Sure, there is something to be said for teaching your dog to sit or roll over, but what if you could teach your pup to dive for your dinner by retrieving lobsters from the sea floor? One man gave it a try with his black Lab, and now shares the steps to success for retrieving lobsters from the ocean floor.
Alex Schulze, co-founder of the company Devoted to the Ocean, taught his dog Lila how to do just that. Devoted to the Ocean is a company that is striving to keep our oceans clean and free of pollution. Devoted to the Ocean donates twenty percent of their net profits to various charities that are working to protect sea turtles and other vulnerable species.
It all started simply with Alex Schulze playing with his dogs Maverick and Lila and a game of fetch. Schulze says with lots of positive reinforcement, he was able to teach his black Labs to pick up clawless spiny lobsters from the ocean floor near his home in Florida, says the Huffington Post.
“The best advice that I could have for anyone teaching their dogs to catch a lobster, is to never push the dogs’ limits. Training might not go as quickly as expected, so you must take your time training the dogs and make sure that they are always comfortable.”
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In his video called “How to Train Your Dog to Catch a Lobster,” Schulze gives a step by step guide using rewards to teach your dog to grab your dinner out of the sea. But Schulze warns to watch what you ask your best friend to scoop up from the bottom of the ocean. In Florida, where Schulze lives, the spiny clawless lobsters are most common, but up north, the lobsters tend to fight back, which of course is far from positive reinforcement, and will certainly be the end of the fetching game.
Alex Schulze says that one day, he was out on his boat free diving, according to Saltstrong, and he got the idea to see what Lila could do.
“One day while out free diving, I had the idea of trying to get Lila to catch a live lobster. Sure enough she caught a lobster on her first try, and the rest was history.”
As a new business venture, Saltstrong pondered if Schulze would rent Lila out to retrieve some dinner for others.
In addition to delivering your dinner, dogs are being trained to do many other things seaside, says the CBC. In Alberta, dogs have been trained to sniff out invasive species of Zebra mussels, and now they are being trained to find an invasive plant in Fish Creek Provincial Park. The dogs, Hilo, Diesel, and Seuss, are charged with finding a perennial herb called Thesium arvense, which feeds off other plants and kills them. It is hard for humans to spot, but dogs can sniff it out. The plant grows low amongst tall grasses, and according to professor Mary Ann McLean, not a lot is known about it.
“In Europe and Asia it’s not a weed and it’s not rare, so nobody writes about it. It’s not interesting. So we don’t know much about its biology because of that. So we’ve spent the past couple of years trying to figure out some basic biology.”
The dogs needed a job between boating seasons, and the program Conservation K-9 put the dogs to work sniffing out the herb, and ridding the park of a damaging plant.
What tricks can your dog do?
[Featured Image by Margo Ugarte/AP Images]