Sweet Sadie is a lovable and entertaining six-year-old German Shepherd and Border Collie mix. She was adopted by her owner from an animal shelter in 2009. She loves the piano and loves her owner. Piano pedagogy is not a typical component of dog obedience school, but Sadie is not a self-taught pianist. Her owner coached her in music lessons, stage presence, and bowing (one must acknowledge the audience properly – even if you’re a dog). Family and friends were already aware of her sweet temperament and her way above average intelligence. She knows tricks that even some of the talented dogs are envious of! “Playing” the piano most certainly must put her in the top ten, if not top five best performing trick dogs in the world! This canine’s capabilities is, no doubt, treat worthy.
Listen closely to the carefully harmonized dissonance Sadie using the “all-paw” technique. It’s like doggie snacks to the ears. Sadie may not be the only German shepherd/border collie pooch to pound out a tune on the ivories, but she just might be the cutest. “It’s all about commitment,” Sadie said with the aid of her translating owner, “I practice one hour every day right before my fifth nap.” That’s just so inspirational. She did admit that it wasn’t always a full sixty minutes. It often depended on if the treats ran out or not.
When asked about her musical background, Sadie said, “I started out on the bagpipes years ago, but the sound of that thing scared the heck out of me!” said Sadie. “Besides, it’s difficult to emote artistic feelings with an instrument that sounds like the world’s worst alarm clock with a garbage bag attached to it.”
After switching to piano, she came to the revelation that keyboards were built for fingers – and she didn’t have any! While most dogs might quit when the going gets rrrrruff, not Sadie! Her biggest challenge has been adapting to an instrument that typically requires opposable thumbs. You’ll still hear a mistake here or there. She is still learning, after all. And most of those mistakes occur when Sadie catches a glimpse of a squirrel in the yard through her peripheral vision. “She goes bonkers when that happens,” Sadie’s owner shared, “that’s definitely a sign that the lesson is over.”