Painting, life guarding, and soccer with Mac
By Michael Walter Lambert and Dog(s)

Started on: 05/02/09 18:27:47
Medium: Performance

I went to my parents house in Woodland Hills California and thought that this would be a perfect time to collaborate with our dog Mac. Mac was also the subject of my attempt to speak with an animal. Although the communication was a bit of a failure. I know Mac very well and understand what he likes to do. He likes to walk and he likes to be brushed. But I know of a few activities that he not only likes to do but was born to do. Mac is a lifeguard. Every time we use our parents pool, he gets very concerned. He can't control himself. He needs to help. My mother suspects he had a bad incident with water in a past life. Either way he feels it as his duty. And he is so passionate, that his activities turn into a performance. Another words Mac makes art out of his job as the lifeguard.
Another activity that Mac loves is to play soccer. Every time I kick a ball, whether it is a basketball or some other ball he chases it. But only if you kick it or roll it. As soon as you start to bounce the ball he loses interest. He loves to play and as time passes he gets more and more into it. He chases the ball all over the place. He primarily plays defense and is quicker to the ball than most if not all humans. He generally knocks the ball around with his mouth and two front legs. He makes a number of patterns while chasing the ball. And really his activity is more of a dance than anything else. He is one with the ball.
The final project I decide to try with Mac was that of a painting. I know that Mac likes to get dirty. So my mother and I make some mud for him to put his paws in. Mac was acting shy so my mother put his paws in the mud. He didn't want to but he will do anything for my mother. We then had Mac walk over the poster board with his paws. I collaborated with his art and made some hand prints of my own. It felt good working with a painter such as Mac.
Here is a photo of Mac and I's painting
Video of these three projects are coming soon

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Project Updates
05/15/09 14:31:58 - Association communication

Mac is a smart dog and always communicates what he likes and doesn't like. Mac understands much of human communication. Mac has gotten very used to words like "walk" and "treat" and "brush", so much so that we can't say them out loud. My mom usually spells the words out instead and he still knows what we are talking about. Mac is not fooled by w-a-l-k or t-r-e-a-t. We have begun to whisper these words. But Mac has also begun to associate sounds with an activity especially activities he likes. The very sound of the chain on the leash drives him wild. When he hears that leash he knows it is time for a walk. You had better not picked up that leash unless you had planned to take him for a walk. The car has many meanings to Mac. It could mean we are taking him for fast food and he is going to get a burger, which he loves. Or he is going for a car ride which he sometimes enjoys. But it also could mean we are taking him to the groomers, which he fears greatly. Clipping nails, a hair cut, and a bath are very scary for Mac. He physically shakes when he sees we are taking him to the groomers. Another sound Mac identifies with is the sound of the door to the backyard which he seems to differentiate from other doors and hear from any part of the house. The opening of this door to Mac means "play time." Mac also knows the the sight of the fast food bag and also the word "burger." Mac loves his burgers. Also the brush is what Mac really likes, just the sight of that brush and he is on his side begging for a good brushing of his hair. Mac is also aware of the environment and acts accordingly, he barks and growls at thunder. A week or two ago we experienced a minor earthquake and it really upset Mac. Mac can now anticipate walks, meals, and brushing time. Just being aware of Mac's senses could open up many communication lines between us and him.

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