your pet in action, and a short description to Tharon Giddens, The Augusta Chronicle, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928. You can also send an e-mail to tharon.giddens@augustachronicle.com.

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TWright987
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TWright987 08/23/07 - 08:33 am
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AWSOME!!!! KUDOS!!!! I love

AWSOME!!!! KUDOS!!!! I love to see families who love and appreciate their pets as a part of their family. You are an excellent example to others in this area how having a pet, or two, should not only be handled responsibly, but be an absolute joy and inspiration at the same time.

patmay
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patmay 08/23/07 - 09:48 am
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I love all my animals and

I love all my animals and though they aren't as smart as spunk and snoop, they make up for it in the love they have for me. They are always doing things that they know will please me, and they know when I'm sad or feel bad. I can't understand how someone could be cruel to animals when their sole desire is to to make you happy and to serve you. They would give their life for me and are excellent listeners. Thanks be to GOD that he created pets who give you unconditional love and devotion.

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