Vancouver-born pooch is on a roll on television

By Paul Suarez, Columbian freelance

Published:

 

Norman isn't like most other dogs on the block. This Briard pooch, who was born in Vancouver in 2009 but now lives in South Carolina, gets around using two wheels -- earning him the name "Norman the Scooter Dog."

Norman's owner, Karen Cobb, said she was looking for a working dog that could compete in agility and obedience competitions. She eventually found a breeder, Carol Wolfram of Vancouver, who socialized the dogs at an early age. Cobb continued the socialization."Norman loves playing with his family and wants to do everything with his 'kids,'" Cobb said. "When he saw them riding scooters, he wanted to try."

Eventually, she put Norman on a kid's toy in her backyard. She used clicker training -- she marked the desired behavior with a noise and rewarded the dog with a treat -- to get him to push forward with one foot.

Now, he can ride a scooter and a bicycle on his own.

"We were encouraged to send a clip to David Letterman's 'Stupid Pet Tricks,'" Cobb said. Things spiraled from there.

In addition to "Late Night with David Letterman," Norman has performed on "Inside Edition," "Good Morning America" and Cartoon Network, and he has a weekly gig on Animal Planet.

Norman joined the Natural Balance Canine Sports Team with a skateboarding bulldog and just finished recording Animal Planet's reality show, "Who Let the Dogs Out."

In the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., he rode a surfboard on a water-filled float.

What's next? "We'd like him to get a movie," Cobb said, adding that Norman could be "the Lassie of transportation."

His mission is serious. Cobb said she hopes Norman can help inspire people to stop buying dogs from puppy mills.

Norman has almost 4,000 Facebook fans. Find him on Facebook at "Norman the Scooter Dog" or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/courteous1. Visit Norman's website at http://www.normanthescooterdog.com.